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Future leader: Ben Wrigley, Wincanton

Ben Wrigley, group employee relations case manager at logistics firm Wincanton shares his vision for the future of the HR profession.

I began my career as a specialist employment lawyer in a regional law firm, I got to spend time with organisations developing their HR and employee relations strategies. I provided advice on complex case management, advising on restructures, TUPE, and redundancy projects. I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the job. My childhood dream was to become a paramedic; while HR is a far-cry from that, I’ve always said that HR is the unsung emergency service.

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My main HR concerns are centred around improving digital skills. Building digital dexterity is one of the most major change programmes HR will ever face. HR is, and will continue to be, responsible for leading businesses through the increasing adoption of new technologies, automation and the removal of transactional processes. This is a challenge, but the outcome is an important opportunity to future-proof a post-Covid economy.

Environmental, social and governance is only becoming more important Organisations have an obligation to reskill and upskill colleagues to consider how and what jobs are retained through digital transformation. This is something I am passionate about. Leadership development and coaching will be key to the success of this activity, inspiring and encouraging colleagues to step outside of their comfort-zone, try new roles, and adopt new technologies. Companies also need a clear employee value proposition if they want to attract and retain talent.

HR will always be tackling ever-changing and evolving equality, diversity and inclusion policies. What might work today will, inevitably, change. Every organisation needs to be clear on not just what it wants to achieve, but what it needs to achieve.

Poorly managed colleague disputes and protracted case management can lead to organisations that are slowed down, less productive and disengaged. I’ve also seen that organisations are held back through not being agile around change due to the lack of expertise required to provide quick commercial advice to decision-makers. If I can do anything, it would be to tackle those two issues.

Wrigley won HR Future Leader of the Year award at the HR Excellence Awards 2022.


This article was first published in the January/February 2023 issue of HR magazine. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk.