Learning & Development Business Partner

About Gowling WLG

We have more than 1,400 legal professionals working around the world. Our offices span across 19 cities in Canada, the UK, Continental Europe, Asia and the Middle East. There's strength in our global presence – we embrace our differing cultures and work together as one team. We also understand the importance of investing in relationships that build knowledge and trust, while we provide legal advice that's tailored to our clients' world.

'Our people and distinct culture are what makes us different. We know this through client and employee feedback and this drives everything we do'' Chris Oglethorpe, HR Director.

There are great opportunities for all our people to flourish. Through training and personal development they can grow in their role. Our people are the cornerstone of our success, across legal, business support and early talent. We care about their happiness and believe in the power of teamwork. We want them to feel empowered and recognise that by supporting, respecting and embracing everyone's different contributions we achieve more.

Working flexibly, working fairly

Agile working offers people more freedom and flexibility in where, when, and how they work. As technology advances and our workforce becomes more diverse – and with clients often working to a 24/7 rhythm – having extra flexibility is key to helping us balance work and other commitments sensibly and productively.

By supporting people to choose where and when they get their work done, we help them to make a full and fair contribution to their team – while maintaining that all important work-life balance.

Where possible and depending on business needs, we will consider all flexible working options such as part-time working, job sharing, working from home and staggered hours. If in considering a role with Gowling WLG you favour flexibility in your working arrangements, please discuss this with the recruitment team in the early stages of the application process.

Main Purpose of the Job

The L&D team provide practice management and business skills development, including personal and management development programmes. These are available to partners, associates and business services staff internationally. Programmes are designed and delivered based on acknowledged best practice and the latest thinking in management, leadership, business development and personal effectiveness as well as blending knowledge and understanding of the firm’s culture, values and procedures to provide training that is relevant to the work undertaken in the firm.

The team also provides open courses, coaching and customised sessions to individuals, teams and groups. A variety of teaching and learning methods including presentations, case studies, role plays and video and forum theatre are used to ensure that peoples’ different learning styles are catered for. We also provide training to the clients of the firm.

The purpose of this role is to work in conjunction with Head of L&D, other members of the L&D team and HRBPs to ensure that the firm's strategic objectives, values and business plans are supported through these learning and development initiatives, you will be key to delivering a positive step change in the re-imagination of how learning interventions are delivered within the firm.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Forge excellent, consultative relationships with key stakeholders in the legal groups so that their talent development challenges and needs are fully understood, and deliver timely bespoke learning and development solutions in response;
  • In consultation with HRBPs and appropriate stakeholders and using the firm's competency framework and performance review process, carry out training and development needs analysis to design and propose talent enhancing solutions;
  • Working in tandem with the HRBP's, capture development needs coming out of the talent management data and succession planning tracker to inform the L&D strategy and the wider strategic vision and prioritises of the firm;
  • Design and facilitate practice group/team events learning initiatives to support team away days/AGM's;  
  • Participate fully in developing and implementing L&D approaches that will enhance the skills of our people across the full spectrum of partners, associates and business services staff internationally;
  • Undertake needs analyses, produce project plans, conduct associated research and deliver on improvement projects for teams/departments as required, supporting talent management, succession planning and other employee life cycle processes as necessary;
  • Monitor/revise the Learning Curriculum as required to ensure that it remains relevant and current;
  • Take ownership of the programme management of core development programmes as required, and manage delivery, measurement (evaluation) and follow-up with internal stakeholders and the wider HR team;
  • Identify, select and manage external training and accreditation bodies, agencies and providers necessary to deliver required training to appropriate standards;
  • Participate fully in the activities of the Learning and Development team and the wider HR team and work closely with other business services teams (including across International offices) as required;
  • Monitor and report on activities, costs, performance, etc. on a regular basis and specifically when required by budgeting and business planning processes;
  • Develop self, and maintain knowledge of relevant areas of work on an ongoing basis;
  • Undertake any other reasonable duties as requested

Key skills and experience

  • An experienced L&D practitioner, ideally with a strong grasp of professional services and potentially the legal sector, ideally alongside wider sector expertise;
  • A track record of delivering high impact L&D initiatives which represent value for money and enhance organisational capability;
  • Ideally has a coaching accreditation, but if not, can deploy coaching skills confidently to develop talent and motivate strong team performance
  • Client focused and commercial - understands needs of learners and how to make ideas practical, relevant and value for money;
  • Is engaging, articulate, facilitative, sensitive and structured and manages stakeholder relationships effectively;
  • Has the confidence to deliver skills based bespoke training if required or to facilitate team based activity for internal stakeholders- sometimes in conjunction with external training suppliers, sometimes alone.
  • Outwardly and inwardly confident. Self-aware and willing to learn. Appropriately assertive in giving and accepting feedback;
  • Goal orientated with project and programme management experience – can scope, plan, implement and deliver effectively;
  • Able to assimilate information quickly to understand the organisational environment and culture and then navigate successfully within it;
  • Creative and innovative - able to look at problems from different angles;
  • Solution-orientated, persistent and determined;
  • Collaborative - works effectively with and through people;
  • Commercially aware - understands the economic environment and market trends;
  • Willingness to travel within UK and occasionally internationally. 

Equal Opportunities

Gowling WLG is committed both to promoting equality and diversity in the firm and to Equal Opportunities in employment.  The firm believes in equality of opportunity regardless of race or racial group (including colour, nationality, ethnicity, national origins), religion or belief, age, disability, sexual orientation, sex, gender re-assignment and gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy, maternity and paternity.  This also includes any incidents of perceptive or associative discrimination and harassment.

At Gowling WLG we seek to attract and retain talented people from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures, to create an exciting and rewarding place to work.  Our aim is to fulfil everyone's potential and together to achieve personal and business goals.


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