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PK NEWS

Investing in our future



At Pearn Kandola, we are very committed to support and develop the next generation of business psychologists. As a result of our long standing relationship with the psychology departments of several UK universities, we regularly invite undergraduate students to apply to work with us on a year long contract every autumn. Earlier this month, after successfully completing our student assessment centre earlier in the year, we were delighted to welcome Sophy Brady-Halligan and Chloe Ryce, both third year undergraduate students studying for a degree in Psychology at Cardiff University as this years’ placement students. Sophy and Chloe will work closely alongside our team based in Oxford until summer 2018. They have already started working on several research projects and will be supporting and shadowing our psychologists on a wide range of client projects and workshops throughout the year.

Although I have only been here a short time, everyone at Pearn Kandola has made me feel very welcome and already provided me with lots of opportunities to shadow the psychologists and contribute to workshop design. It’s such a supportive and nurturing environment that I know when I return to University next year I will have gained a range of invaluable skills, a wealth of new knowledge, and a true understanding of what it means to be a business psychologist – which is exactly what I’d hoped for!’ commented Sophy.

Chloe added, “When I was looking for my third year placement, lots of people recommended Pearn Kandola very highly to me. I am very fortunate to have been given the opportunity of working at Pearn Kandola and have really enjoyed my time here. I am already working on lots of interesting projects and will be attending client development centres and workshops on an almost weekly basis, which is really exciting.”

The Prince’s Trust – International Leadership Programme 2017



Pearn Kandola is the Official Learning Partner of the the Prince’s Trust International. In support of this relationship, Prof Binna Kandola and Stuart Duff have been actively involved with the International Leadership Programme for the past five years providing leadership training and coaching support for the participants. Each programme has been hosted in a different country and attended by up to eighty high potential individuals who have a personal vision and goal to enhance their local community. The programme lasts for two weeks and brings together participants and speakers from around the world to share their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing today’s global leader.

At this year’s event, Binna and Stuart ran a number of highly interactive workshops focused on the Psychology of Leadership. Topics covered included building self-awareness, developing potential in others, leading teams, understanding motivation in others and how to persuade and influence. The evaluation of the programme by the delegates highlighted the specific value of these workshops and in particular, the iLEAD Toolkit, which was provided free to all participants, in developing new ideas and new ways of working.

To view the 2017 Summit Report click on the image below.



Switching on Africa



Pearn Kandola works with NewLight to design and run a Regional Manager Assessment Centre in Nairobi

Based in Nairobi, Kenya, NewLight Africa is a fast growing business that sells products which will change the lives of consumers in rural Africa for the better. These products, using the brand name “heya!”, include solar lights (70%), fuel efficient cook stoves, smart phones and more. NewLight promotes a vision where huge social change and commercial success can work hand in hand. By operating as a commercial enterprise it seeks to reach far greater numbers of people with benefits both to their wellbeing and to the environment.

NewLight currently covers two regions in Kenya but has plans to grow to 20 regions by 2018 and ultimately to spread across Africa. In addition to investment capital, expansion has been supported in the short term by EU funding but future growth is dependent on the successful appointment of new Regional Sales Managers.

In keeping with our corporate social responsibility undertaking, during September and October 2016 Pearn Kandola designed and ran an assessment centre to identify local Kenyan candidates with the skills, motivation and integrity to succeed in the role of Regional Sales Manager for the benefit of NewLight and its customers. Working with a very limited budget, the project was made possible through our ongoing commitment to support charitable work and community projects. A significant proportion of the design time on this project was delivered at no additional cost and our lead consultant, Laura Haycock, gave up her own time while on holiday in Kenya to set up and lead the first two assessment centres.

Commenting on the experience, Laura reported that working with NewLight was a rare privilege. The entrepreneurial energy of the team and the candidates, and their commitment to improve the lives of others was inspiring. The assessment centre approach worked well in the Kenyan context and gave the in-house team confidence in their selection decision. CEO Steve Andrews commented “Laura Haycock seriously delivered for us. She did an outstanding job for NewLight. It was a great process which we will use a lot in the future.”



L-R: Steve Andrews NewLight CEO, Linda Wamune Kenya MD, Doris Achola Regional Manager, Asu Owino Finance Manager.

Moving on



In spring this year, the decision was made to relocate the business into modern offices on the Langford Business Park in Kidlington, close to Oxford airport. Moving home we are told is a very stressful experience, but thanks to Laura Hollitzer’s meticulous planning and hard work, the move when it came on Friday 19 September went without a hitch.



First impressions of our new home are overwhelmingly positive. Located a few miles north of Oxford, road access is now a lot easier and quicker for most of our staff, while the office is much more spacious and bright. Our working area has been designed around flexible work area with new desks that facilitate working either sitting or standing. We also have a number of meeting rooms for privacy, several fitted with videoconferencing facilities, a large kitchen and a ‘chill out’ area with table tennis to facilitate the social side of life. The challenge is already on to identify the Pearn Kandola table tennis champion – on current form this could well be a battle between Rob Barkworth and Teju Banjo, although Stuart Duff and Binna Kandola have yet to declare their form. Who will be the Champ? We’ll know by Christmas!

PK People update

In October we welcomed two new placement students to our team. Harry Verner and Laura Williams, both psychology undergraduates at Cardiff University will be working with us in Oxford on a variety of research projects until June 2017.



On a sadder note, it is with great sadness that we learnt that Sylvia Downs, a former Pearn Kandola Partner passed away in July this year. She will be greatly missed.

Sylvia Downs (1926-2016) – An appreciation by Hazel McLaughlin

Supporting the next generation of psychologists

At Pearn Kandola, we understand the importance of investing in people and are keenly committed to helping develop the business psychologists of tomorrow. As a business we are actively involved across a range of initiatives that provide support to psychology students, something that brings real benefits to both sides. Stuart Duff, Partner at Pearn Kandola, says:
“We have always believed that it is absolutely critical to stay in touch with leading edge thinking and the best way to do that is to build relationships with universities who not only invest in research, but also in great people.”

Student placements

Over the past decade, we have built relationships with a number of universities, including Cardiff, the Institute of Work Psychology (IWP) in Sheffield, Aston and Leeds. As part of our relationship with Cardiff, we take on placement students from their BSc in Psychology course to work with us for a year and conduct research. This year’s student was Josh Linden, who started with us in October 2015. Josh says:
“When I was choosing a placement, I asked around and lots of people said that Pearn Kandola was one of the most reputable companies. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have really enjoyed the placement so far. I have been given quite a lot of work and responsibility, but all within my capabilities. Also, I have been attending development centres and workshops on an almost weekly basis, which has been really exciting.”
One of the most rewarding things is seeing the success that many of our placement students go on to achieve. Lizzie Townsend, who was our first placement student, is a great example. She came to Pearn Kandola on a placement from 2010-11.
“The year was brilliant,” she says. “It was really good to get practical experience of what it is like doing consulting.”
Upon completion of her studies, Lizzie then worked at Arup as a consultant, and in December 2015 returned to Pearn Kandola to take up a role as a psychologist. She says:
“I had always wanted to come back to Pearn Kandola. I like the type of work they do – particularly the diversity work, which no one else seems to be doing – and also the fact that all of their work is so embedded in research.”

Dissertation support

Pearn Kandola’s work with the IWP includes supporting students with their dissertations.
“Each year we sponsor two or three projects that involve discrete pieces of research with organisations,” says Stuart, “which is hugely useful to us because the research findings can then be applied directly in our solutions with organisations and the way that we approach coaching situations.”
In the past year, we have completed projects with two students: one which investigated scoring mechanisms for situational judgement tests by Joel Ockwell and the other which looked at individual differences in leadership emergence by Charlotte Axon.

Sponsoring prizes

We also help to support students by sponsoring prizes. We have sponsored the British Psychological Society/Division of Occupational Psychology Student Award of Excellence for several years. This year’s winner was Julie Jebsen from the University of Wolverhampton, whose project was on Sickness Presenteeism – Work over Health.
Pearn Kandola has also sponsored the best dissertation student prize at the IWP. This year’s prize was won by Kester Poon, with an excellent dissertation on Manager Flexibility as a Moderator of the HRM-Affective Commitment Relationship.



Celebrating 30 years

On 1 October 2014, Pearn Kandola celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Founded in 1984 by Binna Kandola and Michael Pearn, the business has grown to over 50 UK employees with a head office in Oxford, associates in Ireland, Australia, Portugal, Singapore and the US, and a technology business - PK Tech, in India. Over the 30 years that we have been operating, we have worked with some of the world’s biggest and best known companies, delivering projects in over 50 countries.
To celebrate our anniversary, we held an activity day in October for staff at the quirky Crazy Bear Hotel, where we took part in activities including archery, goose herding and welly throwing – and as you might expect, it all got very competitive! In the evening, employees and their partners enjoyed a fabulous dinner with magical entertainment, dancing and a big 30th birthday cake. The party was a great success – and a fantastic way to kick off our anniversary year in style.

New developments

Following on the success of Binna and Jo Kandola’s latest book on gender bias (The Invention of Difference), we published a set of three books called iLEAD Leadership Tools, edited by Stuart Duff in April 2015. This new publication draws upon the contributions of many current and former psychologists who have worked with us over the past 30 years, and focuses on People, Task and Thought leadership. More exciting publications are in the pipeline for next year together with an expanded range of online products – so watch this space!

Giving something back

This year we have continued to support the work of UK charity MOSAIC. Six members of staff supported the MOSAIC Enterprise Challenge day in February mentoring groups of students at Oxford Spires Academy in a national competition for young entrepreneurs focusing on developing ethical business practices. Stuart Duff also chaired the South East Regional finals.
In May, in support of the MOSAIC International Leadership Programme, Binna and Stuart spent a week in Jordan providing insights and expertise on a range of leadership challenges to 80 aspiring leaders from over 16 different countries.
We also continued our support of Pegasus Primary School by participating in a range of activities throughout the year including practical work to improve the school environment, such as gardening and painting classrooms, and raising funds to purchase educational materials.
Many members of our staff also took part in a wide range of activities too numerous to mention to raise money for charity throughout the year. One memorable example was Stuart cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End in May, taking only nine days and raising over £8,000.

People update

Rob Barkworth and Tracey Moggeridge both celebrated ten years with the business in 2015, and in September we welcomed two psychology students from Cardiff University - Eleri Mason and Neha Isaac, who joined us on placement until May 2015. We wish them well with their continuing studies.
Elizabeth Hill, or as she prefers to be known, Lig, and Cindey Baney both joined us this year as full time members of the Admin team. With Ruth away on maternity leave, Lig soon found herself in the hot seat looking after Binna’s diary as his new PA. Teju Banjo also joined us this year to support the development of our new online products, many of which will be launched next year.
This year has also seen a vigorous fitness competition emerge between all our employees following the introduction of the Fitbit quarterly challenge. As part of our anniversary celebrations we were all given a free Fitbit wrist band which measures the number of steps the wearer takes daily and encourages you to walk at least 10,000 paces or about 5 miles a day, and as an incentive the person who clocks up the most miles every 3 months wins a prize! The winning distance so far is 849 miles (that’s an average of 9.5miles/day) held by Lig!
However, the enduring memory of this year has got to be our mini Baby Boom. We welcomed the arrival of Nic Hammarling’s first child, Ella in August 2014, followed a few months later by the birth of Ruth Hunt’s son - Alistair in December. In June, Louise Weston left us to start her maternity leave and is expecting the arrival of her second child any day now.
As part of our continued growth, we recently appointed a new full time project manager and are currently recruiting to fill several new full time positions on our consultancy team: a senior diversity specialist, an assessment and development business psychologist and a German-speaking diversity specialist. Interested? We’d love to hear from you.