Top job: Denise Keating

Denise Keating, head of people proposition, Marks & Spencer

Denise Keating joined M&S from Nationwide Building Society, where she
was responsible for reward and recognition, employee relations, diversity and
developing corporate employment strategies. At the Personnel Today Awards last
year, Keating’s team won the Department for Work and Pensions Award for Age Positive
at Work.

Which aspects are you most looking forward to?

In the long term, I have a vision of driving business performance through
people and to do this I need to put in place measures that link the two and
drive pressure for change.

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

Leading organisations are waking up to the fact that people are the only
true differentiation. The world of work will change significantly, with people
working in different ways and the boundaries between home and work becoming
blurred. There is a real opportunity to think outside the box and create more
of an exciting experience for people.

Who is the ultimate guru?

Dave Ulrich or Gary Hamel.

What’s the best thing about HR?

The challenge of being able to make a difference.

And the worst?

Too many people bogged down in paper processes.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Switching organisations – you have to start from scratch and build
credibility in an already established environment.

What is the essential tool in your job?

Professional knowledge and experience supported by people metrics.

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

Keep up to date with your professional knowledge, be prepared to challenge the
status quo and break down any barriers that are put in your way.

Do you network?

Extensively, with peers, other leading organisations, employer forums and
government bodies.

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

Chief executive of a leading company.

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

Richard Gere in Pretty Woman because he found out that breaking things up
(companies) just to make money wasn’t as good as it appeared and also, that you
must hold on to things (Julia Roberts) that are precious to you.

Keating’s CV

2002 Head of people proposition,
Marks & Spencer

1991 Head of corporate personnel, Nationwide Building Society

1979 Personnel manager, Volkswagen Audi Group (UK)

1978 Administration manager, Comet

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