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A day in the life of a newly appointed HR director

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Recently appointed HR director Sarah Maddox talks about what she sets out to achieve within her new role at UK Mail.

About UK Mail

The UK Mail Group is the largest independent parcels, mail and logistics services company within the UK, offering innovative delivery solutions both locally and worldwide.

With a national network of more than 55 sites and 2500 vehicles, the company offers business customers an integrated service with a full range of time-sensitive and secure delivery options for parcels, letters and pallets.

On average UK Mail have a workforce of 2600 and an additional 2,000 to 2,500 sub-contracted workers. Group revenue for the year 2011 to 2012 was £429.0m.

What credentials won you your new role?

Having a mix of some strategy but being very operationally focussed, there is no point implementing something that from an HR perspective is fabulous but doesn’t work for the operation.

In addition to this I had experience of building a good employer brand and employer engagement model.

What attracted you to your new position?

UK Mail is a fabulous brand and while a PLC business, it is very independent.

I liked the vision of the business – to be the UK’s leading independent integrated postal operator, and that even though the economy is in difficult times, the people are absolutely key to the business.

What is the purpose of your role at UK Mail?

To further develop the HR / people strategy to support the business vision and values. Current objectives are around recruitment, retention, engagement, reward & recognition and learning & development, all of which support the business.

What will your first 100 days look like?

I wanto to review how well the HR and training & development team support the business, to ensure we are ready for pensions auto enrolment as well as review, develop and implement engagement strategies.

Plus, ensure we start working towards an employer of choice status – the key being to all of this is our people communication.

How will you introduce new initiatives?

For me, an important project is the pension reform and auto enrolment which has an impact on UK Mail in August 2013 so there is a lot to do to make sure this new legislation is communicated correctly and implemented smoothly. 

On top of this it is to develop our engagement strategies using an employer brand, from attraction through the total employee life cycle – our people are critical to making the business work, whether they are our own staff, owner drivers or sub-contractors.

How do you use data/metrics?

HR metrics tell you a lot about how the business is doing and how people are feeling. Keeping  the data simple and easy to read and interpret is essential – there is no point issuing large complicated data that managers have to chisel down through to get the straight forward facts.

Managers want to see how their area is doing against the business and industry norms, and to easily understand what their particular problem may be.

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