This week our 'Day in the Life' job profile series looks at HR, with ABE's director of people (HR),Lisa Sarjeant, discussing how she started and what her typical day might comprise of.
How I started
In my first office jobs I moved around in a few different roles to see what interested me most. I realised that having variety and being able to solve a range of problems was something that motivated me… so choosing a career in HR made sense because as an HR generalist, you get a lot of that! I studied two nights a week for two years to become qualified at ‘post-graduate’ level in People Management and Development, alongside my first role in HR.
Where I am now
In my current role as Director of People for ABE, I spend a lot of time helping the organisation's strategy, it’s culture and how to provide the best working environment to enable staff to do their best and reach their full potential. Early on in the role I communicated our People Strategy and conducted a pay and benefits review which resulted in implementing new ways of working, a new office layout, organisational values, new contracts of employment and improved employee benefits. The People Strategy is entirely linked to the Business Strategy to ensure we improve the success of the organisation through its people.
Here is my typical day
The first thing I do is...
say ‘hello’! It’s important to connect with people across the business on a regular basis and those small gestures go a big way to creating a great environment and a more engaged workforce.
As a small company, my role has many parts from strategic thinking and planning to all the traditional elements of good HR. I get involved with recruiting new staff, advising and supporting line managers on their ‘people management’ roles and employment law guidance, launching staff engagement initiatives such as our Staff Awards scheme, which rewards good customer service. Plus, overseeing performance and development reviews, identifying and implementing staff development, writing and communicating staff policies and most of all, working closely with the CEO and Executive Leadership team to help ABE to be more successful.
The best thing about my job is...
variety! Each day is different and I get great satisfaction from making a positive difference for the benefit of ABE and all its people.
We had a great Summer event this year which I organised on behalf of the CEO as a way to say thank you to the staff for their hard work during a very challenging and changing year. We used the opportunity to announce our Staff Award winners. It was great to see everyone getting to know one another much better which improves teamwork when you get back to the office.
The skills that make a great HR director are...
resilience, ability to challenge, empathy and common sense!
The last task of the day
I always check what is going on the next day so that I am prepared!