Tim Painter is the new HR director at hotel company Travel Inn. He has also
joined the executive board and will be responsible for 6,500 staff across 300
sites. He joins from Endeva, a division of the Boxclever group, where he was
also HR director.
What will be the duties in your new role?
To ensure that Travel Inn is recognised as an employer of choice and that
all HR practices support this aspiration.
Which aspects are you most looking forward to?
Spending quality time around the business during the first few months, and
working as part of a great team.
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
Working at an Asda store on Christmas Eve and watching two men fighting over
the last Turkey on the shelf. They ended up pulling the Turkey apart, so
neither of them could have it.
How do you think the role of HR will change over the next five years?
I hope that HR will continue to evolve from being a ‘pay and rations’
support function to a strategic partner in pro-actively driving business
Who is the ultimate guru?
Completely unrelated to HR, it has to be Winston Churchill. He had the
ability to see the future and have the balls to articulate his views even when
they were dismissed by those around him, and his oratory was peerless.
What is your essential viewing?
Spooks, most televised sports, and (alarmingly) Pop Idol.
What’s the best thing about HR?
Am I allowed to say the fact that women tend to outnumber men by about 10 to
And the worst?
Often the same answer to the previous question.
How do you fill your spare time?
Playing golf, walking and drinking good wine.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
Probably taking the job of HR director at Endeva. Given we were about to
embark on a significant merger and creating an entirely new business, I was
short on experience and was always going to be on a steep learning curve. At
times it was tough, but I don’t regret it for a minute and I owe the business a
lot for giving me the chance.
What is the essential tool in your job?
My sense of humour.
And the most over-rated?
I would say competency framework – I’ve yet to work with one that delivers
tangible business benefits.
What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?
Influencing skills are of paramount importance. HR fails when it tells the
business what it should be doing, and succeeds when it can shape, persuade and
influence managers. Aspiring HR professionals should always remember this.
Do you network?
It hasn’t been my strength, but I’m getting better.
If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?
Professional golfer, or opera singer.
Who would play you in the film of your life and why?
I can’t think of a suitable actor, but anyone who could play a loveable
What’s the worst/best office party you’ve ever attended?
My leaving do at Endeva was great fun, but slightly embarrassing. My worst
memory was of a party at the company I worked for in my gap year. The party
itself was fine, but there was a competition for best drag act. I came third
and I ended up in the local paper.
2003 HR director, Travel Inn
1991 HR director, Endeva Service
1999 HR director, Thorn Managed Services
1997 Compensation and benefits manager, Thorn UK