What is it like to be the head of HR at a digital agency?
Read on to hear Loveday Langton explain more about her new role at Threepipe.
If you’re looking for fresh opportunities yourself, don’t forget to check out the Econsultancy jobs board.
Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do?
Loveday Langton: I work with the senior leadership team to set the people agenda at Threepipe. I joined the team recently after a period of rapid growth at Threepipe, to make sure that we’re managing and developing our people in the best possible way – both for their success and the success of the agency.
My role is to understand what our people need to be happy and successful, and to marry that with the skills and attributes that the business needs to grow.
I am currently undertaking a full staff audit to assess how positive they feel and how aligned they are to the goals and values of the business.
E: Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
LL: I report into Jim Hawker, one of our co-founders, and am part of the management team.
I have HR admin support reporting into me to help with the paperwork in terms of organising contracts and performance reviews.
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
LL: You need to really care about people and their development and wellbeing, but it’s just as important to understand the business and how people can work most effectively to drive the company’s success.
Both those things require great listening skills and the ability to ask a lot of questions. People often think of HR as fluffy or bureaucratic, but that’s very far from the truth. You need to be able to analyse information, draw conclusions, make decisions and communicate well, while building strong relationships.
You also need to keep your focus on the long term vision, while handling the small but important issues that pop up every day.
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
LL: It’s incredibly varied and it depends a lot on what’s going on with the business and our people. I might be developing a learning and development programme, reviewing systems like onboarding, talking about resourcing and the skills we need for a client or team, interviewing candidates, updating policies or talking to leaders and team members to resolve an issue or come up with a new opportunity.
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
LL: I love helping people to succeed, and seeing their success fuel the success of the business. It’s a great feeling when you’ve brought someone into a role, or helped them overcome a challenge, and they thrive.
I feel very honoured that in my job, I’m often in a position to help people. In any management role you sometimes have to make difficult decisions or have difficult conversations. While that can be challenging, my job is to make sure things are managed properly and fairly, and to find the best outcome for all involved. That’s a good role to play.
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
LL: My goals are around making Threepipe a great place to work, and making sure the team is fulfilled, productive and rewarded.
We have an amazing team and as we grow, we want to maintain the strength that comes from our diverse team of smart, talented people who deliver amazing work for our clients. We have a feedback tool so we can see how the team is feeling in real time, and what we need to change, and we look at staff retention and other metrics.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
LL: I love tools that give you quick access to data, to make sure decisions are properly informed, or that streamline processes and make work more efficient.
As a long term flexible worker (I’ve worked part time for eleven years), I love being able to work remotely, so any tools that enable that are great.
I’m a bit of an ideas magpie, so I love HR networking groups which are often on Slack or WhatsApp. But ultimately, you can’t beat a personal connection – a conversation, a relationship and building trust.
E: How did you land in this role, and where might you go from here?
LL: I’ve worked in PR and marketing all my career, initially in client service and then in HR. I love the culture and energy in creative agencies, and I love the people.
I’m excited to grow the People team at Threepipe as the agency grows, and to roll out some really great initiatives to make sure Threepipe is an awesome place to work.
E: Which company cultures do you admire?
LL: I admire companies that focus on people’s strengths and help them build on what they love and are great at, rather than getting fixated on the things they don’t do so well.
I think flexibility and treating people as individuals is really important, which also means supporting them through the ups and downs of life. I admire companies that foster a sense of pride in working there, where people feel they are part of something special.
E: Do you have advice for anybody who wants to work in your field?
LL: I think my advice boils down to – work hard, have fun and be nice. If you can do that, you’ll be successful and you’ll be happy.
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