Where were you working before, and what were your duties?
I was with Norwich Union Healthcare as HR business partner to the finance, distribution, HR and customer divisions. The role involved facilitating strategic change, coaching, procuring and monitoring HR services for these teams.
What qualifications do you hold?
A Masters in strategic HR management and I’m a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the Chartered Management Institute. I also have various psychometric qualifications, including OPQ, MBTI and Firo-B.
What are the duties in your new role?
I am responsible for a team of 14 who deliver personnel, training and assessment support to an employee base of 1,600. My role is to create an HR strategy for the chief executive which fits our business needs of growth and expansion, while maintaining high standards in care delivery. This involves rolling out a competency model, building in management development opportunities and reviewing our approach to retention.
What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?
Recognising that the Ulrich model [of business partnering] doesn’t fit all organisations and cultures. Increasing legislation and recruitment and retention within the care sector.
What is the essential tool in your job?
And the most overrated?
E-mail. Once you’re on a distribution list you get everything from everyone.
What is the worst thing about HR?
Getting caught in the detail when what the business needs is a strategic focus.
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
Interviewing candidates while rats ran across the patio windows in the background.
How do you fill your spare time?
Redesigning my house and garden.
Who is your ultimate hero?
Mandela for his lack of anger and his ability to forgive and forge a new strategy.
What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?
In general, euphemisms and acronyms.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Different, creative and caring. However, in true HR form I asked for some feedback: my training team described me as open, motivated and positive. My personnel team described me as creative, fun and generous.
What is your most popular web page?
At work, the Altavista search engine, because it leads to so many other informative sources. At home, eBay.
What song gets you on the dance floor?
Anything by Robbie Williams.
What is your worst habit?
Worrying about worrying.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
Giving up a job as a television director to return to college for my Institute of Personnel Management qualification. Not only did I lose money – what if it hadn’t worked out?
What three items would you take with you on a desert island?
My family, a toothbrush, and spider repellent.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
Doris Day, because she was chic, unique and could sing. If I’d had the talent, I would have been an opera singer.
2007: Director of HR and training, Care South,
2005-2006: HR business partner, Norwich Union Healthcare
2004-2005: HR business partner, telephone distribution, Abbey
2003-2004: Recruitment consultant, BBC
1998-2002: HR business partner, Barclays Bank
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