Top job: Lesley Williams, director of HR, Stapletons

Lesley Williams has been promoted from HR manager to director of HR at tyre
wholesaler Stapletons. She will be responsible for 800 staff at more than 60
locations around the country.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

Our industry suffers from high staff turnover and a shortage of technical
skills. My key objectives are to attract, retain and develop staff so that we
deliver the best customer service possible. We are investing heavily in
technical training and management development to ensure our staff have the best
possible skills to deliver this. I also want us to be as well-known outside of
the industry as we are within it.

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

Jamming doughnuts in a store bakery.

How do you think the role of HR will change over the next five years?

The rising amount of employment legislation means companies will become even
more reliant on HR for practical advice on applying legislation. HR
professionals must also continue to develop their commercial awareness because
increasingly, it has implications on the business as well as the people.

Who is the ultimate guru?

Not so much a guru, but I really admire Clare Chapman, the HR director at

What is your essential viewing?

I am hooked on property shows, such as A Place in the Sun.

How do you fill your spare time?

Providing a taxi service for my incredibly active children, improving my
golf, gardening and working as a school governor.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Driving around Silverstone in an attempt to get an amateur race-driving
licence so that I could join the company race team.

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

Get as broad a background as you can, with lots of operational experience.
Get experience at a blue chip organisation with an established HR function, so
that you can objectively assess practice and procedures.

Do you network?

Yes, providing there is value to it – including the Chartered Institute of
Personnel Development group that I studied with years ago.

If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?

I would love to work for Disney as my favourite character – Piglet.

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

Victoria Wood. She has a wicked sense of humour.

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

The most embarrassing was entertaining the staff in my first Tesco store. At
the Christmas lunch I had to sing a Barry Manilow song with my line manager –
at four sittings.

Williams’ cv

2003 Director of HR, Stapletons

1999 HR manager, Stapletons

1997 Store personnel manager, Tesco

1995 Store training manager, Tesco

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