HR future leader of the month: Nick Ling

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HR magazine speaks to the future leaders of the industry to discover the long-term trends they are planning to tackle in the years ahead

What are your main concerns in HR today?

Diversity in the workplace is high on my agenda. The focus, particularly in recent years, on the gender pay gap has really opened the public’s eyes to inequalities in the working world, and how much still needs to be done to eliminate them. More and more organisations are facing up to their responsibilities when it comes to creating gender equality in the workplace. By hiring from diverse shortlists, creating inclusive environments, and having a culture that puts equality centre-stage, companies can start to properly address inclusion.

What will become more important for HR over the next five years?

The way organisations approach recruitment is fundamental. With significant advances in technology, I think we’re likely to see recruitment undergo substantial transformation over the next few years.

As a fast-growing organisation –we’re planning on increasing our colleague base by almost a third this year alone – the way we approach recruitment is critical to our continued success. From looking into ways to gamify how candidates are assessed, to delving into the potential benefits of artificial intelligence video interviewing, we’re already exploring how we can provide candidates and our team with an even better experience.

What subjects will HR still be tackling when you retire?

As more digital solutions are integrated into the HR function, the profession will need to tackle how it ensures this technology is complementing, not replacing, the personal touch. When it comes down to it, HR is all about people. As we all become more connected through technological advances HR will need to ensure that this personal touch remains at the forefront.

What do you plan to do to change HR for the better?

I want to create more opportunities for people to establish a rewarding career. Apprenticeships are really close to my heart, having worked for a number of large training providers previously and now heading up the bank’s apprenticeship recruitment programme.

Metro Bank is an employer-provider and this year we plan on hiring around 100 new cashier apprentices, who will become permanent colleagues from day one. We have a number of other training and development programmes in place: from providing our store colleagues with the opportunity to obtain a professional qualification with the Chartered Institute of Banking, to our Learning to Lead programme that supports colleagues with their first management role. There’s a lot we’re already doing to provide people with careers rather than jobs – and there’s lots more that I’m excited to work on in this space.

Nick Ling is the recruitment team leader at Metro Bank

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