Top job: Sharon Benson

Sharon Benson, HR director, Trinity-Chiesi Pharmaceuticals

What is your new role?

HR director at Trinity-Chiesi Pharmaceuticals, the UK affiliate of Italian pharmaceuticals company Chiesi Farmaceutici.

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

I was head of HR for the same company. However, in recognition of the contribution the department has made to the overall success of the company, the status of the role has been elevated to HR director.

What qualifications do you hold?

A postgraduate diploma in HR management.

What are the duties in your new role?

To be responsible for the creation and implementation of an HR strategy that will support and drive the organisation’s plans to quadruple turnover within the next five years. I report to the managing director and am well supported by a fantastic team of three.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

To continue building on the foundations we have laid over the past 12 months, which have been recognised both internally, with the introduction of this post, and externally, with our selection as finalists for this year’s Personnel Today Awards. We are looking to quadruple our cash turnover while only doubling our headcount, which means that we’ll need to work much smarter to deliver enhanced performance levels.

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

Driving forward the reputation of HR away from being perceived purely as the administration of processes and ‘policing’ people to a function that is integral to business success. We need to demonstrate that we add value to our business that can be measured.

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

Understand that we are solution providers – it is not the role of HR to dictate what managers can and cannot do. There is a lot more to HR than is outlined in employment law. You need to be aware that a significant part of your role will be behind the scenes and can, therefore, go unnoticed.

What is the essential tool in your job?

The most important is the team. Without them performing at the consistently high level they do, we would not have managed to deliver in the way that we have.

And the most overrated?

E-mail.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Being perceived as a purely administrative department and cost container. We start with negative perceptions about HR, as opposed to being on a level playing field with other functions of the business.

What is your essential TV viewing?

Definitely has to be Lost, Huff, CSI and Thomas the Tank Engine, from my childhood.

What is your most popular web page?

As a huge Madonna fan, it would have to be www.madonnalicious.com.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

I Don’t Feel Like Dancing, by the Scissor Sisters.

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

My friends and colleagues say Julianne Moore because I ‘allegedly’ look like her.

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

Gary Dourdan -Warrick Brown from CSI. Gorgeous eyes.

CV

Present HR director, Trinity-Chiesi Pharma­ceuticals

April 2004-September 2006 Head of HR, Trinity-Chiesi Pharma­ceuticals

June 2003-February 2004 HR manager, Sesame Services

March 2000-May 2003 Head of HR division, Carole Nash Insurance Consultants

April 1997-March 2000 Personnel officer/ rewards and benefits manager, Hammonds (Suddards

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