Clare Roberts has been appointed HR director at Black and Decker’s power
tool manufacturing plant at Spennymoor, County Durham. She returns to the plant
where she was previously personnel and development manager after three years as
HR manager at Express Dairies in Middlesborough. The plant has a turnover of
£250m and produces 14 million tools a year. It employs 2,300 people, having
grown by 600 since Roberts was last working at the company.
What is the biggest challenge facing you in your new job?
Ensuring that the HR function is seen as an integral part of the business, a
catalyst for change, not merely an implementor of change.
What is the biggest challenge facing the HR profession?
In an ever-changing business environment, with increasing competition from
overseas competitors, the biggest challenge is maintaining the focus on our
people and maximising their potential.
What is the strangest situation you’ve had to deal with at work?
A request for bereavement leave from an employee whose pet parrot had died.
What has been your most embarrassing moment?
Taking part in a corporate teambuilding exercise aboard a tall ship sailing
across the Channel – and spending the full four days being seasick!
What is your greatest strength?
Strong team player, working through others to achieve results.
And your least appealing characteristic?
How would your colleagues describe you?
Down to earth, good sense of humour, direct approach, demanding and
What do you do when you’re not working?
Spend time with my husband and two young children.
What would you like more time to do?
Relax and chill out!
If your house was on fire what would you rescue?
My children, followed closely by my personal organiser.
Which living person do you most admire?
Which celebrity most irritates you?
Describe a perfect Sunday.
Sunday papers, coffee, bacon sandwiches, no telephone calls and an afternoon
down at the beach with the children.
What car do you drive?
BMW 318 SE
What is your favourite tipple?
Southern Comfort and ice.
What are your top three books of the century?
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Nice Work by David Lodge and Roots by