Investment in recruitment and training is crucial to future-proofing businesses as they grow. Terri Reeves, employee experience manager for HiB, reflects on the importance of development and training for future generations.
"With the recent effects of COVID-19 driving businesses to alter their approach to recruitment and think more creatively about how to utilise and best support their workforce, many are now focussing on talent management and championing their local communities through training opportunities.
"Learning and development have always been a valuable component in the success of organisations, and are key ingredients in enhancing a positive learning culture where individuals feel valued and effective in their role.
"At HiB, our employee experience is paramount, irrespective of whether an individual has been with the company for 10 years, or has just started their career journey with us. Our ethos is to make a substantial difference to the lives of our people, while building a thriving, collaborative and inclusive culture. Personal development is a key part of that. We have seen individuals grow through experience and knowledge within – in fact, both our logistics and operations directors have progressed through the business and have now been with HiB for more than 40 years between them.
"We – like so many businesses – have found that by embracing learning and development, we have been able to not only increase productivity and staff retention, but also increase job satisfaction and create lasting relationships within the team.
"The concept of the HiB Academy started back in 2018 and was officially launched in 2020. Its purpose is to encourage long-term recruitment, and advise, promote and facilitate personal development both internally and externally.
"Through the Academy, we have been able to access additional formal learning practices, such as apprenticeships and government funding opportunities. Apprenticeships are an effective way for businesses to increase knowledge sharing, mentoring and upskilling, and our apprentices gain an insight into the industry or profession they are in, expand theoretical knowledge and grow as individuals. The long-term goal is to grow the Academy even further and provide ongoing support for individual development within HiB, add additional apprenticeships across the business, and introduce graduate schemes to assist the local community.
"Each learner has access to coaching and mentoring support from Academy members, and external training providers and can allocate ‘learning hours’ to help them complete activities. Facilitating this alongside work can be challenging, but from experience we have found that everyone involved has done a great job to factor in the required time and energy to ensure we are on track as a business, and that all apprentices are supported with day-to-day tasks.
"We are still in the early launch of the Academy apprenticeships and piloted a successful Leadership and Management skills cohort early this year. The feedback we’ve received has been very positive and the ongoing development of the scheme and the growth of apprenticeships will assist in the expansion of our infrastructures including people, processes and systems. With busy departments and more recently adapting to a more hybrid environment, where staff are working both on site and remotely, facilitation and content have had to adapt. However, we are lucky in that we have the flexibility and full support from line managers, tutors and trainers, allowing us to achieve a happy balance.
"Investing in the next generation is one of the ways we have been able to support the company’s continued growth, core values and vision. For us, the Academy will be the platform to ensure this continues for years to come and that everyone at HiB has a sense of value and purpose."