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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Claire Martin, group HR director
Article Type: Practitioner profile From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 10, Issue 2
HR executives share their experience in human resources
Throughout her career, Claire Martin has found the greatest challenge has been ensuring that HR is recognized as a “value add” commercial function within an organization. And this has been the case with every business with which she has been involved.
She comments: “I’ve always been aware of the need to demonstrate that HR is a key enabling function in supporting increased financial performance. Now, more than ever, it is important that this commercial impact is understood in any organization. In my experience, commercial change is driven by producing clear strategic business plans and HR should be the driving force behind these plans and their execution. Full engagement at all levels ensures that you get the best out of the people within an organization to help you achieve these strategic goals.”
Building a model to support growth
“In order to be successful, demonstrating commercial value through HR deliverables is critical and this means getting buy-in from across the board,” says Martin. “This can sometimes be very challenging, especially from a HR team perspective, but it is something that I’m passionate about and believe every business should embrace. By understanding the true DNA of an organization and the implications of key business decisions, you are better placed for understanding how you shape and deliver the HR strategy.
“And while the impacts of recession still continue to be at the forefront of everyone’s agenda, the challenge for HR professionals is even greater. On a tight budget, we need to deliver greater added value in the HR services that we provide. Despite cutbacks, it is vital that we ensure that learning and development budgets are not stripped back to the bare minimum, While the purse strings remain quite tight we have to be adaptable, innovative and go back to basics on many projects. It’s about building a model for sustainable growth and remaining front of foot with the complex and evolving challenges in the business.
“We need to constantly review what we are doing and look for continuous improvements, to recruit HR team members that really want to make a difference and to ensure that HR remains commercial and is totally embedded in the business and seen as a key part of the DNA.”
HR at the heart of Daisy Group
Martin says that this was very much the case when she joined Daisy Group in March 2010. She comments: “Following its stock market listing and a series of acquisitions, the company had grown from one regional base with 180 employees to a multi-site organization with 1,200 employees nationwide. With future growth planned, Daisy needed a clear plan for employee integration, engagement and performance management, aligned with the strategic goals of the business. The HR department has now become an integral business function within the group, guaranteeing all mergers and acquisitions have a clear people plan for integration into the wider group. And the introduction of performance management, aligned with strategy, means clear milestones are in place for all of our people.
“When I joined Daisy, the attraction very much centered on the growth opportunity and essentially how we retained a small business culture within what has become a much bigger organization. Fortunately, the business is pro-HR and pro-people and I was aware from the beginning that, from an HR perspective, I would be pushing against open doors. In a relatively short period of time we have already been able to enhance the employee experience, including the development of vision and values, establishing a people forum and making strides to deliver one ‘Daisy culture’ across the entire group.
“Having previously worked with companies undergoing transformation, I was attracted to the fast pace of Daisy and the opportunity to once again work within a rapidly changing business. I came to Daisy with the intention of making a lasting commercial difference and ensuring that everything we implement in HR brings value to the company. At the core of this are the people. Already we have enhanced the employee experience and brought our people agenda right to the front of the business. As a growing organization it is vital that we continue to invest in our people and we have now developed a process that allows us to really promote learning and development, offering career paths in every area.”
Claire MartinGroup HR Director at Daisy Group plc.
About the author
Clare Martin has more than 13 years’ senior operational and HR management experience working across a variety of industry sectors, including retail and leisure. Following her success as group head of commercial HR and change for Shop Direct Group, she moved to a consultancy role with SFL, a specialist in cultural change, where she broadened her sector experience delivering large-scale transformation programs. She is particularly skilled in organizational development, change, strategic planning and executing customer experience programs and she has a proven track record in adding commercial value through implementing successful HR strategies. Clare Martin can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org