The HN Academy, our new one-year management development programme, aimed at training Harvey Nichols talent from all areas of the business at an intense pace, kicked off last week! Delegates from all over the UK and Ireland travelled to Central London to gather for the Welcoming Day of the programme. At Welcoming Day we spoke to the (may we say, fearlessly fabulous) Learning and Development Partners Jo and Natasha, the masterminds behind the programme, to discuss their first impressions of this prime launch and what they have in store for our delegates in the coming year. From action plans to a hot topic project brief, this is what they can expect.

What’s today all about?
Today has been about welcoming the delegates to the programme, and giving them an understanding of what they are going to commit themselves to for the coming year. We have been discussing the content of the programme and have been finding out more about each other. The module we are teaching today is centred on personality profiling - we explore different personality shapes and how they engage with other shapes. Delegates have to think about their own shape and how they communicate with people.

What’s your sentiment about today?
We have been planning this programme for a long time, so to see it all come together today and to see everyone here is incredibly exciting. It’s just a great thing that we are on a journey with them now. It’s amazing that the store directors and managers are behind this as well and want the delegates to grow. Our COO’s Manju and Daniela and HR Director Julie even personally came in today to give a pep-talk and support the delegates, and that level of personal support from the management board is fantastic.

Can you tell us a bit more about the structure of the programme?
The programme consists of 17 training modules and delegates attend a day-long course every six weeks. Following each meet-up, they have to complete coursework back at their site which allows them to put their knowledge into practice. They complete a task and self-reflection activity, form objectives and create an action plan. They then catch up with their line manager, who guides them during the programme, to discuss their action plan and look at how they can put things the delegate has learned into practice in their department. The manager may give them extra responsibilities in that department. At the beginning of each course, delegates review their action plan and ideas and share their journey of the past six weeks. Once all training modules have been completed, a big final project awaits. The great thing about this framework is that you can immediately implement the things you’ve learned in your job!

Can you tell us more about the final project?
We can’t give away too much about the final project as it is a surprise, but we can tell you that delegates have to deliver a presentation on a particular topic. They will get those briefs in November. We haven’t set the assignment in stone because we want to be flexible towards what’s happening in the business. We might give them a brief that is a hot topic or something that is being talked about a lot, so we are keeping our eyes on what’s happening within Harvey Nichols and the Retail and Hospitality Industry as a whole!

Has our management development programme caught your interest? Read our review of what went down at Welcoming Day and stay tuned for more updates on how our delegates are doing in the coming year.