Human Resources

"The majority of projects that I have worked on have been team based and people within my function are always keen to hear different viewpoints on pieces of work." Lucy Kember, HR Graduate

In Human Resources (HR), we work to make sure that our business has the structure, talent and leadership to operate at its best. Our team aims to innovate, improve and lead change in our company – so that our people are set up to deliver for our customers.

To work here it takes a genuine interest in HR, plus a desire to keep learning and enhancing your skills. You also need to collaborate, communicate well, and be able to see the bigger picture – to help us identify opportunities to improve how we operate.

As well as building your professional HR capability, you’ll develop influencing, stakeholder management, leadership and consultancy skills, and you’ll do all this while contributing to the success of a global company.

There’s real variety in the work your placements could cover. From taking action to enhance the day-to-day employee experience, to big business transformation projects. From updating policies and performance strategies, to helping improve the technology platforms we use. From attracting new talent into our business, to helping employees continue to develop once they’re here.

There’s great support too. You’ll have a placement manager, mentor and buddy. There are plenty of opportunities to learn from senior leaders as well as varied development sessions. And there’s support towards studying for a Masters in HR Management, accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

  • Duration: 2 years
  • Structure: 4 rotational placements across Standard Life and Standard Life Investments' People Team
  • Development: Scope to study towards Masters in HR Management, CIPD accredited
  • Entry requirements: 2:1 Degree in any discipline

Read the below stories to hear from some of Graduates who have been in the same position as you, along with one of their placement managers:

Lucy Kember

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What were you studying before joining Standard Life?

I studied Politics at Sheffield University.

How would you describe our culture?

We have a very collaborative culture at Standard Life. I had never worked in an office prior to completing my internship and was worried that the majority of work would be completed on an individual basis. In actual fact, the majority of projects that I have worked on have been team based and people within my function are always keen to hear different viewpoints on pieces of work. There are lots of opportunities to work with people outside of your own function which is great from a development perspective.

What do you think is the main benefit for a graduate working at Standard Life?

How young people within the company are treated. Within my first week at Standard Life, I spoke with two senior leaders to find out about their role and explain more about my aspirations. In my experience, there is an enthusiasm around sharing experiences as well as the importance that is placed on coaching and mentoring young people. As a graduate, I have always felt that my views are respected and valued. It’s also great to have the YPDN as a way to network with young people across the business.

Were you a previous intern with Standard Life, if so, what made you want to return?

During my internship, I was given the responsibility of a project about preparing people for working in our international offices. My manager allowed me to take full ownership of this piece of work, which I then presented back to a room of stakeholders. This is what made me want to return as I feel that the work that I do for the company is always valued and carried forward. This has also allowed me to develop my leadership skills and ability to manage a project.

What advice would you give to someone joining the programme?

I would urge anyone joining to make the most of any opportunity. The graduate programme is the perfect time to experience different areas of the business, working and meeting with a variety of people. Not only does this give you great business exposure, it really allows you to get a sense of your strengths and long-term career goals.

Meredith Adams

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What were you studying before joining Standard Life?

Shortly before joining the programme I graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Geography. People often ask why I swapped glaciers and forests for HR and the answer is simple... I wanted to draw upon the transferrable skills my degree had given me such as research and data analysis, and apply these to business problems. For me, it was important that my first graduate position developed these skills and challenged me to adapt to a new environment.

How would you describe our culture?

Standard Life’s reputation as a responsible business, focused on doing the right thing for their customers, employees and local communities was one of the major drivers in my decision to apply to the graduate programme. From day one you are treated like a valued employee and both encouraged and expected to step up to the mark in terms of contributing to your team. The culture is truly warm and welcoming, progressive and flexible.

What do you think is the main benefit for a graduate working at Standard Life?

Working for a world class company with a global footprint comes with many benefits and opportunities, mainly the chance to make a real difference to the lives of our customers and people. I enjoy working in a flexible environment where I am trusted to do the right thing and work in the way that suits my team’s needs and my own needs best. Standard Life empowers me to develop and grow early on in my career by placing a strong support network round me, whilst also giving me the autonomy to make a difference in my role. The graduate network is a great resource to draw upon the learning and experience of others, and also connects you with people right across the business from day one.

What has been your proudest moment so far?

There have been many proud moments throughout the graduate programme but ultimately, I am most proud to work for a company which genuinely cares about their customers and helping them save for their futures. I am proud to be part of the Standard Life journey as we strive to do what is best for our people every day, and make a tangible impact in the communities we operate in. Our talented people encourage, empower and inspire their teams daily to put our customers first and within the People Function, make sure our employees have a world class experience from the moment they apply, right through to off-boarding. This commitment and high standard is something to take great pride in.

What support and career development opportunities have you been given?

Being on a structured graduate programme has provided with a whole support network including a stream head that checks in with me monthly, a buddy who is in their second year at the company, and a core programme of learning and development with my graduate cohort. After settling into the company I secured a mentor who has helped me consider my longer term career aspirations and helped me map out the journey towards these. As a graduate you have the opportunity to shape your programme and your future at Standard Life. If you are open to experiencing and wanting more, the business will meet this and create opportunities for you to get involved, whether it be taking on voluntary positions of responsibility in one of our networks, through to volunteering in the local community.

What has surprised you most about working at Standard Life and your programme?

Standard Life is an open and social company that fosters positive working relationships and I have been surprised at the authenticity of relationships within such a large company. The people I work with are one of the reasons I see myself staying with Standard Life. I am exposed to new challenges every day which gives me a real sense of purpose and the opportunity to make a real difference.

Euan McNair

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What value do graduates bring to your department?

Incredible value! They are a wave of enthusiasm, they bring fresh perspective to things and question our thinking, I really value that! Their ability to be adaptive coupled with their research skills make them a great fit for a fast moving HR function. I have personally managed an Intern and a Graduate; it is amazing to see them develop so quickly. Attending meetings with them on day one vs. the end of their first placement is night and day, their development is incredible. To be part of that is incredibly rewarding.

Why should applicants choose to join your department & Standard Life?

As a business we are an incredibly personable company, very friendly and keen to see people progress. Our department embodies that. We want the best for people and for them to develop their careers at Standard Life. I have worked with a number of Interns and Graduates since joining, I have also worked with individuals who are in senior roles having completed the programme, this is testament to the development they gain but also the exposure they receive in a short period of time.

What projects can graduates expect to be involved in?

A wide range which is great for development! The Intern and Graduate I have managed worked in Talent Acquisition, both focussed on improving the candidate experience we offer. They’ve gone on to work in very different areas and are empowered to have discussions with areas they are interested in. That for me speaks volumes for the programme and our department; we are keen for people to play to their strengths and interests while ensuring they have a rounded knowledge of HR.

What can a graduate gain from working in your area?

Great support alongside exposure to different areas of our business. We truly value graduates and do everything we can to support them personally and professionally. They are involved in work that has tangible outputs which I think is hugely important.

What impresses you most when graduates join your area?

I think for me it is how quickly they adapt to the world of work and our department. Quickly they are adding value which is highly impressive. They also fit into our social side of our department, I think this is important too as we are like a big family!

What advice would you give to graduates joining your area?

Get involved, meet as many people as you can, stay open-minded about the areas of HR and ask as many questions as you can. We are lucky enough to have immense talent in our team, learn from them, I know I have and it is a huge benefit to learn from these people.

Applications for this stream have now closed for 2017.

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