Welcome aboard! Last week the grand welcoming day of 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, finally took place. Our delegates in competency group F from all over the UK and Ireland came together in the heart of Soho for a productive day of training, networking and self-reflection. You are now the first to hear all about it.

Pep-talks and hidden talents
The day was all about giving delegates an understanding of what they were committing themselves to for the next year and finding out more about each other. As our excited troopers sat down in groups, they started bonding across cities and disciplines right away - whether from the shop floor in Manchester or the Fifth Floor Café in Knightsbridge. A sense of community and fearless Harvey Nichols spirit was immediately tangible.

The day was kicked off with an uplifting and inspiring speech by our COO’s Manju Malhotra and Daniela Rinaldi, who made a personal appearance for the occasion. They told everyone about their pioneering story and rise to the top. The rest of the day was dedicated to interactive games and activities (such as finding out everyone’s hidden talent – History of Japanese architecture or local accents, anyone?). While running through the content of the programme, delegates reflected on their objectives and what they wanted to get out of the course – What kind of manager did they aspire to be? And, as the Brits do, there was of course plenty of candy to meanwhile fire up the brain and satisfy the sweet tooth.

Circle or squiggle?
In the afternoon Learning and Development Partners Jo and Natasha launched the first learning module of the programme: the Personality Profiling module. This module has been designed to introduce the delegates to new things about themselves, which they can put into practice straight away. In light of this module, Jo and Natasha introduced the Shapes activity: following a personality test which determined your unique shape (square, triangle, circle or squiggle?) everyone explored how their own shapes communicated with other shapes. They looked at the characteristics of their shape in more detail and how they could use these for their own development and for the benefit of the team.

Good advice
Meanwhile, our Group HR Director Julie Holdaway took to the floor to offer some good advice to go along with the activities and make the most out of the afternoon: ‘Take the opportunity to network with the amazing range of people you have around you. In this programme, you are very well placed to understand the entire customer journey and the role you play to ensure it happens as it should. Take this time to understand the roles other people play and what everyone contributes and how you make a difference. And most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy yourselves!’

Has our exciting management development programme caught your interest? This is only the tip of the iceberg! Stay tuned for more articles and personal interviews with the Academy’s creators and the delegates themselves.