We are very excited to announce this week’s instalment of the HR Passion Series!
The HR Passion Series is all about bringing the community together by interviewing esteemed HR Professionals about their experiences, successes, failures, and advice!
We love hearing from these insightful and inspirational individuals, and we hope you enjoy it as well 🙂
This week’s guest is HR Business Partner at Amerit Fleet Solutions, Catherine Lennie!
1. What was your journey coming up to your current HR role? Any milestone moments in your career?
Joining companies that are growing rapidly has been key to my HR career and development. I’ve also sought to work for companies that prioritize HR’s strategic worth and contribution.
One milestone moment for me was when I supported my company’s further expansion within the UK, developing new locations and management structure. This early experience has helped me in every expansion project I’ve been involved with since. I worked closely with Operations to ensure that my HR strategy closely aligned with their goals. This also involved partnering with key departments and establishing successful relationships across the company.
2. As an HR leader, what keeps you up at night, rounding out 2018 and looking forward to the next year?
Sleep is important to me. I try not to let any concerns keep me up at night, as I find this reduces my effectiveness the next day.
Something I think about a lot is the employee experience: what is the daily experience at the company, what can we do better to help with career building, learning and flexibility. Gaining feedback about experiences is important. Communication with employees enables us to make improvements they value.
3. What are some elements of focus for your HR strategy in the coming 12 months?
Over the coming 12 months, I will continue to support field managers to give them the HR knowledge that’s needed to make consistent and informed decisions. This helps the team to focus on key issues and reach outcomes that support our business goals.
I aim to keep the training and communication relevant. It’s the day-to-day conversations and projects that have the biggest overall impact; small and consistent.
4. What advice would you give someone going into an HR leadership position for the first time?
Focus on developing relationships with managers and employees. This builds the foundation for valuable communication and information transfer.
Secondly, get HR certified. It helps a lot with knowledge, strategy and developing expertise in your field. HRCI and SHRM have various courses and exams for a range of experience levels and specialisms.
5. Is there anything in your career you’re incredibly proud of?
I’m proud of my ability to adapt to change. I have worked in three countries: Australia, the UK and the USA. Change is guaranteed in today’s world and I have learnt to be comfortable with uncertainty. Being confident and knowledgeable about local employment law is an asset. Additionally, whatever the differences, each role has had the core HR practices at its foundation.
6. Is there anything you failed at? Any lessons learned?
Listen to your own opinions about situations and projects. In the past, I have occasionally failed to assert my views and reasoning behind an opinion in the face of opposition. Continue to back yourself, provide the data and have confidence in your recommendations.
7. Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as an HR leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you?
The executive teams in my current role in the San Francisco Bay Area and my last role in London. I have always joined companies that focus on their investment in the employee experience. Their ongoing support of HR has significantly impacted my HR growth and knowledge.
Two people who have impacted me most are my current boss, and our COO. They have given me the space to try new approaches and show trust in my judgement.
8. What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as an HR leader? any resources you’d recommend to HR colleagues?
I keep up to date with HR changes and new ideas by reading, listening to podcasts, and speaking with other HR professionals. There’s a lot happening out there with updates and technology. I try to stay curious and continue to develop my knowledge. The SHRM18 conference in Chicago was insightful, and there are events throughout the year covering many topics.
9. When you win HR Executive of the year soon, what song do you want playing when you walk up to the stage? 🙂
‘Happy’ by Pharrell is the go to song.
10. What books or podcasts would you recommend to your HR peers?
Every morning I listen to the BBC Global News podcast. So many events and issues are relevant to HR and it helps me to have a global perspective when working on everyday projects and tasks.
A great blog is California Peculiarities. It is filled with updates from the US state that is leading federal employment law decisions. Even if you don’t work in California, I recommend seeing what new laws and decisions are being implemented.
Books by HR and expert leaders such as Laszlo Block, Charles Duhigg and Arianna Huffington.
11. Finally, give us three words that you would use to describe the HR profession.
Strategic, Changing, Curious.
We’d like to thank Catherine for being part of the HR Passion Series! If you have someone you think should be featured, reach out to [email protected]
See you next week 🙂