Top job Nicky Blatch, HR director, Ford Retail

blatch–nicky.jpgNicky Blatch has been appointed HR director at Ford Retail, part of the Ford Motor Company. She was previously HR director at doughnut maker Krispy Kreme UK.

What are the duties in your new role?
My remit is extremely varied, but focused on making Ford Retail a great place to work. There are nine people in the HR team.

What do you hope to achieve?
I would like the business to reap the value of the investment it has made in HR this year. There is a strong people focus, but this is a new agenda and the team is under a lot of pressure to deliver.

What are the challenges HR faces in the next five years?
HR has to stop reinventing itself and have confidence in its role within business to add value. We need to stop the debates about becoming more strategic and getting board recognition. We must focus on how to support the business to achieve its targets – and get on with it.

What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?
I truly believe that good operational experience within the business arena will help support a value-add approach to HR. Understanding the ‘machine’ will help you to apply HR practices that work.

What is the essential tool in your job?
A sense of fun and trust in people.

What is the worst thing about HR?
Dealing with people who try to be a barrier to the success of the business. It’s part of life, but it can be demoralising.

What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
Interviewing a candidate who said his career aspiration was to become a spy and to drive tanks. The beauty of HR is that people will always surprise you – just when you think you have seen it all.

Who is your ultimate guru?
I’m a rugby fan when I get the opportunity, so the former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?
Empowerment – it’s a word that makes me cringe.

What is your essential TV viewing?
Extras with Ricky Gervais and all travel documentaries presented by Michael Palin.

Who would you most dislike to work with?
I wouldn’t like to say – it’s a small world and you never know who you might end up working with. Even the worst people that I have worked with have managed to teach me something about myself.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
I sold my flat and spent some quality time with my family before travelling around Italy and South America.

What was the last book you read?
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling.

What song gets you on the dance floor?
Shout or I Will Survive.

What would be your dream job?
Working with disadvantaged children to support them and help them develop more confidence. This follows on from some very rewarding mentoring I did two years ago.

Who would play you in the film of your life and why?
Jennifer Saunders – from Absolutely Fabulous and French and Saunders – because she sees the funny side of even the most mundane things. I try to apply the same approach.

What is the best office party you’ve ever attended?
My best office party was the first Christmas party held by the online grocery business Ocado. It was an exciting time as we were embarking on a great challenge. We went to Jongleurs comedy club and I laughed till I cried.

Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
Tony Blair or George Bush – I wouldn’t be lost for things to say to either of them.


2005 HR director, Ford Retail
2003 HR director, Krispy Kreme UK
2000 Head of HR, Ocado
1992 Head of HR, Majestic Wine Warehouse

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