Wendy Tirapani is HR Manager at Aurora Living, a residential construction company based in the Midlands.
What’s your job like?
I joined Aurora Living as HR Manager after working in a variety of managerial roles within purchase ledger and administration. In 2009 I studied for a Business Coaching Diploma alongside taking a position of Court Manager for a large retirement complex. I incorporated my new found coaching skills and soon realised how much I enjoyed mentoring and encouraging the individual development of my team.
The role of HR Manager, was new to Aurora Living so I’ve started pretty much from scratch, building personnel files and introducing recruitment and induction processes. Although it’s been challenging, I enjoy the fact that no two days are the same and I have gained well-rounded experience that I wouldn’t have, if I had started in a more specialised HR role.
How you see HR having a positive role in your organisation?
When I joined Aurora, the company was on the precipice of major change. Improving interdepartmental communication, engagement and morale were identified as my immediate priorities. In order to help address these concerns, we now have an employee committee. The committee meets every quarter and we produce a regular newsletter to keep staff informed. During my employment the company has introduced a health scheme, life insurance and a salary sacrifice pension, all positive for employees of the company.
I do try not to bury myself too much in day-to-day work, (although difficult at times), in order that I am able to spend time with the staff, that way I’m aware of how the office dynamics are working and staff have the opportunity to raise any concerns.
What are your goals for HR at your company?
I want to work with the Board to develop an HR strategy that will support the long-term business plan of the company.
One of the challenges of our industry is short-term, transient work; long-term benefits are not particularly attractive to many of our employees. I’m keen to introduce a more extensive staff training programme whilst encouraging consideration of additional benefits such as flexible working, and benefits to make Aurora an ‘employer of choice’ for our industry. We want to attract and retain the right skills and experience we require now and for the future.
What does it mean for someone to be an HR superhero?
An HR hero should champion both staff and the company. It’s important for any organisation to appreciate the value of their skilled and experienced people, support training and development and acknowledge and reward efforts. Equally important is for employees to share and reflect the company values, share in the rewards of success and feel ‘part of the plan’, able to make an individual contribution to the company’s overall success.
How does EEF’s HR and employment law team support you?
The HR function was new at Aurora and there were a variety of issues for HR to deal with. Initially I didn’t have the confidence or experience to deal with them and needed the support from EEF’s HR and employment law team. I really don’t know what I would have done without them especially my EEF contact Louisa Sedgwick who was a real star and always made time for me. I use the website to look up resources – I was actually just on this morning looking at webinars. I can pick up the phone and someone will always be there to answer my question. It continues to be a valuable source of advice and support for me.
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