Jane Bilcock has been appointed HR director at Entertainment UK, a wholesale distributor of home entertainment products. She joins the company after running her own consultancy for five years, focusing on organisational development and coaching.
What will be the duties in your new role?
In practice, it’s a very commercially-focused role, working with the board and other key leaders, supported by my team, to enable our managers to make the most of their people.
What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
I want to ensure we have a rich talent pool in place to deliver accelerated, sustainable growth.
Which aspects are you most looking forward to?
I have to say, being back in the cut and thrust of a business leadership team, seeing through the results of your decisions – it’s the thing I missed most as a consultant.
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
Six months into my first job, I escaped to an operating company, only to be told that either my business or its sister firm would go. With no HR boss at the time, we had to produce rival survival plans. I had to make 200 people redundant. At 21 years old, that’s a tough call.
How will HR change over the next five years?
I hope we can move on from worrying about whether we are valued if we don’t have a place on the board. I’ve worked with some amazing HR leaders over the years and they just get on with it, not being afraid to voice an opinion and make a lasting difference to their business.
What is your essential viewing?
EastEnders and The Office.
What is the best thing about HR?
It’s great fun, impacting all aspects of the business – if it’s the right business for you.
And the worst?
It’s pretty tedious if it’s the wrong business for you.
How do you fill your spare time?
I ride my two horses and compete in one-day events.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
Setting up my own business. It was also one of my best decisions.
What is the essential tool in your job?
Experience blended with a sense of humour.
And the most over-rated?
Fancy performance management systems that can mask the fundamental need for full and frank feedback.
What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?
Search long and hard for the right business for you. Then learn all you can about it and make sure you have the skills and the passion to make your views valued.
Who would play you in the film of your life and why?
I’d love someone terribly glamorous to play me, but it’s never going to happen, so I won’t worry about it!
Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
The prospect of being stuck in a lift at all is scary, so they’d have to be very entertaining. Michael Palin would be good.
2004 HR director, Entertainment UK
1999 Principal, Strategem Consulting
1998 HR director, Europe, Hallmark Inc
1997 HR director, retail services, Barclays
1991 Executive compensation director, GlaxoSmithKline