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Personal development – a team perspective

Investing in people is a critical element of any successful organisation. Encouraging the workforce to undertake a journey of personal development will nurture a range of ‘soft’ skills. Not only will staff thrive as individuals, the business will also reap a range of benefits. This ultimately leads to a stronger, happier and more productive team.

Similarly, COVID-19 has caused a radical disruption to the way people now work. Flexible hours and remote working mean it’s even more important that we build in time for our own personal development and support opportunities for people to explore new interests and passions.

Nurturing our team

At Entec Si we firmly understand the value of this approach. We’ve consistently provided a range of opportunities designed to nurture personal development. These have included our new people focused operating model, Mental Wealth Working Group and Academy Practice. So we asked some of our team what they thought about personal development and their goals for individual growth. 

What does personal development mean to you?

“I think of personal development as being not only how you are in the workplace but also how you have resilience, how you adapt change, how you manage your own wellbeing as well.”

Sue

“For me personal development isn’t just for work, it’s for outside of work too. You might not know exactly where you want to be or what you want to be, but under that huge overarching goal there are baby step goals that you keep picking your way through. That’s how I view personal development, as a continuous self improvement set by yourself and driven by yourself.”

Charlotte

“Generally it can mean becoming a better version of yourself. For me personally, I’m trying to figure out at the moment what is it that gives me that drive and what routes I want to go down. I think you can be the best at anything but if you don’t have that drive it is a loss cause.”

Eilis

“For me the journey of personal development is a process of constant learning. Personal development is part of your journey in whatever role you do.” 

Julie

“Personal development to me means being able to develop myself, my skills and knowledge for me. Personal development is learning and gaining experience of skills that I need to have effectively to be able to move forward with my career.”

Ben

“For me personal development all relates to skills, quality and behaviours. I believe everybody has a set of skills, a set of qualities and behaviours. And I believe that everybody would like to improve themselves in a certain way.”

Sofia

What are your personal development goals for this year?

  • Identify my leadership style and working on leadership skills with Jude Jennison
  • Write an article about a piece of client work for social media

Charlotte

  • Build my LinkedIn space to be personal to me and what I represent
  • I would like to complete the internal project that I took onboard at the start of lockdown three and be available for other internal opportunities

Eilis

  • Gain more experience at communicating with clients
  • Pass my apprenticeship exam
  • Learn more about resource management

Sofia

  • Further development of multi-tasking abilities
  • Proactive approach to work and home-life management – finding a better middle ground between home and work-life while working from home

Ben

  • Develop an oxygen mask approach to wellbeing, with personal wellbeing as a priority, to fuel my personal resilience to support those around me
  • Keep checking both my personal and our team priorities regularly – are we on track, what adjustments do we need to stay or track or improve?
  • Have fun and help the team have fun!

Sue

  • The focus I have at the moment is around developing my leadership brand, by producing articles, linking with people through social media and developing the strengths of the Entec brand alongside the Tim brand

Tim

  • Enhance my leadership skills to start to think more strategically
  • Move away from day-to-day management and working with the leadership team to develop the company moving forward

Julie

Start your own journey

We hope that you’ve found our team’s experiences of personal development inspirational. As Julie suggests, personal development is a journey, so explore whatever interests you and enjoy where it takes you.

Meet the consultant… Amarpreet Assi

In a nutshell, what does a junior consultant do?

As a junior consultant, I manage small scale projects from start to finish. This involves carefully planning resources to ensure every stage goes smoothly and delegating to other team members to make the most of their expertise.

As with any type of management role, being highly organised and setting goals that are clear and achievable is crucial to the project’s success.

What does a typical day in your role look like?

Much of my day-to-day involves keeping tabs on how the different parts of my projects are going and keeping them ticking along. This means that my day often starts with updating project documentation such as action and risk logs, to ensure everyone is on the same page. However, I also spend a lot of time working closely with clients and key stakeholders.

How did you decide consultancy was for you?

It’s something that I sort of fell into. I had been interested in project management for some time, so when I saw a project support role being advertised at Entec Si I seized the opportunity and worked my way up.

The thing I love most about working in consultancy is the scope for progression and growth. There’s always something to learn, whether that’s from your colleagues or clients, and there are plenty of opportunities to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Any tips for aspiring project managers?

Organisation is a key ingredient of a great project manager. We have to be skilled at coordinating several different tasks and people within a project. However, it’s important to remember that one person can’t do everything and to trust in your team.

It’s important to be aware that projects can be unpredictable. However every challenge offers the opportunity to learn and develop new skills, which I find exciting.  

What makes Entec Si such a great place to work?

The unique company culture. Entec Si truly puts its people at the heart of everything it does and this is reflected in its recruitment approach. The team live and breathe the business’ values. This means we’re well placed to support and learn from each other.

Although it goes without saying that everyone is talented at what they do, Entec Si always makes sure that new recruits are the right fit for the team. This is something that can’t be taught!

Something people might not know about you?

I’m a bit of a thrill seeker. I love rollercoasters and my biggest goal is to someday go skydiving abroad.

I also really enjoy reading and lockdown has allowed me to rekindle my love for it. I’ve even set up a local book club where we read and discuss young adult fiction. At the moment we’re purely virtual, but we‘re looking forward to meeting in real life as soon as it’s safe.

Who inspires you, and why?

It sounds a bit cliché, but my parents have always inspired me. My mum is practically Superwoman. I don’t know how she manages to do everything, from having cared for my elderly grandparents to looking after four children and six grandchildren.

My dad is where I get my energy from. He’s very driven and entrepreneurial. Having come to the UK from India as a young man, he built his company from scratch and his business knowledge is all self-taught. His ability to successfully balance his career and family life is something I really look up to.

New business structure puts people development first

To strengthen our cross-service offering and accelerate the development of our team, we are shifting to a new target operating model, that will see around 30 percent of our people being promoted.

New ways of working

By accelerating our growth plans, the pandemic has enabled us to focus on the areas that work well for the business, as well as identify new opportunities for development. The new target operating model will help to enforce these positive changes, creating better flexibility for both our people and clients.

Broadening our skills

The new structure will mean the team will now be made up of seven different levels of consultant. Although people will still have a specialist area of expertise, they will now receive training in a wider variety of consultancy skills. This will enable every team member to support our clients throughout the duration of a project.   

A wave of promotions

To kickstart our new structure, the team’s roles have been reviewed in line with their experience and skill level. For seven of our people, this has effectively led to a promotion. Those moving into new roles include:

  • Sofia Caputo,
  • Eilis Garton-Marrows
  • Charlotte Stanyer
  • Ben Brown
  • Pete Britten,
  • Tim Powlson
  • Sue Johnson-Gregory

Here at Entec Si, we recognise that the success of our business, stems from our people. By delivering this positive change across the business, we can grow into an even more adaptable and forward-thinking consultancy.

A focus on people development

Eman Al-Hillawi, our co-founder and director, said:

“Our previous operating model was based on competencies and skills, whereas it now has a strong people development focus. This will enable our team to diversify their talents, while focusing on areas that interest them the most, ensuring our clients receive the best possible service.

“The realignment of roles during this process has highlighted just how much the team has progressed throughout the last year, and it’s great to be able to recognise and reward this.”

Meet the consultant…

In a few words, what does your role involve?

Being a programme manager is all about considering the bigger picture for an organisation. Juggling several different projects is like imagining a completed jigsaw and then putting the individual pieces in the right place.

As a manager, another important part of my role involves trusting in my team’s expertise and bringing out the best in them to get great results for the client.

What does a day in the life of a programme manager look like?

There are no ‘normal’ days for a programme manager, but mine are usually filled with meetings – updating clients on programme developments and getting feedback from my team. I also spend a lot of my time considering ways to improve client outcomes, as well as the needs of different projects and how our people fit into them.

Any lessons you’ve learned in this role?

Having started at Entec Si on day one of the first national lockdown, I quickly learned that many aspects of consultancy work can be done just as well virtually. From making it easier to support clients based across the country to improving people’s work-life balance, I think the positive aspects of remote working far outweigh any negatives. However, I’m looking forward to meeting my colleagues face-to-face over a coffee as soon as it’s possible.

What are your personal or professional goals this year?

Professionally, I’d like to continue improving my skills and bringing my best to every area of my work.

From a personal perspective, one of my biggest highlights from the past few months has been having the time to complete a three-mile walk before work each day. Exercise is such a great way to clear the mind before sitting down at my desk so I’d like to keep it up, whatever the weather.

What does mental wealth mean to you?

It’s never been more important to dedicate time to looking after your mental health and wellbeing. A key part of that is having a healthy work-life balance.

Personally, I find that spending time in my garden, tending my fruit and vegetable patches keeps me happy and has the added benefit of providing delicious home-grown food all year round.

What has brought you joy or inspired you recently?

Other than my garden, during the early months of 2020 I got some day-old Bantam chicks. Seeing them develop from little balls of feathers to fully-grown hens has been a truly rewarding experience. Having fresh eggs every day is an amazing added bonus!

Something you’d like to try in 2021

The long period of working and socialising remotely has made me long to get off the grid and explore, as soon as it’s safe to do so. My husband and I are planning to invest in a motor home and later in the year we’d love to go on a wild camping adventure.

Putting our employees’ mental wealth first

The events of 2020 caused feelings of stress and isolation for many people, impacting their mental health. As an organisation we have always recognised the importance of having a supportive working environment. However the pandemic really solidified the need for a safe and judgement-free space for our team to discuss their concerns.

Opening up the conversation

To help encourage our people to open up about their mental health, we have created a Mental Wealth Working Group. This takes the form of a Teams channel run by our Mental Wealth team. The group allows those from across the business to have open discussions about how they are feeling and offer support to one another.

A united company

To accompany the group discussions, the Mental Wealth team has been working alongside the CSR group to arrange monthly events that bring the company together. These have included recipe sharing for Veganuary and holding a virtual ‘Brew Monday’ event to mark Blue Monday.

Keeping up the momentum

Finding innovative ways to support employee wellbeing is an ongoing task. But this is something that we are all committed to working towards. We are continuing to encourage all of our staff to be open and honest about any worries they might have.

Removing the stigma

Eman Al-Hillawi, co-founder and director of Entec Si, said:

“The nature of consultancy work means many of us are focused on different clients and projects. However, it is vital that we take the time to talk altogether, making real connections in what can be a lonely time.

“We hope that having a dedicated Mental Wealth group will remove the stigma that often looms over mental health. Our people will always be our priority, and the pandemic has put into perspective just how important the support of our colleagues is.”

Meet the consultant…

Put simply, what does business analysis involve?

Using problem-solving skills to help take a business from point A to point B. We take an in-depth look at the company to understand its issues and requirements, allowing us to develop solutions and facilitate change.

What first drew you to this role?

I’ve always had a passion for problem-solving. Being a business analyst allows me to combine this with my knowledge of business strategy, which I studied at university. I also enjoy thinking creatively to help businesses overcome their challenges, which is something I get to do on a daily basis.

Your top tips for becoming the best possible business analyst?

It’s essential to have a keen eye for detail but at the same time be able to take a step back and appreciate the bigger business picture. This allows you to understand why change is needed and how to make it work. Since business analysis can be applied to many fields, knowing what drives you about the role will help you become the best you can be.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to make mistakes; they’re an inevitable part of the process. Every decision should be viewed as a learning experience. 

Any advice for those with their sights set on a consultancy career?

Graduate schemes can be a great way of securing experience, as an analyst or consultant. However, if this isn’t possible, reaching out to your network can help get you to get a foot in the door. This was how I managed to get in front of a hiring manager.

Before you start in the field, knowing your USPs compared to other candidates is also very important and will help you to shine in the eyes of a potential employer. 

Your unique selling points as a member of the Entec Si team?

What sets me apart is my varied sector experience, covering manufacturing, finance, supply chain and consultancy.  I am continually questioning how business challenges have arisen in the first place and why improvements are needed. Keeping this in mind helps to guide my decisions throughout a project. 

What cause are you passionate about, and why?

I’m passionate about considering the ‘why’ of things and try to apply this to all areas of my work. Having a questioning mind means that I’m always looking at ways to make businesses better and there’s always a strong purpose for putting business improvements in place.

How do you plan to make the most out of 2021?

2020 was a year that made many of us change our priorities. In 2021, I want to continue focusing on my personal development but having moved into my first house, there are lots of home improvement projects that I need to get started on too! I’m also hoping that before too long, it’ll be possible to spend more time with my family and friends.

Let's start a conversation!

Contact us at info@entecsi.com