Call of the Wild is a corporate training company based in the Brecon Beacons. Since it was established in 1998, it has grown significantly and now employs more than 30 people running a range of courses from leadership development and team building to first aid.
“Managing the talent pipeline is an issue for us,” says Mark Soanes, a director at Call of the Wild. “We employ people of all ages, and currently have two employees in their 70s. Each employee brings different skills and experience, so we are as flexible as possible to ensure we can retain and develop this talent.”
As an example, one of these septuagenarian employees has moved from full-time hours to working Friday to Sunday. “We run residential courses seven days a week so this works well for us but also allows him to spend time in the week with his grandchildren,” says Soanes. “We offer this flexibility to younger employees too, especially around maternity and paternity leave.”
As well as adjusting hours, job roles can also shift to ensure that skills are retained within the organisation. “We have a range of roles, from the very physical, taking the active, experiential programmes, through to more office-based admin and sales positions,” he explains. “We don’t like to pigeon-hole people, so many will multi-task or adjust what they do to suit their requirements. One employee, Mike, came to us in his late 50s as an instructor and minibus driver. Fifteen years on, he’s much more involved with coordinating the weekend courses.”
Retaining these more experienced employees also benefits talent development further down the pipeline. “They’ll often take on mentoring roles, passing on their skills to less experienced employees,” adds Soanes. “This helps them develop and grow within the company.”