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Case Study

Ramboll invested in a highly successful team development programme that included senior leadership coaching, team engagement and relationship intelligence.

Chris Scarr, UK Head of Business Finance and Global Head of PM Support, reflects on the journey that enabled the team to become more effective and the positive impact this had on performance.


Global architecture, engineering, and consultancy organisation, Ramboll, pioneers’ innovation solutions to tackle the most complex engineering and sustainability challenges across 35 countries.

Their value creation begins with their clients’ and society’s need for sustainable change. The goal is simple, yet hugely powerful – to be passionate about bringing positive change to peoples’ lives and the way that they live.

As part of this vision, Ramboll is dedicated to ensuring its global community of 18,000 employees thrive and are supported to deliver excellence. In the UK, the workforce extends to over 1,400 across 17 regional offices.

At one of these locations in London, the Finance department embarked on an employee development and engagement programme to support each of its teams based on function, role, and area. 

Chris Scarr, Ramboll’s UK Head of Business Finance and Global Head of PM Support engaged the services of The 21st Century Leadership Company (The 21st CLC) to deliver a programme of works over a seven-year period including senior leadership coaching, team engagement and relationship intelligence.

Key Areas of Focus

The catalyst for the employee development and engagement programme was two-fold. Primarily, it formed an integral part of Ramboll’s investment in its people (senior leaders and teams) to support personal development and their ability to deliver excellence. Also, the Finance department experienced a relatively high turnover of staff for specific roles.

The key aims of the programme included:

  • Develop the skills of the senior leadership team

  • Understand the root cause of high staff turnover

  • Identify key areas for improvement

  • Support the team to increase engagement

  • Explore effective ways to communicate with people to develop strong relationships

Chris Scarr said of the investment: “The development of our people is a fundamental part of my role. Working with The 21st CLC has given our department access to specialist and proven support at a leadership and team level. This successful relationship has developed over many years and is still delivering continued value for everyone to the present day. We are always striving to improve and remain committed to addressing any challenges quickly and effectively. Our investment in a combination of leadership coaching, employee engagement initiatives and relationship intelligence has enabled the team to work more closely and effectively. This has undoubtedly had a positive impact on performance too.”



Through senior leadership coaching at various levels across several years, The 21st CLC has supported Ramboll’s commitment to delivering excellence. This includes one-to-one sessions with senior leaders focused on self-awareness, leadership style, communication, relationships, and effective leadership.


An employee engagement programme ran alongside this coaching and involved the wider Finance team. Two proven assessment platforms formed part of this training - namely BP2W (Better Place 2 Work) and Core Strengths SDI (Strength Deployment Inventory) 2.0.

BP2W is a globally recognised online self-managed tool that fosters collaborative working relationships. It includes toolkits, resources, and a wide range of surveys covering a multitude of topics within the work environment.

Meanwhile Core Strengths SDI 2.0 is a relationship intelligence tool used to measure an individual’s core motives, their behaviour in conflict situations, and the potential limitations of their strengths in interpersonal relationships.

“To better understand the cause of our high staff turnover rates in specific finance roles, we used the BP2W surveys to establish the thoughts and needs of our various teams. We also worked with SDI 2.0 to assess individuals’ strengths (with its associated training) to help everyone interact more effectively. The 21st CLC led the programme with the team to provide a clear situation analysis. This proved to be the catalyst for positive change and development across the team.” said Chris Scarr.

Following the initial BP2W engagement survey, the Ramboll Finance team completed further surveys every quarter to monitor progress. One of these centred specifically on wellbeing. It proved to be highly effective in assessing how employees were feeling and operating, working from home. All survey feedback remained anonymous to get an honest assessment of people’s thoughts. This created a safe space for everyone, without the fear of upsetting anyone. 

Programme learning, toolkits and a range of supporting activities were then used to drive the team conversation around challenges and successes.

Chris Scarr went on to say: “Key actions included the introduction of a continuous improvement focus (Plan-Do-Check-Act). This helped the team make incremental improvements to systems and processes that saved a significant amount of time. We encourage the team to come up with good ideas and continue to use this model for the implementation of enhancements across the department.”

Ramboll introduced away days to address some of the key findings from the surveys. On location, teams were split into groups based on their SDI profile (red, green, or blue). Each team were then allocated the same task. Importantly, everyone benefitted from understanding how to engage more effectively with their colleagues and other people. Many of us fall into the trap of expecting people to communicate the way we want them to! The reality is something quite different, when there is a need to develop strong and effective relationships.

“It was fascinating to see how each team with the same motivational value system interpreted the task and how different results were achieved. Focus in this area has really helped to bring the team closer together and work more effectively. The bigger picture is also a significant one. As a result of the employee engagement programme, the department has managed to reduce staff turnover and increase engagement by 12.3%. This has positively impacted on productivity, efficiency, and performance,” Chris Scarr added.



Ramboll’s investment in its people has been richly rewarded with some fantastic results that have extended from the UK to worldwide locations.

Chris Scarr enthused: “We initially started using the coaching, employee training, BP2W and SDI 2.0 to aid our team engagement efforts in the UK. The training was really well received by everyone with no exceptions. It created a common language that the team could use to talk openly about relationship challenges, which would have otherwise been avoided or resulted in unnecessary conflict.

“We then applied SDI 2.0 to business partnering, using the assessment, and resulting insights to unlock business partnering relationships with our Country Market Directors. This formed a key part of our strategy and has enabled our teams’ efforts to be recognised by our key stakeholders. We’re now able to influence our key stakeholders and provide much greater clarity of direction and priorities to the wider team. Due to the success of this approach some of the Market Directors have chosen to utilise SDI 2.0 within their own leadership teams, after seeing the benefits first hand.

“SDI 2.0 reach has now widened even further to the global Business Finance function and the onboarding of a further 60+ people worldwide. It has helped to build more effective relationships across borders and improved team interactions for remote working. This has been supplemented with activities and coaching to assist those in particularly challenging global roles in our matrix organisation. Their ability to manage relationships remotely, across borders and without line management responsibility is a critical challenge for us. The 21st CLC are able to seamlessly combine the learnings from SDI 2.0 with experience of working in such an organisational setup to help individuals find new ways to meet this challenge.

“I would definitely recommend SDI, its associated coaching and support to any organisation. The success of any business is driven by the engagement of its people and their ability to work successfully as a team. SDI 2.0 goes to the heart of this challenge and provides something tangible to work on to improve relationship intelligence and ultimately business performance.”



Senior leadership coaching, employee engagement and relationship intelligence have all combined to assist the development of Ramboll’s UK Finance team. This has seen tangible results including more effective leadership, a reduction in staff turnover and a 12.3% increase in engagement since the programme commenced.

The 21st CLC’s coaching and training techniques were universally embraced by the entire Finance Department. This ensured a high level of engagement throughout the programme that helped the teams to work more productively and effectively, culminating in improved performance.

What started as an engagement programme in the Finance department of Ramboll’s London office, has now been rolled out across the global Business Finance function utilising SDI 2.0.

The successful partnership between Ramboll and The 21st CLC is set to deliver further value around people development and excellence into the future.


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