Five minutes with… Susan Lowe

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Warehouse Stationary People Support Manager – Operations, Susan Lowe, shares her HR insights.

How would you sum up HR professionals in three words?
Just three…….so hard to choose! Well, based on my team, I would say Passionate, Fun, Supportive (I could list a whole lot more)
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Personally, it would have to be “Live every day and make the most of it”.
Professionally, probably “Every day is a day of learning, without learning it is a day wasted”, for me this is about looking for the opportunity in everything; mistakes, feedback, wins, it doesn’t matter, there is always a chance to reflect and learn from every situation.

What are some of the biggest challenges HR deals with?
The challenges are varied and from talking to colleagues are dependent on the evolution of HR with an organisation, one of the keys to overcome is ‘having a seat at the table’ – it is very difficult to influence strategy or change if you are not involved. Challenges are easier to overcome if you are able to thrash it out with the leadership team.

Making trade-offs is another. Often there are a number of initiatives that would add real value to the organisation but overload achieves nothing, so deciding where to focus the resources to support the business achieve its goals can be challenging.

How do you see the role of HR changing in the future?
I think we will continue to see the transition around how HR supports the businesses it operates within, the type of role the function plays and therefore the skills and behaviours of a HR professional.

Like any business function the goal is to add value, and as a non-revenue earning function the visibility and perception of the contribution is critical to the ongoing sustainability and credibility of the HR team.

I see HR professionals continuing to grow depth of business acumen to support the increase in HR working alongside its business partners to work on the business and help it achieve its strategies.

What’s your favoured style of coffee?
A little strange I know but I don’t drink coffee or tea for that matter! But I’m always one for a Diet Coke shout.

If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
This is a real hard one to answer, I like an intellectually challenging conversation over the dinner table, some healthy debate or verbal sparring is good for you! So on that basis I have decided to invite people who I believe would enjoy sharing their different opinions as well as life experiences; David Ulrich, Nelson Mandela and Angelina Jolie.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in HR, I would be…
Definitely in a role that involved supporting people to be the best they can be, possibly where it all started for me…….Retail Operations.

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