Case Studies

October 2018 : expand managerial competencies depth, ensuring a strong long-term efficiency


Our Investment Services client, who wishes to remain anonymous (here after named “InvestCo”), has recently opened offices in Switzerland close to Geneva.

InvestCo opened in 2015 with 30 employees and rapidly expanded over the course of the first year to reach 60. This rapid growth, while bringing success, brought its challenges: make individual contributors people managers and future leaders of InvestCo!

Beside enhancing managerial competencies and readiness for promotion, our client wanted to focus on the development of team efficiency.

A core group of 14 individual were identified as talents – the future of the company’s leadership.

Consequently, the company’s CEO reached out to AK+Partners to propose a collaboration.

A two-year academy was designed for the 14 talents, focusing on leadership, team efficiency, skills enhancement. Working with the individual and the group, with different partners and experts, the talents had the chance to participates in various trainings, team building activities, mentoring and executive coaching programs and had the opportunity to build a personal and professional project.


InvestCo needed to expand managerial competencies depth, ensure strong team efficiency, and focus on the strategic objectives. The objectives:

–   Build the future leadership team and retain talents

–   Manage the company’s growth with efficient teams

–   Adapt to market evolutions with on-going knowledge transfer/training


In collaboration with InvestCo’s CEO and HRD, AK+Partners has developed a uniquely tailored two year program to help the company’s talent pool improve and develop skills that will lead them to be more prepared for promotion and enhance their managerial competencies. The program covers leadership abilities as well as self-leadership skills and team development.

This project includes many workshops: Emotional Intelligence, Intuition, Empathy, Situational Leadership, Delegation, Communication & Coaching among others.

To bring the best expertise and ensure diversity in the delivery, two external partners were invited to contribute to the program.

Multiple resources have been given to the talents. Among them, mentors (Management team members) trained for two days by AK+Partners and a professional external coach. In addition, talents were paired with another colleague to be “partners” throughout this program.

Predictive Index® Behavioral and Cognitive Assessments, 360Feedback and Talent review assessments were done periodically to boost self-awareness and the understanding of others.


Half way into the program, both results and feedback are positive and seem to already benefit the talents and InvestCo. Continued business growth, engaged talents and enhanced management practice are some proofs of the benefits of the program. Feedback given by talents and management team reported that the team has built a strong bond and friendly relationships, reinforcing cohesion, collaboration and synergy, which is beneficial for the work atmosphere in the offices and the business.

Based on this first success at InvestCo, AK+Partners was asked to develop a strategy program for the members of Management Team, and all diagnostic solutions (PI® and CATIL®) were retained for on-going use at InvestCo allowing better recruitment, individual development and team development.

September 2018:  Talent Review

A world-class development program to boost sales performance. And sustain it.


One of our prestigious clients, a Luxury Jewelry Retailer, needed to enhance the capabilities of its workforce in order to accelerate sales. A bespoke development program was designed and deployed across markets globally to identify employees’ potential and their capabilities, and target sales growth through people.

The objective behind the partnership between Luxury Jewelry Retailer and AK+Partners was to secure a high performing retail talent pool – for the present and into the future – through the Program. A central pillar of the Program was to determine employees’ readiness to step-up to more senior positions and identify development areas to stay competitive in the ever-evolving luxury retail market.

Close to 800 employees across 3 continents have taken part of the Program between 2016 and year-to-date 2018.


In collaboration with the Luxury Jewelry Retailer, AK+Partners designed the Program, which involved three key phases. First, there was a need to create a benchmark of the “ideal employee” for each position (or what success looks like in the position) which determined a set of must have competencies. Key stakeholders at the Luxury Jewelry Retailer contributed to the internal benchmark and AK+Partners provided external benchmarks based on their expertise and long-standing experience in the retail industry. Second, validated diagnostic tools – the Predictive Index Cognitive and Behavioral assessments, and CATIL® Talent Pooling survey – were used to assess each employee’s readiness and career potential, as well as their strengths and weaknesses to drive continuous improvement. Finally, the Luxury Jewelry Retailer’s human resources departments were trained and certified to use the selected appraisal tools so as to permit a powerful debriefing with each employee, and ensure a structured, highly objective and successful recruitment process for new hires. Individual development plans were designed to help employees understand how and in which areas to improve with linkage to the Luxury Jewelry Retailer’s mission to boost sales performance.


The Program helped determine the readiness of 586 employees or almost three quarters of the assessed population who were ready to assume higher ranking positions. For the remaining employees not yet promotion-ready, it defined the areas that required improvement to eventually drive their professional development forward.

Management feedback is very positive. People are their business. One executive remarked “It brings objectivity and measures in talent potential assessment, and supports targeted development investment”.

Concluding Remarks

Building on the Program’s success, AK+Partners recommended the Luxury Jewelry Retailer to standardize and professionalize the recruitment process using the PI® and CATIL® suite of solutions on a Company-wide basis. The objective is to provide human resources across the Company with the right tools for selection and on-boarding of higher caliber talent.

Specific training programs were deployed to the identified talents focusing on areas which support performance in the job and shape future store managers.

Following an initial pilot in four markets, the Luxury Jewelry Retailer decided to open up the Program to 10 other markets in 2017 and 2018, and promote it as part of their annual Talent Review. The Program is ongoing and is being deployed across the world as a standard process for talent identification and development and extended to other job function and level.

August 2017: Deciding between Tom, Jane or Harry

Three relatively equal employees – which is best suited for the open management position?


One of our client who wishes to remain anonymous, (thereafter referred as “Premier European sports association”) needed stepped-up professionalism and structure to evaluate the career development readiness of employees working at three management levels (Manager, Senior Manager and Heads Of).

  • Ensuring objectivity and fairness during the evaluation of candidates’ readiness to assume a more senior role was paramount.
  • Speed and replicability of the assessment process was equally important for Premier European sports association.


  • Affentranger Kveton + Partners (“AK+P”) designed a bespoke Development Centre (“DC”) for the standardized evaluation of candidates’ behaviors based on multiple tests and exercises. This introduced a rigorous, yet level ‘level playing field’, with objective criteria to measure and rank each candidate’s promotability.


  • Identified candidates with the highest potential and performance. Results were plotted in a readiness potential grid for Premier European sports association decision-making on promotions.
  • Competency scales created for each management level allowed for the differentiation of candidates’ readiness with supportive evidence for “promote – not promote” decisions and future career development.
  • Several surprises in the confirmation of promotability versus prior held perceptions of candidates’ potential, proved to be a testimonial to the strength of a well-orchestrated DC and Premier European sports association’s ultimate buy-in to it.

Read more…

July 2014: Insight Direct UK – Supporting business change with best in class Talent Acquisition

“With PI® and CATIL® we have a system which provides us with a candidate’s behavioral profile, along with a tool that in a few clicks gives us a set of questions to probe whether the candidate can walk the talk.”

Michelle Tomlinson, Learning and Development Coordinator


  • During a period of rapid business transition, hiring mangers needed a set of tools to support their hiring decisions when faced with bringing on a group of candidates with a differing skill set than those previously employed by the company
  • Introduce consistency across all people processes at Insight EMEA
  • Save interview preparation times during phases of high volume recruitment


  • Insight used CATIL e-Guide with PI fit-gap analysis to profile the behavioral traits of their star performers, and then use a set of the system’s competency based interview questions to validate candidates during the interview process


  • Insight now spend on average 30+ minutes less preparing for interviews
  • The company now has a benchmark of behavioral profiles and competency based questions to test all candidates against, ensuring consistency, fairness and accurate in all high profile hiring processes

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June 2014: Nestlé Switzerland – Using PI® and CATIL® to enhance Talent Assessment Centre processes

“Our managers really like the systems we’ve put in place. Their hiring decisions are enhanced with more objectivity and insight and generate meaningful discussions – not only with our future talent at our assessment centres, but internally too.”

Recruitment Partner


  • Attract, hire and retain Auditors with the right personality and behavioral competencies
  • Provide line managers with enough candidate information to ensure effective assessment centres and positive candidate experiences


  • Recruitment team provides managers with a structured process incorporating the use of PI and CATIL’s PI PRO fit-gap analysis system to facilitate objective, value adding interviews to benchmark and assess high volumes of candidates


  • Time gain during assessment centres by getting into meaningful conversations quicker, asking probing questions that give them all the proof they need to overcome subjectivity
  • Candidates feel that their interviewers really care, building the company’s reputation as an employer of choice

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October 2013:  FMCG, Luxury Retail – Identifying internal leadership potential to drive business growth

“The CATIL® interview e-Guide with the PI® PRO fit gap analysis was very informative and added value to the whole leadership assessment process. It allowed a more structured conversation at interview and highlighted areas of development needed for the associates to reach leadership potential.”

VP Human Resources


  • Identify and develop leadership potential in existing sales workforce during a period of rapid global expansion
  • Professionalize the talent assessment process, bringing consistency and objectivity for managers who have little face time with the ships’ crews
  • Save time, resources and money, ensuring a world class and fair approach to selection


  • Use a set of validated behavioural assessments to measure employees’ natural leadership behaviours and motivating drives, before conducting targeted competency based interviews to probe any identified leadership gaps (CATIL’s PI® PRO fit gap tool)
  • Further profile candidates’ learning ability using a cognitive ability test (PLI); high scores generally giving a good indication of leadership potential


  • The client quickly and accurately identified employees as hi-potential candidates for a given job, and designed targeted individual development plans to build required leadership skills of promoted employees

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