HR Hero: Margaret Bundy, Group HR Manager, Kelvin Hughes | EEF

Margaret Bundy, Group HR Manager, Kelvin Hughes

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Margaret Bundy is Group HR Manager at Kelvin Hughes, a world leader in the development and manufacture of navigation, surveillance and security radar systems.


What’s your job like?

Responsibility for Human Resources across the Group provides an extremely rewarding, enjoyable and varied job due to the nature of a business that is diverse, global, expanding rapidly and also undergoing transformational changes as Kelvin Hughes.

It goes without saying my core responsibility is to support the business strategy set by the CEO and the Company’s board. The HR process and projects are creating a successful global organisation that looks after our customers around the world.

It all starts with ensuring we have the correct calibre of staff often with very unique and specialist skills, and then working with team leaders to provide an environment that encourages and promotes retention. Having employees in five different countries with wide ranging needs and cultural differences requires an ability to listen and learn.

I am fortunate to be able to influence the company’s support in areas such as apprenticeships, over 50s forum recruitment, and working with other local employers and Councils on initiatives to support the local community.

The bottom line for a leading edge organisation like ours is that our advantage is the skill and dedication of our people and making sure they can work effectively as a group. And part of that comes down to HR.

How you see HR having a positive role in your organisation?

The importance of HR is made clear by the fact that we have a regular weekly update meeting with the CEO, CFO and directors where we discuss all matters concerning the welfare, care, opportunities and conditions of our people. In this way, HR is very much a feature of the everyday life of our engineering community.

The bottom line for a leading edge organisation like ours is that our advantage is the skill and dedication of our people and making sure they can work effectively as a group. And part of that comes down to HR.

We also try to provide a good level of training support to encourage growth and increase skill levels. The Apprenticeship Levy will help by providing the ability to up-skill current workforce and help people progress themselves.

We try focus on small gestures and decisions along with our standard employment packages as that can have a big impact on creating a caring and supportive working environment. For example, this year was our 70th anniversary of when Kelvin Hughes installed the first navigation radar system on a commercial vessel – the first time this was achieved anywhere in the world and now they’re on every ship. We developed a campaign to engage the workforce and make them feel part of the achievement. Staff worldwide received limited edition pin badges, and memorabilia including chocolates with the 70 year logo, which were hand delivered to them by the HR teams across our worldwide offices. We also recognised people who had worked with us for many years.

Recently we were sold to HENSOLDT (formerly Airbus Defence Electronics), so it is a time of big changes. We had a communication meeting where people from different parts of the business were able to personally ask any questions they had about the sale and what they hoped it would achieve.  When you’re communicating with employees, it’s important to take it beyond corporate communication to something personal that makes people feel connected to decisions.


What are your goals for HR at your company?

Our biggest priority at the moment is integrating with HENSOLDT and building a relationship with their team. We’re hoping that together we can be even more successful by looking for synergies in our people skills.

We’re prioritising how we can maintain our identity and uniqueness while integrating with the international flavour of HENSOLDT. We believe our selling proposition is always people first rather than just our product. We’re always on the search for high calibre people who want to work with other good people.


What does it mean for someone to be an HR hero?

You have to have strength, resilience and an enormous amount of energy and compassion.

You also have to be fearless, by entering into every situation feeling right is on your side.  You have to believe in what you’re proposing and be prepared for the challenges change often presents.

I always believe I’m working for fairness for both the employee and the organisation. We provide a supportive and rewarding environment and they provide dedication and commitment.


How does EEF’s HR and employment law team support you?

My relationship with EEF goes back 30 years. Back in the 1970s and 80s when many manufacturers had tribunal and union issues, it was important to network with others who were facing similar challenges.

Now, I get support from HR and employment law guidance team – particularly Senior Legal Advisor Sarah Brett and Head of Legal for Key Accounts Omar Khalil. Everyone I’ve worked with has been excellent in helping us understand the legal boundaries for every policy change we make.

We also have consultancy arrangements with Mike Prince for Environmental Health & Safety.  Mike has transformed our procedures and greatly assisted with our strategy, ensuring we are compliant and knowledgeable.

We have an amazing relationship with EEF, because having a resource like this is critical to making sure we have the best advice on legal interpretation on both employment and Health and Safety aspects for our business.


Read other HR Hero profiles here, and share what you think makes an HR Superhero or call out an HR Hero you know on Twitter using the hashtag #HRsuperhero. If you'd like to find out more about how EEF's barristers and HR experts support HR managers and directors across the UK through employment law advice and HR consulting, visit our webpage.

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