As part of our commitment to supporting candidates to develop fulfilling careers, we’ve invited some HR Leaders to share the secrets of their success.
This week we had a great conversation with Laura Ibbotson, HR Manager at Sheffield Wednesday Football Club. We asked Laura a few questions about her career in HR. A career that spans Technology, Professional Services, manufacturing, animal health, property and regeneration and most recently Championship Football. Laura’s journey began as the first member of her family to go to University where she studied Human Resource Management after enjoying an HR module of her Business Studies A-Level.
Unlike many HR professionals, Laura left college with a clear vision of developing a career in HR. Laura has since developed a successful and diverse career in a variety of sectors. Laura has progressed from HR Advisor to HRBP and onto the Group HR Manager to Head of function at SWFC. We were keen to speak with Laura about her perception of the HR sector and what she feels it takes to be a strong HR leader in 2019.
What do you think is the key to being successful in an HR Leadership role?
“The ability to juggle a lot of balls as well as working in the background. A big part of the HR leadership role is to gel other people’s relationships together”. She added “It can be hard to measure the effectiveness of an HR leader as it’s out role to mitigate risk. Where you would normally measure contribution to the bottom line or cost savings, there are often unseen contributions from HR leaders. From the tribunal that was avoided, the member of staff who chose to stay or the NLP training you suggested for the Commercial Manager which added £x to the bottom line, all have a positive impact on the business but are not easily quantified”. Laura also recognises that a high degree of commercial awareness is key to success in an HR role in 2019. “You have to integrate with the team and understand the strategy from a people perspective. It’s HR’s role to deliver on that strategy from a people perspective”.
What are the common themes and or challenges you are facing currently?
There is a big focus in HR on how we can use technology to add value. At SWFC we’ve made simple changes like the move to electronic pay slips to mitigate GDPR risk and save resources to developing video job adverts. This also brings its own challenges in a multi-generational workforce.
“Gender equality is also a key theme, particularly inspiring female leaders. We’re proud to have female leaders within our Senior team. Our CEO, Club Secretary and HR Manager are all female, we’re proud of that and want to showcase the leadership career paths available to women”.
What advice would you give HR professionals getting started in their career or looking for their next step on the career ladder?
Work experience is key. Don’t go straight from a degree to a masters and then into industry. Take some time between courses to gain the context around the theory”. Laura offered one final piece of advice to those with their sights on the top. “Remember the only limitations on your success are the ones you place on yourself”
If you are interested in a confidential conversation about your HR career or would like to speak with us about supporting the growth of your HR team, please get in touch today.