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  • Bio: Di Maxfield works for the Carbon Trust as an HR Manager. Their mission is to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy, by working with organisations to reduce carbon emissions now and develop commercial low carbon technologies for the future.

Di Maxfield

Di Maxfield is an HR Manager for Carbon Trust, a company which aims to reduce carbon emissions in business. Di tells us about the importance of HR within a company and the unique skills needed to work in the industry.

How did you start in the HR Industry?

I undertook a summer placement at B. Braun Medical. I wanted to gain some experience of the day to day job so I could be confident that I wanted to pursue a career in HR before undertaking my post graduate diploma and CIPD.

Did you join a graduate scheme when you finished university?

I didn’t, but had a very good development plan in place at the Science Museum. This included on-the-job training and formal training in different disciplines including job evaluation and psychometrics.

Where did you go after your first role?

After my first role I developed a keen interest in employment relations and undertook an Employee Relations Officer role at Visteon.

What does Carbon Trust do and why is it a good place to work?

The Carbon Trust mission is to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy by working with organisations to reduce carbon emissions and develop low carbon technologies. It is very exciting and fast-paced, with people who genuinely care about what they are delivering.

What is a typical day like for you?

Busy and very unpredictable. It can vary from day to day queries and issues such as conducting interviews, addressing employee relations issues and training needs analysis, to working on longer-term projects including recruitment strategy, compensation and benefits reviews and policy development.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Being in a job that involves every part of the business and putting the company’s strategic objectives into action.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Remaining neutral and business focused when dealing with highly emotive subjects. Sometimes what is right for the business is not right for the individual and it is not always possible to achieve a middle ground. In such circumstances I would see it as my job, whilst not losing focus of the business requirements, to help the individual find a way to embrace the change.

Can you recall the most satisfying moment of your career so far?

I have been involved in a number of change programmes including reorganising business units and find it immensely satisfying to see these changes being effective and actually improving business performance.

Have you taken any professional qualifications?

I am CIPD qualified and have undertaken a number of other professional courses, which has provided a solid knowledge base. However the most useful job skills are gained through on-the-job experience.

How do you keep up to date on what is happening in HR?

I read People Management and Personnel Today, which cover law updates and hot topics. I also attend legal industry seminars to keep up to date with current thinking around the area.

What can a new graduate expect to do in an entry-level HR role?

Unless on a specific graduate programme, entry level HR roles are usually at administration level with development plans and specific on-the-job training to support continual learning and progression.

What would you like to achieve?

I would like to progress my career and head up an HR team where HR is seen as a trusted and valued advisor to the business and in an organisation that is working on current issues delivering more than just the bottom line.

Do you have any advice for graduates trying to get into HR?

Try and gain experience of HR through a summer or industrial placement before graduating as there is a lot of competition out there from other enthusiastic graduates looking for a career in HR. Also try to get as much experience in a generalist role and try not to specialise too early in your career.

What qualities do you need to succeed?

Resilience, patience, ability to persuade stakeholders at all levels of the organisation and a good sense of humour.

What’s the biggest myth about your industry?

That we are a welfare department. It has been said that HR (or Personnel in its previous incarnation) are about tea and sympathy. I think there is a place for empathy but HR is about much more than that.

How has the industry changed since you started your career?

There are more legislative requirements to meet and expectations of the role have evolved into a more consultative one to support business requirements.

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