Top job: Andy Cross, director of HR, UnumProvident

Andy
Cross has joined disability insurer UnumProvident as HR director. The company
has about 800 staff at various offices around the UK. He has been promoted from
the position of training and development manager, but has also worked at Virgin
Atlantic and Friends Provident.

What
do you hope to achieve in your new role?

I
want to make a positive difference to as many people as possible. This means
shaping a company that is full of fresh ideas and where people enjoy being
there for our customers.

What
is the strangest situation you have been in at work?

In
a local swimming pool at 6am, dragging myself into a wet, slippery rubber life
raft with 10 other trainees to complete my accelerated cabin-crew safety
training. Later that month, passengers en route to Boston were confronted with
the worst junior crew member ever.

How
do you think the role of HR will change over the next five years?

I
don’t think it will change significantly. There are plenty of great examples of
HR contributing to the future of the organisation. I do, however, expect
admin-heavy HR to be tolerated less in the future.

What
is the essential tool in your job?

A
pen, to write down ideas, draw pictures and stir my coffee.

And
the most over-rated?

The
lazy use of any electronic communication, such as e-mail, which stops people
from really listening and talking to each other.

What
advice would you give to people starting out in HR?

Learn
to coach and help others do the same. Let people see the real you at work and
spend time doing what your customers do, so you can really understand  what’s at the heart of your business.

Do
you network?

It’s
not a term I tend to use, but I do have a small, diverse group of people I can
call on for advice and for testing ideas. I really enjoy visiting other
organisations for a fresh perspective and would like to find more time for
this.

If
you could do any job in the world what would it be?

I’d
love to write and illustrate children’s books, or be a sports coach for young
children.

Who
would play you in the film of your life and why?

It
would have to be Andy Garcia, which would guarantee that my wife would attend
the premiere and buy the video.

What’s
the worst/best office party you’ve ever attended?

The
best would have to be a Christmas party themed around a comic game show. At one
stage, myself and three other men were taken off stage, given our props of a
lumberjack shirt, builder’s helmet, lunchbox, banana and Diet Coke, and told we
had five minutes to perfect our routine before the music started.

Cross’s
CV

2003
Director of HR, UnumProvident

2002
Learning and development manager, UnumProvident

2000
Head of learning and development, Virgin Atlantic

1997
HR manager, Virgin Atlantic

Comments are closed.