· Features

Future leader: Emma Locke, Perfetti Van Melle

Locke: "It is important to educate the next generation on the role that HR plays" -

Emma Locke, change and communications lead for the confectionery manufacturer Perfetti Van Melle, shares her vision for the future of the profession.

I began to hone my skills in HR while working at Broadmoor Hospital. I vividly remember an HR advisor who emphasised our role: to foster an environment where individuals felt heard, supported, and cared for, even in a high-security setting.

Over the next five years, AI will become more crucial. HR’s challenge is not only to keep up with evolving capabilities but also to safeguard individuals from misuse. The key is balancing innovation and ethical considerations.

When I retire, HR will continue to grapple with enduring people challenges. The remote work landscape will persist, the integration of AI will demand ongoing attention, DE&I will continue to be a priority and the need for strong, skilled leaders will endure.

I commit to remaining true to myself, embracing my flaws and emphasising my passionate, human approach. Throughout my career, I’ve earned a reputation for changing perceptions about HR by fostering environments of genuine trust. This particularly rings true in my current role.

My colleagues recently nominated me for the HR Excellence Awards Future Leader of the Year category, which is one of my career highlights to date. It is a true testament to the power of listening and collaboration. As I always say: we’ve got two ears and one mouth for a reason. One of the simplest and most transformative things is to create space for people to speak, and to actively listen.

While I understand the importance of promoting HR’s value in tandem with leadership and senior teams, it’s equally important to educate the next generation on the role that HR plays. I feel proud that I can talk about my experience candidly, with great enthusiasm and passion.


This article was first published in our January/February 2024 print edition. Subscribe today to have all of our latest articles delivered right to your desk.