Cross has joined disability insurer UnumProvident as HR director. The company
has about 800 staff at various offices around the UK. He has been promoted from
the position of training and development manager, but has also worked at Virgin
Atlantic and Friends Provident.
do you hope to achieve in your new role?
want to make a positive difference to as many people as possible. This means
shaping a company that is full of fresh ideas and where people enjoy being
there for our customers.
is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
a local swimming pool at 6am, dragging myself into a wet, slippery rubber life
raft with 10 other trainees to complete my accelerated cabin-crew safety
training. Later that month, passengers en route to Boston were confronted with
the worst junior crew member ever.
do you think the role of HR will change over the next five years?
don’t think it will change significantly. There are plenty of great examples of
HR contributing to the future of the organisation. I do, however, expect
admin-heavy HR to be tolerated less in the future.
is the essential tool in your job?
pen, to write down ideas, draw pictures and stir my coffee.
the most over-rated?
lazy use of any electronic communication, such as e-mail, which stops people
from really listening and talking to each other.
advice would you give to people starting out in HR?
to coach and help others do the same. Let people see the real you at work and
spend time doing what your customers do, so you can really understand what’s at the heart of your business.
not a term I tend to use, but I do have a small, diverse group of people I can
call on for advice and for testing ideas. I really enjoy visiting other
organisations for a fresh perspective and would like to find more time for
you could do any job in the world what would it be?
love to write and illustrate children’s books, or be a sports coach for young
would play you in the film of your life and why?
would have to be Andy Garcia, which would guarantee that my wife would attend
the premiere and buy the video.
the worst/best office party you’ve ever attended?
best would have to be a Christmas party themed around a comic game show. At one
stage, myself and three other men were taken off stage, given our props of a
lumberjack shirt, builder’s helmet, lunchbox, banana and Diet Coke, and told we
had five minutes to perfect our routine before the music started.
Director of HR, UnumProvident
Learning and development manager, UnumProvident
Head of learning and development, Virgin Atlantic
HR manager, Virgin Atlantic