How did you get into a career in HR?
I worked as an Executive Assistant at Hewlett-Packard for 14 years followed by a Business Administrator role at a startup company which was a very exciting and interesting experience after many years at a multi-national corporate. Having experience in both types of companies has been very useful to me. I then spent a short spell in HR with a coal company. I joined Calnex in a Business Administrator role where I was initially brought in to implement an order processing system and manage events and communications. My role developed pretty quickly as the business grew. The staff newsletter, recruitment, induction and employee engagement initiatives started to come my way and the role just kept evolving which is perfect for me as I like change and new challenges.
What are the key responsibilities in your role?
Employee engagement and development and making Calnex a great place to work is my main priority. We talk to our staff, include them in the way we develop and grow as a company which at the same time gives them opportunities to develop and meet their career aspirations. I spend much of my time speaking to our employees and identifying support, training and development needs. Our growth strategy is also centred around OEM partnerships and acquisitions where my role is to engage and onboard new teams and ensure we have the correct knowledge and working practices in place to support global teams from an HR standpoint.
Describe a typical day.
Every day is a surprise to me! I can be doing anything from researching new benefits to reviewing the annual review process or helping employees with their development and support needs. We may be visiting a company we’re thinking about acquiring or I’m meeting with employees to see how life at Calnex is going for them. I can also spend days on recruitment or kicking off a new initiative, for example, our new Calnex in the Community programme or HR’s responsibilities in relation to our Quality Management System. Every day is different and unpredictable.
What skills are needed for this role?
You have to care, be flexible and organised and you have to enjoy and be able to promote, cope with and help other people cope with change!
What challenges do you face in this role?
Time to do everything. It’s a busy job and I don’t like to rush things or feel unprepared. I start the day with a plan and sometimes it’s out of the window by 10am! It keeps things interesting though!
What keeps you motivated to go into work every day?
I like people and I like to see people do well. I also like the fact that, in an SME, there’s flexibility to try lots of different things with the ability to make changes quickly.
What advice would you give someone considering a career in HR?
Be open minded, be approachable, be objective and talk to employees as much as you can. Building good relationships and being well known and recognised in the business, for me, is key to making HR known as a positive influence on the business versus just somewhere you go when things aren’t going well for you or the company.
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