This month, we’re very excited to welcome Amy Parker to the People Lab team. Here’s a quick Q&A, so you can find out a bit more about her…
What’s your background?
I started in communications and events, looking after alumni and stakeholders of a university and encouraging them to get involved with its work, then moved into brand and marketing, creating and sustaining a community of fans for a food business. From there, I had a bit of a change of direction, following an interest in psychology and a passion for people to work in organisational development – both as a consultant and in-house – helping teams in fields such as finance, hospitality, digital, manufacturing, retail and the public sector to create better places to work. In a way, I’m a bit of a mixed bag career-wise, but from the beginning, there’s always been that thread of engagement – first engaging people with projects and places, then products, and then organisations and work itself.
You’ve got an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology – what’s that?
Positive psychology is the study of human thriving. Whereas ‘traditional’ psychology is all about illness, positive psychology is about ‘wellness’: how we can all live the best lives possible. It’s not about being happy all the time: if we suffer a bereavement, sadness can help us to grieve, and if things are unjust, anger helps us to bring about change; instead, it’s more about exploring and understanding the human experience, with all its ups and downs, and making the best of it. As you might guess, I apply the theories of positive psychology to the workplace, and I’m particularly interested in how our interactions and relationships with each other can build or erode engagement.
What do you like doing outside work?
I love bringing people together, and I’m on the committee of two local community groups, as well as spending lots of time with friends. I’m also a big fan of food and drink – both eating out and cooking – and most of my holiday choices are based around what there is to eat! And I really enjoy being at home with my partner and our cat – reading in my garden in the summer and curling up to watch a grisly murder mystery in the winter.
Finally, why did you join People Lab?
Employee engagement as a topic is so broad, complex and holistic – it provides real challenges and the chance to get into the ‘nitty gritty’ of organisational development. I love really getting under the skin of what makes people and organisations tick, and helping them unravel complexity to create clear plans for action. And who better to be working with than Emma – she’s just released the second edition of Employee Engagement: a Practical Introduction, designed the CIPD’s employee engagement courses and is a member of the Engage for Success ‘guru group’ – so she really knows what she’s doing!