Taking on a new role is as challenging as it is exciting. In this series we will be talking to HR professionals who are getting to grips with a new job and finding out what attracted them to the role, as well as what their key priorities are for the months ahead. Want to tell us about a new role you're getting stuck into? Get in touch.
Laura Lewis is the Head of HR & Development at Napp Pharmaceuticals, and has just been promoted to Director of HR (Europe) following her recognition at the HRO Awards, where she was named 2016 Rising Star.
Shonette Laffy, HRZone: What was the initiative you put in place at Napp which earned you the Rising Star award?
Laura Lewis, Napp: Throughout 2016 I was responsible for leading on one of Napp’s priorities, which was to “foster an inspiring workplace environment, where committed and entrepreneurial employees can flourish, make a difference and be rewarded for excellence.”
As an HR professional, having a company priority focused so heavily on people and engagement is a great privilege and demonstrates the importance Napp has on the development of their people and working environment. This priority led us to implement over 30 different employee engagement activities throughout the company to ensure that each individual was involved in one way or another.
The concept of the right mindset is the driving force behind our success this year and as such is now well understood throughout Napp, embedded in the way we converse, work and collaborate with each other.
Shonette Laffy, HRZone: How do you see your role as Head of HR & Development?
Laura Lewis, Napp: I feel very fortunate and privileged in my position as I get to see and be a part of many different aspects and discussions that take place in Napp.
My main focus is to ensure that as an HR function we are working side by side as a true partner with the wider business. We not only need to be experts in our roles but also need to understand what challenges and priorities the business faces in order to be able to support them, but with a focus on people-related topics.
Having a company priority focused so heavily on people and engagement is a great privilege
I see our role as being able to provide a balance of high-level support and high-level challenge in an effort to get the best out of managers, employees and ultimately the business.
By having HR on the Leadership Team (LT) and partnering closely with the Managing Director and the other LT members, I have no doubt that Napp understands and respects the role HR plays in a thriving organisation.
Shonette Laffy, HRZone: What is your approach to attracting and retaining talent at Napp?
Laura Lewis, Napp: As I mention above, the right mindset is one of the most important factors when it comes to recruiting at Napp. We look for individuals that can take full accountability of their work and act as if they are the CEO of their own business, with the drive and passion to succeed and grow.
We very much rely on our employees to share how we work at Napp and use them as champions and role models to show others why they may want to come and work with us.
Shonette Laffy, HRZone: How do you approach inclusion and diversity?
Laura Lewis, Napp: For me these topics are about maximising the individuals we have, and respecting and learning from each other to benefit from each other’s different backgrounds, education and cultures.
For Napp we are embracing diversity and inclusion because we believe that a rich diverse organisation will be a major contributing factor to creating high performing individuals, teams and ultimately a high performing and highly effective sales organisation.
Shonette Laffy, HRZone: How far along is Napp on its digital transformation journey, and what has been HR's role in the process?
Laura Lewis, Napp: With over half of our workforce based remotely across the UK, technology is and will always be a key method to communicate and connect with all of our employees at Napp.
HR are supportive and proactively look for ways and means to bring people together and collaborate in different ways
Whilst many teams use new ways of connecting virtually there is always room for improvement, especially as nothing will ever be able to replace personal interactions.
HR are supportive and proactively look for ways and means to bring people together and collaborate in different ways, embracing technology where possible. And whilst we do all we can to incorporate digital, there is still more we can do.
Shonette Laffy, HRZone: What do you think constitutes a 'digital mindset' in an organisation?
Laura Lewis, Napp: For me a digital mindset means understanding when and in what capacity the use of technology can support interactions, daily business and decision making to make these activities more effective, collaborative and agile.
I believe I have a growth mindset and with that I can see the benefits technology and a digital mindset bring to any workplace environment.
Shonette Laffy, HRZone: What are your key priorities for your workforce in 2017? Is tech a large part of this?
Laura Lewis, Napp: Within Napp our focus will remain on continuing to engage with our employees, and taking it one step further by working with them to embrace a continuous improvement and growth mindset. This means that we want individuals to be inquisitive throughout their daily work life; to challenge the norm and ask what can be done in a more efficient way that’s better for their customers – be it internal or external. By doing this we not only improve and become more efficient as a company, but individuals are given greater opportunities to grow and develop.
We want individuals to be inquisitive throughout their daily work life.
Alongside this, we are in the final stage of launching a performance management app. This new app will enable all employees and managers to easily access their 1:1 discussions and performance review notes from any device, harmonising the way these discussions are conducted and making them more effective. I’m excited to start using this technology as having remote teams means we need to find different ways to connect and technology is a key enabler of this.
Additionally, in 2017 I will be taking on further responsibilities in a new role as Director of HR (Europe), supporting the European Director, Alberto Martinez, with all HR activities throughout the European region. I will be working in partnership with our General Managers and HR Heads in each country to ensure a new mindset is embedded across our organisation, making sure we have effective employee engagement programmes in place, which support the development of our organisation into a results-driven, forward-thinking, inspiring place to work and grow.