Interview with Ailsa Wooster
We recently spoke to Ailsa Wooster, our HR Manager, to discuss her role and how it was affected by Covid as well as discussing the qualification she is currently studying for.
When did you join Hobbs?
I joined in April 2018 after a role in HR and Recruitment at Southampton General Hospital. I also have operational HR experience in the digital media, marketing and retail e-commerce industries.
Can you describe the different roles you perform at Hobbs?
My role provides a service to all managers and employees across the business, ensuring policies and procedures are implemented correctly and are followed consistently and equitably. This includes recruitment and onboarding, change management and employee wellbeing. I am also a mental health first aider and work closely with our Deputy Managing Director on Health & Safety matters ensuring the welfare of our staff.
How did your role change when the pandemic began?
For me the biggest change was adapting to being off-site whilst maintaining the ability to deliver my role efficiently and effectively. Our factory remained open throughout the pandemic as it was essential for the business to continue to produce time-critical print for our clients.
For the best part of 18 months we had to juggle staff working on site in our factory, staff working from home and staff off on furlough leave. We had to get our heads around ever-changing Government advice, new Health & Safety legislation and how to implement and maintain a Covid secure workplace.
We were very conscious of employee wellbeing and the state of their mental health, not only for those still coming into the factory but also those furloughed or working from home where isolation could become a challenge. For those at home we started 1-1 calls and emails and sent letters regularly to all our staff which included mental health and wellbeing advice together with business updates.
Everyone who was furloughed is back on site working and we have implemented hybrid working for the majority of staff who previously worked exclusively from home.
How have you continued your professional development whilst at Hobbs?
Soon after joining Hobbs I attended the Dale Carnegie Effective Communications and Human Relations course. Dale Carnegie is a tried and tested method that has been supported by Hobbs over many decades and attended by the majority of the senior management team.
Since then, I qualified as a Mental Health First Aider in 2019 and completed the CIPD Level 5 Diploma in Human Resource Management in 2020, giving me Associate CIPD membership. This was a highly relevant qualification for my role as it validated the HR operational skills and experience accumulated over the course of my career. I am now studying towards the CIPD Level 7 Diploma in Strategic People Management.
How will the Level 7 Diploma benefit you and the team at Hobbs?
The Level 7 Diploma will enable me to think and work at a more strategic level by giving me further in-depth knowledge needed to make critical analysis.
Working alongside my colleagues I hope the new skills I shall acquire will enable Hobbs to be better equipped to meet the ever-changing needs of our industry and clients.
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