Watson Martin Advanced CIPD Candidate Shortlisted for People Management Award 2020

Congratulations to our Advanced candidate Sarah Appleton who been shortlisted for the CIPD People Management Michael Kelly Outstanding Student Award. Sarah is one of seven nominees for the prestigious Advanced level award which recognises exceptional students who apply what they have learned from their studies to bring about real benefits to their organisation and its people. The winner will be announced later this month.

Describing herself as not a typical nominee having specialised in commercial strategy and transformation, Sarah has been fascinated by people strategy and operations for over a decade. She jumped at the chance a few years ago to take on the role of People Director at Majestic Wine and study for her Advanced CIPD Certificate.  A candidate of Watson Martin Director, Melanie Martin, achieving distinctions in all modules, Sarah believes she will be a “much stronger people leader” as a result of completing the qualification.

Sarah’s entry to the award committee was the transformative ‘franchise-lite’ partnership scheme to drive store productivity and improve colleague engagement which was put in place at Majestic Wine.  She explains:

“We created a transparent data-driven performance matrix called The Meritocracy and used that to identify high performing store managers. These managers were then given greater autonomy and the ability to earn a greater share of the value they created in the store. By engaging the partners with the process, we were able to quickly achieve practical, achievable but meaningful transformative results.

“We removed superfluous staffing hours using a new workforce planning model tested and validated by the partners. We also created new opportunities for development and progression to nurture and grow our best talent. The end result was a c.£2.5m net benefit alongside improved customer satisfaction and colleague engagement scores. The success of the initiative was in no small part down to the total integration of the people strategy within the business, with engagement of all directors at Board level and collaboration with the partners.

“Doing the Advanced Certificate with Watson Martin gave me the theoretical backup and credibility to land this significant transformation,” she adds.

Sarah demonstrates a high level of commercial awareness balanced against a strong understanding of ethical and legal considerations. Her submissions were all well integrated, accurately written and a pleasure to assess. I am also impressed by Sarah’s commitment to continuing to develop her business leadership skills. She actively seeks opportunities to develop her business acumen and understanding of HR potential to contribute. Melanie Martin, Director, Watson Martin.

Read more about Sarah’s progress in our HR Director How to Aim High career guide.