HR Director

Leading leisure company Merlin Entertainments Group is looking for an HR Director to join its team at Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey.

The HR Director will partner the Divisional Director and Leadership Team to set and drive the Strategy, Master Plan and Tactical Plan for the division ensuring a strong framework is in place to support the achievement of operating KPIs and business performance.

Job Details

13th December 2019
C£80,000 + bonus of up to 30% + pension

This role is managed by:
Jen Gaster

or call our Hampshire office 01962 432001

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Key objectives of the HR Director role:

  • Create and drive the HR strategy and plans for the division to deliver both short and long-term goals, and provide strong leadership and direction for the HR function
  • Ensure that the division embraces strong people principles, acting as a role model for The Merlin Way and focusing on employee engagement through the Wizard Wants to Know
  • Work with the leadership team to create and maintain a talent pipeline for future succession, best in class recruitment, retention approach, learning and development
  • Ensure clarity and consistency on the management of employee wellbeing, employee relations, recognition, pay, and benefits

As HR Director you will:

  • Be responsible for HR service delivery for the division contributing to the achievement of the overall business strategic objectives
  • Create and drive the HR strategy and plan to deliver both short- and long-term goals, and provide strong leadership and direction for the HR function
  • Engage with key stakeholders to build and maintain effective relationships
  • Engage with the wider HR community to communicate and drive Merlin strategy and people initiatives, as well as contributing to operational HR matters such as various HR forums, project groups and input and roll-out of policies and procedures
  • Lead the HR team in providing a professional HR service, including accurate and timely delivery of the HR Basics (contracts, payroll, benefits administration, induction, employee files), recruitment, talent development and ensure activities and employee files fall in line with legal requirements and Merlin policy
  • Ensure the right development, resources and procedures are in place to allow employees to perform at a high level and deliver exceptional customer service standards
  • Ensure that effective methods of measurement are in place and that key trends are identified and acted upon (for example, recruitment stats, retention, exit interviews, succession, absence monitoring, employee relations and occupational health)
  • Ensure that salaries and benefits are applied constantly across the division.  Ensure ongoing review and carry out benchmarking exercises where necessary
  • Ensure implementation of a comprehensive Talent Development plan, with training plans and clear career progression plan is in place for key personnel
  • Lead and support the recruitment of key and senior appointments
  • Ensure all attractions are legally compliant with contracts of employment, working practices and training requirements
  • Working with and as part of the senior leadership team as a key contributor to business decisions and outcomes
  • Working with the Group HR team ensuring initiatives are implemented on time and effectively
  • Drive key Merlin initiatives, ensuring that they are communicated and embedded within the Resort (for example, STAR, Spark an Idea, Merlin School of Magic)
  • Focus on employee engagement and fully utilise the feedback provided from the Wizard Wants to Know survey, ensuring that culture and engagement remain central on the people agenda, and amongst the Leadership Team
  • Ensure that key recognition processes and events are in place (STAR of the Month, Long service awards etc) to effectively recognise and thank employees for their contribution and commitment
  • Act as a role model for The Merlin Way and ensure that our values are fully cascaded and embraced across all attractions
  • Total responsibility for all budgetary planning and expenditure within HR
  • Review HR data on a periodic basis and drive actions from these reviews
  • Continually review the HR operation from a guest/employee perspective, providing operational teams with accurate and timely feedback
  • Regularly benchmark own performance against others within the wider Merlin Entertainments Group and competitors to establish best practice
  • Ensure all operational standards are, where possible, exceeded and that a culture is developed within all staff of ensuring the attraction is always at its very best, both visitor experience-wise and also in protecting future loyalty i.e. through creating memorable visits & compelling reasons to come in the first place
  • Provide advice and assistance to managers on people management in order to create motivated and committed employees
  • Working with the HR and SLT teams to drive ‘Your Voice Counts’ forum to ensure employee involvement in business decisions and compliance with Information & Consultation legislation
  • Drive high levels of communication throughout the department & ensure that relevant information is cascaded throughout the HR team
  • Own responsibility for all aspects of Health, Safety and Security within their department, in line with group policy.
  • Ensure risk assessments have been carried out, that safe working procedures are in place for all work activities and that all employees under their management are aware of the Group Health, Safety and Security Policy and their obligations under it
  • Ensure that safe working practices are monitored and that risk assessments and procedures are reviewed regularly. Where incidents do occur, they must ensure that they are investigated appropriately and that where necessary, corrective action is taken to ensure that such incidents are not repeated

Skills and experience required:

  • Strong business and HR acumen, including strong problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and analysis
  • Proven experience of working within a fast-paced complex environment
  • Excellent developer of relationships at a senior management level to be able to shape and deliver strategic people priorities
  • Excellent communicator who has a proven track record of building strong relationships with key stakeholders, peers and HR colleagues
  • Demonstrated skill in interpersonal relationships, presentations, influence, coaching and verbal and written communications
  • Ability to manage against objectives and schedules, and plan to deliver against the big-picture direction for the business
  • Strong team building, group facilitation, process improvement, and project management skills
  • Proven track record of working in customer-facing, commercial environment within an HR role ideally within a multinational business

Benefits of the HR Director role:

  • c£80k
  • A bonus of up to 30%
  • Car allowance
  • Private health insurance
  • 25 days annual leave
  • Pension

To discuss the HR Director role in more depth please contact Jennifer Gaster at HR Heads by emailing your CV to or call +44 (0) 7533 642111 | +44 (0) 1962 432001. Enquiries are all handled confidentially.

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