Hunter Adams has recently launched its training business, how did you come to be in this training role?
Hunter Adams has been delivering learning and development services to our clients for over 3 years now, and the appetite for training programmes and project work is on the increase. So we felt it was time to build a team of experienced consultants and help our existing and future clients achieve their learning and development goals. We offer high-quality solutions at commercially sound rates. We call our L&D stream “The Hunter Edge” and we specialise in employee and leadership development, team effectiveness, coaching and people-development projects. This results in our clients being able to provide their team with visible career paths and the use of key development tools and systems.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
- The diverse range of clients we work with. From boutique letting agencies to castles and palaces, start-up companies to global organisations, we help clients with their general HR and development needs, whatever industry or size. We are quite unique in the UK that we offer all HR under one roof so we can truly partner with our clients.
- The people in our team: at Hunter Adams we aim to hire the best people in HR and L&D. Team is one of our values and we see excellent examples of collaboration and team work every week. From coaching and mentoring to sharing knowledge and templates, we support each other for the good of our clients.
- I’m a bit of a geek for all things to do with L&D and because most of our work is tailored to meet our clients’ needs, I enjoy seeing the different results and solutions we provide to clients’ challenges.
In your opinion what makes Edinburgh such a great place?
I love Edinburgh for its scenery, buildings, friendly people and location. I’m a family man and I often take my kids to places like Arthur’s Seat, the castle and the Scott Monument and fill their heads with stories about princesses, dragons and pirates. On the odd occasion, when we’re offered a babysitter, I enjoy going out with my wife and our friends. You’ll find us tucked away in places like Under the Stairs or Bramble, maybe once every couple of months. I’m a cyclist too and I think the city is becoming a better place to cycle. Drivers are more tolerant and aware of cyclists, cyclists are following the rules of the road more and there are more cycle lanes than ever making it safer for everyone.
What are your three top tips for presenting to an audience?
- Find your own style and be yourself. You have to be comfortable with who you are when you’re standing in front of a room full of people so work out your individual style and be authentic. To help find your style, keep your eyes open and look at other presenters you see. The weather, TV hosts, colleagues and events you attend – look at what others do and try to identify what you most relate to about their style and use these elements to build your own way.
- Definitely prepare! Different people are comfortable with different levels of preparation. However much preparation you need, make sure you do it. Know your audience and their knowledge of the subject you are going to present to them. Learn the flow of your presentation, the key messages, questions and items you want to emphasise. And if you need prompts for your material, try to get those prompts down to as few words as possible so people don’t see you reading. Like a singer in a band, you should be able to look at the song title and remember the lyrics!
- Think carefully about your supporting material. Do you really need slides? Do the slides need lots of words? Audiences prefer to hear the content from the presenter and not read it from slides. I like to use images on slides to represent the key messages I am discussing. That way the audience stays engaged in what I’m saying and they make connections to the messages using the images. If you need to share lots of detailed information with people during a presentation, think about the right way to do that. Can you share hand-outs up-front then discuss thoughts during the presentation? Should you present the key messages and give out more details later? Decide what’s best as part of your preparation.
What are your top tips for creating a healthy and positive employee culture?
- Tell your employees what you stand for as a business and help your employees understand what’s expected of them. Values are an excellent way to do this. If you have company values, make sure you role model them and that every employee can live and breathe those values on a daily basis. A friend of mine owns a plumbing business in East Lothian and his company vales are Expertise, Cleanliness and Customer. All of his team work to the best of their abilities. They wear clean uniforms every day and look after their equipment and customers’ property well. They treat every customer with respect and complete their work to the level expected by every customer. These three clear values help his employees understand the core ways of working within the firm and has gained his company an excellent reputation in the region. At Hunter Adams, one of our values is Solutions Driven. This means that it’s not always exactly about policy or process. It’s about finding a commercial and practical solution that works for our clients’ individual circumstances.
- Check in with your team, listen and respond to what they’re telling you. Speak to your team regularly about what’s going well and not-so-well in their roles and in your company. Be open to making changes when it’s clear that things need to change and also celebrate and continue the things you do well as a firm.
- Communicate well with your team. Find out the things that people would like to hear about and the ways they would like to receive such messages. Updates about your company’s progress are great but make sure you also include the updates that matter most to your people. These may include things like project opportunities, career development, recognition for exceptional work, you’ll know what these are if you follow point 2.
- Help people see what’s in it for them. Yes, your company has a vision and you know you need your people to be 100% engaged and committed to achieving your goals to meet your vision. However, make it clear to your people what’s in it for them along the way. This could be career development, exposure to different, or the same, types of work. It could be flexibility or financial rewards. You will know what is possible and make sure you make it clear to your employees too!