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Celebrating Success: Sam Heppell, HR Director

Posted on: 23rd May 2023

Joining us in 2010 in the newly-created role of HR Officer, Sam’s remit was to create a fair, consistent and effective HR strategy, and set up a dedicated function that would underpin the company’s success.

“I’ve always had a fascination for people and development, and I joined ITPS with 10 years’ experience of working in small and large HR teams in various industries,” said Sam.

“Initially I was working three days a week in the first part time role at that level, and I remember thinking ‘This has got to work, for me and the business. I’ve got to prove that part-time staff are just as productive as full-time staff.’

As a business support function, HR needs to understand every area of the business and the customer journey so we can recruit and develop the right people to allow the business to grow and adapt to challenges. One of my first aims was to forge strong relationships with heads of teams and the board of directors, which helped me to get under the skin of the business.

Coming in to a greenfield environment was exciting, it meant establishing policies and procedures, structuring the recruitment process, creating a training and development framework, and introducing wellbeing practices. It was a rocky process at times and really tested me, but Nicola Johns, now our Chief Finance Officer, was a great support.

As we gradually expanded the remit of the HR function into different areas, we added to the team and we are now four-strong, with a mix of full and part time staff.

Recruitment is my favourite aspect of HR and my biggest strength. Spotting star people with the right skills and attitude, who I know will fit in with our culture and practices, and then helping them develop gives me a real boost.

As a team we lead on the drive to expand our training and development activities. Our aim is to support our people to take ownership of their careers, regularly updating their training plan and looking at what skills the business needs, combined with what they need as individuals to achieve their next career step. We’ve implemented a company-wide programme of diverse training including management, leadership, technical and professional skills and staff feedback and business performance has shown how appreciated and effective this has been.

Wellbeing is our primary push right now, we take the physical and mental health of our team very seriously. I’ve got ideas about where we want to take that and I’m working on developing our diversity, equality and inclusivity framework.

When I was offered the role of HR Director I had to think about how I could make it work with a young family and a busy life, and with an eye to my own self development in and outside the business.

I now report direct to the CEO, and having that input at board level has shown the confidence that the directors have in the ability of HR to shape the business through change and growth.

My changing role within ITPS has stretched me in a very positive way and I feel I’ve grown into the HR Director position. It’s been the biggest challenge of my career so far and I’ve relished the chance to step up and make a real difference.

It’s fair to say we have evolved from a ‘top down’ leadership style when I joined, to a more inclusive, listening culture where everyone feels valued and has the potential to achieve their career goals. Cultural change takes a lot of determined effort, and I’m very proud to have played my part in that.

My 12 years here have been a really enjoyable time so far and I’ve had fantastic support, both personally and through our flexible policies and strong team culture.

I really want the business to succeed, but that doesn’t happen by accident, it’s down to the people and the culture. Everything I do is driven by that mindset.

I’m lucky enough to love my job and I’ve always got my eye on the prize, which is for ITPS to be the IT employer of choice, with a reputation for having the very best people on board, who are fully supported, given all the opportunities they want, and taken care of.”

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