I joined Ampersand in July 2017 after completing my Masters in Business Psychology at Alliance Manchester Business School. After a year of studying, theorising, and researching, I couldn’t wait to put my degree into practice. While my MSc enabled me to update Ampersand’s recruitment process and how to manage change, there were still a few areas in which I wanted to increase my knowledge. This led me to investigate the courses available through the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), one of the most recognised professional bodies in the HR field. Thanks to the support of Ampersand I am now a proud member of this institution.
Ampersand runs a 70/20/10 Training and Development Policy: 70% of the training is On The Job through bespoke training developed by our team, paired programming, and learning on the job; 20% of the training is Driven By You such as attending conferences of interest, an online subscription to further learning, or signing off time for a webinar; and 10% of the training is Supported By Us and may need a bit more financial support from Ampersand and time out of the office. My CIPD training request fell into the 10% portion of our policy. Although I was the one to apply for the course, Brett (our Managing Director) and Sarah (our HR Director) both encouraged me, as they knew it would enhance my career and ultimately add value to the business.
Request granted, in September 2018, I started a 10 month programme to achieve my CIPD Level 5 qualification. My goals were to meet other HR professionals, elevate my credibility, and increase my confidence in my knowledge and skills. Following a comprehensive and thorough programme of learning, workshops and assignments, my abilities as an HR professional have improved dramatically, particularly in relation to my confidence but also in my role modelling and influencing skills.
A model that still resonates with me is Ulrich and Beatty’s (2005) “HR Players” model.
The CIPD programme taught me how to be the best leader, conscience, facilitator, builder, architect, and coach to progress business objectives and enhance team performance. There are days where I feel like I’m not making fast enough progress or my impact is not big enough, but if I can categorise my efforts into one of these “HR hats,” I know I’m on the right path. On most days, however, I am able to see real and tangible improvements in my day-to-day activities at Ampersand due to my qualification. I’ve implemented a 12-month People Plan full of initiatives, driven out of what I learned during my CIPD course. Examples include our quarterly wellbeing initiatives for emotional, physical, community, and financial wellbeing and a new 1-2-1 structure including HR 1-2-1’s, which I have with each member of the team. I’ve also updated our Flexible Working Policy to improve transparency and allow for more versatility to support work-life balance. Since I’ve completed the course, we’ve also implemented 360-degree feedback for the senior management team, progression matrices, and a new goal-setting platform to support line managers and their teams to create positive working relationships.
When I look back now, I really feel like I have achieved all my goals: I have elevated my credibility, met amazing HR professionals, and most importantly, increased my confidence. In fact I have never felt so confident about conquering any HR task, and that’s thanks to my CIPD Level 5 training.
I’m incredibly grateful for the support I received from Ampersand. Working for an organisation who invests in their people has enabled me to become a more efficient and effective HR professional. Even though the course has ended, my journey as an HR professional has only just started and it just goes to show, when you invest in your people, they will in turn become more invested, better qualified, and a greater asset to your company.