How did you get into your career?

I never really knew what I wanted to do when I left school (many years ago now!), only that I wanted to work in an office; I’d probably never been in an office before so had no idea what types of jobs were a possibility for a young woman other than a typist.

Anyway, I was fortunate enough to get a place on a local government trainee scheme with our local County Council; a ‘job for life’ I was told and that’s where my local government career began. For several years I worked across various departments dealing with planning applications, engineering and accountancy services along with many others.

After a career break and relocating I returned to work at a small district council where I got my first taste of customer service dealing with council tax enquiries from the public. I then decided I wanted a career and not ‘just a job’, so I applied and was offered a trainee auditor position at the same council. It was very daunting to begin with as I knew nothing about the service areas and I had to dare to question the way things were done and make recommendations in order to improve things.

I stayed in Audit for four years moving to a large Unitary authority for the latter two years. In early 2000, I moved council’s again taking up a role where I was reviewing services provided by the council in order to achieve continuous ‘Efficient, Economic and Effective’ services; looking at ways to make improvements including outsourcing, which at the time was a very controversial option. This introduced me to speaking directly to groups of council services users and to alternative providers of those services. At the same time I studied for my Diploma in Management qualification to enable me to progress in the management side of my career.

I then moved on to service improvement, council performance, audit and governance at another large local authority. My team worked with the Government’s external inspection teams such as Ofsted, CQC and the then Audit Commission. Still in local government, I moved into change management and project managed the implementation of the HR/payroll iTrent system where I had my first taste of the payroll and HR world, and the realisation that payroll wasn’t just about ‘pressing a button.’

Managing a HR and Payroll Transactional Business team was great albeit challenging, however after seeing the damaging effects of austerity in local government I decided after almost 40 years to move on from my ‘job for life’. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to stay in an HR/payroll role, and that is when I joined Phase 3!

What are the key responsibilities in your role?

I have done many things over the 5 years at Phase 3, from Customer Services Manager working directly with our clients on their requirements, working closely with the payroll and consultancy teams to my current role as Head of Quality Assurance and Governance. As the job title suggests I am responsible for ‘Quality’ across the business, ensuring high quality delivery, accreditations, internal audits, process and policies and Phase 3 key performance indicators. It is very much about compliance, ensuring that we have robust policies and processes in place, and we take all steps necessary to comply with relevant laws and regulations.

Describe a typical day

There really isn’t a typical day; I like to be organised and have time allocated in my diary for specific work and tasks so that nothing gets missed. However, as with all best laid plans there might be an email or a phone call that comes in from a client or a colleague that needs responding to urgently so that often takes priority. I’ll have meetings scheduled both internally with colleagues and externally with clients; often an entire day can be spent talking to different people. I have days where I’m preparing for audits and accreditations so I’m closely examining and challenging our processes to ensure continuous improvement; no two days are ever the same!

What skills are needed for his role?

The key skills are integrity, listening, problem-solving, detail-orientated, flexibility, diplomacy and friendliness; not necessarily in that order.

What challenges do you face in this role?

Working for a HR Tech company has presented some challenges – I’m not at all technical!

On a more serious note, the key challenge as Head of Quality Assurance and Governance is to ensure that at Phase 3 we do ‘ordinary’ things extraordinarily  well and that continual quality improvement is central to all our business and service users.

Another challenge is often not knowing what the day will bring as so many things can happen, so having that flexibility is key to a productive day.

What keeps you motivated to go into work every day?

The fact that I really enjoy what I do, and I work with a fantastic team of people and look after some great clients. Phase 3 is a brilliant place to work, and I feel extremely fortunate to be part of it.

What advice would you give someone considering a career in HR Tech?

Just do it and don’t be afraid to admit it if you’re not really that technical. It’s about doing something that you really want to do in an environment you’re comfortable in, so that might be using your social media skills, HR skills, payroll and finance to name but a few; technology is everywhere in our daily lives, so you probably know more than you think!

Phase 3 are currently hiring for a number of roles. Have a look at our current vacancies here.