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- Specialism: HR
- Sector: Commerce & Industry
- Roles: Permanent, contract and interim
- Location: Nationwide
Type a day in the life of sellick from Kerry Norman
With contagion spreading around the world, quite suddenly the vast majority of us have had to adjust to new ways of working. With many cities, regions and even entire countries entering a state of lockdown, COVID-19 is rapidly changing the way we work. As companies navigate this ongoing crisis, corporate leaders must not only react to the immediate challenges, but also plan for recovery, taking steps now to reshape their business in preparation for what will likely become our ‘new normal’. Whilst learning & development (L&D) programmes are often seen as important ways in which to support business growth, in the environment of a global health pandemic, like the one currently being experienced, L&D programmes are often among the first things to be dropped. Could L&D however play a key role in preparing us for the ‘new normal’, and is training in fact more important now than ever? L&D is much more than a ‘nice to have’ Experienced L&D professional David Otter, recently wrote an article expressing the importance of training in the current climate, and how the time should be taken now to train for a future that will undoubtedly look very different post-COVID. L&D is often seen just as a ‘nice to have’, but as David illustrates, businesses should instead be using it as an enabler. Training is an important factor in preserving business continuity, and with employees dispersed across the country, maintaining a ‘business as usual’ environment has never been more difficult or more crucial. Learning cultures are rewarded with loyalty and engagement from their employees, but L&D programmes more often than not, are based on face-to-face learning. With businesses now transitioning to remote working, we must ask how we can continue to support learning whilst abiding by social distancing. Technology has already played a massive part in this pandemic, with schools and universities already utilising remote learning, moving everything from face-to-face to online which has been difficult for some. We have had some previous experiences that has helped us to become more adept to using technology, for example the volcanic ash in 2010, as well as the increased importance of environmental policies that restrict travel to name a couple. COVID-19 however has accelerated this transition on a much larger scale, and highlighted a much greater need for digital transformation. Technology is vital When working from home technology becomes the heart of every interaction, and it will continue to play a vital role in retaining business and learning continuity as the crisis develops. For some businesses already investing in online learning and digital platforms, their L&D programmes were somewhat ‘COVID-proof’. Businesses without this technology will however have been caught short. The onset of COVID-19 will for many have highlighted a greater need for investment in technology and e-learning, and whilst procuring the right technology will be the quick fix, long-term it will be the capability of designers and facilitators that is important. COVID-19 is challenging our ability to grow and function, but we are fortunate to be in a situation where we are developed enough to still connect, engage and learn, with technology empowering companies to continue to provide development opportunities. Whilst Skype and Zoom are being used heavily for conference calls, they are being severely underutilised to facilitate learning and training. Where previously concerns or resistance may have been raised, as a result of the pandemic, the cultural acceptance of such tools will be made easier for the simple reason that there is no other option. Businesses would do well to maximise this, taking the opportunity now to move away from the traditional classroom to an online learning approach. Change is needed Most businesses will undergo a period of change as a result of COVID-19 and looking at the broader picture it may prove a major tipping point for digital transformation within the workplace and serve as a catalyst for work from anywhere arrangements. In this scenario, L&D cannot stand still, it too will need to adapt. As David says, ‘businesses will need to be more agile, creative and people centric’, with the capability to develop solutions rapidly, utilising technology to offer more learning flexibility. Ultimately, to ensure working traits and attributes are consistent, even in radically different times, organisations will need to develop those skills during ‘normal times’. It is therefore important for senior management and HR leaders to take this opportunity to review L&D programmes to determine whether they cultivate the right skills, learning from the crisis to build more resilient training platforms in preparation for the ‘new normal’. During times of crisis, it is tempting to start cutting costs, particularly talent and development programmes, however during these uncertain times, people development and team building are more important than ever. HR and management teams should instead be bold and use the current crisis as an opportunity to rethink and enhance training and development, planning for recovery now and not later, so that when faced again with adversity learning can continue. Get in touch If you are looking for support at the minute we are on hand to help. Contact our team today.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.