Brighthouse human resources boss judged by sofa sales successes

The HR director at rent-to-own firm Brighthouse has been set sales targets as he strives to make the people management department more business-focused.

Simon Bion, who joined the company last July, will be judged on the volume of product sales made by the retailer, among other goals.

He told Personnel Today that the targets had prompted him to make changes to sales training, and focused him on the challenge to make the company’s HR department more strategic.

“HR has to have credibility by adding value to the business,” he said.

“I have a shared objective with the operations director to increase furniture sales. It is refreshingly different and helps focus my mind on business activities.

“If I am to achieve it I need to change the training and development of staff, so I am reshaping that.”

Sales staff now spend less time learning about their products and more time on sales techniques.

Bion has also placed a new divisional HR manager on a four-week induction course to further reinforce the business-focus message.

Simon Piper, who will look after people management across the south of England, will train as a sales adviser, work in the service centre, and deliver furniture to houses before joining the HR team.

“This is part of us saying [that HR] understands the business,” said Bion.

Brighthouse employs 1,200 people across 150 retail outlets. Its main business is selling domestic appliances, often to people with poor credit ratings.

The firm has attracted criticism for charging high interest rates.

Bion joined the company following a two-year spell as group HR director at failed furniture retailer Courts. He has also worked at Woolworths.

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