“My pre-perception was that an organisation that supports the armed forces might have a military environment where people would communicate with each other in a similar manner to the military rank system. However, at DE&S you can speak to anyone and everyone regardless of hierarchy.”
What does your role entail?
I work as a Talent Acquisition Manager within the Talent Acquisition Projects team. I lead on all non-standard recruitment activities, including overseas recruitment, loans and secondments, and our Military Transition Scheme. We’re dedicated to continuous improvement, and I’m currently leading a project to review and revamp all HR resourcing policies and procedures, to increase the efficiency and quality of talent acquisition services to the organisation. I also deliver training on how to write CVs and how to sift and interview candidates.
What is your background and how did you get into this role?
I previously worked for the MOD British Forces Social Work Services based in Germany. I was a Coordinator for the Labour Support Unit, which created jobs within armed forces camps, and I recruited military spouses specifically for these roles. I was promoted and moved to the Safeguarding team as the Employment Disclosure Advisor. During my time there, I started my Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) L5 qualification.
I then moved to the UK and joined DE&S as an HR Assistant within the HR Business Partner (HRBP) team. I continued studying for my CIPD qualification, which enabled me to speak to lots of different people across HR. This included shadowing within the Talent Acquisition team, and that was when I decided I wanted to pursue my career in this area. I was promoted and moved into the Internal Promotions (IP) team within Talent Acquisition. I worked as an internal recruiter and gained promotion to lead the IP team for couple of months, before moving into my current role.
What does a typical day look like in your role?
There’s lots of stakeholder engagement involved in my role. If I’m not participating in strategic meetings or engaging with wider HR to resolve a non-standard recruitment query, I’m offering guidance and support to colleagues on a variety of topics, such as loans and secondment principles, overseas recruitment processes, or management of non-competed fixed-term appointments. With everything we do, it’s vital to ensure we’re all adhering to the Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment principles, too.
I often engage with Defence Business Services (DBS) to explore ways to make our processes more efficient – I’m empowered to challenge the status quo, so we can find new and better ways of working. I collaborate with HR teams across wider MOD, as well as other government departments, to share knowledge on policies and procedures.
I’m also a line manager to an amazing team of four. The well-being and personal development of my team is paramount and so I make time to regularly catch up with them to track their progress and identify stretch targets where required.
What’s the greatest achievement in your role to date and how did it make you feel?
That would be taking on the opportunity to start my CIPD Advanced Diploma (L7) in Strategic People Management – fully funded by DE&S. As a leader, I believe this qualification will help develop my personal effectiveness and business savviness. It will also provide me with insights into key areas of HR management and improve my strategic planning and analytical skills in HR.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
I most enjoy engaging with my stakeholders to tackle challenges and ensure that we deliver to plan. I have an amazing and supportive team, which makes me look forward to going to work every day and performing at my best knowing that they are always there to support me.
What’s most rewarding for me is knowing that we’ve got the right talent working for DE&S – which will ultimately increase our performance as an organisation. Getting people into the right role, telling them about all of the benefits of working here, and ensuring that they feel happy in their job, is really fulfilling for me.
How has DE&S helped you achieve your goals and what has that meant to you personally and professionally?
From a personal perspective, everyone is supportive and willing to help. Flexibility of working has also really helped me in providing work-life balance – tailoring your hours around other needs outside of work really accommodates everyone’s personal lifestyle.
From a professional perspective, the redeployment opportunities within DE&S have given me the freedom to get involved in other projects, gain more exposure, and enhance my knowledge in other areas across HR. It’s a really good system DE&S has on offer to employees.
How are you empowered to shape your own unique career path and how have you led your own way?
Everyone who joins the organisation is allocated a line manager and a Functional Development Officer (FDO) who is there to help support your career and help you to create a career development plan. My line manager and FDO have been very supportive in guiding me and signposting me to relevant material and courses. That said, as an individual, you need to proactively own your development in order to shape your way, for example the work I have been doing to complete my CIPD.
In my team, I feel empowered to own my work and I’m encouraged to set objectives to understand what my responsibilities are and how to achieve them. I’m supported by my line manager and can approach team leaders who will work with me to come up with solutions when needed. The freedom and responsibility I’ve been given to own my work and to express and influence ideas has really helped me develop and grow on a personal level.
What makes DE&S stand apart from other organisations?
The flexibility merged with everything from the culture, redeployment opportunities, networks and more importantly, the people. Everyone is so friendly, helpful, and welcoming. Based on my previous experience, my pre-perception was that joining an organisation focused on supporting the armed forces might bring that military environment where there would be a clear hierarchy and people would communicate with each other in a similar manner to the military rank system. However, at DE&S you can speak to anyone and everyone regardless of hierarchy due to the merged civilian and military environment.
Tell us about your professional ambitions!
I’m really passionate about HR, so really it would be to gain further experience within this area. I’d potentially like to work in the Senior HRBP space; however our Talent Acquisition team is also expanding so I feel there are still development opportunities for me to experience within this area. I will look to gain leadership and management experience to move up the ladder of my progression path, which my FDO is keen to support me with.
Out of everything that DE&S offers, what do you value the most?
The investment in my development. It is standard practice within DE&S to have a system in place to facilitate progression. It’s not just about organisational goals but investing in your future too by providing plenty of development opportunities.
Are you part of any staff networks?
I’m part of the Women’s Inclusive Network, the Race and Culture Network, and the Change Advocate Network. I piloted the CV writing course with the Race and Culture Network, and some people I later spoke to said they’d gained a promotion following this course, which was really great. I’ve made some close friends from being part of these networks and it’s helped to build friendships in the wider organisation, as well as within my own team.
Would you recommend DE&S to others as a great place to work?
Without hesitation and for lots of reasons. An important one for me is that the Senior Leadership team have always worked to action any concerns of employees from the results of the annual staff survey, meaning that everyone has a voice and everyone’s voice is heard.
How do you build a successful career at DE&S?
The foundation to building a successful career at DE&S is attitude, right mindset, and willingness to learn. A combination of constructive feedback from colleagues, managers and self-evaluations helps highlight development needs. A successful career, in my opinion, is where my contributions add value to my immediate team and DE&S as a whole.
Did you know…? DE&S is proud to have achieved CIPD People Development Partner status for our on-going commitment to invest in and build the capability and credibility of our HR team. Ready to join us? Explore our latest HR vacancies.
Latest HR vacancies
Can’t find an HR job for you today? Search all our vacancies.