What is imposter syndrome and how can you overcome it?

“We all have doubts in our abilities, about our power and what that power is”

Michelle Obama

Do you ever feel like a fraud? Are you ever overcome with feelings of doubt in respect of your capabilities at work? If so, then you could be one of the thousands of people who experience imposter syndrome.

I have just finished reading Michelle Obama’s book for the second time and this particular subject, whilst it certainly isn’t new, is one that so many overlook and it can be a really confidence knock. It was a part of her book that really resonated with me, many times in my career I have experienced not being taken seriously, that led me to think that there is a problem with how I present myself to others.

Continue reading “What is imposter syndrome and how can you overcome it?”

How can HR put the Human back into Human Resources?

“We are not perfect human beings, nor do we have to pretend to be, but it is necessary for us to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be.”

With the world of work evolving at a rapid speed; the introduction of new technologies, increased emphasis on diversity and inclusion, as well as a more modern approach to leadership to name but a few. They all present new challenges to organisations, but if businesses are turning to new ways of working, then how can we make better use of our people?

Many HR departments and professionals are debating this very subject. When I first started in HR, my first role was as an HR Administrator, creating contracts of employment and printing off employee handbooks. One of my concerns with increased automation is the lack of entry level HR roles that may be available in the future, how can we attract people into our profession when the roles simply don’t exist? Could HR possibly be facing its own skills shortage in the future?

Continue reading “How can HR put the Human back into Human Resources?”

From Travel Agent to HR Consultant; my career journey so far

When I meet people that have either read the blog or seen me speak at an event, one of the first questions I get asked is how I managed to get from being a Travel Agent to an HR Consultant.

The reason I was inspired to write this post is because at this time of year, many people think, new year, new career, and I thought this may help some people if they were considering this particular situation.

The shameless selfie above was taken just before Christmas outside of the Maidenhead branch of TUI (formerly Thomson Holidays, and yes I did get some strange looks!) this is where I had my first proper job interview at the age of 18 when it was known as Lunn Poly (that may take a few of you back!). I was just about to finish my A-Levels in business, Travel and Tourism and I didn’t want to wait until my exam results, I wanted to get into work as soon as possible, so the day after my exams finished, I was working and sending people all over the world on their dream holidays.

Continue reading “From Travel Agent to HR Consultant; my career journey so far”

Time to write my own chapter; my first HR book is in progress!

Books

Hello everyone,

I’m back in my writing chair with my tea companion (yes finally!)

I’m looking forward to sharing all of my new blog posts with you (and there’s quite a few!) that I have been working on behind the scenes. I’ve been exposed to varying situations over the past couple of months that has required a high degree of reflection to allow me to bring the situations to life on the blog; so thank you for being patient with me.

As many of you know, I adore books and always have since I was a child; naturally, it has always been an ambition of mine to write my own book but I never thought I would have anything to write about! Then I started my career in HR and my life changed, so what better subject to write about?

Therefore, I thought it would be an appropriate time to share the exciting news that I am in process of writing my first HR book, which really is a dream come true and I cannot wait to share it with you.

This book has taken various experiences that I’ve had to inspire those new to HR, the seasoned professionals, people considering HR as a career or those who have simply hit a career slump and want to bounce back. This book is about the practical realities of the profession to truly bring it to life; the practical pieces that cannot be taught in a classroom.

I started writing the book in March and it has come on a long way since then; I’m hoping it’ll be ready for release at the end of this year/beginning of 2018.

Watch this space and I look forward to releasing my next blog post tomorrow morning!

Best wishes,

Natalie

 

HR & Marketing go together like tea and biscuits! Featuring Rebecca Jeffrey

fiandbecs(157of281)

Have you ever taken a step back from your usual day to day and looked at how your work has a much wider impact than you realise?

I recently did just that after becoming involved in a number of projects that I’ve not experienced before in my career. In the past 18 months, my company has been through a name change and an entire rebrand. Of course, our Marketing team pulled out all the stops to ensure the launch of the brand was a huge success and the achievement is astounding. But if you look at it on a wider scale, it is so much more than a branding exercise alone, it’s working in collaboration that enables the building of a brand.

There are so many findings from projects like this, but who is responsible for the company image overall? The answer is simple – we all are.

For example, my team and I have recently attended a couple of recruitment events which received significant support from our trusted Marketing team. Whilst they did not attend the event themselves, they provided well thought out giveaways, such as branded earphones for our graduate fair, product brochures as well as providing a promotional campaign surrounding the events on our social media channels.

It’s not an isolated situation; there have been so many occasions where I have worked in collaboration with the Marketing team and they, like HR, are often the unsung heroes of the business, but are always willing to support with major business changes.

I undertook a project to design and implement our careers page on the company website, recruitment adverts, corporate social responsibility processes and communications to employees ranging from the company newsletter through to important announcements, again this was all alongside Marketing.

When a business is running smoothly, it’s not just that processes are operating like clockwork; it’s often due to the collaboration between departments who are all aligned to the same common goal. When you read that back, it sounds like a basic concept, but it’s often these foundations that so many businesses fail to put in place.

Recently, I have been fortunate to have connected with some lovely people, so I sought advice from fellow tea lover Rebecca Jeffrey, co-founder of Fi and Becs Design and Marketing. I was so excited by our conversation that I invited her to feature on my blog. I wanted to share her thoughts on why she believes HR and Marketing have such a strong connection and how both can work collaboratively.

Q: You have such a passion for what you do, what made you choose Marketing as a profession?

A: I randomly fell into HR after working for events company Michael Whisher who supplied temporary staff for events such as Wimbledon. I used to go along to events to recruit temporary staff such as students who were looking for work. I worked as a HR admin for about a year and then moved into internal recruitment, I liked it but didn’t like it loads so I thought maybe I should do marketing. I enjoyed writing job descriptions and adverts so much I took a secondment into a marketing role before moving into a Graduate Marketing role.

Q: There are so many crossover areas between HR and Marketing; how do you think both departments can work together to increase brand awareness?

A: Marketing crosses over into HR in so many ways; like with internal communications “where should internal communications sit?” my answer is that it should be in both, they should both be included in each other’s team meetings. I believe there’s a massive crossover between the two; especially in content Marketing. There needs to be consistency with all communications, job descriptions especially need to be written really well, for example with graduate recruitment, it’s so competitive and you have to stand out for the right reasons.

Q: What’s the key to attracting the best talent through a recruitment advert?

A: I recently worked on a project for a major retailer who didn’t have the best recruitment advertising and were set upon using boring job descriptions, so we made it sound more like a catchy advert to attract candidates, as recruiting is so incredibly competitive.

Q: There will be many HR professionals reading this asking how they can get involved with their Marketing department. What advice would you give them?

A: Go to each other’s meetings, work together by being collaborative you’ll be surprised at how much you can achieve by working together

Q: We loved watching you on The Apprentice, congratulations on how far you got, the challenges did not look easy! What was your favourite part of the experience?

A: They had to film me leaving the boardroom a few times because I was grinning so much, the whole boardroom thing takes about five hours to film but I really enjoyed it.

MAP Student Conference 2017 – T-minus 13 hours… and counting!

Aston University

We’re fast approaching the Midlands Area Partnership student conference at Aston University and the organisers cannot wait to meet, greet and network with everyone attending!

Ok so there is a heck of a lot to get through in just one day so what actually goes on prior to the event? This blog post is to fill in all the details to highlight exactly how much work goes into making these events a success.

First of all there is a lot of organising to do, budgeting, sourcing an appropriate venue, guest speakers to discuss relevant topics, catering (well of course! If you’re giving up a Saturday you need a vast amount of coffee, tea and food to keep those brains engaged!). Then there’s the task of confirming the attendees, any dietary requirements that they may have and any access requests to the venue so that everyone can enjoy the event.

The organisers will be at the venue very early on the morning of the event to conduct final checks and to ensure everything is set up in time for the delegates to arrive, they are of course our guests!

This is just a short burst of what happens behind the scenes, the day itself is much more fast paced, so this year there will be just half an hour to book in all 200 attendees between 9:00-9:30am and waiting to greet you will be Nic, Gill, Max and Janice so make sure this is your first point of contact.

As this event is completely sold out, we don’t want those who were unable to attend missing out so myself, Amy and Priya will be hosting a mini blog squad reunion so pop over and see us as we’ll be gathering the information from our speakers, talking to as many people as possible to gather your thoughts on the event but also you can ask us anything, we’re here to highlight the key topics at the event.

Finally we can then hand over to the speakers, this year we have a welcome address from David D’Souza and an opening keynote from Dr Richard MacKinnon before moving into the breakout sessions which consist of relevant topics in today’s HR world.

One thing I am really looking forward to is the HRD Panel at 14:20pm with Dr Richard MacKinnon, Simon Lewis and Carol Carson so make sure you don’t miss it!

Finally there’s the closing keynote from Tiffany Poeppelman, a really passionate organisational psychologist so this is something I’m particularly excited about attending for so I’ll be quoting from her a lot on Twitter.

In advance of the event, a huge thank you to the CIPD, Midlands Area Partnership, our fantastic speakers, organisers, volunteers, Aston University and personal thanks goes to Eleanor Lloyd-Jones for making this event happen.

I’m off to watch the rugby now and will see you all bright and early tomorrow. Don’t forget to pop over and see me at the Northamptonshire Branch stand after lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

#HRActsofKindness is back!

kindness

In June this year I launched a small idea called “HR Acts of Kindness” after witnessing the impact of the brexit result. The result not only divided opinion but also divided relationships and had a big impact on the way organisations conducted business.

I remember driving home after seeing the impact it had on my work environment and thinking that there must be a way to turn this divide into a positive and to unite people again and that’s when HR Acts of Kindness was born; in the driving seat of my Mini Cooper!

Little did I know the overwhelming response I would receive to those 5 challenges!

Due to the support and people asking me to bring it back; I wanted to re-launch HR Acts of Kindness with a festive twist in hope to keep the kindness going. You don’t have to be in HR, you just need to have a desire to make a difference. Thank you to all of you who have messaged me, told me your stories and encouraged the success of this small idea that escalated rather quickly!

Christmas can be a difficult time of the year for so many people and I’m asking the HR community to help me kick start a kindness movement which will help those who need it most at this time of year.

At the Annual Conference and Exhibition, Peter Cheese spoke of how HR needs to adapt and be relevant to the needs of not only businesses but our communities and by us working collaboratively we can inspire the future of our profession. By launching HR Acts of Kindness, I believe this provides the perfect opportunity for us to make that impact and not to let what we learnt at ACE become a distant memory as we return to our day jobs.

I gave an interview to Ady Howes at DPG during the CIPD ACE 16 event and if you’d like to see it, I have put the You Tube link here: https://youtu.be/cmeotrPzTS8

Unlike the original HR Acts of Kindness, this time around, I am providing a full list of challenges tomorrow morning which will run from now until Christmas and it covers a whole list of different ways we can utilise our skills to support our work environment, employees, families and communities.

What I’d like to do is to get as many people involved and I want to hear your stories, pictures and anything else you’d like to share with me as you undertake one or more of these challenges.

Most of the challenges are free and there’s bound to be something for everyone to get involved with. Get your teams, departments and anyone else you can think of involved, we need as may people as possible to spread the kindness and reach as many people as we can.

As a thank you; when I receive your stories and pictures I have a special gift to send you so make sure you get those success stories in. After all, it’s nice to say thank you for taking part.

Together we can make our communities a better place; one small act of kindness at a time.