WHO I HELP
Medium sized and large organisations. Large international organisations.
HOW I HELP
Outsourced HR Function. HR Strategy development. Organisational design. Change management.
Tech. Leisure, retail & hospitality. Food & drink.
The People & Culture team.
“BUSINESSES THAT UNDERSTAND THAT THEIR SUCCESS DEPENDS ON THEIR PEOPLE ALREADY KNOW THAT A GOOD HR STRATEGY IS CRUCIAL.”
Katie Aldred is an HR Director within AAB People. Katie’s main specialism is HR strategy for organisations: the designing, developing, and implementing of it. To be able to do this most effectively, Katie works in a remarkably integrated way with the organisations she helps, working alongside the leadership teams of the businesses.
This integrated approach allows her to really get under the skin of an organisation, understand the challenges and find the best solutions for them. These solutions could mean working directly with people or helping to develop broader HR strategy – for example, tackling engagement issues or organisational design challenges. She designs and delivers these solutions as well as overseeing the management of them on a day-to-day basis.
LOOKING AT THE BIGGER PICTURE
“For me, the ideal relationship with a client is where you’re both looking at the bigger picture. Anyone on the team can go in and identify a particular problem in isolation, but for me, the ideal is when organisations are looking for me to be part of something longer term. Looking at an organisation from a strategic perspective and then being able to break things down into smaller pieces, whether that’s dealing with a difficult individual situation, or redesigning a team to better fit the way the organisation wants to operate in the future.”
IDENTIFYING & ADDRESSING THE ROOT CAUSES
“Personally, the most satisfying aspect of what I do is when clients trust us and allow us to get that all-important exposure of the bigger picture of the organisation: its main focus, its challenges, its aims for the future. Getting the bigger picture allows us to be the most effective at what we do. We might be asked to come in and fix one seemingly isolated problem, but it’s often the case that the problem was just a symptom of a wider, more embedded or structural issue.
What interests and fulfils me most is working with organisations long term. It allows me to find the root causes , truly understanding them, and then being able to provide the most effective solutions. I like to solve the real problem – not just the surface level ones, and help organisations evolve into what they want to be. Being a key part of that process is what I enjoy the most.”
PRAGMATISM, COMMERCIAL UNDERSTANDING – AND FUN
“Clients expect us to have a pragmatic approach, with commercially focused thinking. They expect me to draw on my considerable experience and utilise it to help them. They can trust that I know what works and what doesn’t work.
I think they also expect us to be enjoyable to work with – most people want a relationship that is professional and respectful, but also one in which they can be themselves, and are able to have fun as well as deal with serious situations. This is particularly important when you’re working with people on a long-term basis. You have to know how to have a bit of fun!”
SUPPORTING EACH OTHER TO DEVELOP
“We have an incredible sense of camaraderie amongst the team. Some of us work in a very integrated way with clients where it would be easy to stay in that ‘bubble’, but we don’t – we are always working to listen to and leverage each other’s experience and knowledge in a way that is incredibly helpful, particularly for more junior members of the team.
It’s always fantastic to see those more junior members grow in confidence and capability, and take on things that perhaps a year ago they would have said that they weren’t ready for.”
“Obviously, over the last few years, a lot of what we’ve done has become even more virtual. Demonstrating that we can deliver HR services to an excellent standard and not have to be onsite and present every day has actually been quite an enjoyable journey. Being able to work remotely is one of the ways we’ve navigated delivering the size of the services that we offer. A lot of our clients are in the tech sector, and quite often have a hybrid or remote approach themselves, so they understand that it’s not necessarily a barrier or a limit to providing top quality work – it can often be the facilitator.
Our clients always know that we’re here, even if we’re not physically present. We’re always on hand to help – if they have an issue or a query, they know they can pick up the phone or message us on Teams or send us an e-mail, and we’ll deal with that problem or question quickly.”
HAVING AN AGILE MINDSET
“The greatest challenge in my specialist area is being able to ‘switch hats’ quickly. It’s crucial to have the ability to take yourself out of one situation with a client and then focus your attention completely on another, very different one. Dealing with entirely different situations requires using entirely different approaches and methods – and we have to be able to swiftly move from one to another. The deeper and more complex the issues, the more difficult it can be to have that agile mindset.
Additionally, when it comes to being fully integrated with clients, you become very mentally and emotionally absorbed in that business. So, you have to learn how to extract yourself and put yourself in a totally different culture. It almost feels like teleportation sometimes between one business and the next business! Agility is absolutely the name of the game.”
GROWING AS PART OF AAB GROUP
“I’m thrilled to be a part of a bigger group, and get to see how it continues to evolve! It’s always a great feeling to be a part of the growth journey of a business, and help drive its ongoing. It’s also very exciting to see the team develop and become part of something bigger. Gaining more exposure to the depth and breadth of expertise and experience at AAB People and the wider AAB Group across different sectors and types of organisation is fantastic. It provides opportunities for everyone to really expand their body of knowledge, and evolve and streamline their own processes.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF POSITIVITY
“At AAB Group you are really able to see how the Group Values are woven into every aspect of the organisation. There are the things that most organisations list – trusting people, having integrity, etc., but for me what differentiates AAB Group is our value that ‘nothing is more important that people’ and our ethos of ‘positivity, enthusiasm, and fun.’
The nature of HR work means that we are often involved in handling difficult situations, so it’s especially important that our own organisational culture genuinely values fun and coming together in a positive environment to strengthen our team relationships.”
“My greatest strength is probably my ability to build relationships. I’m able to do this with almost anyone, even if they’re not necessarily ‘my kind of person.’ Whenever necessary, I’m able to put certain things aside and find common ground, common understanding, and mutual respect, which can then develop into a good relationship. There’s always something I can find to build on with someone, and with people who perhaps need to be drawn out slightly more, I’m good at doing that too.”
THE COST-EFFECTIVE CHOICE
“The biggest compliment I’ve had is probably that one of our clients always say that if they were employing me directly, they’d have to pay me a lot more money than they pay for the entire service.”
‘JUST TEA & TISSUES’
“My biggest pet hate in terms of how people see HR, is when they reduce it to ‘tea and tissues.’ HR is not simply a case of giving someone tissues when they’re upset! The implication is that what we do is simple, or is simply a sticking plaster, and that we don’t understand the business.
HR is not peripheral, or a box-ticking exercise – it’s absolutely integral, and businesses that value their people and know that the success of the organisation relies on its people, already know that.”