Ask the Graduate: Organisation Development Advisor

RO Central Team - Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Posted 20 days ago


Day In The Life: Nima Assadi (Organisation Development Advisor

About me: Hello, I'm Nima, I’m 26 and I studied Maths, Physics, and Biology at A Level and completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Sheffield. I chose to study an Engineering degree because it allowed me to build on my STEM knowledge and further settled on Mechanical Engineering because it covered the most areas within the discipline.

Current Job: I am an Organisation Development Advisor in the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion team within Human Resources at the University of Sheffield. The University is a large organisation with over 8000 staff and almost 30,000 students from over 150 countries; my role involves ensuring that the University is a place where anyone, regardless of who they are, can fulfil their potential in a respectful and dignified manner. Prior to this role, I worked at the University of Sheffield as a Graduate Intern and then at Sheffield Hallam University as an Insight Analyst.

A Typical Day: My days are built on a foundation of toast, tea, and scrambled eggs. I cycle to work and I’m in the office by 08:30. This gives me 30 minutes before most people are in - vital time that allows me to prepare for the day before I have to attend any meetings. I take the paternoster up to my floor (The paternoster is a pretty big deal at the University of Sheffield, you can see what it is here: and the first thing I do when I’m at my desk is to check my emails. The main form of communication in many organisations is via email and if you don’t stay on top of it, it can pile up quickly. I do a quick scan of my unread emails to see if there are any urgent matters that need my attention. I then quickly plan my day/week, updating my calendar as I go along. The University of Sheffield, like many organisations, uses Google for its mail, calendar, and online storage solutions so knowing how to use them properly is a basic requirement.

The easiest way to describe my role is that I analyse data, read and understand laws, reports, and guidance from experts, and keep up to date with relevant issues to work with colleagues across the University to provide accurate and accessible advice to change procedures and guidelines. Or to put it simply, I provide accurate advice to anyone to contacts me regarding the way the University is run. At any one moment I can be working on anything from responding to Freedom of Information requests from newspapers, writing a report that will be sent to a committee, updating webpages with new information, or manipulating data to highlight key trends. The variety of work means that I need to be multi-skilled and ready to learn new systems and processes quickly. I also line manage two other staff members which means that I’m responsible of delegating work to them, ensuring that their making progress, and that they don’t have any issues.

Unless I have other commitments, lunchtime is at 12:00 for me. My go to place for getting lunch is John’s Van where I have a chicken, chorizo, sausage, bacon sandwich with mustard. There are various University owned places to grab lunch/sit down to eat but since the University of Sheffield is a city campus, local restaurants and shops are just a short walk away. Lunchtime is a great way to take a break from work and catch up with friends and colleagues.

No two days are the same and I have to put on a variety of hats in my role! I can be providing training to staff, meeting with key stakeholders to discuss the progress of various projects, or researching a particular topic. Data is becoming a more and more important part of any organisation and so a degree in Engineering means that I can comfortably work with various types of data in order to draw out key findings and backup suggested actions with evidence. For example, I am currently working on reviewing the recruitment systems and practices at the University, using internal data and external reports to understand challenges and identify best practices. Towards the end of the day, I finish up anything that I’m working on so that I can pick it up later and look ahead to the coming days to see what upcoming items I need to be prepared for.

After work: In my current role, unless it’s urgent, I don’t have to do anything outside of normal working hours but whether it’s a pub quiz, a charity walk in the Peak District, or Falafel Friday, there's plenty to get stuck in with around the University.


Please ask me any questions you have about my degree, job or the journey I took to get here by 18 November. I look forward to hearing from you!


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