Case study

Developing promising new managers
"Learning a skill and helping someone is a powerful combination and it can create an emotional engagement that is bound to make the learning more sticky and the training more engaging - whereas most corporate training programmes are very hard to relate to."
Sebastien Blanc, CEO at Skimlinks

Developing promising new managers

Skimlinks is a content monetization platform that online publishers across the world use to increase the revenue they generate from commerce content. The company was founded in 2008 and now numbers 85 people. In 2019, Skimlinks generated around $1.2 billion of transactions for its 60,000 publisher clients.

Building talented contributors into rounded leaders

As Skimlinks scaled, there was a growing need for more structure and more people able to lead a team. Yet few of the existing team members had sufficient management experience. Without a leadership development structure in place the company would have had to choose between throwing new managers in the deep end with little support or bringing in managers from outside. Both of these actions would have limited the career paths of key members of the team and would most likely have created resentment, employee attrition and loss of culture. 

Learning is a critical part of the Skimlinks culture but the management team was finding it hard to find a coherent and engaging programme to grow their most promising individuals and invest in their growth as managers. 

“The senior team and I have participated in leadership programmes throughout our careers and I have to admit that most of them felt like a waste of time. Way too often, leadership programmes are theoretical training in the art of the obvious.” 

Sebastien Blanc, CEO at Skimlinks.

Prioritising leading through coaching

“I recently attended a leadership training based on the coaching process with practical exercises with other CEOs and it was the first time I came out with practical tools I could easily use and that would resonate with the team.”`

Sebastien Blanc, CEO at Skimlinks.

After a previous experience of undertaking a leadership development programme through coaching, Sebastien Blanc, CEO at Skimlinks, was convinced that the coaching methodology was a critical tool in a leader’s toolbox and essential for guiding and developing team members. He also thoroughly believed in the social aspect of the Circl Leadership Programme and how it could create a fruitful training environment which engaged participants, compared to most corporate training programmes. 

The senior leadership team at Skimlinks selected six of their most promising new managers. The participants were matched with their Future Leader partners and are now in the middle of their development programme. During the programme, participants coach and are coached by their Future Leader partner. This gives them a unique experience to practise their skills in real-life and also to be challenged by their partner. 

The results will be measured at the end of the training through an employee survey and by looking at their engagement results during the bi-yearly engagement survey.

“I think it’s incredibly important [to work with underrepresented groups] especially now I have more of an understanding of how many challenges they face and how much harder it is for them. “

Jenny Hunter, Account Specialist Director at Skimlinks and Circl Programme Participant 

A programme for the future

Initial feedback so far has been excellent, participants are really enjoying the programme and working with the Future Leader partners.  It is too early to measure direct results on the business as the programme is not yet finished however Skimlinks are already considering integrating the Circl Leadership Programme into its internal training going forward. 

“Taking part in the Circl programme was a nice change of pace. It shows Skimlinks appreciates you as an employee and wants to have you experience something different that will enable you to learn and grow.”

Jenny Hunter, Account Specialist Director at Skimlinks and Circl Programme Participant