Learning at Work Week with Jo-Anne Illman at Infinity

5 min read

Jo-Anne Illman is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Infinity.

At Uhubs, we’re all about learning, so for Learning at Work Week, our co-founder Ash was lucky enough to celebrate by speaking to coaching leaders.

Here, Ash and Jo-Anne talk HR and development, the growth mindset, and the reward of development. 


Watch the full conversation below, or read on for a quick written summary. 


How do you create the growth mindset at Infinity, or how do you adopt that?

For our people? It's about having a really honest and transparent conversation that says we're a small business, so there's lots of opportunity.

But our people can help us not only grow the business itself, but grow their own learning and their own development. So we're really articulate in terms of what a skills matrix looks like, and what your job is and what the next level looks like and how you know, so you can identify what the next step and skillsets are.

We take real pride in growing our people internally.

How do you collate or what do you measure in infinity to showcase that impact you’re making, in learning and development? 

There’s a number of measures - they're both on a personal level and on a client level. So if we're doing client level training, we measure the survey feedback that we get from our clients. So there's a direct measure from the client feedback. We do engagement surveys internally, around our employees, to understand how they feel about the learning and development.

We can see the ROI when we develop our people internally. We take real pride in growing our people internally. So when we've got an internal transfer or somebody that's moving up through the ranks, that's a direct result of learning and that's not just textbook learning or web-learning, it’s about the shadowing and the time you spend coaching and mentoring those individuals.

I love it when you can measure the fact that talent is moved through the business, being promoted, rewarded, and is doing really well as a result. I love the human element of it as well, and also retaining staff because staff retention is a big challenge right now. 

You learn so much for being operational and having an understanding from the operations side


What advice could you give to other people who aspire to be in your position in terms of getting into the top line of work that you're in right now afraid of getting your hands dirty?

There isn't anything that I wouldn't do that I wouldn't ask someone else to do. At Easter, we sent all our staff Easter hampers and we made them ourselves. I spent a day stuffing boxes with Easter eggs. If you want to be respected in your field, then it's all about continuous learning. Keep abreast of all the changes that are happening in the field, keep in touch with all of that kind of stuff.

Make sure you've got a great HR network. That's where you learn the most. There's nothing better than mailing out to your network, “I've got this, this, I'm going to think about this. What are you doing? What am I doing?” So build your network and don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. You learn so much for being operational and having an understanding from the operations side, there's nothing worse than an HR person that pontificates about how it should be done, but doesn't actually apply it in reality. 

So it's understanding how, what, how, what you're asking people to do applies in reality. And you're on the operational sides of being close to. 


Written by:

Richard Lowe

Published on:

May 20, 2021

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