Get to know Heidi Wadsworth, HR and training consultant at Reality HR.

Can you tell us about what you do?

Management and leadership training is my specialism, and something I’m passionate about!

It all starts with really getting to know the business I’m working with. I work very closely with the client to look at the aims and objectives of the organisation, and the learning needs of its employees.

Then I design and deliver the relevant training modules, never forgetting of course that every business is looking for cost-effectiveness.

I cover all kinds of management topics, including delegation, managing poor performance and running appraisals.

We have a set of around 20 courses that we deliver frequently, but we also specialise in designing bespoke courses for very specific needs and topics. For instance, I recently designed a “Dignity at work” course to meet a specific client requirement – there’s such variety to the courses I design and no HR topic is off limits.

What do you like most about training?

The “lightbulb” moment, without a doubt! I enjoy seeing people during my sessions when they realise they’re learning something that will actually be useful for them, or help them do their jobs better.

It’s a great feeling as a Trainer to know that you are having a positive impact on people that will make a big difference to their working day.

What challenges do companies face in terms of training and how can they be overcome?

It sounds very basic, but one of the one biggest challenges is the simple logistics of getting people out of their day jobs and into the training room. Staff are so busy that training can sometimes (and wrongly!) slip down the priority list.

We tailor our courses to make the training as accessible and hassle-free as possible.

So, for many companies we deliver shorter sessions – half day or bite-sized courses – to help staff fit the training into their working day. We also have options around online and webinar sessions to minimise work disruption.

What are the benefits to businesses of management training?

The benefits are many, both short and long-term, but I would say one of the biggest benefits is empowering people who haven’t necessarily trodden that management path. One of the biggest trends I find across business sectors is where technical experts are promoted into management positions. This is often because the business feels it has to find a way of promoting people who are very good at their job! However, often there’s a lack of recognition that managing people is very different to managing workflow.

So you have skilled engineers, carpenters, accountants and scientists now trying to manage people – usually with no planning or training to do so. Managing people requires a whole new set of knowledge and skills which we can provide, along with the opportunity to share ideas and challenges with others in a similar position.

We also use our management training sessions to work towards consistency of approach within the organisation. We’re not trying to create management clones, but there is a framework of rules and norms that all managers within a company should work within.

The benefit of the training is upskilling managers with the necessary ‘tool kit’ and specialist skills to be able to effectively manage people. This leads to a happier, more productive workforce and that can only have a positive impact on any business.

How do you see training developing over the coming years?

Technology is always opening up new ways of learning and new opportunities and I think we will see increasing use of webinars. We currently offer e-learning modules and are planning some webinar training for a client who has 10 managers in the UK, and 30 across the rest of Europe. Therefore, it’s not likely to be practical to get them all in a room once every month for 10 months!

Despite online learning becoming more popular, I do see classroom-based training continuing to be the gold standard.

As a business we’re very much about the personal service and I think that’s the way that people get the most from it. Anyone can go and read an article on LinkedIn or watch a talk on YouTube, but what you get from being in a room with a trainer and other delegates is immeasurable.

You don’t just learn from the content the trainer is presenting. The real benefit is that personal connection with people, finding out about their experience, what they learned from it, what they would have done differently.

So, it’s not just being given information – it’s then doing something with it and putting it into practice! Having those face to face conversations adds a level of accountability, to ensure that follow up actions occur, which is where businesses see the return on their investment.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love the opportunity of meeting people from so many different organisations, different industries and backgrounds. It’s a fantastic challenge to adapt a topic to suit each and every culture and delegate. I love taking a “dry” piece of legislation – and then bringing it to life in a session that really engages people!

What made you choose HR as a career?

Basically, I’m a people person! I was previously an operational manager in the hospitality and retail sectors and, during the course of my career, I realised that I enjoyed the people aspects of my job more than the rest. I wanted to find out why some teams were more efficient than others and how some managers appeared to get more done than others, so I signed up to complete a CIPD level 5 HR qualification at my local college, going every week on my day off.

I moved into a HR role in retail, then in manufacturing and the civil service, before coming to Reality HR.

When you’re not HR consulting, what do you like to do in your spare time?

There are sometimes not enough hours in the day, but I try to cram as much as I can into every day! I am heavily involved in volunteering at a local primary school where I have been a governor for three years, including two years as chair of the governing body. I also run a Brownies Unit, enjoy growing vegetables on my allotment, and try and get to the gym two or three times a week – so it’s lucky that Reality HR fully embraces the idea of flexible working!