There are two schools of thought when it comes to meeting your learning and development needs at work. You can wait to be told by a manager that you need to go on a course then wait again to be sent on one or, alternatively, you can work out what you think you need to improve yourself and then – as Gloria Gaynor once implored – ‘if you want it, go out and get it’. Laura Brown, a Graduate in the HR team at Hiscox, tells us which approach she prefers.
I joined Hiscox in September 2016, straight after finishing my psychology degree at university. Based in our Colchester office, I am the first graduate to be taken on by the Hiscox HR team. I’ve always been interested in people – hence the psychology degree – and this role, where the HR function is really embedded in the business, is not short on contact with some very interesting people.
As part of Hiscox’s annual graduate intake I have had all sorts of opportunities to learn on the job; so far there have been two secondments (in the finance and commercial partnerships teams) as well as getting involved in some meaty HR business projects in recruitment and employee engagement.
There are lots of ready-made learning and development opportunities at Hiscox but the one thing that stands out is the encouragement to take ownership of your own needs. Of course I have a structured mid-year and end of year review with my manager where I can discuss training, but we’re empowered to take matters into our own hands.
So, together with my fellow graduates – working in areas as varied as fine art underwriting, operations, and finance – we felt that a session on negotiation skills training would really help us in our various roles.
Having identified a course from the many options provided by the Learning and Development Team, we gathered in our York office on a course facilitated by two external trainers, instructing us in the finer points of negotiation techniques. It was hugely engaging and informative and I now realise I need to take time to plan in advance of a negotiation, understand my own goals, and separate emotions from the negotiation process.
Supporting your ambition
This course was part of an extensive package of learning and development opportunities that includes other offerings such as personal impact and presentation courses, as well as 10 minute online skills sessions that I find really useful when I need to brush up on something (such as structuring a budget or time management). But really the biggest lesson I have learnt since joining Hiscox is that the best person to look after your learning and development needs is yourself; if you take ownership, there is always training available and Hiscox will be more than happy to support your ambition.