Putting a Plan Together

Case study: How Mackenzie Investments developed a succession pipeline for its inside sales department

By Tim Harnett

How important is succession planning and employee development at your organization? More than three-quarters of organizations (78 percent) have some sort of plan in place, yet 60 percent say they have too few candidates for their needs.¹ Developing employees and promoting from within is crucial to keeping successful employees in house and reducing knowledge loss.

For Denise Teixeira, senior manager, product education and blended solutions for distribution at Mackenzie Investments, promoting people to internal sales roles benefits both customers and the organization. “Executives discuss how important professional development has been in their careers, growing them into the leaders they are today. They wanted an initiative that would provide an opportunity to develop employees to be promotion ready to move into the inside wholesaler role — a role that requires deep product and industry knowledge.”

Teixeira agreed with the opportunity to identify and move current employees into the role — with the right platform. “Recruiting people internally reduces the time it takes for onboarding. The person comes in with the background knowledge and skills the role requires. By having the impetus come from the top down, it demonstrates commitment to developing people within the organization.”

Teixeira developed the online portion of the program using D2L’s Brightspace platform. While it isn’t geared toward any generation, succession programs like the one at Mackenzie Investments are particularly attractive to millennials, 87 percent of whom want development in their jobs.² But before the rollout could begin, Teixeira needed to weigh delivery options. “Due to the nature of the role, we designed our training with a blended approach — online delivery with some in-person activities.” D2L’s Brightspace was the best platform choice thanks to its discussion boards and video training features, best suited for a mobile sales force. “With the Brightspace platform we are able to host the fundamental learning online with video and required reading to form the basis of their knowledge, and then test their understanding using the built-in quizzing tool. The statistical reporting capabilities allow us to understand in which areas the participants are strongest. Learners will have 4-5 months to complete a series of self-study and in-person learning assignments,” Teixeira says. “Within that time, they’ll apply the knowledge they’ve learned and meet with our inside wholesaler managers and mentors. Timelines and deadlines are managed through conversations with applicants, but the learning is self-paced. They’ll also receive more onboarding once they become inside wholesalers. The idea is that the program will provide applicants with the readiness to move into the role when there’s an open position.”

“The idea is that the program will provide applicants with the readiness to move into the role when there’s an open position.”

Teixeira is building metrics into the succession program to ensure its success can be measured. “We’re examining how the content is digested throughout, since people will be completing the program while employed in their current positions,” Teixeira says. “We want to be building knowledge without having the program become a roadblock to success in the employees’ current roles. Going forward, I’ll have communication with program participants as well as their managers, and will periodically touch base and get a pulse check to determine how successful participants are with the content.”

Mackenzie’s commitment to internal promotions isn’t limited to the distribution department, either. “There’s been several company initiatives to make sure we keep high performers interested in growing their careers with us,” Teixeira says, “giving them access to programs and opportunities to grow and learn while they’re here. The Inside Wholesaler Development Program is one piece of a larger puzzle to addressing attrition, promoting engagement and maximizing product knowledge, which benefits our customers and our bottom line.”

Mackenzie Investments uses the D2L platform for their inside sales succession program. Learn more at D2L.com/financialservices.

1 2016 Talent Management Succession Planning survey.

2 Adkins, A. and Rigoni, B. (2016). “Millennials want jobs to be development opportunities.” Gallup.

D2L is the software leader that makes the learning experience better. The company’s cloud-based platform is easier to use, more flexible, and smart. By using D2L, organizations can personalize the learning experience to deliver real results. The company is a world leader in content creation and curation, and enables employers to act in real time to keep workers on track. D2Le is used by learners in higher education, K-12, and the enterprise sector, including the Fortune 1000. D2L has operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil, and Singapore. www.D2L.com