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- Specialism: HR
- Sector: Commerce & Industry and Public Sector
- Office: Manchester
Type a day in the life of sellick from Harriet Price
Are you currently working in HR and wondering how to climb the career ladder? Or are you thinking about your options and think HR might be the right career choice for you? In this Q&A, Principal Consultant Kerry Norman talks to one of our most experienced HR candidates to find out exactly what it takes to be a success and why so many people are choosing HR as a viable career choice. HR is a rewarding career choice, and candidates that are committed can enjoy a long and incredibly successful career. As a HR recruitment specialist I work with experienced HR professionals every day, and am often asked what it takes to be a success. To answer that question I sat down with Virginia Perkins, a candidate of mine and an experienced senior HR professional to find out about her experience to date, why she chose to work in HR and her top tips to anyone wanting to carve a successful career in the sector. Can you describe your current role? My most recent role was a Director of People and Organisational Development for a medium sized private health care company. In that role I was ultimately responsible for aligning HR strategy with the business strategy to achieve transformational change, increase financial income and implement a high performing culture through creative and innovative people approaches. I led and developed the people team across the UK with my main responsibilities being to develop and implement the human resource strategy, learning and development initiatives, succession planning, resourcing, payroll, advising the board on strategic HR matters, change management, reward and recognition, wellbeing and overseeing employee relations across multi sites. In a few words, can you describe your job experience prior to your current role? I have gained extensive experience partnering executive leaders in the private, public and third sector operating across multi sites, shared services, matrix and unionised environments. Businesses I have worked in include further and higher education, private health care, housing, a main energy supplier and a large global charity. Why did you decide that a career in HR was the path for you? I’ve always been passionate about working with people and have worked tirelessly to create the right organisational culture for the business I work in. The HR role is extremely varied and provides me with the opportunity to solve organisational problems in tandem with leaders to create a better employee experience which in turn creates real and tangible results for the business. I realised that I had lots of transferrable skills to work in human resources following a period in a management role. I wanted to make a difference and HR provided me with the opportunity to use my organisational and project management skills; build my resilience; interpret and understand data; to be results focussed; work collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders; understand the challenges of a business and communicate effectively at all levels. When I got my first HR role I realised the number of challenges a business is presented with and how my role and that of the HR department can support the business through these periods. The role of HR is such an important contributor to any business and that’s why I also voluntarily chair a local Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) branch to keep abreast of changes within employment law and the world of work but also to network and share experiences with fellow professionals to champion better work and working lives. How did you achieve the success you have enjoyed? Teamwork has been crucial to developing the success I have enjoyed but also ensuring the team supporting me and around me have been developed with the right skills and knowledge to deliver the end result. Achieving success has always been as a result of effective internal and external collaboration; I like to be exposed to the external environment within the sector I am working in to look at best practice and inspirational ideas I can bring back into the business and implement. As a leader I have a passion to inspire and lead by example through role model behaviour in order to create a culture of continuous improvement and one that is values led. Being resilient and tenacious has definitely helped me in the pursuit and accomplishment of some really great successful accolades for the business. Being awarded the prestigious Investors in People Platinum, with only 2 percent of companies in the UK achieving this was a huge success together with being recognised by the London Stock Exchange as one of the top 1000 inspiring companies to work for. What is a typical day like for you working in HR? It is very true when fellow professionals say that no two days are the same when working in HR. I usually start the day catching up with the central team for about 10 minutes. I then ring the other sites and update the team on any issues or priorities. I will send and respond to emails before attending a meeting to discuss quality performance improvement with the senior leadership team. Throughout the day I receive lots of phone calls from external professionals asking for my attendance at workshops and conferences and to work with them on challenges affecting the sector. Early afternoon I will monitor the HR dashboards which provide me with an update on KPIs for recruitment, absence, learning and development and employee relations so that I can keep abreast of team performance. I will monitor workforce budgets with the Director of Finance and conduct a one-to-one session with a member of staff leading on a wellbeing project. In the middle of the afternoon I will travel to a local site to catch up with a senior leader concerning their talent acquisition strategy to see its effectiveness and make recommendations where necessary. Every day is different and it certainly is a job which allows you to use an array of skills on a daily basis. What is your favourite aspect of working in HR? Conducting a piece of work around change management is one of my favourite aspects of working in HR. It can be extremely challenging but very rewarding when the results start to materialise into positive outcomes, for example when staff engagement and morale is increased which then translates to increased productivity. In my latest role we were able to introduce a high performing model centred around seven key areas of what makes a successful business together with building and implementing stretching competencies at every level from the Board to individuals, this was a great way for every individual in the business to understand how they contributed to achieving the vision and strategic objectives of the business. What skills do you think are essential for working in HR? Some of the skills that I think are essential to work in HR are project management, good knowledge of employee relations, influencing skills, excellent communication skills including verbal and written, team working, personal resilience, ability to operate IT systems, ability to negotiate in challenging situations, role model leadership behaviours and flexibility. Is there anything happening in the HR sector that you think is amazing right now? In the world of HR there’s always a flurry of activity and exciting new concepts ranging from a huge surge of new people analytics to a rise of self-service tools and what the future of work will look like for different sectors but also not forgetting the rise of artificial intelligence and what this will mean. Then we have the uncertainty of Brexit and how this will affect labour markets and businesses. Are there any companies/people currently working in HR that you admire for their people management? I think it is easy to admire the well-known HR Directors of big global companies that have achieved phenomenal success, however there are a lot of unsung HR heroes operating within smaller companies and achieving fantastic results that we may not know about. It’s difficult to pinpoint a few people when there are so many dedicated HR professionals achieving fantastic results across all sectors. What advice would you give to anyone that may be considering a career in HR? I would advise that if you enjoy achieving results through the efforts of individuals and teams and are able to inspire, develop and engage well with people then HR will be very rewarding. What advice would you give to firms that may be looking to employ HR professionals? I think employers need to be more aware that the skillsets of HR professionals are transferable from one sector to another. I have seen many discussions surrounding this area and personal conversations with the general consensus being that employers tend to employ HR professionals from similar business backgrounds rather than choosing an individual from a totally different sector. I would welcome employers to challenge the status quo on this topic. Can we help you? If you are interested in a career in HR and would like to discuss our latest HR jobs or your options, feel free to contact Kerry Norman or our wider HR recruitment team today. Or if you are interested in speaking with Virginia about any roles you currently have available, please get in touch. Alternatively, if you are a HR professional and would like to share your story with up, get in touch with our marketing team by emailing email@example.com.
HR professionals need to have their finger on the pulse and remain up-to-date with relevant industry news in order to stay ahead of the game. This is especially important if you are currently looking for a new HR job or are thinking about a career move. Take a look at our list of what we think are the top HR Twitter feeds that will keep your knowledge current and up-to-date, and help you secure your next HR job opportunity. If you want get ahead in HR, Twitter is an essential tool to have under your belt. The social media platform has fast become a crucial resource for industry professionals to share news, information and insights. And in a fast-paced sector such as HR, if you are not following the right accounts – and checking them regularly – you could be missing out. The importance of keeping yourself up-to-date with sector news and ideas is particularly important if you are in the process of planning your next career move. Many employers now actively look for candidates who are willing and able to discuss current trends and research, and demonstrate their awareness of news and events affecting the industry. As the number of active Twitter accounts now exceeds 270 million (correct as of January 2019), it can be a challenge to locate those key accounts to follow that are relevant for your needs. However, we have done the hard work for you and compiled the most useful accounts for HR professionals to follow. 1. @alexkjerulf – Alexander Kjerulf is an author, speaker and Chief Happiness Officer of Woohoo Inc. He writes and shares articles on workplace productivity and posts news about upcoming conferences and events. 2.@AskAManager – Alison Green’s website askamanager.org is named as one of Forbes’ Most Influential Careers Sites and her account hosts plenty of useful questions and answers for tricky HR issues. 3. @Josh_Bersin – Josh Bersin is the founder and principal analyst at Bersin by Deloitte. Follow Josh for in-depth insights and commentary that you would expect from one of the leading minds in HR technology. 4. @RealEvilHRLady – Speaker and author Suzanne Lucas offers her Twitter followers advice on challenging workplace issues, with a side order of wit and ‘a little bit of snark’. 5. @HRGrapevine – HR Grapevine is a dedicated magazine publishing news, articles and insights relating to the workplace. Follow the account to discover and learn more about topics ranging from leadership, benefits, learning, resourcing and operations. 6. @JennyRopes – is the editor of HR Magazine. Jenny shares news and articles and insights from herself, HR Magazine as well as other HR professionals and sector specialists. 7. @neilmorrison – Severn Trent’s HR Director Neil Morrison has a sharp wit and tweets regularly about work, life and opinion pieces from his blog change-effect.com. 8. @CIPD – The official account of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development is a prolific tweeter, posting regularly throughout the day. Regardless of whether you are a member or not, the account is worth following to keep up-to-date with upcoming events, helpful resources and relevant news from around the UK. 9. @dds180 – Surrey based David D’Souza is the director of CIPD. His personal Twitter account posts articles from his blog and shares relevant news and information from across the Twittersphere. 10. @PeopleMgt – People Management completes our hat trick of accounts to follow from CIPD. This is the Twitter account for the organisation’s magazine, covering topics such as the impact of Brexit, education, bias in the workplace and the gender pay gap. 11. @PerryTimms – TEDx speaker, author, facilitator and coach Perry Timms shares information about events, news, workshops and conferences of interest to HR professionals. 12. @HRZone – HRZone.com offers HR professionals and business leaders advice, resources, opinions and up-to-date information about the industry. 13. @theHRDirector – Designed specifically for senior HR practitioners, theHRDIRECTOR magazine shares a wide range of news and articles relating to the sector. So far this year it has covered issues such as stress, disability, the contracting market and apprenticeships. 14. @SellickGroup – And of course, no list would be complete without our own Twitter page! Be sure to follow Sellick Partnership for the latest news, events, press and jobs. For more information on how to develop your online brand or how to use social media in your job search, check out our candidate resources page. If you are ready to kick-start your career, view our latest HR jobs here.
With increased workloads comes heightened stress, and many of today’s working population are reported to feel overwhelmed and unhappy in their jobs. More than 300million people suffer from mental health issues globally meaning it’s a hot topic and it needs to be taken seriously. In this blog, Kerry Norman, Principal Consultant and HR recruitment specialist offers her advice for business leaders on promoting health and wellbeing in work to ensure staff remain well and productive. Mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is an increasingly important part of a company’s culture. Not only can it help your employer brand and staff retention, but a strong wellbeing policy can also save money in the long run by reducing stress–related absences and increasing productivity. If you are in the early stages of putting a mental health and wellbeing policy in place, take a look at these top five tips from our HR clients to help get you started. Conduct a thorough risk assessment There are many triggers for stress and mental illness in the workplace, and some of them can be seemingly small issues that are easy to fix. Conducting a thorough risk assessment will allow you to see the common causes or triggers of stress within your organisation. You could start with an anonymous survey to ask employees for honest feedback on their pain points, then analyse the data to see what patterns emerge. You might find that something as simple as failing to take a lunch break is causing people to feel more pressured at work, so encouraging this for everyone and making sure there is a dedicated area for people to take a break from their screens would be a simple solution. Your risk assessment could also reveal that people feel overworked and lacking recognition from their managers, so more regular catch ups and discussions about their workload would minimise this. Train yourself and business leaders While some signs of poor mental health are obvious, others can be much harder to recognise. If you are in charge of your company’s HR you should consider undertaking mental health training so that you are in the best possible position to spot any problems at the earliest stage. Business leaders should also explore mental health training to give them a better understanding of potential issues and the impact workplace stress can have on these. Finally, you should also look at training managers and people throughout the business so that there is a good number of well-informed people at different levels. This will ensure there is always somebody that each employee feels comfortable approaching about any wellbeing concerns and discussing their mental health. Take a look at MHFA website for their fully accredited courses on mental health in the workplace. Offer a healthcare plan Many businesses already offer healthcare plans to cover physical care like optical, physiotherapy, chiropody and dental treatments, but does your policy also include wellbeing and mental health? At Sellick Partnership, we opted for a plan that gives staff access to alternative therapies that help to relieve stress, as well as a 24/7 helpline to discuss any wellbeing concerns in confidence. The Medicash plan is offered to all eligible employees after 12 months of service and it is another way to show employees that we care about every aspect of their health & wellbeing. Healthcare plans are particularly useful if you struggle for HR resources in your organisation, as it can remove some of the burden from managers and provide professional assistance to those in need. They are a highly valued benefit and will also help to set your business apart from its competitors when employees are considering who they would like to work for. Look at your physical surroundings Our physical surroundings have a huge impact on the way we feel in the workplace. Natural light, plants and ambient temperatures can all have a positive effect on wellbeing, so consider whether your office could benefit from a few tweaks or something more substantial. A study of people in the United States, India and an online panel concluded that: “Natural elements and sunlight exposure related positively to job satisfaction and organisational commitment, and negatively to depressed mood and anxiety”. If you are unable to get enough natural light in your workplace, consider how best you can imitate this with artificial lighting and encourage employees to take regular breaks outdoors during lunchtimes. You should also encourage staff to take time out of the workplace for longer periods, arranging lunches and teambuilding days that let people step away from their usual surroundings with their colleagues and managers. We host regular teambuilding events at Sellick Partnership where we go to different locations – sometimes overseas – to give staff the chance to reconnect with their peers. Create an open culture All wellbeing and mental health policies should be underpinned by good communication and an open culture. It is crucial that employees feel able to discuss their emotions and share any concerns, either with their manager, HR team or appointed mental health first aider. At Sellick Partnership, we have regular one–to–one review meetings between managers and their teams where staff are encouraged to be completely honest about their feelings in and outside of work. These are supported by annual personal development plans that support their career progression, and informal catch ups to discuss anything that falls outside of their role that they would like to talk about. It means our managers are always well aware of any worries before they progress and they can put measures in place to rectify them. Sharing tips on wellbeing and discussing mental health openly will also add to a more transparent culture that supports all additional measures. We regularly advise employers on how to implement mental health strategies, so contact us today to discuss your requirements, or take a look at our suite of employer and candidate resources for tips on everything from getting your culture right to writing job descriptions that will attract the perfect candidates for your business. Alternatively, if you are interested in discussing how Sellick Partnership could help with your HR recruitment needs, get in touch with me, or a member of our HR recruitment team directly.