Top job – Nick Jones, HR director, The Retail Motor Industry Federation

Nick Jones is the new HR director at the Retail Motor Industry Federation
(RMI), the body that provides sales and services to motorists and businesses. He
joins from the RAC, where he headed up the HR team. In his new position, he
will be responsible for all HR activities across the RMI and its training body,

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

To make the organisation a great place to work. There is a high correlation
between how the customer (or member) perceives service and how employees
perceive their company. Introducing robust measures on customer satisfaction
and employee commitment will be an early priority.

Which aspects of your new job are you most looking forward to?

The opportunity to contribute on an industry-wide basis, whether that be by
providing advice and services or establishing mechanisms to take specific
issues forward on a national level.

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

As a naive 18-year-old student, working during the summer holidays as a
canteen assistant in an industrial paper mill. My colleagues were five ‘mature’
ladies, which was very enlightening and character-forming in the days before
harassment policies.

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

There are an increasing number of current and future business leaders in
every sector who have seen how an HR function that is totally aligned to the
strategic and commercial goals of the organisation can be a powerful influence
and demonstrably add value to the business. We must develop this change in
perception even further and ensure we are at the heart of business decision-making.

What’s the best thing about HR?

Spotting talent early and helping it to succeed.

And the worst?

All those people in any organisation who assume that the company car policy
is the number one item on the HR agenda.

What do you think is the essential tool in your job?

My ears.

How do you fill your spare time?

Ferrying my children around and finding time for the odd game of cricket.

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

Ensuring you know as much about the core business as any line manager, and
more than your finance peer.

Do you network?

Not as much as I should.

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

John Cleese. An absolute genius, who also has a deep interest in what makes
people tick.

What’s the best or worst office party you have ever attended?

The worst was the one all HR people dread. Yes, a reasonably senior manager.
Yes, it was a dismissal and yes, we won the tribunal.

Jones’s CV

2003 HR director, RMI

1998 Head of HR, RAC Consumer Services

1984 Personnel manager/HR director, BSM Group

1979 District personnel/training manager, Safeway Food Stores

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