Hannah Dodds shares her career story and tips for development.
How I started
Before joining NFU Mutual I spent 5 years as a rural practice Chartered Surveyor (or Land Agent). I was working with clients who employed NFU Mutual Risk Management Services (RMS) to provide Health and Safety advice on their estates, and the work really sparked an interest with me. My parents are farmers in Suffolk too, so that's very much my background.
I saw joining NFU Mutual as a great way to stay within the agricultural industry but specialise in Health and Safety, as well being part of a much bigger business with many more opportunities. I’ve very much stayed within RMS, but that's because I've been happy, and I'm still challenged. The really nice thing is that the consultant from NFU Mutual who got me so interested in RMS is still in my team today!
My role today
I’ve now been with NFU Mutual for 21 years and specialise in providing Health and Safety advice to our farming and estate clients. Over the years, I’ve always had exceptional development support, but instead of a formal Personal Development Programme most of my development has come from the NFU Mutual culture of challenging people to do more. I discuss how things have gone, what's coming up and how we could do things in the best way with my line manager, Reuben Evans. He’s a fantastic mentor and as he originally joined NFU Mutual as a graduate trainee, he’s a great example of how far you can go.
As well as providing health and safety consultancy for farms and estates, I manage the East region for RMS. I have over 20 consultants in the team, some of whom work for underwriters, doing loss control insurance surveys, and others are health and safety consultants, working directly for customers.
We’re all home workers, out in the field visiting customers and helping them reduce risks, ultimately with the aim of reducing the incidence of injury or claims. It’s such a vital area; I believe the biggest challenge we face in agriculture is the current number of accidents and ill health.
Take every opportunity available - and get involved
For me, getting involved has been the best way to learn, develop and advance my career at NFU Mutual. It’s been about meeting as many different people and understanding as many different roles as possible. That, and hard work, is what’s opened doors for me. It's a fantastic company. We’re not precious in thinking that somebody who works within RMS can't ever work in another department within the business. We help everyone develop and encourage them to move around within the group; wherever their talents take them.
Looking for hidden talents
As manager’s I think it's absolutely right to highlight the hidden talents we've got in our teams, and I think we're really good at that. We regularly do talent management reviews and look for opportunities for all. In fact, I couldn’t be more delighted to see members from my team move on to bigger roles within the business. The business is also very supportive. I’ve never felt pressured into taking a role I didn’t feel ready for; I remember being told "Don't worry, those opportunities will be there for you whenever you decide it's time.”
We don’t only look after our customers
We’re all passionate about farming and our customers, and do everything we can to provide the best service and look after them. As a company, these same traditional values extend to looking after our people too. I firmly believe this is what makes NFU Mutual such a great place to work. We’re respectful, caring and fair. The average length of service at NFU Mutual is high, in fact, I've got two colleagues in my team who’ve been with the business for over 30 years, and there are lots more with over 20 years of service.
What makes NFU Mutual a great place to work?
The fact that I want to be here every day tells me it’s a great place to work. I know I can have an open and honest conversation with anybody, certainly my line managers, at any point, and know I'll be listened to. In turn, I have the freedom to support my team as they need it. There's a lot of trust here. I've got great colleagues; we work well together, and I really enjoy being a part of NFU Mutual. I can't imagine working anywhere else.
Hannah Dodds - RMS Regional Manager / Risk Management Consultant