This week Beverley Ashby, HR director for Bupa Hospitals, and Ian Reid,
director of HR and deputy chief executive of Greater Glasgow Primary Care NHS
Trust, compare notes
1. What are your main responsibilities?
BA: Mainly the development of an HR and training strategy for the
business. I also have to ensure the organisation has the right culture and
climate in order to deliver its business objectives. An important part of my
role is developing relationships with board directors to facilitate their
acceptance and support of the key HR and training initiatives.
IR: Primarily, employee relations within the organisation. This
usually means leading such things as organisational development and change management.
I am also the lead director with responsibility for people with learning
disabilities throughout Greater Glasgow , which is an added part of the job.
2. What’s the pay like?
BA: Bupa’s remuneration package benchmarks well against most other HR
directors within the profession. I have a basic salary and an annual bonus.
IR: Very good. Around £70,000. My pay progression is based upon
3. How flexible are the hours?
BA: Very. On average, I work between 40-50 hours a week. Really it’s
up to me to manage my hours.
IR: Very flexible, but very long. I’d say I usually work about 60
hours a week. Mainly the extra hours come from working in the evening, mornings
and the occasional Sunday, as I try to keep Friday and Saturday night free as
much as possible. But if you have a late evening you are generally able to
start late the next morning.
4. What do you like about your job?
BA: Bupa Hospitals is a very professional organisation to work for. I
like the fact that individuals aim for the same result across the whole of the
business. I’m fortunate to have an HR and training team of incredibly committed
professionals around me, which has high credibility within the organisation.
IR: That we are continually seeking to improve services, and that the
environment is constantly changing.
5. What are the main challenges?
BA: My biggest challenge is actually being able to demonstrate that
HR can really add value to the bottom line of the organisation. HR outcomes are
often more long-term. It is about demonstrating the need for more training and
development investment within the organisation and gaining acceptance for it.
IR: We are a very large organisation that covers the whole of
Glasgow, with 6,000 employees and around 6,500 contractors. It is a huge
challenge to make an impact in an organisation of such a size.
We have various ways of getting a hold on things, but our main emphasis is
simply to get both contractors and employees working to the same policies and
6. What size is your team?
BA: I have a team of 14 people, which provides an HR and training
internal consultancy service across 38 sites for 10,000 staff.
IR: There are 35 people in the HR function. This ranges from HR
organisational development and personnel managers to admin support staff.
7.Who do you report to?
BA: The managing director of Bupa Hospitals, Clare Hollingsworth, who
is extremely supportive, encouraging and a good role model.
IR: The chief executive, Tim Davison.
8. What qualifications do you have?
BA: I am a member of the CIPD and I have a Masters in business
IR: My first degree was in economics and then I gained an MSc in HR
management from the University of Strathclyde.
9. What is your biggest headache?
BA: Not being able to recruit and retain nurses and other clinical
IR: The workload. There is a lot of change and it can be tricky to
keep everything moving forward.
10. What are your career aspirations?
BA: To be able to influence customer and service quality within a
IR: To pursue a career in public sector and become a chief executive
– probably in healthcare or local government.
11. What training and development opportunities are there?
BA: Bupa provides excellent training and development opportunities.
It sponsored me to do my MBA and as the needs of my role have changed, other
development opportunities have become available.
IR: Everyone in our organisation has personal development plans and
these are supported by the trust and the NHS. They are based on a performance
management system and assess the strengths and weaknesses you have and what is
needed to perform your role more effectively.
12. What is your holiday entitlement?
BA: Thirty days a year plus bank holidays.
IR: Thirty days.
13. What is your working environment like?
BA: We have an excellent working environment, which is conducive to
the well-being of all staff. We have a gym with fitness programmes available such
as yoga and pilates. There is an excellent restaurant and coffee shop, which
are subsidised. We also have a "knowledge net" – an interactive
14. What other benefits do you get?
BA: Permanent health insurance, a good final salary pension scheme,
life assurance, regular health screening, company car and season ticket loans.
Jobs at a glance
Main task: developing HR and training strategy
Pay: Not supplied
Size of team: 14, dealing with a total of 10,000 staff across 38 sites
1999-present: Director of HR, Bupa Hospitals
1996 Head of HR, Bupa Hospitals
1994 HR manager employee relations, Bupa
1993 Personnel manager, Bupa Hospitals
1988 Senior personnel officer, Bupa Hospitals
Jobs at a glance
Main task: organisational development
Size of team: 35 supporting 100 trust sites
1998-present: Director of HR and deputy CE for Greater Glasgow Primary Care
1994: Director of HR for the Community and Mental Health Trust, Glasgow
1985: Personnel officer, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley