· Features

How I got here: Tony Elliott, Robertson Group

Tony Elliott, group HR director at construction engineering firm Robertson Group, shares his tips for a successful career in HR.

Group HR director, Robertson Group, July 2014 – Present

I joined Robertson at the beginning of an exponential growth cycle, turnover and headcount rising threefold during my time here. I began as training manager and was promoted to HRD in early 2015. I lead a team of dedicated, passionate and extremely capable HR professionals. We have transformed the people offering and strategy across the group.

The key has been flexing the people systems, process and strategies in line with growth and changing needs of the business, especially during the past 18 months. My role is now much more strategic and involves working closely with the board and supporting organisational change.


Board trustee, Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), June 2020 – Present

I am extremely passionate about developing skills to meet the economic challenge across the UK and my role at CITB gives me an excellent opportunity to make a difference. Following a period chairing its Scottish council, I became a board trustee and chair of the remuneration committee. This has enabled my professional and personal development, gaining wider insights into board operations while fully utilising my skillset.


L&D consultant, Standard Life, March 2011 – June 2014

At Standard Life I led on the design and delivery of several leadership development programmes. I was then co-opted onto a large-scale HRIT project and led on the rollout of a new learning management system. This helped me develop a strong appreciation for the discipline that project management brings and the key role that HR technology and data can play in a successful business.


L&D advisor, OKI Printing Solutions, July 2008 – December 2010

What attracted me to OKI was the chance to work within a different corporate culture as the company was part of a wider Japanese group. This helped me hone my business relationship skills and build techniques for dealing with different cultures and corporate territories.


L&D consultant, Prudential, December 1999 – July 2008

My HR career began at Prudential with my first official HR role, although I had carried out various training roles early in my working life in retail. Following a period in various operational roles I joined HR carrying out learning programme design and delivery projects. This developed my passion for the difference learning and leadership development can make.


Top three career tips

  1. Remember there is no wrong career path. Find your passion and develop your skills in your chosen field, always be open to learning. I began straight from school in retail management and found my true home in HR. Love what you do.
  2. Be prepared to take personal accountability when things don’t quite go according to plan and always collectively celebrate successes.

  3. Don’t be dogmatic about what HR professionals should and shouldn’t deliver. We should be about successful delivery of business strategy, prepared to flex and always advising, never preaching.


The full piece of the above appears in the September/October 2021 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk.