Head to head

first_imgThis week Mark Childs, director of global compensation and benefits atFidelity Investments, and Carmen Burton, HR director at the Norton Practice,compare notes on their careers1 What are your main responsibilities? MC My job title is something of a misnomer. It is one of thebroadest-based compensation and benefits roles in the UK and is rapidlyevolving into a global HR services role. My responsibilities include globale-HR strategy, global reward strategy, global benefits (predominantly pensionplan design, medium and long-term incentives, international assignmentmanagement, payroll strategy and employment policy. CB My role is directing internal HR, payroll, training anddevelopment, members of the board, as well as running an HR consultancy service.2 What’s the pay like? MC Over the past 10-15 years HR people with significant internationalcompensation and benefits or management development experience have been ableto command a significant pay premium over Generalists. In my experience thatgap continues to widen – at all levels. CB I’m happy with my salary package, I have to say, it has just beenreviewed! 3 How flexible are the hours? MC Typically I spend 50-55 hours in the office each week. Duringvisits to offices outside the UK, I choose to work more intensely. There isinevitably a great deal to do and I prefer to minimise my time away from home. CB My hours aren’t really flexible, and as with most professionalsthey tend to be long. I do get the opportunity to work from home occasionallywhich is great. 4 What do you like about the job? MC I enjoy the diversity. Today’s in-tray is representative. Thismorning I have to review a Taiwanese sales incentive plan with thevice-chairman, discuss a share plan valuation with external tax advisers andwork on a stock option repricing analysis. CB There are lots of things I like about my job – it is very busy sothere’s never a dull moment. With regard to clients I get the opportunity towork with a wide variety of companies in different sectors and they allappreciate the advice and support. Internally within the practice it is nice tobe able to make a difference to the business. 5 What are the challenges? MC There are two challenges I would highlight. I serve eightpresidents/business heads and eight HR directors. Giving these people adequateservice in a way which makes them feel like they are your only customer is areal challenge. Added to this is an expectation among second and third- tierline managers that as head of this area of HR you will be available to them,even when some of the people who work for you are better placed to providesuperior service. The second is to keep on top of the body of knowledge neededto keep up with a business operating throughout Europe and Asia. In Fidelity’sculture you are expected to know your stuff – your credibility depends upon it.CB The main challenge is building an HR consultancy, which includesbusiness planning and marketing. The internal challenges we are facing includeways to introduce more flexible working patterns. It is our experience thatpeople want to work mornings and our clients want answers in the afternoon. 6 What is your biggest headache? MC The risk of being tripped up by trivia. Reward, more than anyother aspect of HR, can generate high emotion. It is a peculiar thing that onthe rare occasion a payroll input or medical plan administrator error is made,the likelihood is one of the presidents will be the victim. The more routineheadache is that operational HR people might think they know the answer in aspecialist area, but if it goes wrong, the resulting problem finds its way backto me for resolution. CB Mine is the conflict between being the Norton Practice HR directorand being a consultant to clients. You can’t be in two places at once – I’vetried it. All joking aside, it can cause anxiety when you want to do both jobswell. 7 What size is your team? MC Twenty-one, located in UK, mainland Europe and Asia Pacific. Theteam consists of e-HR specialists, compensation analysts, benefits experts,international assignment managers, payroll and share plan practitioners. CB There are four – soon to be five – people in my team. 8 Who do you report to? MC Brian Reilly, Fidelity’s managing director, Global HR. CB I report directly to the partners (owners) of the organisation. 9 What qualifications do you have? MC BA in politics and industrial relations (University of Kent atCanterbury), CIPD member and an Associate of the Institute of ManagementConsultants. CB I am MCIPD qualified and I also have a City and Guilds 7307 – aqualification to teach adults. 10 What are your career aspirations? MC A couple of years from now I will need to decide whether to revertto a senior generalist role or do something completely different. CB The role of director is quite new to me so I’m happy to continueat this level for the moment. In the future I’d like to teach CIPD students. 11 What training and development opportunities are there? MC Few HR people have yet woken up to just how transformational e-HRwill become to the employee-employer relationship and future HR career paths.The potential is amazing and my learning still has a long way to go. CB I’m responsible for the overall training budget – part of which isallocated to my team. 12 What is your holiday entitlement? MC Twenty-five days a year. CB This year it is 24 days. 13 What’s your working environment like? MC The office is in a country house in the Weald of Kent and the viewfrom my window surveys an ornamental lake, compared to my last employer’soffices where I could watch London Underground’s District Line trains go by. CB Our working environment is a little cramped, as a business we’vebeen growing for two years and we have run out of space to put people. 14 What other benefits do you get? (company car etc) MC One of the best defined contribution pension plans in the UK,medical benefits including an annual health check, comprehensive life andlong-term disability cover and various staff discounts. CB I receive a company car allowance, four times death in service,pension, critical ill health, permanent medical and health insurance. 15 What’s the best part? MC The best features of this job are dependent on the Fidelityculture. Being privately-owned (every employee has a shareholding interest) andcommitted to organic rather than acquisition-led growth, a strong cultureexists where managers think and behave like owners. Fidelity’s culture isstrong and positive without being aggressive, strategic and innovative, yetvaluing people who are practical, detailed and action orientated. CB The best part of my role is being kept on my toes, questionscoming at me from all directions and being able to get out and meet clients. Mark ChildsDirector of global compensation and benefits, Fidelity InvestmentsJob at a glanceSize of team: 21Qualifications: BA in politics and industrial relations, CIPD member and anassociate of the Institute of Management ConsultantsLeave: 25 daysBest part: The incredible diversity of the jobCurriculum Vitae 1998 VP reward management, Seagram1996 Global compensation and benefits director, Forte plc1993 International personnel director, Forte HotelsCarmen BurtonHR director, Norton Practice (Insolvency Services)Job at a glanceSize of team: Five Qualifications: MCIPD, City and Guilds to teach adultsLeave: 24 days Best part: Being able to make a difference to the businessCurriculum Vitae 1998 HR manager, Winterthur International Insurance Company1994 Payroll manager/personnel administrator, Matsushita Communications UK1993 Senior payroll administrator, Thames Valley University Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Head to headOn 29 Jan 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img

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