How did you get to where you are now?
My formal CIPD qualification has given me the basis for the structure of my HR career. But my 20 years’ experience of working in law firms has been invaluable, and has given me the specialised knowledge I need to work within the regulated legal environment dealing with everyday HR issues, and also to work as a business partner with the chief executive to move the business forward. I believe it is this experience that has been recognised and resulted in securing my current role.
What takes up most of your time at work?
People take up most of my time and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Working in a smaller business means I can keep contact with staff and their issues on a daily basis, but at the same time take a strategic approach to the development of HR within the firm to ensure the growth of the business.
Which attributes are needed to do your job?
You need to be able to build relationships with staff and partners understand their issues and deliver solutions make unpopular decisions when necessary and have the confidence and resilience to carry them out and look outside of the firm to see what’s happening in the marketplace and ensure our HR strategy is geared to the future development of the firm.
What legislation causes you the most headaches?
Probably the discrimination legislation, as it is often the most insidious when it is intentional, and sometimes very difficult to prove for the employee or defend for the employer.
How do you keep up with new and changing legislation?
Updates from our employment law team research government body websites (such as Acas and BERR) The Business Today programme newspapers and specialist personnel publications.
What’s HR’s biggest legal challenge?
Ensuring all the legislation is complied with in our policies and procedures, and at the same time ‘selling’ the need for this compliance to staff and team heads who want immediate bottom-line results or solutions to their problems. Even lawyers are exasperated sometimes with employment legislation, and often the solution is found by focusing on what we can do and finding ways to deliver the results, rather than get bogged down with what we can’t do.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working in a smaller law firm brings variety and I love having a generalist role. One day I may be preparing the HR report for the partnership and the next I may be recruiting trainee solicitors. No two days are ever the same.
What’s the most challenging situation you’ve had to deal with?
Dealing with lawyers is always a challenge – try taking disciplinary action against a litigation lawyer.
What really annoys you in life generally?
Not a lot really, as I am very easy going. However, I do get annoyed with people who think they are owed something without having to work hard for it.
If you could wish one employment law away, what would it be?
I don’t think I would wish any one in particular away as I think the spirit of employment legislation is good and fair, notwithstanding the retirement age issue, but I think that will be changed in the next few years.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
Negative people would not exist – they keep you back and wear you down.
When you were a youngster, what was your ambition?
I had no doubt that life was going to be just how it was on TV, so I was going to be rich, with a big house and a fantastic car, all brought about from my career as a ballet dancer.
Who’s your hero?
I do admire the work ethic of Gordon Ramsay, but my hero has to be whoever is man of the match each week at the Nottingham Panthers ice hockey game.
- 2008-presentHR director, Challinors
- 2002-2008HR manager, Fraser Brown Solicitors, Nottingham
- 1996-2002HR officer, Warren & Allen Solicitors, Nottingham
- 1986-1996Admin/personnel assistant, Warren & Allen Solicitors, Nottingham
- 1976-1986Psychiatric nurse, Saxondale Hospital, Nottingham