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Holmes Place

Name: Helen Bond

Job title: HR director

Organisation: Holmes Place

What are your key responsibilities?

I am responsible for all HR activities including recruitment, training, reward and policy. A major part of my time has been spent in reviewing the business and developing the HR plan.

Previous jobs? (both HR and non-HR)

I worked for Tesco for 21 years, starting in a store, progressing to personnel manager, specialising in employee relations for 18 months, before heading up the retail HR function for one year, and finally the head office HR function.

Why did you choose to work for Holmes Place?

I wanted a smaller operation where I would have an impact on the business as a whole. I was also attracted to the culture.

What has been the biggest HR challenge of your career?

To move from somewhere that I knew intimately to a new company in a senior HR position has been the most challenging but at the same time, extremely rewarding.

What attracted you to a career in HR?

I had always been interested in training, and as a part-timer at Tesco I used to train the other Saturday staff which led to my first HR position as the full-time staff trainer in the store.

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

Communication skills, influencing, ability to stand back and review objectively, prioritising, and a sense of humour.

What do you enjoy most about your current job?

The opportunity to influence changes in the organisation that will help people do their job better and feel rewarded for it.

What do you enjoy least?

At times I get frustrated as it seems to be taking too long to do everything I want to do.

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

First, to get the basics right so that the people systems and processes run smoothly; second, to constantly challenge the organisation to ensure that the investment in people is being managed properly.

Which senior manager or business person, outside Holmes Place, do you admire most?

Jack Welch for the way he transformed GE with a single-minded approach to getting, training and keeping the best people.

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

Whether the HR team is called upon for guidance and support and whether the work we are doing is being used.