My Entrepreneur Experience Project at Purpose HR

Through our participation on the RBS Accelerator programme, we were delighted to have the opportunity to take part in the Entrepreneur Experience Project last year. This fantastic initiative which supports graduates and entrepreneurship in business enabled us to welcome NatWest Group HR graduate Pasquale Tangorra to join us for a 3 month period from October. Working with us for several hours each week, Pasquale undertook a project researching Total Reward Strategies for growth businesses and reflects on his experience.

Training in HR at NatWest

Training at a large corporation like NatWest Group brings a number of benefits and, in terms of exposure to business strategy and consequent people decisions, it has definitely expanded my horizons. I knew about the fantastic work that the bank’s Entrepreneur Accelerator does in supporting the growth of businesses through fully funded programmes; however, I didn’t know I could play a role. When I found out that I had the opportunity to apply to work on a project with an entrepreneur from the Accelerator cohort, I had been on the HR graduate programme for not much longer than a year. I was starstruck to find out that Purpose HR was on the list of businesses looking for a graduate to contribute to their work and, as I’d come across their business before, I applied right away.

I applied to do extra work – why?

When you put it like that, it doesn’t sound intuitive, I’ll give you that!

I consider myself lucky enough to be working in an environment that nourishes a culture of continuous learning and capacity building. Our Early Careers team does an excellent job of flagging opportunities to graduates in an effort to connect us with the world outside of the Group. As an optional learning, I had the chance to apply to work with an entrepreneur, dedicating a couple of hours each week for around 12 weeks. I thought that this experience would help me to be a more well-rounded HR professional – complementing my journey in a large organisation with a project for a smaller entrepreneurial reality.

Reading about Purpose HR’s variety of project options resonated with the motivation that pushed me to apply for extracurricular work in the first place. My initial call with Lisa, the Founder, made that even more clear: I’d be contributing to the work of an ambitious team, supporting technology start-ups and other exciting businesses in a range of people matters.

Thinking Total Reward

I was happy to help the team with a strategically important project around researching and designing a new service to offer to their clients. Expanding their proposition from offering services in remuneration and salary benchmarking to a comprehensive total reward offer is no easy task. By speaking to the team about their experiences with clients in the field of reward management and beyond, it became clear to me that tailoring my research to clients’ nature and needs was going to be critical.

Total reward is a strategy that brings together all the investments a business makes in their employees with everything that employees value in a company. I managed to apply the technical skills I’ve gained when working in the Reward Partnering team as part of my training at NWG, together with all I’ve learnt about culture and performance, in putting together a set of recommendations for Purpose HR clients to think about when considering a total reward approach.

Not only were my recommendations based on research which makes them bespoke to the client base of Purpose HR, but they also take into account the current team’s capabilities and offering, as well as new services to develop. Communicating the story that the total reward approach is, as well as identifying commercially valuable services and managing to link the two together, has opened my eyes to the rewards and challenges of a consulting job.

Going forward

I’m currently in my third placement of my training at NWG, working as an HR consultant aligned to transformation work at the bank. The consulting work I’ve experienced with Purpose HR is giving me a strong foundation to progress in my next steps and has sparked a new interest in the job. Moreover, getting to know the team was a great chance to not only meet wonderful individuals, but also to expand my knowledge from a corporate reality to a rapidly growing entrepreneurial one. I am enriched by this experience and I look forward to continually growing as a people professional.