Interview: Craig Wright, HR director, Seven Seas, Hull

CV Craig Wright

  • 2008-present, HR director, Seven Seas
  • 2001-2008, HR controller, Arla Foods
  • 1997-2001, head of HR development, Hammonds
  • 1995-1997, personnel and training manager, Hepworth Building Products
  • 1983-1995, various HR roles, Yorkshire Electricity

What was the most important turning point in your career?

Securing my first HR director role last year.

What takes up most of your time at work?

I try to spend as much time as possible with colleagues at all levels in the business, ensuring that the HR function supports it as it goes through a major change and investment process.

Which three attributes are needed to do your job?

Pragmatism, business/commercial acumen, and credibility.

What legislation causes you the most headaches?

Although our company culture is such that we don’t face too many headaches caused by legislation, our main gripe is the over-focus on procedure rather than substance in some areas of employment law, such as part-time working requests and the retirement process.

How do you keep up with new and changing legislation?

Through reading a range of journals, using web/e-mail updating services and attending seminars. I also spend time with our employment law advisers.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Being part of the management team and ensuring that HR contributes to the development and success of our business.

What’s the most challenging case/situation you’ve had to deal with?

Major site closures while working for previous employers have been some of my most challenging situations. Although the legal process has generally been straightforward, the reality is that these situations totally change people’s lives, and helping them through this is always a challenge.

What is HR’s biggest legal challenge?

Trying to embrace legislation in a way that benefits the business and its employees, rather than viewing it as a burden to comply with or minimise the impact of.

What would be in your Room 101?

Middle-lane drivers, and ‘courtesy’ phone calls from the bank, gas company, phone company etc.

What really annoys you in life generally?

As I spend too much time in my car, it’s rude, aggressive and incompetent drivers.

If you could wish one employment law away, what would it be?

Rather than a specific law, it would be the general level of complexity and lack of clarity that surrounds much employment law.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

To address the absence of fairness in many people’s lives.

When you were a youngster, what was your ambition?

To be centre forward for Sheffield United, but unfortunately as a player I was more club class than world class.

Who’s your hero?

Mohammed Ali.

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