Beehive is a small training consultancy which specialises in providing training around leadership, management and coaching. Board behaviours and a focus on changing mindsets and embedding learning activities. It is currently focusing on aspects of behavioural safety, particularly emphasising the importance of trust in building interdependence. Beehive operates across a number of different sectors including local government, prisons, retail and medical technology as well as nuclear.
Beehive has been involved in NSAN for approximately 5 years as an Employer Nominated Provider; one of Beehive’s lead consultants met with Alli Hunt (NSAN’s Operations Manager for Wales) at a networking event and discussed ways in which they could engage with the industry for the first time, as Director Mark Sykes explains:
“We had no previous links with the nuclear sector but at the time it was the depths of the financial crisis – everyone was cutting back on learning and development. Consequently we were doing a lot of networking! At the same time there was a lot of talk about Nuclear New Build in North Wales and the prospect of a lot of employment locally so it seemed like a good time to explore the sector for us.”
Since joining, Beehive have done work as trainers on the Triple Bar for Nuclear Manufacturing and a series of mentoring workshops in collaboration with two other providers.
The Commercial Benefits of Membership
Mark estimates that Beehive’s income from delivering Triple Bar for Nuclear Manufacturing training as around £12,000. However, he notes that the mentoring workshops they have developed which are delivered to support the Civil Nuclear Sharing in Growth programme have involved a significant pre-investment in their development, but have not yet delivered a positive return and indeed have so far delivered a small loss of approximately £2,000. Mark also identifies NSAN as a critical factor in Beehive securing additional business through other routes, and ascribes a 50% attribution to NSAN of business won with other clients in the nuclear sector:
“Through NSAN we’ve got in touch with the NDA and won a piece of work to do some mentoring training work with them this year. Without NSAN we’d have really struggled to raise our profile in the same way – I don’t know if we’d have found anything comparable without them.”
Mark identifies the ways in which Beehive engages with NSAN as raising their profile and increasing recognition of their name throughout the industry.
“By sitting on the panel for judging NSAN’s Apprenticeship and Foundation Degree awards we may not see any direct business benefits but it is another way in which we raise our profile.”
Mark notes that NSAN in general, and Alli in particular, has been instrumental in increasing the scope of their networks but did not identify any additional ways in which that had led to new business so far (though there was strong potential for it to do so).
“Alli has put us in touch with connections at Wrexham Council – apart from new Nuclear another big project in North Wales is the new prison at Wrexham. It’s really difficult to put a value on an introduction though until it leads to something! They know how to open the doors and where to knock though.”
Mark suggests that the value of NSAN in raising Beehive’s profile is represented by the more effective approach to marketing they provide and a sensible proxy for this value would be the cost of attending a conference to make connections and increase awareness among potential clients.
Mark believes that nuclear is a market that Beehive would always hope to access and believes that NSAN has significantly supported them in terms of providing insight into that sector.
“Without them we wouldn’t even know where to start looking. It would probably take us at least an extra week a year to get that level of insight into the sector. There’s a lot of focus on the industry in North Wales at the moment and Alli provides a really good connection and knowledge for us.”
Mark believes that at least some of the insight that Beehive have gained from the nuclear sector and NSAN relationships has been translatable into work they are doing in other sectors:
“Sara Lodge, Director of Beehive and Bangor University Psychology Department are undertaking a research programme to find out the key interpersonal factors that help create interdependent work cultures. The research is particularly focussed on the factors that create trust and trustworthiness in leaders – a key component of work not just in nuclear but in the prison service as well.“
Long Term Benefits
While Beehive have observed a return of more than £2 for every £1 invested in 2015, the first three years of their relationship did not see this level of return, as Mark observes:
“Now it’s a very clear cut decision to reinvest and I’m glad we stuck with it because it’s definitely giving us a return; it’s taken a while for those benefits to come through but it’s absolutely been worth it.”
Beehive have taken a long-term view to engagement with NSAN and the wider nuclear industry, and are now seeing the benefits of that, both in terms of a direct relationship with NSAN and the business that has catalysed from other nuclear clients. The insight and raised profile that NSAN provides also sets Beehive up to continue to develop in the industry as the new relationships and introductions they facilitate are converted into actual new business.
Costs of Membership
Across all aspects of membership, including interviews for the Skills Awards and Regional Steering Group meetings (which Mark acknowledges Beehive have not attended as regularly as they would have liked), the total investment of time made by Beehive in NSAN is approximately 10 days. For more detailed information on this case study, please download the Value of a Long-Term Relationship report.