Tracy Thornton
HR Director
AESSEAL plc

Published: 10th August 2017

 

What made you choose a career in HR?

Having originally started my career in the legal profession dealing with clients in difficult and emotional situations, I made a change into HR as a result of the rapid expansion of the business I was working in at the time. I was assuming responsibility for the ‘people’ within the business by default and actually enjoyed it more than my original choice of career. I went on to qualify in HR, ultimately became the HR Director and basically ‘exchanged’ external clients for internal ones!  The rest is history as they say……..

 

What experiences or lessons have shaped your view of what good people practices should look like?

Dealing with varying cultures and requirements across Europe and the Globe has provided me with many challenging situations and experiences which have shaped my view on the fundamentals of good practice when dealing with people. Undertaking my qualification in Neuro Linguistics Programming also helped me to better understand how to get the desired outcome when dealing with people (which can be a considerable challenge at times).

 

What’s the best thing about your job?

I really enjoy being around people, understanding their motivations in life, being there to help and guide individuals and to see them grow. Seeing the positive impact on the business when individuals are motivated and happy is extremely rewarding.

 

What do you think are the key strengths that make an outstanding HR professional?

Sound employment knowledge but definitely patience, understanding and knowing when you need to be firm – it is critical to be fair and consistent in your decision making.

 

What do you think the future of HR looks like over the next 10 years?

The world of work is fast paced and in an ever changing environment, next generations want different things from their work life and one of the main focuses of the future has to be meeting the necessary agility in terms of the human capital expectations of the business and balancing that with those of the employee. Tapping into the right skills and retaining talent will also continue to be one of the challenges for HR in the future. 

 

How much has technology changed HR over the last 5 years?

It has definitely changed the ability for HR teams to become more pro-active and work more strategically than ever before. Over the last five years, technology has allowed us to spend less time on the administrative function of HR (which is very important but also time consuming) and concentrate on partnering the business in achieving its people objectives where we can have the most impact. It enables HR professionals to be more self-sufficient and productive through automation of administration and enables us to do more of what we are good at and enjoy – developing people in our businesses.