Linda Burke, HR Manager at DPS Group Global
HR Manager at DPS Global Group, Linda Burke successfully completed her UCD Diploma in Organisational Change & Transformation at UCD Smurfit School.
Linda Burke chose the UCD Diploma in Organisational Change & Transformation programme as her first step on the pathway towards the MSc Business (Leadership & Management Practice). “The masters is my goal,” she says. “I have the other two programmes picked out already. The Executive and Business Coaching Diploma aligns quite closely with my role as HR Manager at DPS Group Global. The other is the Leadership Development Diploma as I want to develop my own leadership capability as well as support leaders in the business. I haven’t signed up for them yet. I want to give myself a breather having just finished the first programme.”
Having begun her career in financial services before moving into the property development sector, she joined DPS Group Global in June 2019. The fast-growing global engineering and project management company serves clients in the life sciences and advanced manufacturing sectors and employs 2,400 staff in 17 locations around the world.
A HR management graduate from National College of Ireland (NCI), she decided to embark on the UCD Masters pathway to add commercial acumen to her HR expertise. “Since qualifying from NCI I had mainly focused on employment law. When I came to DPS I started looking at what I wanted to do next. I was looking for ways to increase my competence and confidence when leading organisational change initiatives. I have always been interested in workplace behaviours and I wanted a course that would offer further insights into the psychology of change.”
The course content was very important for her choosing the programme. “I wanted to be sure of what I was going to get out of it. Smurfit is internationally recognised and that was very important as well.”
The programme structure also mattered. “With six two-day modules over six months, I could fit it into my work life. There was a lot of pre-reading and preparation work to do but it was still manageable.”
It also aligned perfectly with DPS Group Global’s core value of continuous improvement.
“The company is constantly seeking to improve its employee value proposition both to retain and attract new talent. In 2022 we will be launching new and exciting initiatives designed to ensure DPS retains and enhances its reputation as an Employer of Choice”
The programme both met and exceeded her expectations. “I had high expectations going in. I expected a lot of hard work and was pleased it to find it was manageable. I thought that doing five or six modules online might be challenging but because we started out that way it wasn’t too bad. The lecturers were top class and UCD places so much emphasis on academic excellence. We also had very good guest speakers to give lectures. We were invited to alumni events as well. The group project work meant that we were able to develop good relationships even though we were participating remotely. I got to build a great network with the other participants.”
And it has already helped her in her career. “The practical aspect of the course is very important,” she explains. “The modules were so relevant to what I am working on. We were given so many frameworks and tools and disruption models and we were asked to apply the learnings to real life situations in our own companies. I have refined my thinking as a result of what I learned. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.”
Among the most important lessons for her was the critical importance of preparation to the success of any change initiative. “The programme opened my eyes to the massive level of groundwork that needs to be done. It’s not a case of just saying here’s a new thing we are rolling out. It can take months or even years to build up to it. Preparation is key.”
It’s all about winning hearts and minds and among the standout modules for her was the one covering Individual Level Interventions. “That dealt with the importance of emotional intelligence for leadership and influencing and how important it is for people in leadership roles. It is a source of power and influence. It made you reflect on your own emotional intelligence. Having good emotional intelligence means that when you are trying to introduce change and improvement you are able to read the room. You know when it’s right to press on or pull back. With any change, a lot of it comes down to the importance of people. If you are trying to introduce a new system or technology, it’s all about people in the end.”
She emphasises the relevance of the course to real world workplace. “It is really relevant. Organisations are constantly evolving and how you adopt and embrace change will have a positive impact on your career. Having completed course, I now have tools and techniques to more effectively initiate, design and lead change. It’s a lot of hard work but it was really great”
She also calls out the high degree of connection and learning between participants. “That was fantastic. There were great connections and interactions between people in the class. There was a lot of vicarious learning involved and my classmates contributed greatly to the programme. There was a great class dynamic great even though we were participating remotely. Learning from each other’s experiences was fantastic. It was great that we were able to meet in person at the end of the course and we have plans to meet in future. Because you are in a class with different people, different individuals with diverse perspectives facing different challenges, you learn about different approaches. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.”