How did you get to where you are now?
I began working in personnel, as it was known then, with The Boots Co. I was a regional manager covering 32 stores and was also responsible for training. I took a 10-year career break to bring up my two children then tried to return to HR, which is when the real hard work began. It was difficult to return as things had changed and moved on in HR and agencies were not interested in putting me forward for roles.
I retrained and gained more qualifications on a women return to work programme with the Chamber of Commerce before taking up an HR manager’s role with British Sugar. From there I accepted a standalone HR manager’s role in a private manufacturing company employing 215 personnel. By sheer hard work and determination I implemented a change management programme which involved many months of tough negotiation with the trade union and consultations with employees. When I left recently after four years to take on my current role, both the MD and I were very happy with the results. I now want to take a more strategic approach in my current diverse business where I am dealing with law professionals. This position has been my goal and I believe everyone can achieve theirs if they have faith in themselves and are prepared to work hard.
What do you spend the majority of your time at work doing?
It’s a fairly balanced mix of working on strategies for improvement as part of the management committee and dealing with day-to-day issues – which may appear trivial, but if left unattended, could become major issues.
Which three attributes do you need to do your job?
Patience, determination, honesty
What legislation causes you most headaches?
Grievance and disciplinary procedures. They are very time-consuming as attention to detail is crucial to reduce risk to firm. It will be interesting to see whether the proposed mediation reforms improve things.
How do you keep up with changing legislation?
CIPD updates, attending employment law seminars, LawNet.
What are the common challenges you face in your profession?
It’s all about people issues. In this fast changing, diverse world we have to adapt and develop constantly to survive and persuading people to come out of their comfort zone is our biggest challenge.
What’s the best part of your job?
When the results of a strategy come together and people acknowledge and see the benefits. It’s then that people accept that HR does have a direct effect on the bottom line that is tangible.
What keeps you awake at night?
My teenage daughter. (No, I joke, she is currently at university studying law.) Not much actually. If you give your all at work you need a balance when you get home.
What’s the most outrageous case you’ve ever had to deal with?
A bullying disciplinary where despite having statements from six eye witnesses the culprit denied any wrong-doing. He was dismissed.
What would be in your Room 101?
Political correctness, just for the sake of it. Negative thoughts. Recruitment agencies that refuse to look outside the box. Chefs who refuse to cook meat the way you like it .
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who made a positive difference.
- June 2004 – present human resources manager, Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres (tyre manufacturer)
- 2004 (fixed-term contract) human resources adviser, Churchill Insurance/Royal Bank of Scotland (financial services)
- 2002 – 2004 Human resources manager, British Sugar
- 2000 – 2002 Training coordinator, Chamber of Commerce, Newark
- 1990 – 2000 Self employed personnel & training consultant
- 1980 – 1988 Personnel manager, Boots