J E Beale
HR director, J E Beale, the department
Quote to remember
If board members regularly seek my advice then I must be on the right track
What are your key responsibilities?
Providing a full HR service for 1,800 staff.
Previous jobs (both HR and non-HR)?
I worked for British Gas for six years, in graduate recruitment and training and management development. Before that I worked in the chemical industry in personnel, training and marketing. My first job was teaching physics.
Why did you choose Beales?
I joined as head of training and development on a part-time, one-year contract while doing other freelance training work.
What attracted you to a career in HR?
I came into HR almost by accident, having always wanted to teach. I enjoy the sheer variety of HR.
What key skills do you need to be successful in your current role?
I need to be pragmatic, commercially focused, persuasive and someone whom people feel able to talk to.
What do you enjoy most about your current job?
The opportunity to make a difference through developing people and influencing changes in the organisation.
What do you enjoy least about your job?
The level of email traffic, especially when it keeps me from the things that really matter.
What is the most important contribution that HR can make to a business?
Getting the right people into the right jobs. It is hugely satisfying to see a whole store shift up a gear due to an inspirational store director, and to see business results and key HR measures such as staff turnover improve as a result.
If you werent working for Beales, which company would you most like to work for?
I would probably want to be running my own company. Running a hotel in France would appeal.
Which business person, outside of Beales, do you admire most?
Belinda Earl, CEO of Debenhams. She is a great role model leading the firm through challenging times, and getting to the top before the age of 40.
What measures do you use to see how good a job you are doing?
More qualitative than quantitative measures really how well we develop and retain key people, for example. It is also very much about winning hearts and minds if board members regularly seek my advice and involvement in business issues and talk well of my team, then I must be on the right track.