From care homes to dentistry - an interview with Ian Sandford

20 years at Bupa - an interview with HR Business Partner, Ian Sandford.

How and why did you decide to forge a career in HR?

I first thought about going into HR during my Psychology degree as the ‘work’ related areas were of the most interesting part of the course for me. Specifically, the questions of “What can we do to help people be happier in their jobs?” and “How can we help them be more effective in doing so?” Those questions still interest me.

You’ve worked in various areas of Bupa over the years, tell us about your journey to becoming a HR Business Partner here at Bupa Dental Care?

I joined Bupa in a field-based HR Advisor role for care services supporting the care homes along the M4 and M5 corridors. Four days out of five I would be traveling to one or two care homes to assist with training, coaching, disciplinaries, investigations, grievances etc, and working closely with the area management team.

The role was pretty much the same for the next 15 years until when all the different HR teams across the business were combined and the role became of a HR project manager covering all of Bupa UK. It was great to experience different parts of the Bupa business (Insurance, clinics etc) and see projects through to a conclusion.

I joined Bupa Dental two years ago as I wanted to be back in the operational world again.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of your current role?

The most challenging (and rewarding) part of my role is one that is common across a lot of our roles, the need on occasion to drop everything else and pick up something urgent that has just come on the horizon. This is the nature of being in a sector where decisions made by external bodies (the Government, NHS, BDA etc) can suddenly affect our practices.

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Ian Sandford - HR Business Partner Bupa Dental Care

Ian Sandford, HR Business Partner, Bupa Dental Care

"The people working at Bupa make it different from other companies."

Ian Sandford - HR Business Partner Bupa Dental Care

“The people working at Bupa make it different from other companies. A very common comment I hear from new starters is that their new co-workers are helpful and supportive. This culture is our difference.”

You’ve worked for some well-known organisations, what makes Bupa different?

The people working at Bupa make it different from other companies. A very common comment I hear from new starters is that their new co-workers are helpful and supportive. This culture is our difference

Looking back at your time with Bupa, what achievements are you most proud of? And what makes you smile?

It is always a good feeling when somebody that you have coached and supported over a period of time gets promoted and does a great job in their new role. The three-month secondment in Melbourne with Bupa Australia Insurance was also very pleasant!

I still have an office in one of the care homes and it always makes me smile when I walk in and see the Residents either eating or relaxing in the lounge being well cared for and happy. It puts things in perspective.

What would you say to anyone thinking about whether to apply for a role in the Dental business?

As a lean and up-and-coming business, you can quickly make a difference if you have the drive and ability. Plus, the people are great.

Our practice culture

Our culture is centered around going above and beyond for patients. Whether you’re working with patients directly or indirectly, you’ll be based within an empowering environment to give your all to create positive experiences and broad smiles.

Our caring approach extends to our employees too. It’s why we’re so big on training, development, and progression. It’s also why our practices are such friendly, collaborative places – people quickly become friends as well as colleagues.

Bupa Dental Care Dentist - London

Why we're different

As the only corporate dental provider in the UK not backed by private equity, we’re in a unique position. We’re committed to the UK dental industry for the long-term – both private and NHS – and are ready to treat not just today’s patients, but generations to come.

Furthermore, Bupa has no shareholders, so we’re able to focus 100% on delivering the best service for customers. We are run commercially to ensure we remain competitive, but we reinvest 100% of our profits to help provide better care for patients across the world.

Why not join us today? You can find our latest vacancies here.

dentist and patient smiling into a mirror

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