Ryan Hollingshead

Ryan Hollingshead

When Hollingshead was first recruited as HR manager at Tiffin Sandwiches in September 2019, he was joining a newly formed HR department. The transactional HR function had historically fallen to the managing director, and Hollingshead was met with a workforce that had little to no understanding of his purpose.

Knowing he had to add value to the business and positively highlight the purpose of the new department, he overcame barriers by displaying professional courage and influence – a core behaviour of the CIPD profession map – to gain credibility. He then utilised his skills and knowledge from his CIPD Level 5 qualification to persuade key stakeholders to implement essential people management policies, such as attendance, disciplinary and grievance management.

His strategy immediately achieved results, including improved employee engagement, reduced staff turnover, better attendance and higher levels of productivity. The organisation's financial performance significantly improved and the outlook for 2020 was promising, but Hollingshead could see a problem on the horizon.

As the pandemic began, he became acutely aware of the challenges ahead and wanted to meet them head on, so in May 2020 he began his Level 7 diploma in HRM with Acacia Learning. Hollingshead had a deep desire to play his part in ensuring the organisation’s survival, which was done through his effective workforce planning and managing the organisational impact of the crisis.

Having just completed his 7ODD module and beginning his 7ELW assignment, Hollingshead supported the company through the administration of the coronavirus job retention scheme. He also furloughed 80 per cent of the workforce and implemented health and safety measures. In May 2020, Hollingshead oversaw a merger with a competitor and was approached to lead the people function across both organisations and facilitate the changes required.

Unfortunately, the business was eventually forced to make more than 100 redundancies, which he also led with employment solicitors under new methods to facilitate the consultation process, as a result of the pandemic. Hollingshead said that the CIPD and Acacia had been an incredible support during the last 12 months, and that he truly believed his aim to “live the behaviours articulated within the map were a contributory factor in our ability to overcome the challenges faced during the pandemic”. He added that he was “immensely proud” to be an HR manager.

The judges said that the submission was an “inspiring story of the impact that evidenced-based, ethical HR practice can have on an SME in a sector massively impacted by Covid”. They added it was an “impressive account of Ryan’s passion for HR” and that he was a “worthy winner of this award category”.