TMG is a multi-media news publisher of world-renown recognised for its award winning investigative journalism through the ‘The Daily Telegraph’, ‘The Sunday Telegraph’, The Telegraph website and The Telegraph Weekly World Edition.   The Daily Telegraph is the UK’s best-selling quality daily newspaper with a long established history of over 150 years and is unique in having maintained its broadsheet format.   The group employs over 1000 people across three sites in the UK, and the company invests heavily in training and development programmes for their employees.

Over the past few years working closely with the Advertising Directors the Learning and Development Team developed a bespoke training scheme – ‘The Inspire Programme’.  This Programme was focused on key talent in the Advertising Department with the aim of enhancing their professional skill-set and boosting their levels of motivation.   To ensure the Scheme met with the team’s requirements, The Survey Initiative, were selected to undertake pre- and post- training analysis with the programme’s participants and managers.

What did the Scheme involve?

The Scheme was devised to help a range of carefully selected participants in TMG Advertising to gain a better understanding of the strategic development and dynamic environment of the Telegraph Media Group.  By helping staff understand why aspects of the business were changing it was hoped to boost engagement with to support the consequential changes these developments would make on their everyday working lives.   The aims were to increase participants’ internal understanding of how TMG worked with an understanding of the rapidly evolving market in which TMG operated, to develop each participants’ professional and project skills and to go some way to meeting their personal career goals.

Before each team member embarked on the programme The Survey Initiative surveyed each individual and their manager to ensure we had a clear understanding of each participant’s starting point.  Both individuals and their respective managers identified areas where they felt the course could benefit the individual (and their team). This data could then be used monitor their development throughout the scheme.

Since 2011 there have been two cohorts of circa 12 team members per cohort.   Each individual had had a hand in creating their own training programme to help boost their professional skills and support their personal career aspirations.

To achieve the Inspire Programme’s goals a formal spine of activity was set-up lasting circa eight months but many personal learning goals straddled a much broader time-frame than this. Participants attended workshops covering issues such as: An Introduction to Myers-Briggs, Media Finance, Effective Presentations, and, etc.   They also had sessions with key Telegraph Media Group personnel, which included lunch and a question and answer session with The Editor of The Daily Telegraph Tony Gallagher and internal experts on Digital Commercial Strategy.   Specialist events were also set-up looking at future trends, such as: Social Media, Apps, and Automated Trading etc.

One of the key aspects to the programme’s success was enhanced support for all participants from their line managers with one-to-one personal development planning sessions held with each individual with professional input from Head of Learning and Development.   Many participants elected to take part in further core skill training e.g. attendance at various conferences, secondment opportunities and external educational programmes.

This one-to-one support was also backed-up by a strong mentoring programme.  Each participant was carefully paired with a mentor and offered six sessions over the formal period of the programme.   The mentor was there to provide support, advice and feedback as well as sharing their knowledge and experience to benefit each individual.   Participants found this experience really helpful as it provided a ‘safe space’ to explore issues and to talk openly and freely without prejudice. Many benefited from the experience and stated that they now had improved self-confidence and a much better understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses but felt empowered to make a difference.


The advertising senior management team has been delighted with the effects The Inspire Programme has had on motivating and boosting their staff’s skill-set.  The results from the evaluations show clear, distinct improvements in all areas both as a whole and on an individual basis.  In addition, the views from managers are that the programme has had a very positive effect on those taking part and the Sales team as a whole.  For example, managers noted significant increases in the understanding of core business financial processes (an improvement of 38% between pre and post evaluations) and a 20% increase in recognising and celebrating success. All the directors with individuals attending the programme reported that the performance of their team had improved since attending the programme and that the programme had been of value to their team.

The advertising team has also cited The Inspire Programme as part of their submissions for media advertising awards e.g. they won AOP’s Digital Advertising Sales Team 2011   Richard Morgan has indicated that the Company is currently considering how best to take forward Talent and Development and how best to apply the learnings from this programme to future TMG talent.

This is some feedback from an Inspiree from the first cohort:   ‘In 2011 I was lucky enough to be selected to be part of the Inspire Programme. I would comfortably say that this has been the most beneficial training I have undertaken in my entire media career.  Firstly it increased my knowledge of the business; from covering the day in the life of an editor to the financial P&L of the organisation. It has given me a real insight in to how the business works and how all elements are essential in creating success and achieving profits even when facing a recession. Secondly from a personal development perspective it has been invaluable and given me the confidence to take on more responsibility within my team. The exposure across departments and individuals outside of digital has not only helped me raise my profile but also given me the ability to push forward new ideas.  I have since been promoted to Agency Sales Manager, I feel the Inspire programme played an important part in equipping me with the skills to take on this role. ‘                                                          

Mindy Basra,  Digital Agency Sales Manager TMG

‘Through offering taught theory alongside mentorship and practical experience across a wide variety of internal and external business functions, Inspire opened lots of doors for me within TMG and I’ve no doubt my learnings from the course have contributed to my subsequent achievements within the company’ 

Danny Poole, Multi-Media Manager, TMG

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