LAUNCHING: RACHAEL HOLMES

Current Employer:

Travel and Tourism 

Time at the company:

1 year

THE BIG QUESTIONS

WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE?

HR Assistant.

WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?

At the moment my role is mostly project based, but I also provide HR support for approximately 900 UK based employees, and a small number of overseas workers. My role includes end-to-end recruitment, HR admin, providing HR advice, immigration monitoring and maintaining HR data.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD?

I wanted to be a marine biologist! My dad bought me a book about coral reefs and different types of tropical fish and I was obsessed.

WHAT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?

I have a BA in Management and Maths, an MSc in Management Psychology and am currently studying for my CIPD Diploma in HR Management.

WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?

I can only recall being given two pieces of career advice. One was to get as much employee relations experience as possible, because it's a skill that is always in demand, and the second was to be careful about what you put in writing- most conversations are better had over the phone.

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY?

My manager has been a great mentor. She's incredibly knowledgeable and supportive, she pushes me in the right direction, and she doesn't take any shit.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT?

My team – we’re a bunch of kooks, we work really hard and can lean on each other when we need to.

WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR DAILY WORK ROUTINE IF YOU COULD?

I would take a longer lunch break so I had time to exercise or get outside - sitting at a desk inside for 8 hours a day doesn't do anything for our health.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?

To be honest, I don't know. I think HR is coming to a point where the roles we will be doing in 5 years’ time don't exist in most organisations yet. But I'd like to be in a role where I’m managing a team, and using HR data to drive business decisions - which sounds really obvious but most HR functions aren't there yet.

DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN BE THE SAME PERSON AT WORK AND IN PRIVATE?

I do. I used to be much less assertive at work than I am in my personal life, but I've learnt that sometimes pushing back is a good thing. I think that comes with confidence as well.

WHERE AND IN WHAT ROLES ARE WOMEN IN THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE AT YOUR COMPANY?

2 of the 7 board members are women - Legal Council and Commercial Director, and our HRD is also female.

DOES DIVERSITY MATTER TO YOU?

Definitely, it's what makes life interesting. I think if you don't see elements of yourself reflected in leadership, it can be really demotivating.

HOW GOOD IS YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE?

I’d give it a 7/10. I'm lucky that my company is pretty flexible, and mostly we work really hard 9-5:30 and leave on time. But working full time and studying part time makes it hard to relax, and when you're passionate about what you do it's hard not to bring the office home with you.

WHAT QUALITIES DOES BEING IN YOUR ROLE NECESSITATE?

Attention to detail with the ability to see the bigger picture, sensitivity and resilience, and a sense of humour!

ANY FINAL COMMENTS?

Remember that you probably can't do everything, success doesn't mean perfection, work doesn't equal life, and a good night’s sleep is usually all you need. I'm working on taking my own advice.

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