The best thing about working in HR is the commercial exposure – I enjoy spending time with stakeholders. What I find frustrating is when HR professionals forget that people are people; they’re not robots or a disposable resource – they’re human. Everyone leads different lives, and has different backgrounds, personalities, insecurities and motivations; it’s those differences that make a business a better whole.
One of my biggest frustrations in life is the overuse of technology. I hate walking into a pub or restaurant and seeing a table of people all updating their Facebook status to say what a good time they’re having when they haven’t looked up once. Technology is a really important part of life now, but I try not to be excessively attached to it.
Working in HR means you’ll often be confronted with a lot of upsetting situations, especially those that employees face in their personal lives. Although these are never nice to deal with, helping people to get through tough times can be a very rewarding experience. Knowing that you’ve been able to support someone through a difficult time is a great feeling.
Technology will change how HR operates. I expect a lot more of our day-to-day functions will become automated, but I don’t think HR can ever be replaced entirely. The decisions we make are based on context and personality; technology alone can’t do that effectively.
I’m a massive believer in work-life balance. I have a wife and two children and they’re far more important to me than work. The reality is, however, there will be times when I need to work in the evening or at the weekend to finish something. I appreciate there are roles that can’t always offer unilateral flexibility, given the nature of the work or industry, but balancing ‘real life’ with ‘work life’ is something I constantly emphasise to my team – as long as the work gets done, it doesn’t matter where, when or how.
Andy Preacher began his career at Northern Recruitment Group in 2002 before becoming HR officer at Charles Clinkard in 2005. He then held various roles at GE Money and Santander UK, and joined the BBC in 2013 as an HR business partner. Preacher became head of HR at Your Move in 2015, before joining Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Europe last year.