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Interview with Brad Taylor
Article Type: Interview with Brad Taylor From: Human Resource Management International Digest, Volume 16, Issue 6
Interview by Ruth Young
Brad Taylor joined Barclays plc in 1988 and held a number of roles in their UK retail network before moving to their wealth management arm in 1996. In 2000, having spent three years as a Relationship Manager, he moved into Human Resources at the bank’s international banking headquarters in London and studied a postgraduate diploma in personnel management at Kingston University. In 2002 he joined the bank’s Resourcing and Learning centre of excellence and two years later became an Employee Relations Advisor. In 2006 Brad joined The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) as HR Business Partner and was recently promoted to their Head of Human Resources.
What attracted you to your current role?
I joined CIMA two years ago as an HR Business Partner and I am excited to have been offered the opportunity to step up to the Head of Human Resources position. The HR team is a group of very motivated people who work very well together. We also have a very good relationship with the rest of the organization, which I believe lays a solid foundation when it comes to working in partnership with our colleagues across CIMA to achieve our goals.
How does the HR function at CIMA differ from that of Barclays?
Clearly the two organizations and their HR functions are very different in size. The experience gained from working with the HR function at Barclays has been invaluable and has provided me with the opportunity to specialize in various areas of HR. At CIMA, it’s important that people in the HR team are able to apply themselves to a wide range of HR disciplines. For example, you could be process mapping one day in anticipation of a new e-HR system and then the next you’re part of a project team developing flexible benefits. However, there is no difference in the professional and forward-looking way both functions seek to support their customer base.
CIMA is a leading membership body for chartered accountants; do you therefore feel you have an important responsibility to meet the needs of your members as well as CIMA employees?
Our vision is chartered management accountants driving the world’s successful organizations. Therefore I see it as fundamental to HR’s purpose to recruit, develop and create the people policies that enable CIMA to deliver that vision.
How do you measure the success of your people strategies?
From the feedback the organization is giving me; be it retention rates through to someone telling me what is or isn’t working for their part of the business. I think it’s very important for HR to understand what our colleagues in other departments are seeking to achieve and to explore with them how we can support their goals.
What particular challenges do you foresee in your new role?
Developing and retaining talent across the organization. It’s not just about developing the policies, programs and tools to do this, but also helping people managers understand how to make the most of them. The number of people in our offices around the world varies from two or three to 20 or 30. I would like HR to provide the same level of support to all these people as we do to our 250 people in the UK. That presents an interesting challenge.
There is a lot of talk currently about recession and the global credit crunch, how do these types of conditions affect CIMA’s HR strategy?
That’s a good question. We have to be aware of how these issues are affecting businesses around the world and what impact they could have on our members and demand for our products. In this type of economic climate Chartered Management Accountants come into their own in driving businesses forward. Therefore, we must continue to ensure that we have the right people in the right places with the right skill-sets in place to support them.
What do you think future HR trends will be?
As organizations grapple with decisions over whether to outsource, merge, restructure, or diversify, the need for HR to be able to truly understand business and contribute to the decision-making processes will drive the requirement for HR people to have wider commercial experience. I would advise anyone wishing to pursue a career in HR to get experience in, for example, sales roles, line management and/or business development before progressing to more senior HR roles. Otherwise, the function risks being sidelined.
CIMA has a global presence, does this require a more flexible HR function or is there a uniform approach across all of your offices?
We’re currently looking for ways in which we can bring greater uniformity to the way in which we do things – for example, ensuring that all people who join CIMA receive the same support through a consistent induction programme. However, the differing sizes of our offices as well as the various cultures in which we operate naturally mean that we will need to be flexible.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement to date?
Being given the opportunity to lead CIMA’s HR function demonstrates the success of the positive business partnership that has been built since I joined in 2006. I’m very excited by the challenges ahead.