Top job – Eric Sandison

Where were you working before and what were your duties?

I worked for the Scottish Prison Service as human resources (HR) manager responsible for HMP Peterhead and HMP Aberdeen. I gave generalist support to all grades and assisted with national recruitment and promotion boards.

What qualifications do you hold?

MSc in HR management post-graduate diploma in HR management and Chartered MCIPD.

What will be the duties in your new role?

Implementing HR policy and strategy for all companies in the CHAP Group, which currently consists of six fully-owned subsidiary companies and employs 330 staff. I report to the group financial director.

What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?

Skills shortages when recruiting staff, and retaining trained staff.

What is the essential tool in your job?

The ability to empathise with employee requests while balancing the business needs of the company.

And the most overrated?

The use of statistics to defend a decision.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Managers see the words ‘staff’ or ‘absence’ printed on a memo and it automatically becomes an HR departmental chore.

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

I had to act as information liaison officer during an all-day simulated hostage situation in prison.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

‘Get our ducks in a row’.

Who is your ultimate hero?

Denis Law (retired Scottish football player).

How do you fill your spare time?

Golf, travel and whenever possible, doing both.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Pragmatic, enthusiastic and humorous.

What is your favourite web page?

What is your worst habit?

Becoming irritated at the slow pace of change.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Moving from the Civil Service after 25 years to the private sector.

What three items would you take to a desert island?

My wife, a radio tuned to Radio 2 and some demijohns with yeast.

Who would play you in the film of your life and why?

Jude Law. I’m sure a really good make up artist could make me look like him (eventually).

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

The best Christmas party I attended led to one member of staff receiving a solicitor’s letter from a colleague. What is vicarious liability?

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Work hard and don’t take yourself too seriously.

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