· 1 min read · Features

Cumberland Hotel

Name: Beth Aarons

Job title: HR director

Company: Cumberland Hotel

What are your key responsibilities?

Managing culture change throughout the organisation, so that the provision of service is the most important thing we do.

Previous jobs?

HR manager at the Savoy; before that group training manager for the Savoy Group; and a training executive for Manpower.

Why did you choose the Cumberland Hotel?

It offered an exciting opportunity: Le Mridien hotels group [owner of the Cumberland] is launching a complete redesign of the identity of its hotels and levels of service here.

What has been the biggest HR challenge of your career?This one, particularly the scope and size of the project.

What attracted you to a career in HR?

I was a trainee at Travellers Fare. I attended lots of training courses and thought I could do it myself. So although I started in operations, I went into HR via the training route.

What key skills do you need to be successful in your current role?

Good understanding of people, interpersonal and social skills, knowledge of employment law and the ability to think creatively.

What do you enjoy most about your current job?

The ability to influence the direction of the business.

What do you enjoy least?

The necessary administration associated with the role.

What has been your greatest achievement in work?

Getting this job there was enormous competition for it.

What is the most important contribution that HR can make to a business?

Helping managers run their business more successfully.

If you werent working for the Cumberland Hotel which company would you most like to work for?

I would like to run my own chain of luxury hotels.

Which business person, outside of the Mridien group, do you admire most?

Jean-Jacques Pergant, MD of the Berkeley and the Connaught.

What measure(s) do you use to test whether you are doing a good job?

Overall morale within the operation, success of the business, staff turnover, and the degree of involvement of my team.

Which book has had the greatest influence on you?

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden it makes history live.