The HR Scheme
29 Jul 2016
Earlier this month @ClemyPicanza tweeted the Grad Scheme “hi, would you be able to tell me your experience of the HR grad scheme and what you have learnt”.
Sorry for the delay Clemy but there’s just too much to say to respond in a single…or string of Tweets!
I started the Grad scheme in September 2015 and it’s gone really fast, I can’t believe it’s almost a year gone by already. I’ve spent my first placement working at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust who have been brilliant, supportive and opened up many opportunities for me. As a Trust they were rated Outstanding by the CQC earlier this year and have also been received prestigious recognition from the Leadership Academy, winning the NHS Governing Body of the Year Award at the NHS Leadership recognition awards 2016.
During my first month, orientation, I travelled across the Trust, up into beautiful Northumberland, into North Tyneside and across as far as Hexham (although the Trust covers further West than that!). I was privileged to meet inspiring staff and patients, to hear about their experiences and to witness the care provided by our staff. Orientation was a real eye opening time and has stayed with me throughout my placement. I have often been able to explain things to my colleagues through my experiences in that month which they have never had the opportunity to see.
After Orientation I spent time working between recruitment and selection and staff records; I worked on project work associated to the teams as opposed to on their daily workload however by sitting in an open office environment I found I picked up on a lot that happens within the “background” HR teams and again, learned things I have been able to apply later in my placement. Although I worked on several things during my time there, two projects that stand out are working as part of a team to analyse and put in place a change in process for recruitment, aiming to reduce the time to recruit to vacant posts and also working with the Trust Psychologists to analyse data on the recruitment practise we use, Values Based Recruitment, to assess candidate and panel feedback and predicted validity of the recruitment method.
In January I moved to the Operational Community HR Team where I have a “patch” of departments for whom I advise. I monitor absences, performance, registrations and much more. I advise on policy from Health and Wellbeing, Disciplinary and Grievance to Special Leave, Uniform Policy or Dignity at Work. On your average week I’ll be juggling administrative tasks – emails, enquiries, reports etc, with attendance at meetings under the Health at Work Policy, often involving Occupational health to help support staff in their absence and put into place any reasonable adjustments to return to work sooner; I might have an investigation ongoing or I might receive a message reporting something has happened for which a manager requires me to meet an employee with them to undertake a fact finding process and establish the background to a situation before deciding whether to deal with the situation formally under a policy. Often I take notes during Disciplinary Hearings or similar. There are weeks where I spend a lot of time in the office and weeks where I plan to be out for days at a time. One thing for sure is that every week is different and something happens every day to make it interesting.
I have fantastic support within my current team. I meet bi-weekly with my manager to discuss work performance, any cases I want or need to update her on and of course the Grad Scheme competencies. The team in the office are great too, friendly and supportive. If one HR Advisor is struggling with higher than normal caseload, another will pick up meetings at short notice. One things sure – although I prefer to be prepared in attending meetings, there’s nothing like an operational placement to throw you into the unknown at short notice! Personally I love the challenge and am rarely fazed – there’s no shame in saying you’re unsure on something and will get back to someone to clarify a point so I don’t know something, I simply follow up on it as necessary.
Aside from work we also do a number of additional courses, the two with qualifications are the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Programme and Human Resources Management. I have been fortunate to note cross over between the two programmes and find the connections important for understanding why each has an impact on my role; I would really struggle if things were disjoined and disconnected. Although the journey to DMU in Leicester is a nightmare, I do look forwards to HRM courses and the chance to meet with the other HR grads; we have a good group and tend to enjoy socialising in the evening after a day at uni. It was strange returning to academic study after a period of work but I’m happy with the grades I’m achieving and if I can do it, anyone can.
To work on the HR Grad Scheme is inspiring, interesting, exciting, educational, eye opening and rewarding. I have no regrets!
If anyone else has any questions on the HR Grad Scheme tweet them to me @KatieSt150813 and I’ll answer them either through Twitter or my next blog.