I joined Keepmoat Homes as the HR Reward Director in 2016 and was made Group HR Director a year later with a focus on delivering our people strategy. This means ensuring that we can attract the right talent to join us, develop our own talent internally and engage our employees to ensure that our people feel supported, trusted, committed, can grow their career with us and that most importantly they enjoy working for Keepmoat Homes and feel engaged.

At Keepmoat Homes we focus on putting people at the heart of everything we do. This creates a culture which is aligned to our values –it is straightforward, passionate, creative and highly collaborative. Alongside this, the environment is fast paced, friendly and one where people are supported with their development and encouraged to grow. The emphasis on development and our robust approach to talent enables us to identify our high performers which in turn helps us to understand who the successors will be for key roles.

Talent mapping and succession planning enable us to focus on people’s potential and support them to ensure we are growing our own talent to get the right balance between external recruitment and internal promotions. I’m very proud of the fact that our culture was recognised last summer through our Investors in people accreditation, with the assessor highlighting our effective people centric culture and the positive impact that this has on our performance as a business.

We recently launched our Future Leaders Programme which is a year-long programme aimed at our high performers with the potential to reach director level. This programme supports their personal development by focusing on leadership skills and enables them to work on live projects while being supported through group and individual coaching sessions.

As well as developing our Future Leaders, we also try to offer as many opportunities as we can to young people starting their careers in the homebuilding industry, both directly within the business and also indirectly through our subcontractors and partnerships.

We’re proud to be a member of the 5 percent club which means we are committed to at least 5 percent of our employees being apprentices or trainees in ‘earn and learn’ positions across all functions within the business or through our subcontractors and partners.

Employing apprentices and trainees is an effective way of addressing skills shortages and supports our belief that growing our own talent is an essential requirement in our industry.

We are about to launch our Site Manager Development Programme; enrolment has just taken place for our Sales Development Programme and we have designed a range of leadership masterclasses to complement these programmes and support our existing people managers.

We focus on putting people at the heart of everything we do

The focus on ensuring Keepmoat Homes a great place to work is reflected by that fact that we have some fantastic examples of long service and progression. Within my own team our HR Shared Services Manager has been with the company for 38 years and her son recently bought a Keepmoat home. One of our Regional Managing Directors joined the company as Land & Partnerships Coordinator in 2010 and nine years later is now Managing Director of a very successful region.

We are also keen to encourage diversity. I recognise that the house building industry isn’t the most diverse or gender equal sector and there is often a lack of candidates for certain roles from diverse backgrounds. However, in terms of our gender diversity at the senior level, we have two female Regional Managing Directors, Beth McNeil who leads our Scottish region; and Charlotte Goode who leads our West Midlands region. There is still more to do however and as a company we take seriously the role of promoting the industry to potential candidates who might never have considered a career in our sector.

I’m proud of the work our regions do with education providers and community groups to profile the variety of roles available and am pleased we are looking at how we encourage more women into our industry through a new partnership with #YesSheCan which will support us in promoting the industry to women.

In my view, HR teams should focus on how they can add and create value for businesses. Understanding how to do this and working collaboratively ensures that HR is a real force for change that actively contributes and supports the business to achieve its goals.

Finally, my top three tips for people applying for jobs are:

1) Do your research–simple but crucial, research the company in advance, make sure you understand the company’s focus and its values and whether they align with your own

2) Focus on your CV and how you can align your career to date and your skills and experience to the requirements of the role you are applying for

3) Identify how you can add value to the business and work this into your application and into the interview process to help the interviewer understand what you will bring to the role and the business.