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Better business partner project wins bronze

Fabienne BouchutInnovation project manager at Cegos

The Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards is a global programme that recognises innovation and achievement in the world of Human Capital Management. The group recently announced our project with Renault as winner of the Bronze Award in the category: Best Advance in Skills and Competencies Development. Here, we share how the project helped hundreds of financial experts across the company become better business partners.

The objective : become the best financial partner for the operational functions

Back in 2018, the Renault Group’s finance department set an ambitious goal – to become the best financial partner supporting other operational functions, and to generate sustainable value for the Group.

To achieve this goal, Renault had to identify skills gaps in their entire financial workforce of 400 people, then build a systematic approach to training them up. They began by asking employees to complete a self-assessment, based on a reference framework of 64 current and new skills, covering both technical skills and cross-functional abilities.

The results for finance employees showed they needed to develop a range of skills to help them become better business partners. Increasing digitization meant that financial ‘controllers’ had to adjust their mindset and become more agile in the way they delivered value. As such, the training programme had to be tightly focused and expertly designed.

Cegos was chosen to partner with Renault to design and deliver the training, and the “Business Partnering Programme” was born.

An important element of the partnership was the involvement of 10 carefully selected Renault experts, who had a good understanding of the complexities of the job. They advised on the core competencies required and how they might be achieved.

Renault defines the responsibilities of a Business Partner Controller as follows:

  • Understand business issues and challenges
  • Analyse operational performance (causes, drivers, areas for improvement, impacts)
  • Communicate and explain analyses and results, and lead committees
  • Build action plans, ensure their deployment and monitoring
  • Advise and challenge the management in strategic decision making

Initial observations suggested most controllers knew the methods and tools of controlling but did not play a sufficiently important role in advising and challenging their operational counterparts.

The training programme was designed around a strong pedagogical framework. It aimed to enable controllers to support their counterparts in operational management to make the right decisions. This meant acquiring the relevant knowledge, know-how and interpersonal skills.

In particular, they had to develop their ability to challenge operational managers, to provide financial and non-financial KPIs, and to develop the costing system in order to help them make decisions.

Structure of the training programme

The "Business Partnering Programme" targets three functions (Business partner Controller, Controller for Engineering, Controller for Manufacturing), and includes several modules designed to help controllers develop soft skills:

  1. Understanding the Role of Business Partner builds on the notion of Business Partner and how to add value on a daily basis.
  2. Acting Effectively in your Role as a Business Partner aims to support operational personnel in formulating their mission, to move from analysis to decision.
  3. Being a Business Partner in a Business Environment aims to support the implementation of strategy and investments and know how to manage complex situations.

The complete learning programme – 80% experimental work and 20% theory – integrates different training methods and modalities: e-learning, face-to-face, virtual class, co-development and using real case scenarios to facilitate the transfer of skills to the workplace.

The business partnering programme is a great success

By the end of 2021, a total of 200 staff had been through the programme with excellent results. Participants gave the programme an average rating of 4.5/5, and 90% said they were confident the skills they learned could be successfully applied in the workplace.

In addition, management assessments showed participants worked better with all partners and appeared to be more engaged. They were also able to present their ideas in a more persuasive and appealing way.

“This training allows controllers to adopt a true Business Partner posture with respect to operational teams,” says Thierry Pieton, CFO of Renault Group. “I am very satisfied with this programme, which will allow for more precise performance management. This can be done by proposing concrete, simple and creative solutions.

Cegos is proud of its contribution, too. “This ambitious project has exceeded our expectations and we’re delighted with our Bronze award. Working in partnership with Renault experts certainly made a difference and is a great model for others to follow.”

Interested to learn more about how Cegos can help your people reach new heights? Contact us today.

Written by

Fabienne Bouchut

Within the Cegos group, Fabienne is in charge of monitoring new digital teaching tools and new technologies for training and learning experiences. She manages innovation projects in order to create training formats that use digital technology and human interaction for training.As a training facilitator for more than 15 years, she works on innovative learning systems. She also trains trainers who integrate digital technology into their teaching methods.She is co-author of "La Boite à outils des formateurs" (the Trainers Toolbox) published by Dunod in France.She previously worked as a consultant and educational engineer on training projects at Cegos and in sales positions in the FMCG sector.
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