Jill Youds has been at Clarks for almost three years and earlier this year
was named as the HR manager of the year at the Personnel Today Awards (below,
with Personnel Today’s Noel O’Reilly). She heads up the HR function for the
retail division of Clarks Shoes and is responsible for about 600 stores and
What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
I hope to determine and deliver the people elements of our retail strategy
to maximise the profitability of the business.
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
I’ve worked with senior management teams for some years now so there are too
many to list!
Who is the ultimate guru?
I like Paul Kearns’ work and Lynda Gratton’s. I learn a lot from Homer
What is your essential viewing?
The West Wing – essential training for all HR practitioners
What’s the best thing about HR?
Contributing to the business strategy and success. The best thing about HR
at Clarks is our amazing team.
…and the worst?
Managing the canteen, postroom and payroll – which fortunately I don’t do at
How do you fill your spare time?
With a Nintendo Gamecube and the man in my life.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
I moved out of HR into an operations management role for a while to see if I
could practice what I preach. That was a big risk to my credibility as I could
have crashed and burned. It was a fantastic learning experience and I’d
encourage anyone to do it, but it is scary
What is the essential tool in your job?
Camomile Tea. But seriously – benchmarking data.
If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?
I’d want to run all aspects of a cruise ship, except all the navigation.
Who would play you in the film of your life and why?
I asked one of my team and they said Uma Thurman, although I’m not sure what
What’s the worst/best office party you’ve ever attended?
The worst was having to pick up the casualty issues after a major fight at a
do many years ago. I hope the best will be next week at our Madonna tribute
night Christmas party.
2000 Head of retail HR, Clarks Shoes
1998 Head of training, Somerfield Stores
1995 Divisional personnel and training manager, Somerfield
1993 District personnel and training officer,