Liz Fraser has been appointed HR director at Weber Shandwick, part of the Inter Public Group, and the largest PR company in the world. Her new role will involve attracting and developing the best talent for the business, which includes Weber Shandwick, Golin Harris PR and consultancy FutureBrand.
Where did you work before?
I was HR director for Edelman, another international PR company, but privately owned and smaller than Weber Shandwick.
What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
To make Weber Shandwick an employer of choice and to be the place where everyone wants to work – not because we are the biggest, but because we are the best.
Which aspects are you most looking forward to?
Really getting to know all the staff and how they feel about the companies, and working with them and the senior management team to deliver best practice training, people management and career development opportunities.
How do you think the role of HR will change over the next five years?
There will be more emphasis on commercial experience in the HR role at senior level and less on paper qualifications.
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
Turning up to organise a presentation about a new cookery book in Blackpool and finding that I had to do the presentation myself. I spent 45 minutes showing pictures of delicious chocolate recipes listening to 600 ladies going “ooh” and “ahh”.
What is your essential viewing?
What’s the best thing about HR?
Knowing it is at the core of every business and good HR management makes the difference between a good and a great company.
And the worst?
Who is the ultimate guru?
Tom Peters (author and business guru).
What is the essential tool in your job?
Common sense and experience.
And the most over-rated?
What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?
Find out as much as you can about the industry/business you are in.
What’s the worst/best office party you’ve ever attended?
The staff Christmas party in my first job in a fuddy-duddy department store restaurant, where most of the staff were over 60 and I was only 21.
Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?
2003 UK HR director, Weber Shandwick
1999 HR director (Europe and International), Edelman
1994 Managing director, Key Communications
1990 Managing director, Tenet PR
1980 Founding director and joint managing director, Granard Communications