Joanna, on growing her career in HR at Experian
Joanna, Learning and Development Coordinator, shares her experiences from joining Experian as a junior to finding her place in HR.
What was your path to Experian?
I finished school then got a junior role in Payroll at Experian. It wasn’t an apprenticeship. I was quite lucky because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I knew that I didn’t want to continue with my A-levels, so I started applying for lots of roles and, luckily, got this one.
After initially starting in payroll, I took a secondment to be a Travel Administrator for six months, covering somebody’s maternity. I was offered a permanent role, and within a year, I was promoted to a Secretary. I started getting involved with recruitment and took a secondment into the Onboarding team in HR. I was more interested in the recruitment, but the secondment in onboarding was only for three months, so I thought I’d give it a go. Then I was moved over to Recruitment.
The good thing about secondments is you get to try before you buy, so I kind of dipped my toe in the water. If you’ve got core values and behaviours, and you’ve got a proven track record that you’ve performed at a reasonable level, and people think that you are competent to do the role, then internal recruitment, especially for secondments, is always preferred. You want people to hit the ground running, so it is handy to have people that know the business already, and they just need training within that role.
What do you like about working in HR?
For me, I love helping and working with people. From onboarding to recruitment, to learning and development, it’s great to see people join the business and then watch them grow.
What key traits do you need to be successful within HR?
I think all managers and all people are different. But I think you’ve got to be quite caring and thoughtful, and a team player.
Being innovative helps as well because the company’s changing all the time. Not only the business as a whole but in HR specifically - what employees want changes with time. So, we’ve got to keep on track with our benefits, with our recruitment portal and system and with the learning and development that we offer. We’ve got to stay competitive.
What opportunities are there to grow your career?
I’ve had lots of opportunities to move around in the HR department and the support completing CIPD has been great. I’ve managed to get experience in lots of different specialist areas within HR, and I feel like that’s going to cement my career. I’ve had the support to do that.
We have a mentor/mentee portal, so everyone in the business can sign up to be a mentor or a mentee, and you enter the ways you could help people, which refers back to our Experian behaviours and values. It then brings up people that are a match for you, so you can approach them and ask if they want to be your mentor. Equally, people can approach you and ask if you’ll be their mentor. I think that’s great and supportive.
We also have a coaching pool and offer a lot of coaching workshops that employers and managers can go on if they want to coach people.
The business is open and honest with its employees, so we have a lot of roadshows where the leadership team go around all the canteens and make you all aware of what’s going on. Or, if we’ve got a new product launch, we’ll be the first people to know and to see the new adverts before they launch live on television and stuff like that.
We have a weekly newsletter which details hot jobs. Also, we have a job profiling tool, so you can see what you think your strengths are and what area of the business you’re interested in. Then when a job comes up within that area, you get notified.
Why is Experian a good company to work for?
It’s current, and it’s forever changing. The opportunities are endless, and the support that you have around you from the people that work here is immense. I think how innovative we are and how we’re changing to keep up with the times. As society’s changing, we’re very eager to keep up and have a strong brand.
And the people that work here are lovely. The Experian HR team acts as one team even though we’re split across Nottingham and London. We have the HR connect team which is a team of representatives across that organises anniversary chocolate, birthdays celebrations and
monthly lunches to get everybody together. We have HR sessions where there is an open floor and we take it in turns to rotate around the teams, and everyone can give the rest of HR an insight as to what they do on a day-to-day basis. I think that’s great because you get to learn about all the different teams within HR.
There are a lot of ongoing projects, and they try to get everybody involved from all different teams, which is good. You’re not just building a strong network with your team, but more widely with everybody in the HR community.
We also have community involvement days, which will include the whole of the HR team.
Our benefit scheme is brilliant. We now have 24/7 access to a GP on the phone that we can ring anytime and have a consultation or an appointment with them. There’s another tool called Harmonise, which is like a health and wellbeing site. It kind of works a bit like a Fitbit, but you put in all of your details for your personal life, financially, or your health. You can set up targets and stuff. Then it’ll be linked with your email and an app on your phone, and then it’ll send you notifications like ‘keep going’, ‘you can do it’, or inspirational quotes. It feels like work is supporting your home life.
Work-life balance is important. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere in the department; if you want to work from home, you can work from home.
What do you think it takes to be successful at Experian?
For me, honesty and freedom of speech. If you’re honest and open about what you want, then the business will support you with that. And getting involved with things, whether that’s other job opportunities, projects or process improvements – don’t be afraid to get involved.
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