Nicole Rinaldi became director of professional services at IOSH in October 2021. Here, she looks back over her first few months and towards an exciting future for the OSH profession.
Nicole Rinaldi is very clear on what IOSH needs to do as she looks toward the future and in a post-pandemic world. ‘We must continue to be agile and able to adapt as the world of work continues to change, to ensure we provide what our members need now and in the future,’ she says.
She is determined that the OSH profession continues to play a key role in supporting businesses and that IOSH itself remains ‘a home for the professional life of members – one OSH professionals join at the beginning of their career and stay with’.
Nicole is just a few months into her role as IOSH’s director of professional services, having succeeded Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher following her step up to become chief executive.
Having held high-ranking positions at other professional bodies, most recently as director of membership at the Chartered College of Teaching, Nicole says she was drawn to IOSH by its vision and the crucial role its members play in keeping people safe and healthy at work every day.
‘When I researched IOSH and could see how much members contribute to making the world of work safe and healthy every day of their working lives, it struck me as a fantastic opportunity,’ says Nicole.
‘It was an opportunity to join an organisation that is working with key partners and stakeholders globally to support, enhance and influence the profession – one that is increasingly being recognised, partly as a result of COVID-19.’
Nicole has continued to be inspired by IOSH’s members since she started her role, particularly the lengths that its volunteers go to in order to support the Institution.
‘Meeting the team at IOSH and some of our members was a real highlight of my first few weeks,’ adds Nicole. ‘Of course, I’d have preferred to be able to meet with people face to face, but that hasn’t been possible because of the pandemic, a challenge not unique to IOSH. And it is a challenge we will continue to face for some time yet, but IOSH has demonstrated great agility in its response to the pandemic.’
As she looks to the future, Nicole says it is crucial that IOSH listens to what its members need. And with more than 48,000 members around the world at differing stages of their careers, she recognises this is no easy task.
‘I hope to be able to reach as broad a base of our members as possible, to capture and listen to what they need from us and, as a result, tailor goods and services to them,’ she says.
‘We also want to listen to our members’ feedback on the new products and services we are offering, and there will be many of these in 2022. We want to gather our members’ thoughts on these and to work with them to ensure they get full value from them and other aspects of their membership.’
Nicole adds that continuing to listen to members and partner organisations is crucial to ensuring IOSH keeps up with changes in workplaces and the resulting demands on OSH professionals, something she says is crucial for IOSH and other professional bodies to remain relevant. Through that, IOSH can ensure it is offering support in the right areas.
It was by doing this that IOSH devised its new campaign on social sustainability, Catch the Wave, which calls on businesses to ensure they put their people alongside planet and profit, and demonstrates that OSH holds the key to this.
‘We will continue to support members in this key area in the coming months,’ says Nicole. ‘At the same time, we will ensure we support them with the requirements they need in their day-to-day roles.’
Being agile and responsive remains crucial, she says, while ensuring the Institution upholds its strong governance structures and world-leading standards.
CV: At a glance
Oct 2021- present Director of professional services, IOSH
Apr 2020-Oct 2021- Director of membership, Chartered College of Teaching
Mar 2018-Apr 2020- Head of global membership and business development, Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
Nov 2012-Feb 2018- Head of business development, IMechE
Oct 2011-Oct 2012- Business development, Incisive Media
May 2006-Jun 2011- Various director and managerial roles, UBM Built Environment
All this and more will be woven into IOSH’s next strategy, which is being developed while the remaining deliverables of WORK 2022 are completed.
The new strategy, and all work conducted by IOSH, will be underpinned by high equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) standards, which members will be expected to adhere to. An ED&I lead has already been appointed at IOSH to embed the organisation’s own strategy and ensure it is central to everything it does.
‘It is really important to us that we are inclusive and diverse as an Institution and as a profession as a whole,’ adds Nicole.
While developing the new strategy is a key focus in the months that lie ahead, Nicole will continue taking great satisfaction from hearing about the success stories of IOSH members.
‘That really motivates me,’ she says. ‘I really enjoy opening LinkedIn and seeing our members post certificates and people being congratulated on becoming Chartered or becoming a Fellow.’
Top tips on self-development
When asked about where people should focus when thinking of self-development, Nicole is very clear on where the answer lies. ‘You cannot get away from the importance of CPD,’ she says. ‘You are always learning, developing new skills and discovering changes in the way people work.’
But CPD isn’t just about doing training courses, says Nicole. ‘There are many ways,’ she adds. ‘You can reflect on your own development needs and learn lots from colleagues. Reading IOSH magazine, getting to grips with a new regulation, taking on board something new from a colleague – it all counts.’