Last Thursday 24th January the grand finish of the HN Academy, our employee Management Development programme, took place. Building on all the knowledge and experience gathered over the past year, our delegates from all our stores came together in central London for one final time to present 7 (may we say excellent) business ideas to the Board. Group Talent Manager Lucie Moule was present to report on the occasion.  
A perfect ending after 80 packets of Haribo
We had quite the gathering at a lovely venue in Holborn. Board members Daniela, Manju, Paul, Julie, Alison, all our General Managers, 4 members of the L&D team, HR Manager Jenny Munce and myself joined to congratulate the 41 delegates of the HN Explorer Academy.

It was a perfect ending to 18 core management modules, 48 hours in the classroom, 13 guest speakers and a total of 39,729 miles covered by air and rail. Not to mention the 246 sandwiches, 48 packets of biscuits and 80 packets of Haribo consumed! 

Throughout the day we heard the delegates’ proposals based on some very key topics that are currently affecting our business. Each proposal was considered, well researched and presented well.  We were all in agreement with Co-COO's Daniela and Manju who were blown away by the ideas and quality of the work put into the presentations.  

I think the challenge will be how we make sure we use all the ideas presented! 

Ideas and memes
For me, as Talent Manager, the highlights were around discussions of using social media to attract talent, interacting with our colleagues and engaging a younger customer.  Also, ideas around collaboration between stores and buying, and how we can add more gifts for our customers, gave a lot of food for thought. But there were also lots of great ideas for so many other areas of the business.  

I think everyone who attended particularly loved it when delegate Gordon had to explain to the Board what a meme was! 

So, to all our delegates, well done! You have shown us all that we can get all the ideas we need from the great talent we have in the business. 

I can’t wait to see some of the ideas come to life. Watch this space!