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Jonathan Owens talks to Robin Stirzaker-Philips from House of Fraser on the retailer’s success at the TJ Awards 2016


triking a balance between commercial realities and the needs of individuals

seeking to achieve their potential is vital if training is to make a real impact, according to Robin Stirzaker-Philips, head of L&D at House of Fraser. When it comes to defining

success, he is well placed to comment, with House of Fraser not only being hailed L&D Team of the Year at the TJ Awards last December, but also winning Best Leadership Programme. Te accolades are the result of

several years of hard work and a new approach to the way in which House of Fraser does L&D. A board decision

40 | February 2017 |

three years ago saw L&D taken out of its traditional HR home and placed un- der the retailer’s COO, Peter Gross. Te move signalled a major shift from a pro- vider of learning interventions towards a much more business focused approach. It has paid dividends, according to Stirzaker-Philips: “From a learning and development perspective it’s been a great move for the business because it has meant that we’ve been much closer to the operation of the business and closer to what’s happening and being able to get decisions made quickly.” Developing close relationships with other key stakeholders has been important, not least in helping to

“really understanding what’s happening in the business, for us to be able to provide a commercial L&D service to help the business drive results”.

Recognition and reward

One of the reasons for entering their work into the TJ Awards was recognition, and Stirzaker-Philips says that winning in two categories has been a measure of success in its own right. “Personally, as the head of learning and development, to get the team award was a really proud moment for me.” Winning the award for the best leadership development programme, for “something we developed completely


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