Name: Lindsay Allen
CIPD membership: Chartered Fellow
Current job title: Portfolio career: including roles as a NED, HR Director and HR Consultant
Employment status: Employed and Self-employed
Previous role: Senior Management Consultant
What was your previous role?
Senior management consultant for PwC
Why did you decide to move into your current role/field?
I wanted to return to a role where I could directly influence and shape the organisation.
What transferable skills did you identify would be useful in your new role?
Analytical thinking, project management, systems thinking, influencing, strategy and coaching skills.
What did you focus on to sell yourself during the application process rather than experience?
The breadth of my experience across multiple sectors means I can “sell” my ability to bring new perspectives and insight. Skills related to the management of significant HR, change and transformation projects are also very valuable. In addition, it’s important to demonstrate that you are confident and credible to hold a senior position.
What went well during the transition?
Moving into my HRD role recently allows me to draw on lots of my previous experiences, allowing me to quickly settle in and begin to develop strategic plans for the future. It’s also great to work with a team that values external experience and a different perspective.
What role did continuing professional development (CPD) play in your transition?
In readiness for NED and director level roles, I referred to my CPD materials to remind myself of the key qualities and skills required, alongside any relevant technical and statutory elements, to ensure that I focused on the right things and didn’t get too distracted by operational matters.
How has the CIPD and continuing professional development (CPD) supported you during and after your career transition?
CPD is a huge part of my professional life and the CIPD offers plenty of opportunities and resources to help you develop throughout your career. In my early career, I regularly attended Branch events and conferences in order to build my in-depth understanding of HR. Completing my Diploma helped me to develop my technical knowledge and continue to progress in my career. Upgrading to Chartered Membership enabled me to move into HR manager roles as my experience grew.
In 2008, I decided to broaden my understanding of business so I undertook a MBA at Henley Business School, during which I successfully upgraded to Chartered Fellow. I found the application process very helpful as it made me think carefully about how I influenced my organisations and how I made an impact in my role.
Since completing my MBA, I have held several senior roles in leading organisations, but that doesn’t mean that I can stop learning! If anything, it’s even more important to keep up to date with key developments and improving practices. I continue to regularly attend Branch events for practitioners and enjoy the discussion that takes place through our local HR Leaders network. I also invest time in building relationships with my network to find opportunities to collaborate on projects or connect others with opportunities that I’m aware of.
I have recently moved into the role of Chair for CIPD Thames Valley, having been involved with the Branch for many years giving to and benefiting from the CIPD network.
If you had your time again, would you do anything differently? If yes, what would you do differently?
No, I don’t think so.
What are your top 5 tips for someone who is currently working in a full time senior HR role and wants to develop a portfolio career as you have?
- Be very clear about the dimensions of the role that you are looking to move into (e.g. organisation size, sector, location, etc.) so you can focus on what you need to develop/demonstrate for that type of organisation.
- Do your homework on the opportunities available.
- Get some related experience, if possible, through voluntary work or a NED role so that you can develop fresh perspectives.
- Take lots of opportunities to develop your influencing and coaching skills!
- Be patient. If you knock on a door and it doesn’t open for you, it’s not your door... the right opportunity will come along for you in time.