We're always curious to hear how our members and contributors tackle the challenges that the ever-changing world of HR throws at them. We've got a wealth of experience and knowledge across the site, and what better way to showcase the diversity of our community than to get them to walk us through an average day?
Want to tell us about your way of working? Email us at [email protected], or let us know in the comments below.
Jasmine works around the UK, speaking about and developing, designing and delivering training on employee engagement, information & consultation, cross cultural awareness, unconscious bias and diversity and inclusion. She is the author of Employee Engagement: a little book of Big Ideas and has written several articles for HRZone on the subject.
So, Jasmine, talk us through your average day…
07:00 – One of the joys of being freelance is that if I’m not already halfway across London or across the country by 7am, I’m just getting up around 7am! If I’m travelling, usually by train, but sometimes by plane (I have an absolutely lovely client in Dublin, for example), I take my time in the morning.
09:00 – This is when I check email and social media, or get to work writing. Or, if I’m training, I’ve usually arrived at the venue by this point, so I can check the room and make sure my technology works. I’m not superstitious (I swear!), but we all know that if the technology works smoothly on the first go, you’re going to have a rough day! So I welcome those tricky connections. Start-time for training is usually 10am, so I also have a bit of time to sit quietly and focus.
11:00 – It’s break time! And then one more surge of work. Mornings are when I get my best work done. It’s when I write proposals, email clients, I often set up meetings with existing clients and leads for mid-morning. This all assumes I’m not procrastinating, of course! If it’s a training day, we’re in full-swing by this point – usually doing break out groups – I like to get people engaged and interacting as early in the day as possible.
13:00 – Half hour break for lunch if it’s a training session, and then it’s right back in – that post-lunch slump is not to be messed with – I have attendees back in break-out groups right after lunch. So I can enjoy my own post-lunch slump, of course. On a non-training day, I often have networking lunches or meetings. I might meet up with colleagues I’m collaborating with on future projects.
15:00 – Training usually ends at 16:00, and after that it’s back to London on the tube, train or plane. Training takes it out of me – I’m fully focused all day long, really listening to and interacting with attendees, so by 16:00, I just need some quiet time to zone out. If I’m working at home or my office away from home (you can often find me at the Institute of Directors), this is the end of my work-day. I never got over that schedule from primary school!
19:00 – This is usually around when my husband gets home, we have dinner or go out to dinner, and then we chat about our days.
Now, tell us…
What would you say are your main passions or things you champion within HR?
The most important thing for me is to create an environment where learning can take place. While there’s always concepts or processes that it’s important for people to learn, what I really want them to do is think critically.
I want them to question me, I want them to deconstruct what I teach them, I want them to scrutinise the ideas we talk about.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
There’s a couple of things. First of all, that it’s so varied. I love that no two days are ever the same, and that I don’t have to spend endless amounts of time sat in front of a computer.
When I’m developing new material, I’m on shaky ground – I have no idea what will work until I deliver it
But my favourite thing – and I imagine this is true for most trainers – is when the people you’re working with suddenly have an epiphany, a spark. Recently, I was working with a group, and one of the men was finding all the critical thinking really hard, but I could tell that even though it was hard, and he was struggling a bit, he was really engaged with it.
What keeps you up at night?
New material. It’s taken me years to get some of the courses I deliver just right. So when I’m developing new material, I’m on shaky ground – I have no idea what will work and what won’t until I deliver it.
One tip you’d pass on to your peers?
Even if new material makes you nervous, it’s also what’s really exciting – if you’re nervous, it’s because you’re challenging yourself as well, and that’s ultimately what makes the job so rewarding.