I am currently in my first placement on the HR Scheme working in the Leatherhead office. I business partner Food Solutions where we focus on selling our food brands to other commercial organisations such as restaurants, schools and distributors. It’s a really exciting part of the business to work in because it feels like its own little business within Unilever and means I have been able to get exposure to business partnering all of the different functions (sales, marketing, supply chain etc).
I am now six months into my placement and have been able to get involved in a variety of projects. One of my main projects has been to drive our gender diversity agenda, within Food Solutions specifically and Unilever as a whole. Diversity is a top priority within Unilever as a diverse workforce drives different viewpoints, innovation and business growth.
Within Food Solutions I have been given the responsibility to create a plan that will enhance retention and progression of our female employees. This has involved understanding the experiences of people around the business, presenting my findings to the Leadership Team and I will now be implementing a number of initiatives. These initiatives will be open to all Food Solutions employees, men and women, and include a mentoring scheme, the promotion of our flexible working policies and leading training sessions on networking and using your personal development plan.
Within Unilever more generally, I have also been looking at the best practice in diversity and inclusion from Unilever in different countries, and externally, to find out whether any of these diversity initiatives would also be useful for Unilever UK/Ire.
I have also worked on a report to assess whether we can expand our international graduate recruitment offering, and I have been implementing an online tool that helps our business leaders increase the speed of their decision making and their ‘bias for action’. Alongside my project work I get involved in all sorts of other HR activity within Food Solutions, recruitment, training and working alongside our line managers to help them achieve their organisational objectives.
My next role is my placement in a UK Sourcing unit and I am going to the laundry factory in Warrington. I will be sad to leave Food Solutions, but excited to learn new things about HR in a factory environment.
My advice to potential applicants would be to find out as much about Unilever as possible. Look into our sustainable living plan and get inspired! A great example of this is the expansion of our Apprenticeship scheme; last year we took on Apprentices in Business Administration and IT. The programme has been a success both for the business, helping us build talent for the future in areas we suffer skills shortages, and for our social sustainability agenda. This focus on youth employability will continue and is a great way HR can make a difference to our sustainable living plan.