Top job… Glen Walker, head of HR, Action for Blind People

What is your new role?

Head of HR at Action for Blind People, a national charity for blind and partially-sighted people.

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

My background has been in the public and not-for-profit sector, most recently head of HR operations for Look Ahead Housing and Care.

What qualifications do you hold?

An MA in HR management. I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and I am currently in the process of making an application to upgrade to Fellow membership.

What are your duties in your new role?

I will be responsible for devising, implementing and managing the HR strategy, encompassing all aspects of resourcing, employee relations and learning and development. I will report directly to the chief executive, but work closely with directors and function heads in shaping the HR service delivered.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

To shape the HR service, so that it supports business growth and adds value to the organisation.

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

Increased legislation.

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

Get an overview of all the business areas that you support, understand their needs and requirements and remain flexible to them.

What is the essential tool in your job?

Listening to your customers and responding to their needs.

And the most overrated?

Competencies.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Being seen as reactive, not proactive, and only being used to resolve problems in the workplace.

Who is your ultimate guru?

Sue Lewis, who started me off on the yellow brick road of HR.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

‘Walk the talk’.

What is your essential TV viewing?

Flog It, Antiques Roadshow, Cash in the Attic (there is a running theme, here). And Green Wing – it is amazing how accurately it reflects not only HR, but also the NHS.

How do you fill your spare time?

Photography, travel and the odd extreme sport – zorbing (rolling downhill inside an inflatable ball) and white-water rafting.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Leaving a full-time job, which I detested, for a two-week temporary contract for an HR department, more than 10 years ago.

What is the best (or worst) office party you have ever attended?

Most office parties are a minefield for HR issues these days. I tend to steer clear – after all, who else will be able to conduct the investigations afterwards?

Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?

CV

May 2006- present Head of HR, Action for Blind People

Feb 2006- May 2006 Special projects manager, Islington Council

May 2003- Feb 2006 Head of HR operations, Look Ahead Housing and Care

May 2001- May 2003 Project manager, Kings College London

Jul 2000- May 2001HR manager, National Blood Service

Feb 1999- Jul 2000 Senior personnel officer, Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Trust

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