Top job: Abigail Thomas, HR director, Hay Group

Abigail Thomas has been appointed HR director at Hay Group, the global management consultancy. She joins after 10 years at Accenture, during which time she held a number of recruitment, project and specialist HR roles.

What will be your duties in the new role?

To develop and implement the HR strategy for the group, incorporating recruitment and retention, talent management, total reward, internal branding and development programmes for the senior team.

What qualifications do you have?

I have a degree in psychology, and a postgraduate diploma in HRM.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

The organisation has recently re-branded, and HR has a key role to play in the development of the new brand and culture.

Which aspects are you most looking forward to?

Hay Group is planning significant growth over the next two years, and I am excited to have been appointed as part of the executive team responsible for delivering that growth.

What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?

Running a global videoconference where we could hear all the parties as clear as a bell, but we were looking at empty rooms on the screen. You can’t always rely on technology!

How will HR change over the next five years?

We will experience a move towards more employee-focused legislation requiring much deeper understanding of our legal parameters as employers. Age discrimination legislation will also present interesting challenges in managing an ageing workforce.

What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?

Take the time to learn the basics of all areas of HR – a thorough grounding is essential.

What is the essential tool in your job?

My PC and a sense of humour.

How do you fill your spare time?

Relaxing with friends and family, playing golf, cycling, and keeping fit.

What is your essential viewing?

Friends, or House Doctor to really switch off!

What’s the best thing about HR?

The fact that no two days are the same.

And the worst?

The fact no two days are the same.

What would be your ideal job?

I’d like to work for MI5 – I have an inquisitive nature!

What’s the best office party you’ve ever attended?

Drinks and dinner in the Capitol building in Washington DC, followed by a floodlit city tour.

Thomas’s CV

2004    HR director, Hay Group

2000    Human performance manager, Accenture

1998    HR consultant, Global Programmes, Accenture

1996    HR officer, Accenture

1994    Recruitment officer, Accenture

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