How long have you been in your job?
I have been an organisational development (OD) advisor at City for two years. However, throughout my career I have worked within OD in various roles across the charity and private sectors.
What is it about your job that gets you out of bed in the morning?
I like using creativity and evidence-based practices to solve challenges. I’m an organisational psychologist and I feel lucky to be able to use this knowledge in my role every day.
An area which I’m most passionate about is our work around employee wellbeing and engagement. In this, we work with colleagues across the university, finding out what motivates them or what difficulties they face.
That allows us to then create both professional and personal development opportunities for staff where they can grow and learn new skills which, therefore, strengthens the organisation.
What’s the best thing about your job?
One of the best things about working at City is the various projects I get to do and the fact that I am involved in shaping the organisational culture. I also enjoy one-on-one coaching as it allows me to help colleagues focus on their wellbeing and develop their careers.
However, the number one thing is my amazing team. We all come from different backgrounds and use our strengths and experiences to support each other and enable creative OD solutions.
And the worst?
This is more of a challenge – sometimes people have a perception that OD is just about procuring training when in reality we do so much more.
“We are interested in the wider implications of decisions which can impact our organisational culture and, by extension, our individual performance and motivation”
We are interested in the wider implications of decisions which can impact our organisational culture and, by extension, our individual performance and motivation. An example could be how frequently we allow individuals to have conversations around their development or progression, as that has an influence on their long-term motivation, wellbeing, and retention.
It is vital that organisations recognise the importance of OD teams and include them in their long-term strategies.
Your number one most vital prop/tool/piece of equipment?
Although it is not physical, the most effective tool in my job is asking critical questions. When we begin a piece of consultive work within a team, its vital that we get accurate information on what challenges they have faced so that we can work out how to help. Being able to ask those questions and be a critical friend is invaluable for delivering powerful OD sessions.
How did you get into your job?
I studied psychology and criminology and was convinced I wanted to be a forensic/criminal psychologist. However, as I developed my knowledge about psychology, I realised that I was more interested in understanding how I can help individuals thrive and reach their maximum potential. I then discovered organisational psychology and studied this for my Master’s degree at City. I absolutely love it.
What is it about your personality that makes you suitable for the role?
I’m quite naturally reflective which I find helpful when trying to solve complex issues or design sessions. Also, I love data, which is very useful when evaluating our work.
Which five words sum up your typical day?
Connecting, fun, creative, research and reading.
If you weren’t in this role, what would you be?
I love music and I sing and play the guitar. Right now I’m working on writing some of my own songs. So, I would probably be trying to make a living doing that!
Emily Pepin is organisational development advisor at City, University of London.
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