Top job: Raj Verma, senior HR business partner, Abbey

Raj Verma has been appointed senior HR business partner within the IT division at Abbey. He joins after seven years at Ford, where he was on secondment at Jaguar and Land Rover Cars.

What will be the duties in your new role?

Abbey has revamped its HR operating model, and as a senior HR business partner, I am positioned to be part of the strategic and operational decision-making management team within IT.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

To be seen and treated as an integral part of the business and not simply a support function.

Which aspects are you most looking forward to?

As a technophobe, understanding IT would be a start. I am also looking forward to helping deliver the huge change being undertaken throughout Abbey.

How will HR change over the next five years?

It’ll be on the inside looking out, as opposed to the other way round. HR will make its strategic mark on business delivery and become visible.

What’s the strangest situation you have been in at work?

Being the last man standing – literally – against a tide of about 200 employees who walked out over a dispute.

Who is the ultimate guru?

Gandhi – if we want to learn about people, process and change in a broader context, who better?

What is your essential viewing?

EastEnders (escapism), The Office (too much like reality!).

What is the best thing about HR?

Knowing there’s still much to do.

And the worst?

Knowing there’s still much to do.

How do you fill your spare time?

I have a one-year-old daughter.

What is the essential tool in your job?

The ability to listen and learn from the customer, and deliver what they actually want. It’s easy to just deliver what HR wants. It needs to be business people first, HR people second.

And the most over-rated?

Constant process re-engineering, just for the sake of change.

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

Get a breadth of experience and start to take responsibility for your own personal development. Take calculated risks early on, and you’ll be better placed to make decisions throughout your carer.

What would be your ideal job?

A property developer.

What is the best office party you’ve ever attended?

I’d just left university and was in my first graduate training role in the City. Senior managers put on a panto for the staff – I never saw them in the same light again.

Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?

David Ulrich to pick his brains – he’d cost a fortune otherwise.

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