Driving performance and engagement A strategic development programme with NFU Mutual

What the client wanted

Impromptu has been working in close partnership with leading consultancy Lane4 to deliver a strategically focused development programme for insurance company, NFU Mutual. NFU Mutual started out providing insurance solely to the farming population. In 2014, having grown and expanded into new areas, and with more than 300 branches nationwide, targeting rural communities, they wanted to ensure their year on year growth continued whilst staying very close to their historical values.

In order to drive performance and engage staff in all areas of the organisation NFU Mutual knew they had to tightly align the whole business behind their strategy. Lane4, in partnership with NFU Mutual, designed a development programme to deliver these performance aspirations. This consisted of half day with the board and a one day workshop for the 70 Heads of Department followed by 2 day Development Centres for 500 managers across the business, rolling out across a two year time-frame.

The development centres comprise a number of challenging activities designed to stretch and develop participants, included working one-to-one with Impromptu role players, group sessions and individual reflection exercises, feedback from which leads to the production of a robust development plan for each attendee.

What we did

Impromptu’s involvement has been an integral part of these development centres. Participants engage with three diverse, one-to-one performance management related coaching conversations across the two days. Each role play is observed by the participants’ coach and each provides invaluable feedback to help in the building of their development plan.

In order to fulfil the brief, and to be credible in these NFU Mutual specific, in depth, fifty minute long role plays, Impromptu worked alongside Lane4 to really understand the NFU Mutual business context and culture. As the development centres got underway we have maintained this focused collaboration with Lane4 and NFU Mutual in a process of continuous refinement of both process and material.


Feedback on our contribution has been extremely positive; clients and coaches consistently reporting that they have found our team to be authentic, real and insightful. Half way through the roll out, NFU Mutual are reporting a marked impact of the development programme. They have measured and report:

  • Improved completion rates of key performance processes;
  • Improved quality of Personal Development Plans;
  • Improved quality of objective setting;
  • Improved Gallup Q12 (employee) engagement scores both of Level 5 attendees when compared against non-attendees and of the direct reports who report into Level 5 attendees as compared with last year.

Tom Smith, Product Director for Talent Management and Assessment from Lane4 comments on Impromptu’s contribution that, “The benefits to participants of working with Impromptu role players and Lane4 is the richness of the feedback conversations. What we value about our collaboration with Impromptu is how the coaching and feedback skills of their role players complement our coaching during the centre. Importantly, the benefit to the participants and to NFU Mutual is an improvement in the quality of personal development plans and a significant improvement in employee engagement.”