This month our delegates from our management development programme the HN Academy got together for another training day – the second one on the programme so far. We're covering the events from up close and give you the latest details on how our prospective managers are getting on. Was it an academy or a therapy?


Management wisdom
The day started out with personal appearances from the management board: Group Stores Director Paul Finucane met with the Northern Cohort to give a welcome speech and Director of Finance Alison Nieuwoudt offered her wisdom to the Southern cohort. Paul gave a real insight into what personal career challenges he had faced and how he had overcome them and Alison disclosed her immigration story from South Africa to the UK, emphasizing that you should not “sweat the small stuff!” Afterwards, both Paul and Alison stayed the entire morning to personally get to know the candidates and to provide them with first-hand career advice from the top down.


Emotional intelligence and mindfulness
We sometimes forget that emotional wellbeing and insight is a really important part of being a good manager. That’s why this Academy training evolved all around self-reflection, making one of the delegates calling it a “therapy session”! The trainees reflected on their emotional intelligence and how they could communicate more effectively. Another important topic was neuroplasticity, or the concept of retraining your brain to learn a new skill or habit. They day was finished off with mindfulness tips by our L&D partners Jo and Tash and the delegates left with the assignment to practice at least 10 minutes of mindfulness every week until the next training.  Now that’s what we call homework!

Curious to learn more? Two delegates on the programme (of which one got promoted on the day!) share their review of the day and what it has been like so far...


Hannah Swan, Online Stylist Manager Edinburgh, Northern cohort

The whole course has been really inspiring. It is great knowing everyone in the room aspires to better their career in the company.  There’s always an amazing buzz in the room when we all meet up for the course days!

This last course day was my favourite to date. Jo and Tash provided a strong structure of the do’s and don'ts for challenging conversations. As part of this segment they carried out a role play, which for me was enormously helpful being a kinaesthetic learner. Another highlight for me was the fact that Paul Finucane came in to meet us all and gave us a talk on his career and time at Harvey Nichols. His career journey of working his way up from Sales Assistant to director level really encouraged not only me but I think everyone in the room that day!

Things got even better because I got promoted on the training day itself. I’ve been given the opportunity to take over the role as Stylist Manager of the Online team here in Edinburgh on a maternity leave basis, which I’m hugely excited about.  The HN Academy has really given me the confidence not only to apply for the position, but also a huge amount of knowledge and understanding to carry forward into the position. I always aspired to move into a management role, but for it to happen so early into the Academy is great. This means that I can take all of the new information on board and apply it to my new role immediately.


Carrie Brown, Event Coordinator Knightsbridge, Southern cohort

I have learnt so much from the course already. Getting to meet everyone from our regional stores and learning about all their different job roles has been a lot of fun. Gaining a better understanding of different areas of the company that I work with on a daily basis and building relationships with colleagues is one reason I am very grateful to be a part of the HN Academy. I have enjoyed being involved with an evolving team which has seen many improvements and innovative ideas come to light.

The Academy does not only give you the tools and training to further your career but also teaches you a lot about yourself. Before our last training, I was unaware of how crucial emotional intelligence is in making a great role model, but I'm happy to have learned that it is relevant in almost every characteristic of a person!

What’s more, seeing that many people in the company have worked their way up is incredibly motivating: I intend to set this same path for myself. It is very rewarding to see that hard work is recognised and celebrated here. The creative and fun atmosphere continues to inspire and motivate me to push myself further.