Who said actuaries are dull? When Bacon & Woodrow associate Nigel Munns went on the company's partnership development programme and identified some training needs, he organised a village fête.
“I was free to come up with my own action plan in my own learning style – I'm a doing person, I learn by doing things,” says Munns.
The company encourages development both in work and outside and Munns, who had to learn persuasion skills, chose to learn them outside the company, running the village fête in Chilbolton in north Hampshire.
“I had to learn how to work with teams, particularly when you have no authority over them. I had to persuade people to get things done and different people have different motivators, so it's a case of how you get them to work together as a team,” Munns says.
Using his insurance contacts he borrowed the FA Cup from Axa, then he turned to Bacon & Woodrow for some PR advice. He managed to get a mention for the fête on local television, plus plenty of coverage in the local paper. Munns ran a competition in the paper to guess how many FA Cup finals had been held at Wembley, which netted the fête with loads of coverage, all the for the price of the prize – a football shirt.
The fête on June 24 was a roaring success, and Munns knows that because he set targets at the outset. “I came up with a mission statement on why we were doing the fête. There were three things: to raise money for the church, to get the community working together and to have fun,” says Munns.
The fête raised more than £4,000, the community rallied together and some events were for fun rather than finance. “My wife ran the bouncy castle and after the cost of hiring it, we probably made a tenner, but the kids had fun,” says Munns.
Bacon & Woodrow is an avid trainer of its staff, recommending each employee has at least six days a year on training courses. It runs internal courses and works with external providers such as the Cranfield management school. “We place a lot of store on training. It's a progressive company that values its people. Without people, consultancies don't really work,” says Munns.
And it worked for him. “I have definitely learned something I can apply to my work: persuasion skills. In the past I have always relied on authority to get people to do what I wanted them to do rather than winning their hearts and minds,” he says.