Judy Large is the Head of Workforce Planning and Talent Development at St. Basils, a charity that helps homeless youth with accommodation and support.
What’s your job like?
I’m the Head of the HR Department, overseeing anything that relates to employees, from reward to learning & development. In addition to heading up my department of six, I am part of the Senior Leadership Team. My role is to use my expertise to help with strategic decision making and change management, especially in how issues affect our employees.
We carried out a diagnostic staff survey of our 250 employees. We took ideas from that to move forward with a people strategy that included staff benefits that didn’t cost the organisation any additional funding.
How you see HR having a positive role in your organisation?
When I joined St Basil’s two years ago, HR seemed to be viewed as a barrier and just enforcers of policy and procedures. Of course, ensuring compliance is part of HR’s role, but we want to better communicate what we do and the benefits we bring.
First, we carried out a diagnostic staff survey of our 250 employees. We took ideas from that to move forward with a people strategy that included staff benefits that didn’t cost the organisation any additional funding. This ranged from getting them tax-free salary sacrifice schemes for cars and phones to having a credit union to come in to speak to employees about managing their money effectively.
Now, HR has a more approachable image. We’re more communicative and have a quarterly newsletter for staff. People feel comfortable approaching us to ask questions before they do something. We’ve had very positive feedback from managers, employees and our own team on how things have changed.
What are your goals for HR at your company?
I want to continue to develop my team and promote their individual expertise so employees know who to call for different problems. We are also looking to change performance reviews and appraisals to help move us from a management culture to one of leadership. We’re putting on a leadership programme to show new managers how to lead their teams well and give them the tools for the job.
We have also introduced a new HR portal to manage absences and holiday entitlements. Now we can’t imagine living without it.
What does it mean for someone to be an HR superhero?
You need to have a good relationship with all your peers from front line staff to the chief executive. That helps ensure everyone appreciates your knowledge and skills.
How does EEF’s HR and employment law team support you?
I work with EEF’s employment law team in Birmingham, specifically a lawyer Steve Willey. I find him really helpful and I like his approach. He has helped me make decisions on high risk issues.
What I like about working with EEF, is that I can phone them up at any time to get a reasonable answer so I know we’re making the right decision when it is a particularly challenging issue. Case law is changing all the time, so it’s good to have a resource that’s staying on top of these changes for us.
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