Legal speak: Interview with Sandy Boyle, HR director, Mills and Reeve

How did you get to where you are now?

I trained and qualified as a chartered accountant. I was offered the opportunity of an 18-month secondment with the training and HR team and enjoyed it so much I never left. I spent a good deal of time in training & development and graduate recruitment before becoming an HR generalist. I completed CIPD exams through distance learning.

What takes up most of your time at work?

Dealing with people.

Which three attributes are needed to do your job?

Build trust and confidence with internal clients see things from other people’s perspective and provide timely, pragmatic and commercial advice deliver the same level of outstanding client service to internal clients which they are expected to deliver to theirs.

What legislation causes you the most headaches?

The Employment Act (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2004 have caused many headaches, although this will hopefully change from April 2009.

How do you keep up with new and changing legislation?

We have a team of employment lawyers who keep us up to date with legislation. I subscribe to several electronic newsletters and regularly draw on information from relevant websites such as the CIPD, ACAS, BERR, XpertHR etc.

What’s HR’s biggest legal challenge?

Ensuring those with people responsibilities are aware of employment legislation and that they make sure their actions and decisions comply with it.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The people and the variety. I work with some incredibly talented people who expect a great deal from the teams which support them to deliver great client service, and I believe I make a difference, which is what is really important to me.

What’s the most challenging case/situation you’ve faced?

Advising employment lawyers is always an interesting challenge.

What really annoys you in life generally?

People who aren’t willing to take responsibility for their own destiny. There are three types of people in life: those who makes things happen those who wait for things to happen and those who wonder what happened. It is up to everyone to take responsibility to make things happen.

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

It is about to happen with the repeal of the Employment Act (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2004 and the introduction of the Employment Act 2008.

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

An end to all conflict.

When you were younger what was your ambition?

To be the principal conductor of a world renowned orchestra such as the London Symphony Orchestra or the Berlin Philharmonic.

Who’s your hero?

Tiger Woods. He has belief in himself and his own ability, remains focused on his goal and doesn’t contemplate not winning while he can still do something about it.

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