The big interview. Headshot of Sally-Ann

The Big Interview with Sally-Ann, CEO of Reality HR

Highlighting the importance of putting people at the heart of every business decision.

Putting People First | Strategic HR for Business Success

With a distinguished career that spans both national and international landscapes, including senior positions at one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains, Sally-Ann brings a wealth of experience and insights to the table. In this interview, she shares her vision for Reality HR, and outlines key strategies for people professionals navigating today’s complex HR landscape.

About The Author

Sally-Ann’s HR Journey

Sally-Ann’s career in HR has been defined by a consistent dedication to nurturing talent and leveraging strategic people management to drive business performance. “My journey in HR has been incredibly rewarding,” she reflects. My focus has always been on collaboration and knowledge sharing. I believe these principles are fundamental to achieving great outcomes for our team and our partners at Reality HR.”

As the CEO of Reality HR, a leading HR consultancy based in the South of England, Sally-Ann heads up a 24-strong in-house team of CIPD-qualified specialists. They partner with businesses of all sizes, both nationally and internationally, to unlock the full potential of their people.

“Our team’s extensive experience allows us to understand the unique challenges faced by our clients,” says Sally-Ann. “We translate that understanding into tailored HR strategies that drive commercial success and growth,” she adds.

The Vision and Core Values of Reality HR

At Reality HR, a commitment to client success underpins everything they do. “We are passionate about delivering outstanding, commercially driven, and practical HR solutions,” emphasises Sally-Ann. “We specialise in building strong partnerships that deliver tangible value to our clients.”

The core values of Reality HR—commercial awareness, partnership, integrity, care, people, and quality—are embedded in every aspect of their work. “We are commercially aware and work in true partnership with our clients, respecting that one size does not fit all. Integrity is paramount, and we prioritise the wellbeing of our people because we know empowered employees deliver exceptional service to our clients. Ultimately, our success hinges on our people, and we are committed to providing the highest quality service in everything we do.” she explains.

Strategic Priorities for Senior HR Leaders

When asked about the key focus areas for senior HR professionals regarding HR strategy, Sally-Ann underlines three priorities: alignment with business goals, outstanding communication, and fostering a strong people-centric culture.

” A well-defined HR strategy should be clearly aligned to the company’s overall vision and objectives,” she advises.  “Establishing a strong foundation for clear and compelling communication is essential for managing a secure and confident workforce.”

Sally-Ann also highlights the importance of continuous learning and development as a strategic driver. “There is significant business value in providing ongoing L&D opportunities for employees,” she says. “Equipping colleagues with the necessary skills and knowledge is critical for ensuring they can effectively contribute to achieving strategic goals.”

Beyond L&D, Sally-Ann emphasises the importance of cultivating a positive and engaging work environment. “Senior HR professionals should prioritise creating a workplace that fosters engagement,” she advises.  “This can be achieved through implementing recognition programmes, promoting open communication channels, and prioritising employee wellbeing initiatives.”

Effective talent acquisition strategies are equally important for attracting and retaining top talent.  Investing in L&D goes hand-in-hand with this, as it helps ensure a skilled and adaptable workforce.

Navigating the Future of HR

Looking ahead, Sally-Ann identifies several trends shaping the HR landscape in 2024. She outlines five critical focus areas for senior HR professionals.

Addressing mental health and burnout: Creating a supportive work environment that prioritises employee mental health and wellbeing is crucial.

Talent acquisition and succession planning: Developing a robust talent pipeline and succession plan is essential for ensuring long-term business continuity.

Ensuring dignity and respect at work: Providing a safe and inclusive workplace where all employees feel valued is paramount.

Improving change management: Equipping leaders with the skills to effectively manage organisational change is critical for navigating periods of transformation.

Embracing workplace diversity: Building a diverse and inclusive workforce that celebrates different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives is essential for innovation and success.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset

As a business leader, Sally-Ann is driven by a desire to make a positive impact on her employees, clients and the broader community through the work her and her team do. She expresses that, “Seeing individuals grow, businesses thrive, and challenges overcome is incredibly rewarding” as well as the fact that “Leading and collaborating with a talented, passionate team brings immense satisfaction.” Sall-Ann also says, “I am deeply passionate about supporting local businesses and empowering students through partnerships with local colleges.”

Sally-Ann expresses that her true joy comes from collaborating with organisations that recognise the immense value of their people. “Investing in employees is not just a cost; it’s a strategic advantage. Partnering with businesses that understand this allows us to tailor HR solutions that drive engagement, growth, and success,” she explains.

Sally-Ann’s advice to HR professionals is clear: be the champion of your people.

“People are your most valuable asset. Prioritise their wellbeing, growth, and engagement” she urges. “Foster open communication, invest in development, recognise achievements, and build genuine relationships based on empathy and trust.”

By fostering a people-focused culture, businesses can attract and retain top talent, drive innovation, and support business growth. Sally-Ann’s insights are a testament to the transformative power of strategic HR management, highlighting the importance of putting people at the heart of every business decision.

Supporting HRDs: Addressing Their Challenges and Needs

Sally-Ann acknowledges that people professionals today wear many hats and navigate a complex environment. They are constantly balancing strategic priorities with day-to-day operations, while ensuring a thriving workforce that drives business growth. Reality HR understands these challenges and is positioned as a trusted partner, offering comprehensive support through a variety of services. We also recognise that sometimes, all you may need is a sounding board, a trusted advisor to validate your strategies in tackling intricate cases.

Sally-Ann believes in empowering people professionals. That’s why she is offering a complimentary 30-minute consultation. Discuss your specific challenges, explore potential solutions, and gain valuable insights from a seasoned HR professional – all with no obligation. If you would like to book some time, then please email: and quote HRHead30Min.