I'm hard to define!
That's because I have a portfolio career in which there are a number of organisations for which I work that change. Like many HR professionals, I did not join from Education but instead after an earlier career. For me that was traditional banking. Attracted much more by working on people-related matters I left behind loans, foreign currency and so on and started a career in learning and development whilst still at Barclays.
Since I have held a number of positions outside banking including acted as Head of L&D at the police. Now, I lecture in HR at a University in Moorgate. It means I remain in touch with my City of London roots. Outside university I work on HR interventions as an interim manager and currently I am involved in careers coaching. In addition, I am a tutor in HR at Richmond Business School.
2. What are you most proud of in your HR career?
One of my proudest achievements was in providing the Diversity Training Strategy to a police service. Given the Chief Constable had been involved individually in the Stephen Lawrence inquiry I knew Equality & Diversity would be taken with tremendous seriously and I also thought there was nothing fresh I could provide. However, the approach I presented progressed to implementation.
3. What advice would you give to anyone starting their HR career?
HR is not a career only suited to young people to start in. I began after working elsewhere for some time. Knowledge, skills and attributes gained in the business liked sharpened commercial awareness are transferable to the HR Function.
So to is being numerate. In HR sometimes we struggle to quantify our approaches and outcomes preferring to use words instead. Don't be afraid to express yourself in figures. You might stand out for the right reasons.
Staying up-to-date is key. There is always new thoughts. Therefore, CIPD accredited studies, Continuous Professional Development and networking are important to avoid becoming out-of-date.
4. What would you like to be doing in 3 years time?
I have worked a lot with young people at the interface with work.
For instance led the apprenticeship scheme at Islington Council and combined it with a mentoring programme which more mature employers found attractive. It provided the opportunity for tacit knowledge to be passed on and also the chance to do something different and feel useful at a later point in a career. My view in an article entitled "Mentoring: Two-Way Traffic" published by CIPD sums up that mentors can obtain as much if not more out of a scheme as the individual signing up as a beneficiary.http://www.cipd.co.uk/NR/rdonlyres/55C2152A-9BBD-43F3-92A3-8DD537A0BF50/0/Westlondon4ppWinter...
As the next generation who were born after the start of the new millennium get ready to enter the world of work I would like to be busy on HR initiatives that support them during recruitment, selection and induction. I am also passionate about supporting older staff. I enjoyed putting in place at Islington Council a retirement planning course so enable exits with dignity which are important not only for those retiring but also colleagues who continue. With the Default Retirement Age gone, supporting an older generation at work is also an area I am keen to work in more.
5. What do you feel is the most innovative or unique initiative you have introduced at work?
At the London Borough of Haringey as part of learning at work and in view of the Council's approach towards being environmental friendly I provided a paperless training event.
There were no written joining instructions or paper-based course material. That was electronic. If people wanted to use paper on the day then 'scrap' sheets were provided. Even plastic and paper cups were banned in favour of good old-fashioned ceramic mugs. The learning initiative was commended externally.
6. Who has had the greatest influence over your career?
That's easy. My CIPD mentor early in my HR career.
Awarded Mentor of the Year - University of Westminster for work on redressing racial imbalance by National Mentoring Consortium some years ago shows my enthusiasm for mentoring and as a CIPD mentor myself for a number of year I would like to think I have provided some positive influence in return.