A day in the life
Tell us about your job and organisation
I have been the group HR director for PageGroup since joining the business in January 2013. We provide a global recruitment service through our three brands – Page Executive, Michael Page and Page Personnel. Starting out in 1976 as small finance recruitment service above a laundrette, PageGroup now spans 155 offices in 35 countries with more than 5,680 employees globally.
Who do you report into?
I work for Steve Ingham, our chief executive. He is a great character who’s very commercial and likes to challenge his team, he has a superb sense of humour which makes him great fun to work with.
Tell us about your team
My HR team is global, working across 35 countries in every corner of the globe. The team is made up of a small core team of HR business partners facing directly into each business, shared service teams delivering the day-to-day transactional services and talent development teams who deliver all of our consultant and management services. We have worked extremely hard to establish our function and deliver to a common agenda, albeit reflecting the needs of the local countries and cultures in delivery. That's been important to gain credibility and support.
What is the most rewarding part of your role?
At PageGroup there is an overwhelming commitment by everyone to deliver what they say they will. We have implemented a lot of changes since I joined, e.g. a new employer value proposition, talent and succession planning and management and leadership development. Each and every time when I have looked for support it's been there, we are a real team.
What is the most challenging part of the role?
My role revolves around change and evolution directly linked to achieving our business results. It sounds obvious, but all too often HR can get caught up in delivering projects that you can't identify the real impact on the business. Before joining PageGroup as the group HRD the HR function hardly existed, so establishing it so successfully in a short space of time and showing the value of what we can do to improve our underlying performance has been rewarding.
What does a typical day look like for you?
No two days are the same. One day I can be writing RemCo papers, another working through our project delivery plans and others spending time in the business coaching and mentoring some of our top talent. I like the variety, it keeps me motivated.
Why did you choose your current organisation to work for?
I went through a lengthy interview process, meeting all of the executive board. It was their spirit, engagement and culture that encouraged me to leave BT. I was also taken with having the opportunity to start in an organisation with a blank sheet of paper. It's not often any group HRD gets that luxury.
Perks and downsides of your role?
The perks are many. We have a culture of work hard and play hard. I've done some incredible things since working here like running for charity on the Great Wall of China and participating in the Rio Carnival for one of the samba schools. I also get to work with a great team, both operationally and within HR. I honestly can't think of any downsides.
What skills are essential for the role you’re in?
Joining a business where HR has not played a role as a strategic business partner has meant I have had to be patient and thoughtful about how to bring key stakeholders on board with the changes we are implementing. Having a high level of emotional intelligence has served me well; after all we are a people based business. I've taken the time to get to know the business in detail and those around me and it seems to be working!