Motivated to answer the call

Emmerson, 41, director of talent at Garlands Call Centres, describes how he
encourages his staff to be responsive and flexible

What does your role involve?

All aspects of people development, as well as management of HR
processes/practices and recruitment.

What is best/worst about this job?

The best are the variety, breadth and depth of the role as well as the fact
it’s both operational and strategic. One moment I maybe working on the design, development
and implementation of a rewards management piece across the business, and an
hour later assisting someone in getting a job who hasn’t been in employment for
a long time.

It’s great to see people develop in their roles and to see the business succeed
as a result. The worst has to be dealing with disciplinary or grievance issues
when situations could have been easily avoided.

What is your current major training project or strategic push?

We’re enhancing our approach to behaviourally driven performance management.
It’s exciting as it involves direct input from clients and end-users.

What’s your best career decision?

I moved out of a specialist training position and into a broader HR role. It
means I can offer the business more and it helps me better understand the
implication of our HR policies on the performance of the business.

Which of your qualifications do you most value and why?

My MBA. It’s helped considerably in my career development by teaching a broad
range of skills that’s enabled me to obtain operational credibility outside my
main area of specialisation.

How do you think your job will have changed in five years?

In general, I think there will be a move towards greater cross-functional
accountability at a director level – right across industry. This will help
businesses more efficiently deploy resources across all levels of their

What do you think will be the core skills for your job in the future?

Bringing business acumen and commercial awareness to the job will become
increasingly important, but we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that, as an HR
function, we should help establish and champion the core principles of our
company. In the case of Garlands, those principles are that, to deliver superb
service, we must be enabling, motivating, responsive and flexible. A
combination of solid business principles and sound commercial sense is a great

What advice would you give to someone new to training and development?

There is more to this job than course delivery. Make the time to get a full
understanding of the role and be prepared to learn.

What self-development have you undertaken in the past 12 months?

I’ve mainly focused on honing my general commercial business skills. I’ve
attended a number of management courses, including a problem-solving and
decision-making course organised by Kepler Tregoe – highly recommended.

Describe your management style

Informal, honest, succinct.

How do you network?

As a major employer within the Tees Valley region, it’s important that we
maintain strong links to the community. This involves linking with local
community groups, universities and councils to ensure that we have open and
direct lines of communication – as well as linking with local action and
support groups that we directly support thorough a community-focused people
development programme we call ‘Touch’. Networking is usually driven by the
medium-term requirements of the business.

Do you take work home with you?

No. I just don’t go home (only joking).

Q What is your motto?

There’s always a way to succeed.

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