We invest in high-quality training to enable our people to gain new skills, keep up with changes in our industry (such as the development of digital marketing) and to advance their careers within the Group. Our goal is for our people at all levels to receive regular performance appraisals.

Several thousand people take part in training and professional development opportunities each year at both the parent and operating company levels. These cover all aspects of company business and creative skills. In 2010, WPP companies invested £48.9 million in training and wellbeing – a 22% increase over the previous year.


increase in training and welfare expenditure in 2010

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; and to use the many talents within our companies to best serve our clients. Since the program’s inception in 2003, it has been held in 19 countries, has reached more than 2,100 participants and involved 80 different WPP operating companies.

WPP has 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 growing and winning business, strategy, marketing, people and organisational development, commercial acumen and working across cultures. Approximately 800 people have participated in the program.

WPP worked throughout the year in close collaboration with Young & Rubicam Brands – and in partnership with some of our largest clients – on a new approach to developing multidisciplinary global client leaders. It is an industry-leading initiative that goes beyond traditional training. Starting with a 360 degree assessment of ‘The Ten Things Great Global Client Leaders Do’ and the ‘Super Skills’ needed for roles of this size and complexity, participants develop plans tailored to their personal needs and aspirations. They learn by doing things that help them in their current roles. They join a social networking site that ensures easy accessibility to their peer group and promotes collaboration and knowledge sharing.

A steering group of some of the most senior leaders within WPP and Young & Rubicam Brands help advance their skills, knowledge, and expertise while actively developing the next generation of talent. In doing this, our teams continue to differentiate themselves by their ability to navigate changing market conditions, translate insights into powerful ideas, mobilise resources and deliver exceptional work.

In 2010, WPP’s Executive Development program was recognised with an award of excellence from the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), the world’s largest professional association dedicated to the training and development field.

Graph staff training welfare

Below is a small selection of the training programs delivered by our operating companies in 2010:

  • In 2010, MEC Learning launched its global e-learning program, providing training in a variety of formats covering multiple disciplines. Alongside traditional classroom-style lessons, MEC Learning now offers online courses using audio, video and quizzes to test employees’ knowledge of media terminology, digital media, sales and consumer insights. Also available are ‘virtual’ classes where MEC people can meet instructors remotely through their computers. These courses are available 24/7 to all MEC employees worldwide.
  • Wunderman has launched a new Learning Management System to manage and track training across the network. Sessions currently available include negotiation training, talent management, skills sessions, mentor programs, intern programs and digital marketing training. Wunderman is also working with a number of clients, including Nokia, to develop joint training for agency-client teams.
  • Raymond Rubicam University is Young & Rubicam Brands’ cross-disciplinary client partnership program. It brings together groups of Y&R Brands’ most talented individuals to solve a client’s strategic challenge during a four-day workshop. Key global clients such as Danone, Kraft, Chevron, Land Rover and Ferrero have participated in the program since it began in 2008. The program benefits clients and provides development opportunities for employees.