week Stuart Priday, HR director at Odeon Cinema, and Lynn Jack, HR director at
Blockbuster Europe, compare notes on their careers in the film and entertainment
1 What are your main responsibilities?
SP To deliver HR solutions that meet Odeon’s objectives and promote
best practice at over 100 locations across the UK.
LJ Providing HR support to both the UK and European markets and
covering the whole spectrum of HR functions. We look after all aspects from
reward and recognition to training and recruitment. We’re a one-stop shop for
human resources within the organisation.
2 What’s the pay like?
LJ Pretty favourable
3 How flexible are the hours?
SP Very flexible. Essentially it is down to me to manage my time and
resources effectively in order to get the job done. I can’t be accused of
flouting the working time regulations!
LJ There’s a lot of flexibility in the way I work. Our core opening
hours are 11am to 11pm, seven days a week, so I have to be responsive to that
and play fair.
4 What do you like about the job?
SP I work with a fantastic bunch of people and never cease to be
enthused by the passion and commitment of Odeon employees at every level.
LJ I love the look on people’s faces when they are really recognised
for what they do and fulfil their potential. I also enjoy it when actions are
taken at a high level in the company because of suggestions or ideas from staff
on the shopfloor.
5 What are the challenges?
SP Consolidating two businesses following the sale of Odeon by the
Rank group last year and the subsequent merger of Odeon and ABC cinemas. While
both companies were essentially in the business of exhibiting films, the
cultures were hugely different.
LJ Identifying the needs of every single employee in the company all
of the time. You have to keep your eye on the business to keep a broad strategy
without losing touch with what’s going on inside your own company.
6 What is your biggest headache?
SP The continued increase of regulation.
LJ Being a perfectionist! It’s difficult to manage my own impatience.
7 What size is your team?
SP There are eight of us, we have a very flat structure and I guess
you would say we are a bunch of generalists. The majority of our resources are
deployed in the field where I believe we can have the most influence over the delivery
of best practice.
LJ We have an HR team of 20 people.
8 Who do you report to?
SP Richard Segal, chief executive.
LJ Alex Sparks, managing director, and Chris Wyatt, the international
9 What qualifications do you have?
SP City & Guilds in Hotel and Catering.
LJ Post graduate diploma in HR and CIPD qualified.
10 What are your career aspirations?
SP I enjoy what I do and don’t give it much thought. Maybe one day I
will fulfil a dream to own and manage my own hotel.
LJ To build a legacy of HR at Blockbuster. In the future I’d also
love to live in Canada one day, but still work for an international company.
11 What training and development opportunities are there?
SP Adapting in an atmosphere of rapid change brings with it constant
development opportunities, so much so it is now becoming the routine.
LJ We have lots of training for different levels, so when someone new
joins they learn and develop in a very structured way which is also linked to
pay. I’m really proud of our induction system which is very comprehensive.
12 What is your holiday entitlement?
SP 25 days
LJ 25 days
13 What is your working environment like?
SP Challenging and fun.
LJ It’s a high-energy environment and also very informal.
14 What other benefits do you get?
SP All the normal stuff, plus the odd invite to film premieres at the
Odeon Leicester Square and the occasional after-show party, if I’m lucky.
LJ A company car, health care and insurance, a pension and, best of
all, free video rental!
15 What’s the best part?
SP The variety and the people I work with.
LJ Getting out and being with the people in the stores.
Director of HR, Odeon Cinemas
Job at a glance
Size of team: 8
Qualifications: City & Guilds in Hotel & Catering
Leave: 25 days
Best part: The variety and the people
1999 HR director Odeon Cinemas
1998 Resourcing and development manager, Rank Entertainment
1996 Training and development manager, Grosvenor Casinos
1994 HR manager, Forte Heritage Hotels
1992 District personnel manager, Forte Posthouse Hotels
HR director, Blockbuster Europe
Job at a glance
Size of team: 20
Qualifications: Post graduate diploma in HR and CIPD qualified
Leave: 25 days
Best part: Getting out and being with the people in the stores
2000 HR director, Blockbuster Europe
1995 Head of leadership and development, The Body Shop
1985 Variety of HR roles, Lloyds TSB