Top job: Annette Capper, HR director, development, TDG

Where were you working before, and what were your responsibilities?

I spent 17 years at Powergen, working in a range of HR roles, but eventually specialised in recruitment. When I left five years ago, I decided to get experience in different sectors, before joining TDG as recruitment manager.

What qualifications do you hold?

I’m a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.

What are the duties in your new role?

Learning and development, resourcing and HR administration.

What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?

Finding a happy partnership with technology. HR is all about ‘people’. While we need to harness the power of technology, we must not forget that “it’s good to talk.”

What is the most overrated tool in your job?

E-mail – my team know that I absolutely hate those one-line e-mails that just say “thanks”. We all suffer from ‘inbox overload’.

What work tool would you like to see invented?

A Star Trek transporter (yes – I’m a Trekkie). Many times I’ve sat on the M6 and longed to say “Beam me up, Scotty”.

What is the worst thing about HR?

We’re not very good at saying ‘no’ and we set ourselves some impossible deadlines. Sometimes there are legal ones that have to be met, but other times we need to be more realistic.

How do you wind down after a bad day in the office?

DVDs are great for the hours I keep. I’ve just finished the complete series of The West Wing and have now started on The Sopranos.

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

My son James was seriously ill 18 months ago and I spent several months in a ‘bubble’, split between home/work/hospital.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Approachable, pragmatic, democratic.

What was your lucky break?

My early career was as a PA. When my line manager took early retirement, he encouraged me to move into an HR role.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Hillary Clinton – it doesn’t matter how many times she gets knocked down, she always bounces back.

What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?

It’s never too late – I was 33 when I started studying for my CIPD qualifications.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Changing career direction at 30 and then studying for CIPD qualifications with two small children.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Everything happens for a reason – so don’t beat yourself up when things go wrong.


Capper’s CV

  • Mar 2008-present: HR director, development, TDG (logistics)
  • Sep 2007-Feb 2008: Head of resourcing and learning, TDG
  • Apr 2006-Aug 2007: Recruitment manager, TDG
  • Apr 2005-Mar 2006: HR administration services manager, Tarmac (building materials)
  • May 2004-Mar 2005: Freelance HR consultant
  • Apr 2003-May 2004: Resourcing manager, Severn Trent Water
  • 1986-2003: Various business and HR roles, Powergen

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