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Whistle-stop Wednesdays: Being a true ‘People Person’

Richard is the Head of People Operations in People Services, dealing with a wide range of complicated people issues for the business. 


Read about his career journey so far. 

What do you do in Admiral and how long have you been working here?  

I look after People Operations within People Services, which includes areas like People Practice, Employee Mobility, Employee Privacy and Data Protection, Employee Fraud Prevention and Risk Management and Organisation Design and People Change. I also provide HR and technical advice on complicated people issues. I’ve worked at Admiral for 26 years, with more than 20 in People Services. 

How did you get into your role? What is your background?  

I started in the call centre talking directly to our customers - definitely a fantastic way to understand any business. I was a Senior Agent and then a Team Manager, before moving onto a secondment to People Services as a Recruitment Officer. Since then, I’ve looked after almost all areas of People Services and now I’m Head of People Operations. 

What's the most exciting change happening within your area?  

Helping our People Services teams get ready for the future of work. We want to continue to be an amazing place to work as well as adapting the way we do it. Our People Strategy is aligned to the business and our teams are really passionate about fantastic outcomes for the business now and in the future.   

Do you have the opportunity to grow and develop here?  

I’ve had so much support from Admiral to take on further studies. I’ve studied for a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management (MSc), a separate Masters Degree in Employment Law and Practice (LLM), and also completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership. This has been cemented by working with countless people who have given me opportunities to try different things (some with greater success than others!) and develop and learn in the workplace. It’s hard work, but if you’re passionate about what you do, it makes it a bit easier. Admiral is a great team that shares in its success and helps you to grow as a person, and feel confident in that growth! 

Do you have any advice for someone looking to join People Services?  

Understand Admiral’s culture as best you can from an outside perspective. If you know people here, ask them about it. Our culture is something that really sets us apart, and People Services has a large part to play in protecting and evolving that culture. It’s about people, and you really need to understand the hearts and minds of people, especially in difficult circumstances. 

If you can, get experience in Business Operations so you understand the challenges that businesses face. Being able to evidence how you translate those challenges into HR actions are key. We want our Business Managers to say “I couldn’t have done this without People Services”, so we are a true partner and not just along for the ride. 

People that work in HR have lots of skills and characteristics. It’s important that you understand not just what to do, but why you do it, so you can stand up to scrutiny. In my experience, the best HR people are compassionate, brave and objective, this helps you build trust with others. Together, I think this helps you get through almost any HR situation. 

 

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