Get to know your peers in the leadership community through our career profile series. Today, we talk to Rachael Egerton, HR director – UK at QVC.
CV in brief:
- 2016-present: HR director – UK, QVC
- 2015-2016: Employee engagement manager – UK, QVC
- 2007-2015: HR manager, QVC
- 2006-2007: Senior HR advisor, QVC
A day in your life
Tell us about your job and organisation
My job is challenging, varied and brings me into contact with lots of very different, talented people across our global organisation.
I lead a team of strong HR professionals in the UK and partner with senior business leaders to ensure the team member experience remains at the forefront of our thinking.
QVC is an organisation with embedded values that both differentiate us and are at the core of how we work and do business. The people who work here are aligned to these values, and that’s what makes it a special place to be a part of.
Who do you report into?
I report to Kelly Morgan – VP, HR International.
Tell us about your team
I am very fortunate to have such a strong and committed team in place. They all have a very strong team focus and deliver for the business. Importantly too, they ensure we have fun and maintain our sense of humour while doing so – it really does help in a busy HR environment!
What is the most rewarding part of your role?
Adding value to the business and our team members on whatever scale.
What is the most challenging part of the role?
Fitting everything in!
What does a typical day look like for you?
My day starts with getting my two girls up and ready for school and nursery, while debating why it is not great timing to start getting the paints out of the cupboard, and explaining why the iPads are not conducive to our morning routine!
I arrive at work and remind myself of my calendar for the day which can include;
- Starting with emails requiring responses or action
- Working alongside QVC UK senior leaders to ensure we have people strategies in place to support our needs and opportunities
- Checking in with my team to understand progress on goals, and update on general HR activity within the business
- Leading and/or participating with active global projects
- Ad hoc check-ins / advisory support
Why did you choose your current organisation to work for?
I joined QVC as a temporary receptionist – it was a stop gap before I started further education, at a time when I was undecided on my career path. I didn’t know much about QVC at that time. I chose to stay here because I love the culture, the challenges, the variety, the opportunities, and the sense of achievement all that brings. I feel very fortunate.
Perks and downsides of your role?
I enjoy the diversity my role brings. My role can mean making tough decisions that affect team members – even when knowing the decision is based on sound business reasons, it’s never easy.
What skills are essential for the role you’re in?
- Having a point of view
- Ability to build relationships
How did you get to where you are now?
When I was a temporary receptionist, it exposed me to various parts of the business and allowed me opportunities to support areas such as HR during busy periods. I gained my CIPD qualification attending college in the evenings.
During this period, I moved to different roles within the facilities department and was also a personal assistant for a short time. These roles provided valuable insights into different parts of the business and processes, and I believe made me a more effective HR professional.
From here, I took what could have been perceived as a backward step to a lower grade role, working weekends as HR administrator. I knew this was my career direction so I always viewed this as a positive move forward for me. With retrospect, each experience has added value to get me to this point.
What was your first job?
My first ever job was a Saturday job serving on a market stall. I loved the interaction with customers, the energy and big characters in that environment. My first ‘proper’ job was as a receptionist – I can certainly see the trend. I started in HR as a HR administrator which was valuable foundational experience.
Have you followed the career path you set out to?
Not at all, I fell upon HR really and didn’t even know it existed when I was studying at school. I originally wanted to be a teacher or a role in law.
What challenges have you faced along the way? How did you overcome them?
I have faced lots of challenges for different reasons and points in my career and personal life – such as developing as a Leader. The realisation that developing as a leader is a continuous learning process helped to view this challenge differently. Understanding what leader I aspire to be, while still being authentic to myself, gave me a focus.
Another challenge has been becoming a mum balanced with a career – and accepting that I win some days and others I don’t, but overall I achieve a balance. I’ve also had to work through my own vulnerabilities and doubts to push through and beyond my comfort zone. I realised I needed to get out of my own way!
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to land a job?
I recall building an ‘egg catcher’ out of straws with the final part being to see if it worked – I got that job!
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I have been proud of each milestone or success achieved, as I am not someone who has a personal plan or goal to be x by x date – other than to do my very best in whatever capacity that may be.
Do you have any career regrets?
No, fortunately I don’t tend to dwell on regrets. I quickly move on, shake it off and try to take any learnings I can with me as I move forward.
What advice would you offer to others who are looking to get to where you are now?
I would say that progress isn’t always the next level role or, even a new role. Take opportunities as they arise in whatever guise and continue to challenge yourself. I moved sideways, backwards and into different business areas. All have served me well and provided a broader business acumen than I may have achieved if I would have taken a more direct route.
What advice would you give to your 22-year-old self?
Take counsel, listen and learn but stay true to yourself in all you do. Oh, and its OK not to have all the answers.
- Coffee or tea? If someone else is making it, I am grateful for either!
- Jam or marmalade? Marmalade every time – jam is far too sweet for me
- The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? As a Liverpool girl there is only one answer – the Beatles every time!
- Mac or PC? I dream of Mac
- The Guardian or The Times? I very rarely read a broadsheet other than when I am travelling, which is usually The Times. I generally read the news online.
- BBC or ITV? BBC – Strictly fan rather than X Factor
- M&S or Waitrose? M&S – I’ve totally bought into the M&S brand
- Morning or night? Morning – I like the idea of having a full day ahead of me to get to all those things on my ‘to do’ list. At night time – I realise this was of course unrealistic! Until the next day…
- Rain or snow? Snow – so much more fun!
- Sweet or savoury? Definitely savoury!
- App: WhatsApp – Keeps me easily connected to family and friends
- TV show: Modern Family – love the characters and very smart, funny dialogue and acting
- Band: Oasis will always conjure up lots of happy memories
- Song: In my Life – The Beatles. Makes me feel poignant and blessed with family and friends past and present
- Book: Her Benny – Silas Hocking. First book that really moved me emotionally when I was younger.
- Sports team: Liverpool Football Club – wouldn’t be allowed home if I didn’t say that
- Thing to do on a Friday night: Girly night with my two girls – perspective is restored!
- Place to eat: Wherever my mum is cooking
- Holiday spot: Ibiza – I was bowled over by how beautiful it is and family-friendly. We have made frequent visits
- Piece of advice you’ve been given: "People may not remember exactly what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel" – this was a quote shared very early in my career and has always resonated with me
By Sarah Clark
Online features editor at Changeboard
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