Keith Luxon, HR Policy and Reward Director for the Laurel Pub Company, shares his experiences of working in HR to date.
What’s your current job role?
I am HR Policy and Reward Director for the Laurel Pub Company. We employ around 10,000 people in 600+ pub retail outlets nationwide. The role covers all aspects of ER & IR, reward, pensions, HR and payroll admin. We have 18 HR people for the entire company so things are never quiet!
What did you do before this job?
Immediately before this job I was a Group HR Policy Manager for Tesco – covering such things as company wide HR policies, employment law, diversity and some expat policy.
Describe your route into HR?
I have always worked in HR (which may now be somewhat of a disadvantage!) I started off by getting onto a good HR development scheme via the milk-round which was invaluable. I was lucky enough to get a good grounding in operational HR in an organisation going through quite substantial change (two sales and a 33% reduction in the workforce). This lead to my dual specialisms in ER/policy and reward.
Did you always want to work in HR?
I must admit that at age 8 I wanted to be either Prime Minister or the second JRP Williams! While at University I spent a fair amount of time researching careers, etc and discovered the opportunities in HR. It struck me as a career that gave you every opportunity to succeed and rapidly progress without being tied down to one sector or another. In addition, I thought HR offered the real possibility of making a difference.
What would you say has been the most significant event in your career to date?
Probably getting that milk-round slot in the first place. A close second was being made redundant, whilst not a great experience it did change my perspective on redundancy and how to do it to treat the employee in the best way possible, whilst delivering what the business needs.
How do you think the role of HR has changed since you began your HR career?
Strangely both hugely and also not a lot! I have seen and worked in some great forward thinking HR departments that have moved away from the old admin types roles and towards a pro-active business focused team that ensures the company is getting the best out of its people and that its people are getting a fair deal in return. Sadly, I have also seen a number of personnel teams that see their role as low value tasks such as recording holidays and administering hugely complex structures that add little value.
What single thing would improve your working life?
Not living in Essex and working in Luton! The joys of a 60 mile drive around three of the countries worst traffic hotspots every day gets a little tedious to say the least!
What’s your favourite part of the HR Zone site?
Any Answers – the chance to interact and debate the various real questions that people have is really useful. Whilst contributors may not always agree with each other, the debate is usually positive and well intentioned.
Have you made contact with any other members?
Following various threads on Any Answers I have followed up with direct debates with a number of people to discuss things in depth or share experience.
Do you have any advice for those looking to embark on a career in HR?
Gets some good ER/employment law experience early on, it will stand you in good stead wherever your career takes you. If possible look to get some general line experience outside the HR function at some point. Don’t be an apologist for HR – we add value and play a vital role in successful companies, shout about HR’s contribution and learn from any shortfalls.
If you’re willing to share your experiences of working in HR to date with other members, we’d like to hear from you – e-mail us to receive a copy of this questionnaire.
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Jeremy Thorn, Chairman and Director of QED Consulting
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Verity McVarish, HR Manager for Sift Media
David Kelly, Head of Development and Training for Aventis
Jenny Kevan, UK HR Manager for Abbott Laboratories
William Martin, HR Manager, Telewest Broadband
Craig Truter, HR Manager, The Body Shop
Martin Stockton, HR Transformation Leader, Towers Perrin
Nick Heap, Consultant, New Directions
Crispin Garden-Webster, HR Specialist, Asian Development Bank
Sandra Walsh, HR Delivers
Carole Leslie, Director, IT Learning Ltd
Shaun Dunphy, Project and Process Manager, EMEA HR Service Centre for MCI
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Jacqui Mann, HR Manager, Integra NeuroSciences
Isabella Montgomery, Human Resources Officer at The new Housing Association
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