HCP Career Conversations – Andrew Crossland
Hello Andrew, it’s good to see you again after the triumphant Partnerships Awards. You’ve had quite the first year at HCP. Can you tell us about your initial three months, and your induction experience?
On the first week I met all the team and was given a list of contacts and a comprehensive plan from Sarah. There were scheduled visits to other projects within and outside the region. Seeing Andy Cannon at Whiston was very insightful. I observed people in the same role as me, who I would be liaising with.
The third day was the corporate induction in London which was fortunate timing. I met yourself, HR, the directors, and other new starters. It created a network of familiar faces.
Those first few weeks it really built the bigger picture of HCP and its values and I wanted to see how I would fit in.
Six weeks later it was the 2017 Annual Conference. It concluded my initial thoughts and helped me set objectives of where I want to go, based around what the company intends to achieve.
You’re based in Leeds for the most part. What is it like working with Sarah and the team?
Visiting the projects, I realised that not everyone has an office. Some have them onsite but to be able to work from Leeds where there is a dozen or more projects operating is very helpful. They are a very sociable crowd; their reputation precedes them. In my first week there was a team party, which got everyone together.
Every day is a pleasure, if you have something that’s a concern there’s always someone to ask, if you’re annoyed with a scenario, someone cracks a joke and it lightens the mood. It’s a great environment, everyone who visits the Leeds office wishes they could stay. It’s the best.
Not long after you joined there was the fire in Grenfell Tower. How did that affect your role and what you needed to do as a result?
I remember walking in that morning. Sarah and I had a quick get together to consider what had happened and how it would impact us. My prior experience was five years on Swarcliffe, which also has a high-rise tower block, so the focus was on that.
Our strategy was to immediately create a ‘walking the floor’ guide to the building and its materials, in a report to distribute to directors, investors and HCP alike.
By the end of the day the document was being shared across the industry. I realised how far HCP spreads and how interconnected we are in a crisis. We pull together irrespective of who we work for.
Not only are you doing all these things, you had two opportunities to speak at this year’s Annual Conference in April.
In 2017, I sat in the audience looking at speakers and thought about what it might take to be on that stage. Fast forward a year and as part of the university course, we got to provide course feedback to the whole company.
In addition, our project created Project Improvement Groups (PIGs), also selected to be a topic at the conference. Within the space of 12 months to be on the stage presenting was quite surreal, and suddenly everyone knows of you. After speaking, it was great to talk with colleagues who ask questions about what I was involved with and how I was doing. It’s a good feeling to know that you can make a positive impact.
I wanted to talk about the Partnerships Awards submissions because your project was involved in two of those. How did you feel making the shortlist for the awards first?
Delighted. I admire what Sarah does, how she goes about the day job and the extracurricular, not to directly benefit for herself, but for others around her on the projects; the end users, the schools, children, residents of the housing projects. She puts them first and the message is spread, showing the good work.
That was the first submission where we really focused on that and it paid off.
To be put on the shortlist demonstrates that there is recognition in the industry. For me there was a little more pride because I was at Swarcliffe previously with the FM Provider, also put forward for Best Operational Project. I believe it was a testament to the people on the project who have contributed through the years. HCP has really brought all parties together, from where relationships had unravelled a little before HCP arrived. It really demonstrates what collaboration can do.
Do you think that the future of PFI has more of a focus on the end user?
It’s got to be a core factor. We are there in some respects as an honest broker between all the stakeholders, and I think we can make a real difference to communities over the long term and that’s where you get the job satisfaction.
What does the future hold for you personally?
I never intentionally looked for HCP as an employer but was fortunate to come across it and I think it’s the best place for me, the best employer in the industry, as recognised in the PPP Award win. There’s a sense of pride that you get working for an organisation that wants to promote themselves to be the best. I started as a Compliance Manager then progressed to an Operations Manager and I am preparing and training to become a General Manager. I have my MSc studies, Diversity Development, PIGs development and RBM steering. I just want to do the best and be the best I can be, and I don’t know what level that will stop at. It was always on my list to do an MSc or an MBA, it was always on my list to become a General Manager and it is on my list to become a Director. There’s a few things on my list, we’ll see what happens. For the future, I’d like it to be with HCP. There’s lots of opportunity, lots of growth. I think it suits me.