Development and training

WPP is a people business and we aspire to high standards of employment progression and investment in the development of our teams. We offer training and development opportunities that enable employees to increase their skills, progress their careers and reach their full potential. Our goal is for our people at all levels to receive regular performance appraisals.

In 2008, we invested £42.6 million in training and wellbeing compared with £38.6 million in 2007.

Training and professional development opportunities are provided at both the parent and operating company levels which together reach several thousand employees in the Group. These cover all aspects of company business and creative skills.

Staff training and welfare 2003-2008

Case study: Mini MBA

Executive education helps our senior talent develop creative, client and personal leadership skills. Our flagship program is Maestro: Orchestrating Client Value – a five-day course aimed at strengthening the ability of our most senior client leaders to be valued and trusted advisers to their clients, colleagues and teams. Since the program’s inception in 2003, it has reached more than 1,500 participants in 15 countries, and involved 65 different WPP operating companies.

In 2008, WPP formally launched its own ‘Mini MBA’ program, designed to build functional knowledge and abilities. It combines online tutorials and simulations with instructor-led classroom training. Business disciplines covered are commercial acumen, strategy, marketing, people and organisational development, creating client value, and working across cultures.

Case study: Developing professional leadership skills whilst benefiting NGOs

Through a partnership with The International Exchange (TIE), WPP is providing employees with learning and development skills, whilst helping NGOs improve their communications practices.

TIE provides professionals with short-term assignments with a NGO or social business in the developing world. Assignments are custom designed to develop the individual professional’s leadership skills whilst using their business experience for the benefit of the NGO and its local community.

Participants learn new skills and gain invaluable work experience. They also improve their understanding of the charity sector and emerging markets.

The NGOs learn from the expertise of the communications professionals assigned to their project.

During 2009, three WPP company employees will be heading out to Brazil to work with MNDH, a human rights organisation, the NGO Em Cena Arte e Cidadania and NGO Iracambi.

Tiffany Sherrington, a strategist at Mindshare who is about to leave for Brazil explains, “I fully expect to be challenged, overwhelmed and inspired in equal measures! It’s an incredible chance to be at the coalface of environmental campaigning and community development, hopefully using my skills to make a small, positive change in the world.”

WPP sets up ‘Micro Fellowship’

In 2008, WPP set up a ‘Micro Fellowship’ offering students hands-on experience in our operating companies.

This initiative offers summer internships to minority candidates in a structured program modelled on WPP’s existing graduate Fellowship program. The Micro Fellowship program has a good record on diversity. With its focus on cultural flexibility, it attracts a high proportion of students from different national, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Candidates are invited to a weekly workshop to learn about other aspects of the industry and are mentored by existing WPP Fellows.