One of the key aims of Leisa Docherty, people services director at Sage UK, is to help staff move “from good to great”.
She believes that career development and encouraging innovation are key to the business applications company’s success and is proud to play her part in creating an environment where staff can flourish.
And she knew exactly where she wanted to go. She had handpicked Sage as her company of choice because it was both a big employer in the North East, her home, and also a UK IT success story, with 13,000 employees and six million customers worldwide.
Luckily for her, she spotted an HR manager’s job posted on the company website. She applied for it and got it and has been with the supplier ever since.
As to the secret of her success, Docherty believes that it is key for HR people to have close ties with the business and to understand its commercial goals. All of Sage’s HR managers, for example, sit on commercial teams and are viewed as part of those teams.
But being able to make that contribution in her case was also helped by having been a customer of Sage’s products as well. During her time with the vendor, she has implemented a new HR and payroll system, which has given her an invaluable insight into what it is like to be sold to by an IT company.
Each team of volunteers, which is sponsored by a member of the executive team, is set a number of challenges. These challenges could include finding a way to raise money for charity, but one or two of them will also be genuine business problems that have an impact on the company.
Although hard work, it is also great fun and the prizes are worth competing for – last year, the winning team went on safari to South Africa, and this year, it’s Monte Carlo.
Moreover, says Docherty, values such as fairness, transparency and consistency underpin all of the company’s HR messages, ranging from its approach to pay to career development.
Who do you admire most and why?
Someone I met last year, David Harper, who is an entrepreneur and very successful businessman and who talks about apprenticeships and getting young people and others back into work. He’s passionate, positive, driven and enthusiastic.
What’s your most hated buzzword?
“Empowerment”. It’s overused and used in the wrong context. I believe in the sentiment, but there’s a fine line between empowerment and abdication.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Be confident enough to just be authentic and be yourself.
How do you relax?
I have a very hectic life. My three-year-old is the most important thing in my life so I relax by spending time with family and friends.