“One of the best things I’ve seen coming from the field recently is the new policies that are showing organisations’ commitment to caring for their employees and being inclusive” – Talking HR with Rebecca Matthews, Senior L&D Advisor, Clyde & Co LLP
What is the biggest challenge facing HR and why?
I think right now it will definitely be the transition back to the office; it will be balancing the needs of the business with the needs and wellbeing of the individuals and the new found freedom and flexibilities that have come with remote working.
What’s the most interesting development in HR you’ve seen recently?
One of the best things I’ve seen coming from the field recently is the new policies that are showing organisations’ commitment to caring for their employees and being inclusive; things like leave for fertility treatments, improving parental (including paternal) pay and also having additional support for employees during menopause.
Where must the HR industry change?
I think there have been a lot of changes this past year; I do believe there is much more to do in relation to inclusiveness and representation in senior roles and I see HR playing a big role in how companies improve on current stats relating to ethnicity and gender equality.
What do you wish you’d known 10 years ago?
I wish I had known how to advocate for myself as an employee and ask for what I needed instead of just assuming my employer wouldn’t or couldn’t provide it.
How did you start your career? How has your role evolved?
I started out teaching at university; this is how I realised the sometimes vast difference between theoretical HR and HR in practice. Since then I have moved to specialise in L&D and have been working on how people learn and coaching to improve management, performance and wellbeing.
How do you manage work/life balance? How do you unwind?
I try to practice what I preach; my Alexa is a big help with that. Working remotely has meant that you often spend more time at your desk without distractions (that’s both good and bad) so I have created routines on my Alexa Echo to help break up the day. Music starts automatically in the morning while I’m logging on; she then reads a book from my Audible in the afternoon which serves as a reminder to take a break and get lunch. Lastly she is programmed to start playing music just before 5 to remind me to starting winding down my work day. Just another example of how we need to ensure we are making technology work for us.
What can’t you live without?
The gym, so I’ll be crying if there’s another lockdown, lol. Just kidding (kind of), good food is always a good shout! What else should we know about you? I’m really looking forward to seeing how the country as a collective and firms and individuals manage the return to the office (whatever that looks like). I’ll be keeping my mask on though!