first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Aregular monthly series where we look at similar roles in different sectors andindustriesThisweek Alison Warner, head of HR at Stephenson Harwood and Irene Cowden, group HRdirector at Securicor, compare notes on their careers1.What are your main responsibilities?AWI am responsible for the provision of all HR services, including theimplementation of policies and procedures, recruitment and retention, trainingand development and employee relations across Stephenson Harwood. In addition,I represent legal firms on the executive committee of the Association ofGraduate Recruiters, giving input on issues relating to law firms.ICDeveloping Securicor’s overall HR strategy and making sure it is implemented.Ensuring our HR strategies are taken into account when developing the businessmodel. Developing the company’s culture and group organisation. Selecting anddeveloping the best people and senior management. Recognition and reward.Spreading knowledge and best practice throughout the organisation.2.What’s the pay like?AWIt is fair, but there are reasons other than the salary alone as to why I cometo work.ICIn line with market rates.3.How flexible are the hours?AWNot terribly, but that is part and parcel of this role. I tend to work late inthe evenings as there are fewer interruptions and I can concentrate on gettingthings done when it is quiet. I regularly work 10-hour days and longer whenneeded.ICAll our employees are required to be flexible, and in return we encourage theright work-life balance. Our employees work the hours the role demands, but inreturn we are as flexible as possible.4.What do you like most about the job?AWThe fact that no two days are the same and that there is always something newto learn.ICWorking with a top team to move the business forward. Witnessing people you sawarrive at the company, develop and grow with the business.5.What are the challenges?AWThe fact that no two days are the same and there is always something new tolearn! Working in a professional services firm is a real challenge in itselfbut I wouldn’t do it unless I enjoyed it. We recently merged with another lawfirm and the challenges presented by the merger have been tremendous. I havehad a crash course in TupeICSecuricor has grown rapidly in a very short space of time and the challengesare great but exciting. Among others we must ensure we spread the values of theorganisation, share best practice across the organisation, understand theorganisational culture in our regions, and ensure the business units retaintheir autonomy.6.What is your biggest headache?AWI think the amount of changes to employment legislation over the past few yearsand potential legislative changes in the future. Not only are these challengesfor HR professionals but introducing policies and ensuring best practice iscomplied with is a headache in itself. Within the firm, currently the biggestchallenge is the integration of two businesses and for HR dealing with the‘people’ issues which resulted from the merger.ICI don’t tend to see things as headaches, but rather as challenges as describedabove.7.What size is your team?AWThere are 10 of us in the HR team. The core HR team comprises six people:myself, two HR managers, an HR officer and an HR assistant. In addition we havea training and development function comprising a training and developmentmanager, a training adviser an HR and training administrator and a graduaterecruitment administrator. HR also has responsibility for payroll and thesalaries manager is part of our team.ICI have a small team of people specialising in executive development, complianceand benefits, and employee communications. This team is small because wedeliberately want the business units to have autonomy, which is why there arehigh level HR specialists in the business units who make decisions aboutrunning their own businesses.8.Who do you report to?AWThe chief executive, John Pike.ICThe group chief executive, Nick Buckles.9.What qualifications do you have?AWI am educated to degree level and I am a member of the CIPD. More importantthough are the 10 years practical HR experience I have, something which cannotbe gained through qualifications.ICBA Hons degree, Member of the CIPD.10.What are your career aspirations?AWAt the moment I am happy in the role I have. It keeps me sufficientlyinterested and motivated. I am due to go on maternity leave shortly and I thinkcombining motherhood with my role will be enough to keep me occupied for awhile.ICLast year it would have been appointment to the board as group HR director!11.What training and development opportunities are there?AWStephenson Harwood has invested a lot in training and development over the pastfew years and we see it as one of the keys to the firm’s future success. Toremain competitive, it is vital our lawyers are up to speed with the latestlegal developments and we run an annual training and development programme forlawyers, which is also open to anyone in the company looking to expand theirknowledge. We invest heavily in recruiting and training graduates as futuresolicitors and in recent months we have developed a suite of courses forsecretarial and support staff. We are really proud that our first NEBS‘trainees’ (qualification in supervisory management) have just completed theirqualifications.ICWe have strong training and development programmes and put a lot of emphasis onthis area, both in developing people professionally but also, and often moreimportantly, developing them personally to allow them to take on moreresponsibility and build their personal skills.12.What is your holiday entitlement?AW30 daysIC25 days and I take all of it, honest!13.What’s your working environment like?AWI think we have the best offices in London. We are directly opposite the frontof St Paul’s Cathedral and have a view to beat all others.ICInformal, fun, focused and flexible.14.What other benefits do you get? (company car, etc)AWThe benefits are very competitive: private medical insurance, permanent healthinsurance, life assurance, gym subsidy, season ticket loan, well womenscreening and a pension.ICCompany car, and a company share scheme.15.What’s the best part of working in HR?AWThe fact that we can make a difference to people and ultimately to the company.I also love the interaction with people.ICInfluencing people’s behaviour, developing people and seeing them grow andprogress in the organisation.16.How does your firm treat work-life balance?AWWe think it is vital that people have a good work-life balance. In professionalservices firms, the client comes first and there will be times when we have towork long hours to meet their requirements. However, there are also other timeswhen people do not have to work long hours and leave on time; we don’t have thekind of culture that means people stay late because they feel they have to.ICSecuricor encourages it and this includes offering flexible hours. We encouragestaff to be open and the responsibility is with each employee to ensure theyhave the right work-life balance.17.Who do you most envy? (what’s your dream job)AWMy dream job is one in which I am respected, can make a demonstrable differenceto the organisation I work for and one which I enjoy. ICJudith ChalmersAlisonWarner, head of HR, Stephenson Harwood Jobat a glanceSizeof team: 10Holidays: 30 daysBenefits: private medical insurance, permanent health insurance, lifeassurance, gym subsidy, season ticket loan, Well Woman screening and pensionReports to: chief executive John PikeCurriculumvitae2000Head of HR, Stephenson Harwood1998 Legal and graduate recruitment manager, Stephenson Harwood1996 National personnel and training officer, Moores Rowland1992 Recruitment officer; staff training manager; training and developmentmanager, HarrodsIreneCowden, group HR director, SecuricorJobat a glanceHolidays:25 daysBenefits: company car and share schemeReports to: group chief executive Nick BucklesCurriculumvitae2002Group HR director, Securicor1999 Divisional HR director, security division, Securicor1995 HR director, cash services UK, Securicor1995 Six months secondment in South Africa as part of a start-up project team1991 Personnel director, security businesses, Securicor Head to headOn 29 Oct 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img