Where were you working before?
I was head of HR at NAI Fuller Peiser, a property consultancy. It was a board-level role and encompassed the range of HR activity from reward and remuneration, employee consultation through to change management.
What qualifications do you hold?
I have an MSc in human resource development, a BA (Hons) in social science and a certificate in counselling. I am also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
What are the duties in your new role?
I report to Unity’s managing director. The key challenges will be to generate change and establish a platform for growth. This will obviously involve delivering the HR strategy effectively. Performance management, training, career and succession planning and reward will be key aspects of the role. I and four colleagues take responsibility for more than 80 staff at Unity’s head office and customer relationship teams across the UK.
What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
I will be working on a strategic HR plan to assist Unity’s business objectives. A key element of this will be to become an “employer of choice” and to recruit and retain skilled staff to maintain Unity’s customer service standards. I aim to add value to this process, help people achieve their potential and also enjoy what I do.
What are the challenges HR faces in the next five years?
The function and the context in which it operates are too diverse to state the challenges HR will face in the next five years. But the need to listen to people, influence and provide focused solutions will always be there.
What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?
My style is to try and get people to work things out for themselves. I would encourage people starting out to reflect on what they know and enjoy, what drives and interests them and how they can use this insight to expand their portfolio of knowledge, skills and experiences.
What is the essential tool in your job?
And the most overrated?
What is the worst thing about HR?
Trying to be manoeuvred between a rock and a hard place.
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
I used to work in Saudi Arabia and had a meeting in a small room where the air conditioning was not working. It taught me the difference between perspiration and inspiration, as the former got in the way of the latter.
Who is your ultimate guru?
I like the works of Edward De Bono, Reg Revans and Chris Argyris.
What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?
The term ‘synergy’.
What is your essential TV viewing?
Gazzetta Football Italia.
Who would you most dislike to work with?
A poor-performing lion tamer.
How do you fill your spare time?
I keep myself fit by going to the gym three times per week. I enjoy watching football and am a Wolves season ticket holder. I also love jazz.
What song gets you on the dance floor?
What would be your dream job?
Player-manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
- 2002-March 2006 Head of HR, NAI Fuller Peiser
- Feb-Oct 2002 Performance consulting manager, Lincoln Financial Group
- 1999-2002 Career development manager, Nestle UK
- 1996-1998 Career development consultant, Cable & Wireless