Every once in a while I deliver video feedback sessions post CPG. It’s a great way to ‘keep my hand in’ and gives me useful insights into how candidates are finding the CPG, and what I can do to further support behavioural development, to ultimately progress positive culture change.

Here’s some of what I have learnt this month from candidate feedback sessions for Crew and Watch Manager promotions (successful and unsuccessful at the Career Progression Gateway)

(Spoiler- these sessions were an absolute pleasure!)

  • Feedback sessions aren’t just about selection process feedback! They work best from a coaching and development perspective, where the feedback is an initial ‘springboard’ to a richer discussion on aspirations, motivations, recognition, confidence and empowerment.
  • When we discuss what people enjoy doing and where their strengths lie, there is a real sense of motivation to contribute and use their talents to make a difference
  • Most Watch and Crew Manager candidates would be very happy to mentor others; for those who have done well at the CPG they would be willing to share the strategies and approaches under-pinning their performance (beyond ‘here’s how to pass); for those who are unsuccessful, they acknowledge that in supporting others in areas they do feel more confident, positive behaviours can flourish
  • There is an interest in being proactive, but still a hesitation and sense of needing permission to do so.
  • There are a range of skills on-call FF can bring to their role from outside employment, and a willingness to do so; lack of time is the biggest challenge.
  • There is a desire to engage in cross- watch mentoring and skill sharing between on-call and wholetime crews, but uncertainty about how to go about this.
  • When a promotion process is consistent and predictable year on year, has sufficient support i.e. pre-assessment briefings and detailed feedback reports, candidates far are more likely to attend a feedback session with openness and curiosity. If they felt unprepared for the assessment, uninformed about where they ‘went wrong’ or where to go next that they can appear wary, hostile and less interested in next steps.
  • Crew and watch managers can often seem more open to constructive feedback and their own development than station or group managers! Candidates who agree to a feedback session are usually very willing to embrace the opportunity and learn from it.
  • Resistance to the feedback session or the CPG assessment is often related to feeling defensive about where they ‘got it wrong’. There are positives in every performance and finding these can make all the difference to how an individual sees their role and impact.
  • When it comes to pre-assessment preparation, candidates need plenty of hand-holding! They miss the email or don’t put the time aside, and then regret it if they make potentially avoidable mistakes in the CPG. An extra nudge or two on how to help themselves is worth doing.
  • Offering follow-up after 6 or 9 months could be very helpful to some candidates, to help them reflect on their efforts and review any changes in their approach and outcomes.

With the current difficulties around culture, morale and behavioural standards, tapping into this bedrock of individual commitment to the organisation, service users, colleagues and their own development is more important than ever. The seeds for positive change are absolutely there. But unless they are recognised, celebrated, supported and nurtured through proactive steps and decent investment, the opportunity for these to thrive might be missed.

“It’s the first time someone has gone through my feedback report for any situation in the Fire Service, its good to hear from a professional what I do well and also not so well. Also recommendations on how I could develop myself further whilst still in the Service.”
Anonymous, Watch Manager Level
“I believe what you offer is at such a higher level than what has previously been offered before in the Service, in regards to support and feedback sessions, the quality of advice is exceptional.”
Anonymous, Watch Manager Level
“It was useful to clarify the link between the CPG and the leadership framework, and to reaffirm the link, and how this can be used in the workplace.”
Anonymous, Watch Manager Level
“Having input in relation to areas of strength and development will most definitely inform my development plan.”
Anonymous, Area Manager Level

More and more FRS’s are signing up to, or considering implementing, the CPG. Find out how we can support your organisation – get in touch. We are having regular conversations with FRS all over the UK to help make improvements to their promotions and behavioural change processes for operational, support, on-call and control room staff’.