Winchester Cathedral

The history of Winchester Cathedral can be traced back to the seventh century. The legendary St Swithun is the Cathedral's patron saint and its heritage reads like a Who's Who of English history, from King Alfred the Great to Mary Tudor and Jane Austen. But under the surface of this ancient place of worship is a modern organisation of 100 staff and some 700 volunteers who keep everything running smoothly for the 300,000 people who visit each year.

Winchester cathedral was one of Mentor's first clients and Annabelle Boyes, the Receiver General, and Donald Colquhoun, Head of Personnel and Training, turned to their Mentor Specialist Consultant in Employment Law & HR, Wes O'Donnell, when the Cathedral decided to implement a performance development review (PDR) process.

“One of the great things about Mentor is the depth and range of experience that clients can call upon. I put the Cathedral in touch with Lucy Coombs, who specialises in this area, to work with them to assess what the Cathedral needed to put in place,” explains Wes.

Lucy met with Annabelle and Donald to determine their needs and to plan a way forward. “Mentor is all about helping organisations to be the best they can be. Successfully introducing a PDR system across an organisation partly depends on putting the right training in place,” says Lucy.

“I recommended a bespoke training plan to cover not only the procedure but also the principles and best practice behind performance development, ensuring that line managers had the confidence to conduct reviews professionally. I also recommended a training session for senior managers and a briefing session for staff so that everyone knew what to expect from the new system.

“I worked closely both with Annabelle and Donald to implement the process and we started the line manager training in January. It is early days but I think the training was well received and it was great to see so many people realise how it could help them in their jobs,” she adds.

The new system has been designed to open up greater dialogue between line management and staff, with individuals working to clear objectives and receiving feedback on performance. “There was no PDR system within the Cathedral and we wanted a fair and consistent approach which would enable us to capture the learning and development needs of our staff,” explains Annabelle.

“The primary aim is to put people first, ensuring that they feel valued and effective and to give them the opportunity to realise their potential. Our employees are very valued and we greatly appreciate the work they do. We are trying to introduce a culture that supports lifelong learning and makes training accessible so that we can continue to support the staff.

“Mentor's training has helped us to implement the new system quickly and efficiently. The team demonstrated a very good understanding of our needs and requirements. Their approach was very thorough and it soon became apparent that as a training organisation they were well prepared to deliver the training required to a high standard. We would have no hesitation in recommending them to other employers,” Donald adds.

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