“Companies will need to work harder to retain high performers."

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Fosway Group, Europe’s leading HR and learning analyst, recently appointed Carole Laithwaite as its Chief Operating Officer. With a wealth of experience in operational leadership and business strategy, Carole joins the company to focus on its HR and learning practices and support its longer-term mission. Here she gives insight on Fosway’s expertise in next gen HR and learning and its aim to expand this to a global audience.

Becky Norman, Deputy Editor, HRZone: Congratulations on your new role! What attracted you to this position?

Carole Laithwaite, COO, Fosway Group: Thank you! This is a new, exciting role that plays to my strengths and I am looking forward to shaping it further whilst working with our CEO, David Wilson to take over the operational leadership and implementing several growth initiatives.

I have been in the industry for many years, having previously worked for David in the early eLearnity days. Between then and now I have worked at board level for two growing organisations most recently at Kallidus, providing operational leadership, managing large professional services and operational teams, as well as working with many customers to define their HR and learning strategies and technology requirements.  

What attracted me to the role is the reputation Fosway has in the marketplace. Fosway’s research and understanding of next gen HR and learning is unrivalled in Europe, as is its understanding of European corporate needs and challenges.

I’m really looking forward to working with our clients and our analyst team to take Fosway’s business, market influence and industry insights to the next level not just in Europe but on a broader global scale.

Becky Norman, Deputy Editor, HRZone: Over the upcoming year, what will you be focusing on?

Carole Laithwaite, COO, Fosway Group: I’ll be working across Fosway’s HR and learning practices with a specific focus on corporate clients as well as scaling the Fosway operation.

I’m working on an exciting new corporate initiative, which we will be talking more about in the coming weeks. Currently an integral part of the decision-making process for many of our corporate clients has been to utilise the in-depth industry knowledge and independent research that we are able to provide. We want to build on this relationship and provide further support to HR and learning leaders as they navigate their way through countless challenges.

Through our new Fosway Programme, Fosway Corporate Connect, we can now extend this flexible approach and value to many more organisations at different levels in the business – whether it is just for one individual or for a broader team or organisational initiative.

Members of our corporate research network already benefit from Fosway research and other resources. Fosway Corporate Connect takes our engagement with corporates and their organisations to another level.

Becky Norman, Deputy Editor, HRZone: Are there many challenges to the role you foresee? How will you strive to overcome these?

Carole Laithwaite, COO, Fosway Group: It’s early days for me to provide a comprehensive answer to this, however as with any growing business there will no doubt be things we will want to adapt and change, but nothing that is unachievable.

Becky Norman, Deputy Editor, HRZone: Can you tell us about your approach to operational leadership?

Carole Laithwaite, COO, Fosway Group: A key priority is to spend time with all the Fosway team as well as getting to know our clients to ensure that operations are efficient and effective and, most importantly, meet their needs.

I understand the importance of getting the balance right between executing the company’s strategy whilst understanding the details of the day-to-day operational leadership, to ensure what needs to happen happens.

Becky Norman, Deputy Editor, HRZone: Fosway is a leader in next gen HR and learning across Europe. How does the company plan to expand its reach internationally? And what role will you play in this?

Carole Laithwaite, COO, Fosway Group: Fosway Group is already well known in the global marketplace through our extensive research and knowledge of next gen HR and learning in Europe. I will be working with David, our team and, predominately, our corporate clients to enable them to leverage our research and innovative insights.

It’s been a busy period as we have expanded our global footprint with all our analysts embarking on a global tour of events that will see them take in half a dozen cities, from Boston to Singapore to Amsterdam. It will be good to hear a broader international perspective about what’s new in HR, talent and learning, but also listening to the realities facing organisations today.

We are also excited to be launching our Digital Learning Realities research in partnership with Learning Technologies in the Far East and Asia-Pacific after the inaugural Learning Tech Asia event.

Becky Norman, Deputy Editor, HRZone: Finally, what do you think the HR and learning landscape will look like in 10 years’ time?

Carole Laithwaite, COO, Fosway Group: Without doubt the landscape will change with the world being transformed by digital technologies. Organisations will need to respond more rapidly with innovative solutions that will be compelling to employees.

We will continue to see the transformative effects of technology in the way we learn, work and live. Work pressures will still exist but we need to ensure we can rapidly adapt skillsets, with individuals having the ability to control how they fit learning around work and life demands.

Companies will need to work harder to retain high performers as the working landscape becomes more competitive to meet the expectations of an ever-demanding workforce.

The traditional HR benefits model will be long gone with organisations needing to evolve their culture and adopt a continuous innovation model to attract the best candidates and retain the existing top talent in their organisations.

About Becky Norman

Becky Norman bio photo

Deputy editor for global online publications HRZone and TrainingZone. As a newcomer to the worlds of HR and L&D I am keen to hear from the community, so please do say hello via our social channels!

My past editorial experience includes working on science communications content, international development policy reports and craft magazines.

Outside of work, I enjoy cycling, eating vegetables and drinking posh gin.

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