HRMI 2021: Sharon Benson, HR Director, Sunrise Senior Living UK

Benson is human resources director at Sunrise Senior Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare, a luxury care home provider operating 46 homes employing 5,000 colleagues. She leads a team of 31 covering recruitment, rewards, employee engagement, learning and development, and more.

Benson joined the leading care home provider in January 2020 and played a pivotal role in the organisation’s successful navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges of this period, her strong leadership and direction enabled a reduction in employee attrition by 23%, cut forecast recruitment and overtime costs by over £2m, along with many other notable accomplishments to keep their colleagues and residents safe. These achievements have earnt the provider success at various prestigious awards, including winning ‘Brilliance in Customer Relations’ at the BOC International Brilliance awards, shortlisted for Best In-House Recruitment Team at the 2021 Recruiter Awards, and named as a finalist for the Best Resourcing Initiative, and People Team of the Year awards at this year’s CIPD People Management Awards. 

A specialist in transformation, she’s held senior positions leading people and culture change programmes at Studio Retail, Acorn Care and Education, and the Co-operative Group. 

Outside of work, Benson provides a taxi service and is the biggest fan of her two football mad teenage boys.

Recommended reading:

Care sector vacancies soar, while applications slump

Studio Retail: HR's journey from mail order to ecommerce


Sharon Benson was ranked second on the list of HR Most Influential practitioners 2021.