LBS and Circle Health scoop award for management training



Liverpool Business School and Circle Health Group have jointly won a prestigious international leadership award for their bespoke development programme.

LBS, which specialises in leadership development, collaborated in a partnership with Circle, the largest private provider of hospital services in the UK.

Together they took the Gold Award at the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) for the Circle Senior Leaders ‘Towards Outstanding’ programme which positively impacted retention, motivation and the organisation’s learning culture.

EFMD announced its 2023 Excellence in Practice (EiP) Awards this week and will present the Gold and Silver awards at a ceremony on 4-6 October in Switzerland. EFMD are one of the major global accreditation bodies for business schools.  

Both organisations said they were thrilled to be recognised alongside other gold award international business schools and organisations such as Lego, Worldline (global payments) and ATOS.

Jan Ginneberge, Senior Advisor at EFMD said: "The jury was impressed by this impactful and holistic programme that embraces challenges, drives improvements, measures impact effectively, and prioritizes the people aspect of change, fostering a coaching culture.

Dr Anthony Sturgess, Director of Liverpool Business School’s Leadership and Organisational Development Centre, said: “We are really thrilled. This is quite an achievement to be amongst world leading business schools in corporate education and leadership development.

“Working with Circle was and remains a privilege and we are proud of the focus of our team on capturing the impact for leaders.”

Circle’s Director of Learning and the Circle Academy, Jenny McKnight praised Liverpool Business School’s “unswerving commitment to relevance, not only to Circle’s business needs, but to participants’ emotional, professional, and technical needs.”

"This is quite an achievement to be amongst world leading business schools in corporate education and leadership development" - Dr Anthony Sturgess, LBS

Liverpool Business School was invited to support Circle, at the height of the pandemic when the private sector was working in partnership with the NHS to deliver treatment to thousands of patients.

“There was significant pressure on leaders across the healthcare sector and Circle wanted to ensure that its people were supported. Training and retaining talent was pivotal to the organisation’s success,” added Dr Sturgess.

Towards Outstanding, named to reflect Circle’s aspiration to be universally recognised as ‘Outstanding’ by its regulators including the UK Care Quality Commission (CQC), was the result of close collaboration between Liverpool Business School and Circle’s Board and Learning and Development Team.  

Liverpool Business School quickly established a cohesive relationship with Circle’s L&D leadership and created a programme for 250 leaders using a blended learning approach, which created a “learning culture for everyone”.

Improvements can be seen across the Circle Health Group:

  • Reduced staff turnover by 2.6%
  • Vacancies fallen from 14% of the workforce to just 8%
  • Improved retention rates of 85% (2019: 81%)
  • 125 senior leaders become coaches to other staff

Participants’ skills increased as well as leadership connections, and had a dynamic impact on leaders, teams and the organisation, driving new initiatives and helping to cascade learning. The programme also resulted in large-scale upskilling at Circle.

David Cooper, Chief People Officer at Circle Health Group said: “Our philosophy is built on a commitment to our people and empowering them to make a difference in their work.  Learning and development is key to making that commitment a reality. Towards Outstanding is an example of what is possible when you invest in your leaders.”

Dr Tim Nichol Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law said: "This is a significant tribute to the joint working commitment of both of our teams and the dedication shown to measuring and delivering impact for this important group of leaders at the highest level in Circle.”

In 2022, Circle Health Group was independently voted and named UK Private Hospital Group of the Year and one of the Top 25 Best Big Companies to Work For.


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