The Group has undergone rapid growth in the last year, welcoming 38 new members of staff across a number of expanding areas in the business. As part of this growth, we welcome a brand-new people Team to the family - get to know them in our latest Q&A below.

Anna, Director of People, talent, and culture

So, tell us what’s your background?

Well, I’m a Chartered Member of the HR professional body (CIPD), with over 20years' experience. I aim to champion better working lives through developing and delivering HR strategy.

I’ve worked across a range of industries including not-for-profit, manufacturing, financial services, television/media and digital, as well as volunteering in mental health.

The past 6 years were spent in a digital marketing agency which ranked no.1 in Elite 30 digital agencies UK2021. There, I created and modernised the approach to people. In my previous role, I saw positive results with increased retention year on year. And I aim to deliver the same great results for Optm.

How would you describe yourself Anna?

I would say I am true HR generalist, with a strong emphasis on strategy, performance, culture, wellbeing, engagement, recruitment and talent attraction, retention, induction, staff development, benefits design, HR data insights, and employment law advice.

What will the new Optm Strategy look like? 
  • 👩 💻 Continuing the ‘people-first approach, results follow’ – The people-first approach means putting efforts into the people via development and motivation, fully supporting people to be the best they can be. By creating a big culture, a culture in which people can thrive and have fun and feel rewarded- then successful business results will follow. By advocating better working lives, people thrive, and the company follows suit.
  • 📑 Clearly defined professional roles – Creating and building a trusted value-led and professional People Team – with an emphasis on facilities, dental admin and HR admin. Creating specific, tailored professional roles within the HR department is a leading priority.
  • 🎳 Collaborative leadership team - Building connections and collaborations across the teams under One Roof – a management Huddle has been arranged on how Optm can achieve this. The aim is to bring people together, as well as respect individual differences. By creating an all-inclusive environment, people can bring their best and authentic selves to work.
  • ❤️ Employee engagement – Developing how people care about the business; aiming to set up internal groups to collaborate with HR, to constantly improve working relationships, and make them thrive.
  • 💪 Empowering people – Aiming to empower our people through trust and autonomy, whilst being supported with coaching. Harnessing new and emerging technologies to enhance and improve our work lives. Letting our people build and develop their own personal success pathways – propelling a journey performance strategy. Creating a Fun, flexible work environment, with wellbeing and inclusion at the forefront. All of this is part of providing the best employee experience, with a high-performance culture. Being modern and forward-thinking also attracts the best talent.
  • ✍️ Strengthening our approach to learning and development – In line with our IIP platinum accreditation, the business invests in its people with career development opportunities and progressions via L&D.

‘I’m excited to join Optm – especially with the new office, and recent Fulcrum acquisition. I can build a new, trusted, reliable and professional People team. Whilst I do expect to transfer some positive people initiatives and approaches, I also know that each company and its people are unique. I’ll be asking lots of questions and listening to what Optm have to say - I look forward to getting to know Optm as individuals and as a group, to create a strategy that is right. I can't wait to get started!’ Anna Valentine Appleby

Rachel Broadhead Talent Acquisition Manager

Who are you, and what are you about?

I’m a dynamic recruitment/Resourcing/Talent Acquisition Professional, offering a substantial bank of skills, knowledge, and personal attributes, including expertise in recruitment, client relationship management and customer service. I am incredibly passionate about driving the best possible candidate journey and experience. 

What do you intend to bring to Optm?

The core values at Optm are family and teamwork. This is exactly how we view our team. I can see that Optm has created a warm, supportive, and dynamic atmosphere in which individuals and teams grow. My aim is to support team success and innovation through engaging and valuing our people. 

Where are you looking to grow new talent and how will we retain them?

We have several immediate roles available across the business, ranging in departments from procurement, finance, technical, marketing, and sales. A first port of call for me is to look at our induction package, and how to improve it. I also want to refine job specifications, removing jargon and really making them tailored and role-specific. 

To continually improve staff retention, I intend to interview staff who are leaving the business to collect their experiences and figure out exactly what kind of candidate we require next to fill out the position. Interviewing those who leave helps me improve our staff experience overall.

I also think it’s vital to get involved with the younger generation. I’ll be attending career fairs, colleges, and schools, talking about the opportunities we have here.

Chloe Buchanon, Group HR Administrator

Where have you come from Chloe, give us the down low?

After dropping out of college I was given an opportunity to do work experience for children’s residential homes and SEMH schools. This became a permanent job with the offer of doing my Level 3CIPD. I realised I loved the people side of business.

Learning was a crucial element because of heavily regulation set by Ofsted. The biggest challenges were safely plan the contingency of mandatory classroom training that couldn’t be transferred online during the pandemic as well as improving completion rates for the NVQs and online training. As well as pushing for the increase in peer-on-peer development within the organisation, I implemented an internal professional development structure for different roles within the organisation covering care and education.

Chloe is bright & bubbly, her energy fits in a treat to our vibrant Optm culture. Get to know her with this quick-fire question round👇

  • Describe yourself in one word? Tolerant 🤨🤣
  • What motivates you? My boyfriend – he pushes me and inspires me to be my best self ❤️
  • What do you like to do on your days off? Walk my dog Frank and go to pub 🍻
  • Any quirky hobbies? Going to truck shows 🚛
  • If your life was a story what would be the biggest plot twist? My glow up from high school 🧒
  • In the era you grew up in, as a teen what was your go-to fashion look? Emo and Chav 🖤
  • City break or deserted beach holiday? Beach Holiday 🏖
  • Summer or winter? Summer ☀️
  • Wine or beer? Wine 🍷
  • Dogs or cats? Dogs 🐕
  • Night out or night in? Night in 📺
  • Netflix or Blockbusters? Blockbusters. What a vibe! I used to go every weekend with my grandparents 👵👴
  • Chinese or Indian food? Chinese 🍜
  • Fav music genre? I listen to everything (not Jazz) but my feel good is indie 🎸
  • Fav film? Mamma Mia/Grease 🎵
  • Fav food? Duck pancakes from the Chinese and Spring rolls 🥢
  • Fav place you’ve travelled to? Amalfi in Italy 🇮🇹