Specialist Topics


Areas which may be of interest to you in which we have an established reputation as a leading provider of training and development solutions include:
  • appraisal, performance management and objective setting
  • change management
  • competence-based development
  • customer service - internal and external
  • induction
  • leadership and teamwork
  • management development
  • open, distance and blended learning

Appraisal, Performance Management and Objective Setting

Are you getting the best from your appraisal and performance management systems? If you don't think you are, then let us help you to improve on your existing systems.

We have designed, developed and helped implement appraisal and performance management systems for a wide range of both public and private sector organisations:

  • consulting with users to define system requirements
  • designing the overall process and all relevant documentation
  • training both managers and jobholders in the effective use of their system
  • producing guidance notes to support the system's proper implementation
  • providing ongoing support and consultancy, as required.

Our work in this area has included designing and implementing a new performance management system for use with 600,000 staff in the UK Civil Service.

Our approach generally is to ensure that communication about performance is ongoing throughout the performance year, rather than a once-yearly event happening only at appraisal time. Our systems aim to provide:

  • clear performance objectives linked to overall organisation objectives
  • clear, objective criteria against which to measure performance
  • frequent opportunities to review and discuss performance
  • the maximum potential for performance improvement and development.

We also have experience of 360° feedback systems and their design and implementation.

Further Information ....

If you would like more specific information about our experience in this area, please contact us by 'phone, fax, post or e-mail as you prefer.

Change Management

Content to come

Competence-based Development

We are skilled and experienced in the use of competence frameworks to develop both managerial and non-managerial staff. Our work in this area has included:

  • developing organization wide competence frameworks
  • identifying and defining the core competences required
  • linking competences to individual job requirements
  • designing training programmes to develop ability in key areas of required competence
  • linking key competences to performance agreements and development plans.

Further Information ....

If you would like to know how we can help you in this area, or you would like more specific examples of competence-related work carried out by DBA, please contact us by 'phone, fax, post or e-mail as you prefer.

Customer Service

Diane Bailey (Principal of DBA) is well known as a leading expert on customer service and related issues. She has written widely on this subject, and is a regular contributor of articles on customer service to key training publications.

DBA's overall work in the area of customer service includes:

  • planning and implementing culture change
  • customer service training for front line, administrative and managerial staff
  • reviewing and revising customer service policy and practice
  • designing customer service training resources and materials
  • carrying out organisation-wide analyses of customer service training needs
  • tailored programmes designed to improve internal customer service and internal consultancy skills.

Further Information ....

If you would like to discuss how we can help you in this area, or you would like to read some of the articles which we have published about customer service, please contact us by 'phone, fax, post or e-mail as you prefer.


First impressions count. The effectiveness or otherwise of induction training will greatly influence the impression which new entrants form of an organisation from day one in their new job. Good induction training will also enable new entrants to make the right impression on their new colleagues and managers, as they are quickly able to learn the information and skills which their new job requires of them.

The logistics of delivering induction training on an individual basis to each new entrant as they start their job can be both complicated and costly. Our approach has been to focus on self-study methods, or at least on the integration with other line manager and HR supported inputs. This allows for flexibility in how and when new entrants learn what they need to know about their new employer and their new job.

Our induction packages use a wide range of media including e-learning, intranet material, video, reading and written exercises, computer-driven self-study modules, guides and checklists for line managers and HR professionals who need to support induction.
We have developed client specific Induction packages for a wide range of diverse organizations, including:

  • large Government Department
  • various small Government Departments
  • a major Department Store Group
  • a major, national, food manufacturing organization

We have also worked closely with several organizations tutoring and coaching their own staff, one-to-one, on the development of their own learner-driven/open learning Induction packages and have advised on and edited several internally produced induction programmes.

Further Information ....

Good Induction makes sense in both human and financial terms. An effective Induction programme:

  • builds confidence and competence
  • confirms the wisdom of the new joiner's decision to work at the organization
  • enables/empowers the new joiner to effective performance at an early point in their employment
  • maximises the return on investment in recruitment
  • prevents the early leaving of new joiners
  • are much better at introducing values, standards and norms than the grapevine or 'Nellie'
  • assure the new joiner they are valued and welcomed.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you in this area, or you would like to know more about our views on Induction, please contact us by 'phone, fax, post or e-mail as you prefer.

See also Diane Bailey's articles on Induction on this web site:

Induction Training
Effective Induction

Leadership and Teamwork

Many of the changes to structure, grading, levels of supervision and management which have happened over the last decade or so have dramatically changed the nature of 'managing'. Rank or title alone is no longer enough to ensure compliance or co-operation from staff.

Other changes to working life such as a growth in project working, multi-discipline teams and flatter organizations also make differing demands on those responsible for managing performance and achieving results through other people. As well as being managers, concerned with output, achievement of targets and results, those managing others now need to be leaders. This means they need to be concerned with the human dimension and as adept at persuading people to follow a vision and achieve against constantly escalating demands as they are with the technicalities of the work and achievement of the task.

The old saying goes "You can be appointed a manager, but only become a leader when someone is prepared to follow you". Developing leadership qualities and abilities in manages at all levels is one of today's great challenges. We have worked extensively on the design and implementation of leadership development for a range of organizations encompassing the Aerospace Industry, Government Departments and a National Cell 'Phone Retailer. DBA also contributed seven tutors to the massive Leadership for Change programme implemented by the Department for Work and Pensions during 2002 - 2003.

Further Information...

If you would like further information on our work in this area, please contact us by 'phone, fax, post or e-mail or via this web site as you prefer.

Management Development

As interest in performance improvement increases, so the need for highly developed management skills increases also. At the same time, it is often difficult to win support for management development programmes from experienced and often very senior managers. If you want a management development which will secure your managers' commitment to developing their skills, DBA may be able to help you with this.

We are skilled and experienced in designing and delivering learner-centred management development programmes which are:

  • grounded in the reality of the client organization
  • comprehensive in their coverage of the skills and knowledge needed by managers
  • able to accommodate a wide range of differing management development needs
  • responsive to the many pressures and demands on managers' time
  • proven in their ability to produce all-round management improvements.

Further Information ....

Some time ago we co-authored an article describing how our approach to management development was implemented in an organisation-wide management development programme within a UK Civil Service department. If you would like to read this article, or would like more specific information about our work in the field of management development, please contact us by 'phone, fax, post or e-mail as you prefer.

Client Specific Open Learning Materials

Packages produced for clients have incorporated text-based material, audio, video, interactive video and CD Rom formats. Training needs addressed include:

  • the introduction of a revised Appraisal system to 600,000 Civil Servants
  • a series of workbooks and cassettes on Wine Produce Knowledge for a national Off Licence Company
  • shrinkage and leakage control and management for two very different, but national, retail organizations
  • a major seven part series on the Gas Network Code to aid the introduction of competition into the Gas Industry
  • a range of learner driven or self-study based Induction packages for organizations in both the public and the private sectors
  • a range of papers for the development of managers called Better Business and developed in conjunction with our local Business Link.

Training Others to Develop Learning Materials

For some years we have, in addition to developing Open Learning material ourselves, worked with various organizations to train their staff to develop Open Learning materials for a range of identified training needs. We have facilitated, by this approach, a range of in-house packages covering Induction, Stress Management, Technical and Legal information and a range of Product Knowledge.

In particular Diane Bailey has worked recently with RAF Cosford to train tutors there to convert 'classroom' training to Open/Distance Learning format. During the period 2000 - 2002 DBA worked closely with HM Customs and Excise as the department moved a substantial part of its training provision to open and distance learning. We contributed to the original feasibility study, trained HMCE staff to design and develop distance learning materials and wrote/edited several packages on technical subjects and general areas including stress management and induction.

Further Information...

If you would like to know more about this aspect of our work, please contact us by post, 'phone, fax or e-mail. You may also be interested in the articles on Self-Study and Open Learning which are included in this web site.