Gareth Williams is a member of the Travelex executive committee and leads the global HR function at Travelex, which includes L&D, the HR Centre of Excellence, HR Shared Services and the HR Generalist Team. Gareth's HR team is made up of 120 people across 30 countries, who support a global workplace of 8000 employees. Gareth is part of a new generation of digital native HR directors and is in the process of complete revolutionising the employee experience at Travelex, turning the company into a lean technology-enabled global business, paired with a people-first strategy. We caught up with Gareth at the Travelex Head Office in London.
Watch the full interview with Gareth…
Massive amount of insight here, including Gareth's thoughts on how his leadership style has shifted, how he ensures innovation is embedded in day-to-day HR activity at Travelex, and how his global remit changes his focus compared to if he had more of a national role.
…or pick the question that most interests you
"What are your goals for 2016?"
There's a pull from the business for Travelex to focus on the basics of HR using the power of the technology they're implementing – Gareth outlines how this works in the business and other areas that he's focusing on in 2016, including the increased use of predictive analytics in the organisation.
"What are your key areas of focus for development?"
Lots in this one around remembering the operational 'bread-and-butter' nature of HR and why Gareth sees this as a key area of development at Travelex. Plus a bit about his tendency to move really, really (really) fast…
"What is your leadership style?"
Gareth tells us about why it's important to hire an A-team, creating emotional connection and setting unambiguous expectations. He also discusses the importance of energy, fun and passion in the workplace.
"Why must HR be bold and courageous?"
Everyone is saying that HR must be bold and courageous – but why? Gareth talks about why being the moral guardians of the business is the fundamental idea at the heart of the 'bold and courageous' narrative.
"What HR skills will be important in the future?"
Gareth is clear and uambiguous on this one – and his answer may surprise you. It's not all about data science and analytical skills. Plus I ask a follow-up question on the nature of 'commercial awareness' in Travelex.
"How is the remit of global HRDs different?"
Lot of different points covered here – not only the practical, logistical side of having a global role, but also his own development as a leader around the nuances of culture, and the motivational drivers that change country-by-country.
"Should HRDs sit on the executive committee?"
Gareth sits on the executive committee at Travelex. We asked him how this affects the ability of his HR team to be effective and how HR can be effective if the most senior HR professional doesn't sit on the executive committee.
"How can HR Directors embed innovation in their team?"
All HRDs are looking to move fast and be innovative. But how can they get everyone on board? Gareth talks about the leadership skills necessary, recognising high-value, disruptive ideas and the use of technology and data in creating the right conditions for disruption.
"How can HR go up the technology value chain?"
Automation, self-service, process improvement – Gareth discusses how HR can get some more airtime in the value-add space. He touches on people analytics and a closer working partnership with line managers around change management.
"What's next for HR technology at Travelex?"
Lots happening here. New hires, technology consolidation, new modules for their core HR system, global roll-outs, pulse surveys and more. And Gareth is clear – it's cloud, cloud, cloud for Travelex, now and in the future.
"What can organisations learn from the Travelex story?"
Travelex's wholesale digital transformation has given Gareth a lot of learnings, including around hiring talent, reward and the employee value proposition, especially when working with legacy processes. What can you apply to your own digital HR journey?