First module of my CIPD Level 7 Diploma – Done! #ICSRealStories

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Wowsers what a few weeks it has been! Apologies for the quiet time, but I quickly realised that I am nearly halfway through my CIPD Level 7 Diploma and everything has started to happen at once, both in my personal and professional life. This has lead me to take some tough decisions such as not participating within my local CIPD branch as much as I’d like, I’m also not exercising as much as I’d like or reading as much as I usually do; but I’m keeping in mind how important this is to me and why all the hard will be worth it in the end.

I’m not going to lie, these past few weeks have really tested my ability to juggle everything and I needed to take some time to re-proritise my extensive list so I have set myself a deadline, to complete my Level 7 Diploma by October; that’s one research project and two exams to complete; three modules in total. I can do this!

Continue reading “First module of my CIPD Level 7 Diploma – Done! #ICSRealStories”

Back to my CIPD studies #ICSRealStories

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I am incredibly excited about this blog post as I can now finally reveal that over the next year or so, I am going to be working in partnership with ICS Learn to complete my CIPD Level 7 Diploma in Human Resource Management.

After completing my CIPD Level 7 Certificate with ICS earlier this year; I was delighted to be approached by ICS to top up my qualification to a full Diploma by being a part of their ICS Real Stories.

Continue reading “Back to my CIPD studies #ICSRealStories”

It’s A Level results day! Your career journey starts here…

When we were little, we knew what we wanted to do for a career as we’d proudly stand in front of our classmates at a tender age of 5 and exclaim “I want to be a Policeman” “a vet” “I want to be a nurse” one beamed with pride.

I remember sitting there, I politely passed my turn to another child and went last. The teacher then asked me again “Natalie what do you want to do when you grow up?” I stood at the front and told her that I’d really thought about this question because when you have a job, you’re doing it for a long time. I then said to her that I knew wanted to work at Heathrow Airport for British Airways, just like my dad. She asked, “why British Airways?” I simply said “their people are always smart, they wear buttons on their uniforms when they’re good at work, they’re friendly and they always smile but most of all, I want my mum and dad to be proud of me”.

I sadly never made it in to British Airways in my dream role as cabin crew, but ironically my sister did and whilst my mum and dad are proud of me. I’m equally proud and grateful to them, my passion to perform well in my role is a driver I inherited from my dad.

To cut a long story short, my  point is that not everything in life goes to plan so prepare for the curveballs that now fire your way! whether that is choosing the university for you, getting into the world of work or simply figuring out your next steps, they may not be as you planned or first thought!

You’ve read the books, completed your coursework and faced the exams head on; today is the results day you have been waiting for and I wish you all the very best of luck and no matter what, you’re already a success story waiting to happen.

If your results are not what you hoped for there are a number of things you can do and you may need to adapt your plans slightly but you never know, you might prefer the new plan better!

Regardless of your result, now is an incredible time of opportunity, with an increase in demand for apprenticeships, universities opening their doors to welcome new students and a buoyant employment market, now is the time to get that first foot onto the career ladder.

Good luck and all the very best wishes from me.

 

 

 

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

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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

 

Goodbye April, hello May! It’s time to set shiny new goals, and why it’s important

Goodbye April, hello May! It’s time to set shiny new goals, and why it’s important

Goodbye April, Hello May

“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.” Margaret Thatcher

It’s a fresh month and I have a new outlook on my work life as I approach my final CIPD Level 7 module. I have to say that it has been a long, yet worthwhile journey and I cannot wait to see that certificate of completion.

I am a big advocate of setting new goals each month, it helps me to focus on things that are important; this is so I do not lose sight of where I am going as it can have a negative effect and in turn that can have lasting impacts, it helps me to avoid those “I wish I’d done that sooner!” or “I’ve done all of this work but nothing to show for it” moments. It helps me align my time in the right areas so I feel I am continually aiming for the next step.

Anyone can set themselves goals; you don’t need to be told what your goals are, you just need to have the ambition and drive to aim for them. Goals are applicable to all levels from students, those starting out in their careers, new mothers, directors; anyone can set themselves goals, it’s prevents stagnation in life and keeps things exciting!

So here are my goals for May, nothing fancy, but incredibly important:

  1. Start each day with a fresh mind set: There’s nothing worse than having a bad day at the office and carrying that emotional baggage with you for the remainder of the week, just let it go!
  2. Make 3 Northamptonshire CIPD Mentoring matches this month
  3. Invest more in my health: not just physically but mentally; stop mentally pacing and combat the thought process with a walk in fresh air, it’ll make me more productive
  4. Work smarter, not harder: this is a really simple task such as preparing my blog posts in advance and enabling a more proactive approach
  5. Don’t waste time! If recent events have taught me anything it is, live for the moment, do more things that are spontaneous!
  6. Steps Ahead awareness: I have two visits planned this month in Northamptonshire, let’s hope it helps generate further awareness of the programme

I look forward to sharing my results with you at the end of the month.

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

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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.

What do you see your future role as?

After attending last Saturday’s CIPD MAP Student Conference I have been asking this very question myself. Throughout my career I have been a generalist, there is nothing wrong with this at all and to be honest a specialist route is one that I don’t think would suit me but it’s never something I would rule out, I just like variety.

It’s easy to say I’m going to work at Google and if you end up there is great but for many people the HR career journey has more plot twists than an episode of Coronation Street so yes you may want to work at Google, but the important part is the journey you take to secure your dream job. Consideration should always be given to career flexibility to avoid us becoming complacent and gain varying experience but we should be mindful of not stagnating our careers so it is a very complex balancing act but it can have greater impacts on our confidence if the decisions we make are the wrong ones.

When we are recruiting, if someone has moved roles a few times, they’re open to being negatively labelled as a “job hopper” but by being exposed to the thoughts of HR peers, isn’t it about time businesses adapted positively and accept that this could potentially be a view into the future of work? After speaking with fellow millennials, we often question is it a situation where an employer doesn’t set out the reality of their organisations then they risk quickly disengaging and failing to retain this group? It’s also not a case of simply recruit, see how it turns out and replace; this only starts a constant spiral so both employer and potential employee have a vested interest to set out clear expectations at the start of the relationship to avoid any “empty promises” which could then see a struggle to retain employees for the long term. In addition to this, it is not only the employee that will be disheartened, there are long terms business risks. If organisations fail to put into place a clearly defined succession plan and engage with modern changes then they simply cannot evolve by utlising millennial talent to develop their business, it has to be a joined up process, a balance between existing values married to modern values to remain competitive and recruit and retain the best talent.

Let’s consider this on a personal level; what happens if you find yourself in a position where you’re not enjoying your role (for whatever reason that may be). You are not going to be performing to the best of your ability and on the other hand your employer will not be seeing the standards of performance that they expect so a succession plan or career path is an essential tool to attract and retain the talent for the organisation. It’s not a case of one size fits all because what works for millennials will not necessarily work for those who have been in the organization for a substantial amount of time. Loyalty to organisations seems to be a rarer vision in today’s faster paced work environments which is a shame as it has worked successfully for various such as manufacturing; product knowledge, process and practicality go hand in hand, one simply cannot work without the other so industries like this are starting to see skills gaps emerging at an alarming rate which will require the knowledge and skill set to pass on to future generations.

So how does this all impact your decision making when it comes to you setting your career path? When considering your next move it is important to consider these things:

  1. What kind of HR professional do you see yourself as? Don’t jump on the trend bandwagon, find the path that is right for you and research the books out of it, ensure it’s right for you before you go for it, don’t just settle!
  2. When applying for jobs, research the organisation you are going into, look into their annual reports, google them to see how they are perceived as an employer, what they do to engage their employees etc. Find the answers to the questions that matter the most to you
  3. Trust your gut instinct – does the decision you are making feel right for you? I remember turning down a really amazing job opportunity at a highly sought after employer but every fiber in me said “don’t do it” and it turns out that I was right to call the decision I did, no regrets
  4. The age old question; where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Make sure you set out that plan to manage employers expectations and also your own to avoid disappointment, we are our own harshest critics and whilst the path to a good career isn’t always rosey, so make sure you are prepared for the occasional hiccups, learn from it, don’t tarnish yourself with negativity
  5. Review your own performance regularly, are you meeting your own expectations, are you on track to where you want to be, are there any development points to help you along the way?

Regardless of if your future lays with your current employer or a future employer, all I know is that the career journey is what you make it so don’t settle, enjoy the plot twists and remember to make the best of it.