· News

Park Group appoints new HR director

HR magazine spoke to Claire Jones, newly-appointed group HR director at Park Group, about her career highlights so far and her plans for her new role

Claire Jones has joined Park Group as group HR director, after spending 13 years in financial services as head of HR business partnering at Chester credit card company MBNA, head of staffing at Bank of America, and Lloyds Banking Group.

Jones will lead on key areas of the company’s new strategic plan for growth announced in late-2018, including the relocation of core parts of the business to Liverpool city centre, as well as enterprise resource planning, skills and talent management, and recruitment and retention. Here she tells HR magazine about lessons she's learned so far in her career and her plans for the people agenda at Park Group.

I decided to make the move because…

It is an incredibly exciting time to be joining Park Group. We have a new strategic plan, which gives us a very clear direction of travel and opens up huge opportunities for growth. It means we’ll need all of our people driving the strategy forward, and our new people strategy will play a critical role in shaping the future.

As a company we want to retain and recruit the very best people and to ensure we’re building for a future anchored by digital. Key to this is making sure we have the capabilities to match our strategic intent and to ensure we can move at pace to drive the business forward.

I knew Park Group was the right place for me when…

I heard from Ian [O'Doherty, Park Group’s CEO] on how committed he is to making Park a great place to work. Knowing that you will be working with a CEO who values the strategic importance of HR, and who genuinely believes that investing in people is the right thing to do, meant that it was an easy decision. He has led the company for around a year now and is a truly inspiring person who people want to get behind. He continues to emphasise his passion for attracting, developing and retaining the very best people and building a culture of collaboration. It’s certainly a passion we both share and we have exciting times ahead.

I’m most excited about...

Our expansion into Liverpool later this year. We’re currently exploring a whole host of ways to structure our new HQ, using new insights and modern thinking to help shape the right environment for our teams to flourish, collaborate and grow. It’s also an opportunity to open us up to a new market of potential candidates, and we’re exploring ways to continue to strengthen our links with key network groups in the city.

My biggest challenge in the new role will be…

Ensuring we’re building a business that is fit for the future and anchored by digital – and doing so at real pace. Critical to this will be growing the capabilities of our existing team (we have great talent) and appealing to a wider talent pool. We know that there’s a competitive market out there for the best talent so it’s making sure we market ourselves, and the opportunities and benefits of working at Park Group, in the right way.

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt from my previous roles has been…

I’ve learned so many lessons from the roles I’ve had previously but I think the key one is to listen, not just play at it. One size doesn’t fit all. What works in one sector or business can look entirely different in another, and you get to know this when you connect with people. Communication is a critical factor in HR, whether in periods of contraction or transformation, or when preparing for growth and expansion like we are now at Park Group.

Listen to the voices of the business, to people, to leaders, to stakeholders. Garner insights to help evolve your thinking and learn from experience. And make great communication central to everything.

If I achieve one thing in my new role…

It would be to create an enterprise that truly champions its people, offering them the capabilities and opportunities to become the best they can be. We have bold ambitions for growth at Park Group and we need to enable our people to drive the business forward. Our CEO says that any strategy can only be as good as the people in place to deliver it, and that’s why we’re keen to invest in and grow our team here at Park Group. To be central to that is incredibly exciting. There’s no doubt I’m relishing that challenge.

Moving jobs? Tell HR magazine about it to appear in the magazine and let your peers know. Email our reporter on rachel.muller-heyndyk@markallengroup.com or call 0207 3874 9235