Science drives success

What does your role involve?

From a functional perspective, it involves the provision of a full HR service to the UK business. This covers recruitment, training, employee relations, talent management and organisational capability and design. I am also responsible for the overall strategy of the UK business as a member of the executive team.

What is your current major training project or strategic push?

Recently, we gained formal accreditation from Nottingham Business School for our front-line training scheme. It takes individuals from a front-line entry role to a manager in four years with university qualifications. In 2004, we introduced a tool that helps us to understand and grow the capability we have within our business. We can plan successions more scientifically to maximise internal talent and precisely identify what our longer-term external recruitment strategies should be. Work on organisational design has allowed us to understand the scale and complexity of all roles in our business. In 2005, we will be working on a more effective structure to carefully match role size with individual capability.

What impact would you like to have on your organisation?

I would like to be recognised as an individual who has provided the framework, tools and culture to enable everyone to maximise their potential capability.

What did you want to do for a living when you were at school?

I didn’t give it much thought. Instead, I focused on studying what I was good at, which was science and maths. I fell into HR through the ‘milk-round’ interviews and the influence of one trainee who enthused about the HR profession.

Which of your qualifications do you most value, and why?

My physics degree, as it results in a rigorous and disciplined approach to HR that can be relied on to be data-driven.

How do you demonstrate return on investment from training interventions?

Avis’ front-line training proposition allows us to measure the number of ‘promotables’ we have for the positions of supervisor and manager. Since the introduction of a decentralised HR function and a structured training proposition, we have seen turnover drop from 28 per cent to 16 per cent. We have calculated this amounts to a saving of about £3m over the past five years.

What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the training profession?

Credibility, strategic contribution and the ability to robustly prove added value.

What do you think will be the core skills for your job in the future?

Talent management and the provision of propositions that can identify, attract and retain quality individuals and ensure maximum contribution from each individual at all times.

How do you get the best from people?

Through leading by example and trying to instil in people my enthusiasm for the Avis proposition and the benefits of a quality ‘can-do’ HR contribution.

What is the essential tool in your job?

A sense of humour and having the tenacity and enthusiasm to always find ways to get things done.

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