International Women’s Day 2021

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion is embedded into our DNA at Heads Resourcing Group and is one of our core business pillars.

We firmly believe in equality for all and have pledged to continue attracting a workforce that reflects this, not only for ourselves but for the clients and candidates we engage with.

For International Women’s Day HR Heads spoke to HR leaders to hear what makes HR such a great career, the advice they’d give peers starting out and how to elevate your career.

To anyone looking to elevate their career in HR, I would suggest expanding your range and branching out into other areas and skillsets which will compliment your HR experience. 

Understand the business you work in and take time to build and nurture working relationships. Network outside of your organisation and not just within an HR setting, but within a business or industry setting, as the nature of topics and discussions will naturally be broader and will challenge you and contribute to your development.

Think about your personal brand and what you have to offer that is unique and work on your strengths and building these to increase your impact at a senior level.

Rebecca Gilbert
Executive Director People & Culture, Condor Ferries

Image of Elizabeth Cowper on the International Women's Day HR Heads blog

“HR as a career gives enormous opportunities. The way we work is changing all the time and Covid has transformed the way businesses operate. HR have the unique role of culture custodian, I see it as a gift. 

“No two days are ever the same, which means we are learning all the time and truly making a difference to employees every day.” Elizabeth Cowper, Founder the Ludo Partnership

“The value for me is not in trying to be more like these people – and therefore less like me – but to understand my contribution from their perspective, it can be massively insightful and at times a real confidence boost too!” Jac Broughton, HR Director, Hampshire County Council

Have faith in your own abilities and experience – remember that your views and opinions are just as valid as anyone else’s, and sometimes you have to be brave and say what needs to be said, even if it’s unpopular. Inevitably, there will be situations where being brave and speaking up will lead to criticism, so it’s helpful if you have a mentor, coach or friend who can help you see what you’re really great at – we rarely see the value of things that come naturally to us – and who can encourage you to see beyond the criticism and recognise the contribution you can make when you play to your natural strengths.

When you understand those strengths and how they benefit organisations – and/or the wider world – you can advance your career, whether it be into senior roles, as an entrepreneur or something else entirely that you just love doing.”

Lindsay Allen
HR/OD Director, Services for Education

“I’ve always valued the input of others, both within HR and ‘in the business’ and I’ve paid real attention to the people I surround myself with. Some of those people will be senior to me, with broader and deeper experiences, while others might be peers or members of my wider team with a different but equally rich view of the world in which we are operating and the impact I might be having, for good or ill! 

“What I love about HR is that you are the most successful when you strategically partner with your business and understand how it works. I remember on my graduate scheme that I had to cover store duty management and could never see how that would help me in HR. It made a huge difference.

“For me, the days of ‘personnel’ are thankfully long gone and HR leaders are now valued for their strategic business impact. I think a commercial HR professional gains more buy in and makes better decisions that are aligned to business priorities.

“It’s ok to make mistakes and remember you are human. Learn from those mistakes and seek feedback. I still recall a piece of feedback I was given at the start of my career that was so significant in my development that I still remember it now many years later. The person giving me that feedback will never know the positive impact they had on me and how it shaped me and my career. I am thankful for their honesty and support.

“Finally, think about your specialism, test them out and find the one that works for you. A career in HR is full of choice and if one avenue doesn’t work for you another one will.” Michelle Winstone, HR Director, Farrow & Ball

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