How I made a difference: career development

I have a dual role, heading HR and corporate responsibility for the group. Much of what I have been doing with my HR team has supported the corporate responsibility function, as I believe that the younger employee prefers to work for a company that is socially responsible.

One of our key priorities is to provide an inspiring working environment, and to encourage and reward staff performance. We’re operating in the media sector, which is a very competitive marketplace, and we want to be known as an employer of choice. It’s important for us to be branded as a company that people want to work for.

We surveyed the staff about a year ago, and identified two main issues. First, they disagreed with our belief that Informa is an innovative company. And second, they felt that although they had a job, they didn’t, in the long run, have a career. With those focuses in mind, this year we have come up with two important programmes.

The first is a talent management programme, which aims to really identify future chief executives. Because we’ve grown so fast – Informa has doubled in size in the past two years – we’re looking at an issue of silos. We need to develop across divisions to identify the future talent of the business. And we think that this programme will take us through the next 10 years.

We’re also in the middle of training all of the HR teams globally, so that they can identify top talent and come up with a standard measurement criteria.

The second project is on the career development side, where we are one of the first companies to launch our own employees’ island on Second Life. This allows staff to go in and discover what the ‘Informa island’ is like, and we’re using it to encourage them to think about staying within the business globally, rather than moving externally.

We believe that we’ve got good people and can measure the success of these projects by the fact that staff are finally beginning to see Informa as a global brand, rather than a collection of silos.

Why it worked…

  • We put our staff first
  • We asked for our employees’ opinions
  • We acted on them.

Keith Brownlie, group HR and corporate responsibility director, Informa

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