Preparing for a career change

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Glenn is a Practice Manager for the Business Analysis Practice within Business Transformation. He joined 18 years ago in an entry level role as a Mortgage Collections Advisor, progressing through various roles within Nationwide across the country. Here, Glenn talks about his career journey at Nationwide and how he successfully climbed up the career ladder.

Build a foundation for your career

I originally planned on working at Nationwide during a gap year before going to university, but once I started earning I decided against going to university and continued my development in the corporate world. Coming in at an entry level role in the Lending Control department as a Mortgage Collections Advisor, I was really keen to make a difference and prove myself within the company.

During my two years as a Mortgage Advisor, I made it my aim to learn as much as I could about the business and our customers. When I saw the opportunity for a 12-month secondment in Unsecured Collections as a trainer working with a new system, I decided to take the opportunity because I knew the role was going to be focussed on building on the skills I’d learnt in my first role.

Since joining Nationwide, I've taken on several roles, having had a total of 8 different roles in the last 18 years. Following on my role as a Trainer, I’ve moved around the organisation taking on roles as;

  • Management trainee (leading to Operations Manager) - Nationwide Trust LTD (a subsidiary that once managed the Personal Loan book for the society) This was an operational management role where I had a team of people completing loan fulfilment activities.
  • Business Analyst – Here, I was responsible for the collating and meeting of business requirements for Nationwide Trust Ltd.  Working in small local projects and large corporate initiatives.
  • Change & Implementation Manager – Business readiness lead for Banking (Personal Loans, Credit Card and Current Account). I was responsible for making sure that changes made through projects and legislation were understood and managed within the various business areas. I also represented the division as a subject matter expert.
  • Lead Business Analyst – Leading the analysis phase of projects. I was responsible for a team of analysts and had overall accountability for their output.
  • Practice Manager – This is my current role. I’m responsible for the strategic management of the Business Analysis Practice within Nationwide. I also manage internal and external relationships and I’m the line manager of up to 30 people.

“ Not all of my changes were promotions, some of them were side-steps but if I saw an opportunity that I felt would help me to enhance my skills, I’d go for it. ”

Sometimes when you’re in an entry role or not working in HQ it can be hard to see the development path but you’ve got to take control of your own career. It’s all about being good at what you do and building a good reputation for yourself. I’ve always strived to become an expert in my own field. With every career change I made, I was constantly focussed on strengthening my skills.

“ I can’t emphasise enough how important networking has been during my career here. Over the years, I've liaised with different areas and people and this helped me to see the scope and breadth of career opportunity available. ”

Be open to changes in your career

One of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make during my career here is deciding whether to relocate and stay with Nationwide or begin a career elsewhere. Back when I was a Business Analyst, Nationwide announced it was closing its subsidiary that I worked for, and I really had to consider my options. At that time, my wife and I were expecting so we really had a lot to consider.

Whilst I was excited about a potential new journey, I was apprehensive as leaving Hertfordshire would’ve been a big upheaval for my family. I had offers from other companies that were based in Hertfordshire but in the end, I chose to stay with Nationwide because of their values and ethos.

Nationwide are a good employer and things like the family support policies can really help working parents. I asked myself, would other organisations offer the same support? 

I’d given a good part of my working years to Nationwide and had always felt that there were opportunities to pursue both personal and career development. Once my family and I made the move, Nationwide offered a huge amount of support both financially and in terms of giving me time out of my working day to view properties and schools. 

We’ve been in Wiltshire now for 7 years and we love it. There’s lots to do and places to visit and I really can’t imagine living anywhere else.

“ A key takeaway I’ve learnt during my career is that you can be technically gifted and talented, but softer skills are what get you through an organisation. Listen, engage, build rapport with people. ”

How your career could benefit from trying new things- Where he’s ended up

My current role is Practice Manager, within Business Transformation. This role allows me to draw upon skills learned during my time as an Operations Manager in Nationwide Trust whilst also allowing me to utilise my expertise as a professional Business Analyst. 

I can really relate to the practioners I work with as I have been in their shoes and can often lean on my past experiences to offer support and advice.

“ All the roles I have held at Nationwide have enabled me to build the career I have, I can honestly say that all have provided me with experiences and examples that I use today. ”

Moving to a higher level within the organisation has come with its own challenges.

The new challenge this role presented was moving from being mainly accountable to myself, to taking on accountability and management of a team, and essentially utilising my skills to become an effective leader. I’ve had to understand what success looks like at the new level, and I now get feelings of success when someone in my team does particularly well.

One of my team was awarded the International Institute of Business Analysis BA of the year award in 2015, within less than a year of joining us.That was a huge achievement for us. Most recently another member of my team has made the final for this year’s award, so let’s hope we see the same success in 2016!

Glenns’ tips to help with a career change

Change is everywhere and a career or job change might be on your agenda for this year. Below are my top tips for making career changes:

 1. If you’ve identified a role you want to try, make sure to find out as much about that role as you can. Shadow the people in that team, find some commonality and think about where you could add value to that role.

2. Embrace change.Change can be uncomfortable, but in the long run it’s always better to embrace it as opposed to resisting it. Over the last 18 years, I’ve experienced and see a lot of change here at nationwide.We’ve grown to become a more commercial, successful business. We’re now in the position were we’re also foreseeing our customer’s future needs as well as responding to current needs.

3. Know what you’re not willing to compromise. For me, it’s about having a good work/life balance and asking for support when needed. Working in a company were flexible working is encouraged has always been a huge key for me to enable me to have time with my family.

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