Introduction to the resource hub

The HPMA London Academy is delighted to launch our ‘Realising My Potential’ resource hub with a wide range of information, hints, tips and prompts to support all HR and OD professionals achieve their development ambitions and career aspirations.

There are approximately 2,400 HR and OD professionals in the NHS within London, the majority of whom are female.  The ethnicity data confirms that 45% are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background and the inequalities we see elsewhere in society are replicated in the HR and OD profession.  There is less representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues at senior manager levels. By listening to colleagues in our profession we are able to raise the bar for all HR & OD professionals irrespective of protected characteristics and develop a resource that creates greater transparency, accessibility and equality of opportunity. Providing clarity about career pathways and existing development opportunities will support a more diverse and inclusive profession that can lead by example.

These resources have been developed in response to the feedback we have received from HR and OD colleagues through our annual learning need analysis and from the research we commissioned jointly with HR Directors and Deputy HR Directors to understand the lived experience of our ethnic minority HR and OD colleagues. As a result of the findings from this research we pledged to develop clearer career pathways and development opportunities to support HR and OD professionals to achieve their potential. In order to do this it is crucial that all our HR and OD colleagues experience high quality career conversations linked to the provision of a wide range of development opportunities, at each stage of their career path. These resources will support both managers and staff to achieve this. Our aim is that that they will become an integral part of the personal/professional development and career planning process.

This is an exciting development borne out of the commitment from a number of HR and OD leaders to create a step change in the experience of our ethnic minority HR and OD staff and you will see the level of this commitment through the pledges and personal stories contained within the resource hub. We still have a long way to go to make our profession truly inclusive, but we believe that through this work we are providing opportunities and inspiration for all our colleagues to enable them to achieve their full potential.

The resources are divided into the following sections. Take your time to work through each of these sections and use the hints, tips, prompts, information and inspiration from others to take proactive steps forward:

  • Functional areas
  • Career pathways
  • Planning your professional development
  • Preparing for career conversations
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion and your career
  • My career story
  • Journeys to inclusion
  • HPMA London Academy development programmes
  • Further resources

The ‘Realising My Potential’ resource hub is a dynamic site and we will continually update it and add to it. We welcome your feedback and any ideas you have on improvements we can make. Please provide feedback here.

The Deputy Directors Network and the London HPMA Academy want all HR and OD professionals to feel empowered and knowledgeable, with ‘the know how’ to develop their careers as they wish.  In creating this clarity, information, shared lived experience, hints, tips and frameworks we create a sense of hope and drive amongst HR and OD professionals to be the best version of themselves.  Knowledge is power and together line managers and staff have the opportunity to use the resources hub to have meaningful career conversations in a more balanced way that means both parties get the best out of the appraisal and objective setting process, that nurtures talent and supports diverse succession planning for the future.

Cheryl Samuels, Chair of the London Deputy Directors of HR network & Deputy Director of Workforce Transformation, London Region, NHS England & NHS Improvement

Rachael Tyler, Development Director, HPMA London Academy

Opportunity, variety and excellent rewards – working in HR and OD in the NHS

The NHS offers a huge array of opportunities for HR and OD professionals. As the largest employer in the UK, a career in the NHS offers the chance to experience many different organisations and functions.

As an HR and OD professional in the NHS, and a member of HPMA London Academy you will be provided with a range of opportunities to become part of a wider network that will support and develop your career, allowing you to fulfill your potential.

NHS HR and OD Professionals support the delivery of patient care and those who make it possible, whether in a hospital, an ambulance trust or in the community. It’s a varied HR career, including HR Business Partnering, Employee Relations, HR Policy, Learning & Development, Medical Staffing, Recruitment & Resourcing, Organisational Development, Equality Diversity and Inclusion, Workforce Intelligence and Occupational Health.

The NHS is a values-based employer with a clear commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. The leadership qualities that are valued are those that support our staff to not merely survive, but to thrive.  This includes demonstrating inclusive leadership and management behaviours and cultures, as well as practices that lead to our HR&OD teams feeling they belong and are truly valued.  Equality, diversity and inclusion is high on our agenda and encourages organisations to improve the health and well-being of our workforce, and have a happier, more motivated and productive workforce to deliver patient care to the diverse population we serve.

In return, the NHS offers, excellent benefits such as flexible working, good training and development, opportunity to join a pension scheme, health and wellbeing initiatives together with generous leave going up to 33 days for longer serving employees.

Entry routes into the HR and OD profession

  • Qualified professional status into senior level posts with the CIPD, through internal and external recruitment processes
  • Network and community – secondments, development opportunities, talent management, stretch assignments through internal and external processes
  • Apprenticeships – entry point into NHS Organisations at band 2/3
  • Graduate Management Trainee Scheme (GMTS) – following completion of the scheme, participants apply for management level roles within HR and OD functions across a number of organisations
  • Internal movements from other professional functions into the NHS
  • Direct hire into HR – within any function of HR or OD

Functional areas

Careers in HR and OD in the NHS are varied and can provide you with the opportunity to be both a specialist and a generalist as you progress through your career.

Many colleagues start their career in HR and OD in a specialist functional area. Some will want to become specialists in a functional area and others will want to experience different functional areas before proceeding into a generalist role such as a HR or OD Business Partner. There isn’t a set career path as everyone will have different interests, ambitions and priorities.

This part of the resource hub provides information on all the functional areas in HR and OD to enable you to gain an understanding of the potential roles you could consider in the future. There is a description of each functional area and video recorded by some of our functional leaders from member organisations. They describe both the key responsibilities of the function as well as provide some reflections on their own career journeys.

Career pathways

This career pathway pyramid outlines the hierarchy of roles and development opportunities from the point of entry into an HR or OD role through to the most senior role of Chief People Officer or Director of Workforce.

It doesn’t cover every single role as each NHS organisation has a different structure, but you will see the majority of roles represented on the pyramid.

To the left of the pyramid you will see the range of salary bands at each step in the career pyramid and you will see the 4 levels next to this. This links to the HPMA London HR and OD Competency Framework (Click here for the framework).

To the right of the pyramid you will see the range of development opportunities open to you as you progress through your career. These include the HPMA London Academy development programmes for aspirant Business Partner sand the aspirant Deputy Workforce Director Talent Pool (See Below).

Next to that you will see the HPMA London Academy core programme which offers a comprehensive range of development events covering a wide range of skills and knowledge development for HR and OD professionals. To the right of that you will see the national leadership programmes currently being delivered by the NHS centrally. The details of these programmes can be found here where you will also find information on the eligibility for each of these programmes.

Finally on the far right you will see the link across to the three CIPD professional membership qualifications. Please take time to review your membership status and plan any future upgrades in line with your career aspirations. More details on this are provided in the following link here

Career pyramid

Managing my personal and professional development

Personal and professional development is the process of achieving and expanding your full potential. To a large extent you have control of your own development and it is hoped that these resources and ideas will stimulate you to be as proactive as possible in the management of your own personal and professional development.

‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.’  Viktor Frankl

Throughout your career, opportunities for personal and professional development will be presented to you either by others, by your own design or when you least expect them. If you are going to continually develop yourself you should be open and responsive to all development opportunities provided to you.

With this in mind the HPMA London Academy has developed the ‘exposure model’ which covers all possible avenues for pursuing your personal development goals with the aim of fulfilling your potential. We often hear about individuals feeling ‘stuck’ in their careers and this can lead to feelings of disillusionment and a decline in job satisfaction. Use these resources to avoid this situation, and remain on track to develop yourself and achieve the next step in your career. Also take inspiration and encouragement from the amazing HR and OD leaders who have shared their career journeys with us below.

Work your way around the wheel and consider which of the development opportunities you are actively pursuing and putting into practice. Use the development wheel as a prompt to support you in considering how you can gain greater exposure to development opportunities

Planning for your career development: ensuring appraisals and career conversations work for you

This section of our resource hub will provide you with information on how to ensure that you take a deliberate and planned approach to your career development. In order for you to fulfil your potential and achieve your career aspirations it is important that you use your appraisal, career planning and review process to identify your personal goals and aspirations set out in your learning objectives.

Each of our member organisations will have a different approach and process around talent management frameworks, appraisals and career conversations. As a result experiences will differ. Recognising this, we have put together generic information to support both managers and their staff in making the appraisal process and talent conversation as effective as possible. It is important to note the difference between an appraisal and a career conversation. The appraisal focuses on your performance and your current role, a career conversation focuses on your wider aspirations and goals for the future. These can be completed as a combined conversation, or independent conversations.

The overall aim of these resources is to support HR and OD professionals to achieve their potential. It is recognised that an individual’s aspirations for career growth will differ and there will be those who aspire to maximise their contribution in their role and there will be those who want to broaden their exposure and step into the next role. It is important that the approach being adopted will be able to guide the individual to develop a career plan which will best help them to meet their potential and ambition.

One of the key actions arising from the work we are leading to support the HR and OD profession to become more diverse and inclusive, is to ensure that all HR and OD staff will have high quality career conversations. This should be aligned to the appraisal process and link to the personal development planning process, and can be held as separate conversations. In time, our aim is to implement a comprehensive career framework for the HR and OD profession and this is the first step we are taking on our journey to developing excellence in our approach to career conversations and career planning.  Recognising that at this stage local paperwork will vary, we have provided a generic tool to assist you in preparing for your career conversation. This can then be adapted to your local processes.

The following outlines good practice in conducting a career conversation.

Equality, diversity & inclusion and your career #InclusiveHR

The HPMA London Academy and Deputy Directors of HR Network recognise the stark inequalities that exist in society and are replicated in our HR and OD departments.  We commissioned an independent report by Synergised Solutions Ltd to understand the lived experience of black, Asian and minority ethnic HR and OD professionals.  The report led to us agreeing some key recommendations to support, enable and empower HR and OD professionals to realise their full potential. The aim of this is to shatter the glass ceiling, create greater visibility for black, Asian and minority ethnic HR and OD professionals and empower them to take control of their own career development, choices and destinies.

Please follow the links to read the research, look at real career journeys describing diverse routes into the profession, and the case studies of our white leaders who share their personal journeys towards leading more inclusive HR and OD departments.  Many HR and OD leaders have made public pledges to take action and make a step change in leading more inclusive and diverse HR and OD departments.

Career Stories

Some of our leaders have shared the things they have learned from their own career pathways. From the beginnings, their route to their current jobs and they share tips for others.

Pledges to drive equality

Many of your Leaders have made pledges support – you can view them below

To make your pledge – please complete this form and email to &

Journey to inclusion

Peter Cheese – Being anti-racist not just non-racist – Click here to read the full article

Norma French – Click here to read the full article

David Grantham – Getting my teeth into Racism and privilege – Click here to read the full article 

Paul Taylor Pitt – Being an Ally  Click here to read the full article

This programme is looking to improve the experience of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic HR&OD professionals and colleagues within the NHS.  We need to understand from your perspective of what it is like to work within your respective NHS organisations.  In order to actively listen and support the improvement, we would like you to share your journey to achieving greater and deeper levels of inclusion.  Our aim is to showcase what HR&OD departments or directorates are undertaking to make a step change towards greater levels of inclusion and improve staff experience for staff from marginalised groups.

This section features stories from Leaders in the HR and OD community and will be updated regularly.

Preview of Norma French article

Development programme

This section covers information on the HPMA London Academy development opportunities.

When you are planning your development priorities you can refer to the development events planned for the coming year and select those that will support you to achieve your development objectives.

The following provides an introduction to our programme:

HPMA London Academy programme 2021/22:

Supporting workforce professionals to turn the People Plan into reality

The HPMA London Academy offers a range of development opportunities for all HR and OD professionals working in our member organisations. This document outlines our core programme, ‘supporting workforce professionals to turn the People Plan into reality’ which we have based around some of the key themes of the People Plan.

In addition to our core programme, we also run other development opportunities such as our ASPIRE programmes and talent pools for aspirant Deputy Directors and Business Partners and networks such as the London Strategic HR and OD network and London Deputy Directors of HR network.

Each development event is advertised up to four weeks in advance of the date and all our members will receive an individual e-mail with details of each event in advance. You can view events that are currently booking on our Eventbrite page. Some events get booked up quickly and we run a waiting list. We are continually evaluating our programme of events and will re-run events with large waiting lists, resources permitting.

Competency framework

The HPMA London Academy has developed three competency frameworks to support HR and OD professionals in understanding the key skills, competencies and knowledge required for roles at each level of the career pathway. These competency frameworks can be used as an integral part of your career conversation and your personal and professional development planning. You can also use the competency frameworks as part of the selection process for roles across all HR and OD functions.

The core competency framework provides a generic competency framework for all HR and OD professionals and provides a comprehensive overview of the key competencies required of all roles. It describe the specific competency requirements at four levels of seniority and this can be used in conjunction with the CIPD professional map.

The aspirant Business Partner and aspirant Deputy Director competency frameworks have been developed specifically for our aspirant programmes and are used as part of the selection and development process for participants on these programmes.

London HPMA Academy 2021 Competency Framework resource hub version

ASPIRE Business Partner

ASPIRE Deputy Director

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