Our Huthwaite Introducing series showcases interviews with some of our heads of department. The series aims to shine a light on their important roles within Huthwaite. We spoke to Helen Hague our Head of HR, to find out more about her passion for Huthwaite and its people.
Favourite part of your job: People interaction! It may sound obvious, but you have to enjoy person-to-person interaction to work in HR. I really enjoy the responsibility of supporting Huthwaite’s biggest asset – our people – they are what matter most in any business.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given: You can have the best business strategy in the world, but if you aren’t winning the hearts and minds of the people who work with you, none of it will come to fruition.
Who is Helen Hague?
I am Head of HR at Huthwaite International and have been with the company for 25 years (I started at a very young age!) and I feel extremely proud to be part of the Huthwaite team. HR is my passion and I’m continually energized by bringing people and business needs together. HR has changed dramatically over the years and HR professionals must constantly listen and adapt to changing and increasingly complex workplaces. Understanding organisational needs whilst also considering the sensitivities that come with managing people is key.
What are the biggest challenges facing HR professionals in this increasingly technological world?
As technology develops, HR vision and strategies align more closely and the influences of AI will radically transform how HR departments operate. However, good HR professionals know their employees and their organisations in ways AI software does not! AI is another tool that can ultimately give HR teams more time to get to know employees, address their specific issues and shape company culture.
What is your top sales and negotiation tip?
In my role, I’m often on the receiving end of aggressive and poor sales techniques from external companies trying to sell their services and it’s clear how little people know about successful selling. Forceful sales techniques don’t work and can result in a huge amount of damage to a company’s reputation. My simple sales tip is - do your research thoroughly! I sometimes receive calls from companies asking if we are interested in sales or negotiation training for our employees! Ermm…..?!
Who inspires the way you do business?
Without doubt, it’s the people at Huthwaite – we really are the best at what we do and I’m immensely proud of the company I work for. As a team, we are very commercial , with intelligence, expertise and drive by the bucket full. Our people are the reason we continue to be so successful. I have huge respect for my colleagues and the dedication and commitment they give every day.
What advice to you have for someone starting out on a career in HR
Learn to take the rough with the smooth. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions and have difficult conversations , but mainly it’s about people engagement - being fair, being flexible, being visible, being both commercially aware within your business as well as being accessible for employees and management who need to share any concerns or issues. Each day is different, there’s lots of variety and challenge and you take on the role of psychologist, lawyer, mediator, event planner, teacher and more….in fact a qualification in plate spinning would be useful.