Andy - Head of Organisational Development
Meet Andy, Head of Organisational Development at UHS.
What were you doing in the Armed Forces?
I joined the Army in 1995, joining the Royal Signals. During my time I worked in operational roles but found a niche within the training environment. In my final role, I was the Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army’s leadership school in Pirbright, which was the pinnacle of my career. I didn’t think I would be more fulfilled in the Army as I was in that role, so I decided that it was time to leave and find another challenge.
How did you find your role at University Hospital Southampton?
I sent a former colleague the job advert for UHS as I thought this might suit him, however, it wasn’t for him. LinkedIn then sent me a notification, and something came over me and I decided to apply for it. If you don’t apply, you don’t get it! I was successful and I’m now Head of Organisational Development at University Hospital Southampton.
What drew you to UHS after the Armed Forces?
I tend to run towards a problem as opposed to running away and I think that I saw an awful lot of people leaving the NHS during the pandemic and post-pandemic. The pandemic to me was the NHS’s war and whilst people were running away from that problem, I felt I had to see how I could lend my skills to healing those who needed it, improving, supporting leadership in the organisation, and re-developing the talent offer. It was always about service for me and that’s exactly why I came to UHS.
What do you most enjoy about your role at UHS?
I like my job. I’m effectively responsible for four key areas; staff wellbeing, talent development, leadership development, and cultural change. I’m motivated not only by the challenge but also by measuring the tangible difference that we can make. For example, culture change could take 5 - 10 years before we see change. I may not see this change during my time here but ultimately setting the organisation up for success in all those areas is what keeps me going and keeps me focused on the job.
How does working in the Armed Forces compare with your role now?
I’ve always been driven by service and there is a big similarity between serving your country in the military and in the NHS as it’s all about service, serving patients and the country.
The Armed Forces have people who have served their country in many different ways and developed many different skills. Everything that the Army taught me has been transferable, from timekeeping, and discipline to soft skills. It’s a really good fit for someone leaving the armed forces to move job roles into the NHS. It’s almost seamless however, you do need to develop a few more soft skills and be appreciative in your inquiry; an area that I am working hard on.
What support did you get from UHS as a Veteran?
It’s something that a colleague of mine is working on, and hopefully, I am going to be the first chair of the Armed Forces group. It’s not just for Veterans but for serving reservists, spouses (wives, husbands, partners), and Army Cadet Adult Volunteers as well, so the whole Armed Forces community.
We’re striving to make UHS, an employer of choice for people in those categories and support the community. It’s about having mutual understanding but also, providing care for our patients, for example, dementia patients who have fought in the war, we have a common bond with them, so we are looking to provide training to support them.
How do you see your career progressing at UHS?
In three years, I have almost achieved a career that is nearly as successful as my first. Being Head of Organisational Development, is somewhere I feel I belong. I’ve been really lucky that I’ve had the breaks to help me progress through roles relatively quickly.
I have a huge mountain to climb to assist the organisation in developing a culture that 100% focuses on its people, developing leadership skills, and developing careers for all. It’s not about my career development anymore for me it’s about others and how I can help develop theirs.
What would you say to soon-to-be Veterans about a career outside the Armed Forces?
The first thing I would say is to understand what you want to do, you may not get there in the first bound, but you will get there eventually. I have seen too many people leave the Army and sell themselves off as a Project Manager and Operations Manager, or all different managers but you actually need to decide what you want to do and focus on that.
Secondly, networking is the most important thing. From networking with the right people, I was able to get most of my job opportunities. But I think in the first instance, networking with people who have or are on the same journey as you.
Lastly, you need to understand your motives. A good motto from my friend is ‘Serve well, leave well and flourish’ but by leaving well, you need to prepare yourself and understand your wants.