We interviewed Lisa Welch, on International Human Resources Day to ask her about her role and experience working in HR & L&D in general. Lisa joined Flint in February 2020. Before joining Flint, Lisa has spent many years working within Human Resources & Learning & Development within a number of industries including pharmaceutical, financial services and FMCG. Lisa has previously worked at Unilever, driving the delivery of the skills and capability agenda for HR globally and has also worked on HR/LMS system implementation and business process related projects within various organisations.
How did you get into a career in HR?
It all started back in 2001 when I worked as the PA to the General Manager (GM) & VP Europe at Fisher Clinical Services (part of Thermo Scientific). The GM would travel quite extensively between Basel, UK and US, so I began to support the Senior HR Manager in addition to my role. This where my passion for HR and L&D began.
What are the key responsibilities in your role?
I am fortunate to be involved in the full employee lifecycle from recruitment, onboarding, supporting the performance review process, learning and development actions, internships, reviewing policies, liaising with our benefits provider and offboarding. I also work with I.T to support any projects in this space. There are so many different tasks. I spend much of my time speaking to employees and identifying support, even more so over the last year. Every day is a surprise to me! I can be doing anything from rolling out a recruitment system and showing the team how to use it, researching new training or helping employees with their development and support needs. I also spend time on recruitment or rolling out a new employee benefit, for example our new Flint Pension scheme or our Employee Assistance Programme. Every day is different and unpredictable.
What skills are needed for this role and what challenges do you face?
I will admit I found joining Flint two weeks prior to the first lockdown difficult. I found the loss of connecting face to face with new colleagues to listen and build relationships particularly hard, especially as I joined a company with lots on the agenda. Remote working is not new to me and is great, but you cannot get a real sense and understanding of those you are there to support when you are on the other side of a computer screen, especially when you’ve never had the chance to meet in person. Recruitment has not eased during the pandemic so ensuring all new starters are supported through the entire process and onboarded into the business with a comprehensive induction has been a non-negotiable priority for me.
You have to care and be flexible. You need to recognise that not everything can be done all at once, priorities shift and change at any stage, which then impacts what you are working on. Be organised, supportive and help other people cope with change! It’s always difficult when implementing new ways of working, but with a little guidance, support and perseverance you can get there. And when it falls into place, it’s a huge win for everyone. (I hope!) It’s a standalone role, busy job and like most people in HR, you start the day with a plan and it is out of the window by 10am!
What keeps you motivated to go into work every day?
There is no better feeling than seeing individuals succeed and do well in their role. This is what brings me real joy along with being part of a team, who all work extremely hard to build a successful business. Working in a smaller company, means there is lots to get involved in – one minute I am speaking to candidates, the next speaking to training providers, or even building intranet sites! If these initiatives give employees easy access to the tools, resources and support, they need to do their jobs, and that the support I give makes life a little easier for those around me, then I feel I am going a small way to winning.
What advice would you give someone considering a career in HR?
Be approachable, objective, and open minded and talk to employees as much as you can. Show a genuine interest in each employee. Understand the business and the roles within, to best support where required. Building good relationships and being well known and recognised in the business, for me, is key to making HR known as a positive influence on the business rather than just the place you go when things aren’t going well for you or the company.
Roll on the day we can all get together as ‘one team’ and meet face to face!