Top job: Joe Healey, head of HR, First Rate Travel Services


Joe Healey has been appointed head of HR at travel company, First Rate Travel Services. In his new role, Healey aims to develop HR into a cutting-edge function that is integral in delivering business growth.


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


My last corporate role was vice-president of HR at hotel reservation company, Utell. More recently, I have been working as a consultant with companies in Ireland.


What will be the duties in your new role?


To lead and develop the HR function for First Rate Travel Services.


Which aspects are you most looking forward to?


Being able to shape and develop HR services and practices in the way in which I believe HR should be operating.


How will HR change over the next five years?


Greater definition around a larger ‘specialist’ group, which provides services to the business, and a smaller group of generalists (with wider business knowledge), who are business partners for middle and senior managers.


Who is your ultimate guru?


No one person in particular, but I do think Charles Handy speaks a lot of common sense and has great perception.


What is the best thing about HR?


The diversity of the role and the ability to make a difference for individuals and the business as a whole.


And the worst?


The diversity of the role.


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


I found myself trying to cheer up a colleague in hospital who had an accident falling off a quad bike at a ‘motivational event’. I had to be careful not to make him laugh too much, as he had three cracked ribs.


How do you fill your spare time?


Travelling and golf – preferably both!


What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?


Jet boating in New Zealand with a driver who seemed to have a death wish.


What is the essential tool in your job?


A mind that works and an ability to communicate effectively.


And the most over-rated?


Any device that claims it can synchronise easily!


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


Get a good grounding in one or two specialist areas – preferably in a ‘customer services’ environment.


What would be your ideal job?


I already have it, although I wish it would move closer to home.


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


I don’t like to be stuck in lifts!


Healey’s CV


2004 Head of HR, First Rate Travel Services


2003 Consultant, Aardvark HR


2001 Vice-president HR, Utell


2000 HR director Europe, Rosenbluth International


1997 HR general manger, Rosenbluth International

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