Top job: Sheila Murphy

Where were you working before and what were your duties?

I was working for Fashion Brand House as an HR manager. I was involved in implementing strategic HR initiatives, including policy and procedures, performance assessments, recruitment and selection, disciplinary and grievance, induction, performance management
and health and safety. I also advised directors and senior management on employment legislation.

What are the duties in your new role?

My duties are very similar to my last job. I have two part-time HR payroll and administrative staff, and I report into the finance director.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

To provide a professional, quality service and work as part of a team to change the workplace culture.

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

The two main challenges are finding skilled people and keeping up with legislation.

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

Read, read and read. Keep up-to-date with what is happening in HR.

What is the essential tool in your job?

The internet.

And the most over-rated?

HR consultancy services.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Not having enough time in the day, as well as the politics, and the number of employment laws we are expected to comply with and implement.

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

Skidding on snow and ice into an employee’s stationary car on my second day.

Who is your ultimate guru?

[Leadership expert] John Adair. His work has helped me develop my own leadership skills and the advice that I have been able to give to others.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

Anything that needs a dictionary to decipher it.

What is your essential TV viewing?

Any soap series, but I really enjoy EastEnders, Emmerdale and Coronation Street, as they help me switch off and unwind.

Who would you most dislike to work with?

Sir Alan Sugar.

How do you fill your spare time?

Reading, walking my dog and catching up with friends.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Leaving the Royal Air Force after 12 years.

What is your most popular web page?

It is a tie between and the website for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls.

What would be your dream job?

Working in a plush office with someone fielding my calls and organising my diary.

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

Julie Walters because of her sense of humour and ability to switch characters, something we in HR have to be able to do.

What is the best office party you ever attended?

I enjoyed them all.

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

Hugh Grant.


Mar 2006-present: HR manager, Fredericks Dairies

Apr 2003-Feb 2006: HR manager, Fashion Brand House

Oct 1991-Mar 2003: HR officer, Lever Fabergé

Apr 1990-Oct 1991: Recruitment manager, ORS Recruitment

Apr 1978-Apr 1990: Non-commissioned officer, Royal Air Force

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