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 Jill Kay, HR Officer at ASD Lighting & Rotherham United FC.
Can you tell us how you got into HR and why?
“I started my career in Hospitality Management and had been running my own pub since I was 18. I climbed the hospitality career ladder to become a General Manager for Pizza Hut before moving into Retail with Asda and BHS. At both Asda and BHS, I carried out return to work meetings, disciplinary and grievance meetings and underwent training and really gained a passion for all things people.
It was when I was working as an Operations Manager at BHS that I began to think about a career in a dedicated HR role. I started speaking to recruiters and decided the time was right and went on to gain my CIPD with Chrysos in Doncaster. I became qualified and then got experience and I’ve never looked back.
Can you tell me about the challenges you currently face?
Making sure you work strategically and operationally is a fine balance to strike in HR. I also think keeping up with legislation alongside managing the daily workload is a challenge. Brexit is in the news and the pending legislation changes as a result of Brexit is a distraction because we still don’t know the impact.
For employees the problem across a lot of companies I talk to is management capability and communication. All managers are generally technicians, operationally focused, so enhancing and developing management capability whilst building strong communication links is a key theme at the moment.
What career advice would you offer to someone either working towards a career like yours, or someone just getting started in their HR career?
“Try and get as much exposure as possible because confidence comes from knowledge. Having someone to sanity check with is always useful. I’m very lucky here my direct line manager, Karen has been a great support.
The other thing I can’t recommend highly enough is getting a mentor and building a network. My CIPD network has been invaluable to my career. To be able to send an email and ask a question about an HR system or a new piece of legislation makes keeping up to date so much easier.
Increasingly the ability to interpret and manipulate data is key along with Excel or Google sheets knowledge. HR is now more evidence based than before. In much the same way an FD would look at a P&L before making a decision so should HR review the data before making a change.
Finally, Jill recommends supplementing formal study with work experience. “Even if you come straight out of university with a CIPD Level 7, it’s helpful to be able to apply context. Make sure you gather as much work experience as you can along the way”.
Jill joined ASD Lighting & Rotherham United FC in 2016 as HR Officer. Jill works in a stand-alone HR role supporting both ASD Lighting, a specialist lighting manufacturer, Rotherham United Football Club and Rotherham United Community Sports Trust. Jill is also the Membership Engagement Coordinator for CIPD South Yorkshire and District Branch.
If you are interested in having a confidential conversation about your career or would like support growing your team, please get in touch today.