What does it take to become a top HR practitioner? Hear from top industry performers on what it took for them to make it to the top. In this interview with HR Leaders called , "Out Of Office," we hear from Lindsey Bridges, the Senior Vice President of Air UK and Ireland for DHL.
How To Get Clear On Your Purpose As An HR Leader
Lindsay, what's your purpose as an HR executive?
It's come to me more recently around purpose being very much about making sure people can bring their authentic selves to work every day. And, for me, that means being very open and honest about what I am and what I'm thinking and encouraging others to do the same, and particularly doing that through our DNI agenda and really encouraging people to be as open as they can and feel comfortable being and even push the bounds of that comfortableness when it comes to bringing themselves to work.
Don't Just Say You're Focused On Diversity & Inclusion, Here's How To Prove It
How are you making sure diversity and inclusion is being truly integrated into your company?
To prove we are truly committed to diversity, we decided at the beginning of this year with our marketing team that we wanted to really put out to the market internally and externally what we're doing around diversity and inclusion. I host a monthly podcast mostly with people from within our business, just getting them to talk about/tell a story.
I realize I am always learning when it comes to this topic. For example...
Recently in the diversity and inclusion space, I've been thinking a lot more about how do you say the right thing? How do you not say the wrong thing? And I was talking to a colleague about Black Lives Matter a few months ago now, and I inadvertently said something that I shouldn't have. I said it wrong, I got something wrong. And I didn't realize at the time and actually fair play to her. She told me afterward that what I'd said probably wasn't the right way to express it and I learned from it. It was great she was able to tell me that, but I do worry in that space.
Unexpected Sickness: Why HR Leaders Must Make Their Own Well-Being A Priority
Why has putting your health first as an HR executive become so important to you?
In February this year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And since then, up until three weeks ago, I've been going through chemotherapy, which I've worked all the way through and managed all the way through. And I'm due to have surgery in August to remove the lump. And then I've got some radiotherapy and all the rest of it. And I'm totally convinced that if I hadn't got on that exercise routine, I probably wouldn't be as responding as well as I have been through this treatment.
I've been very open about the cancer diagnosis because people don't talk about it and they should. And back to that purpose, if I'm going to bring myself to work every day, well, this is part of me at the minute. I don't like it, wouldn't choose it, but it is what it is. So I have been being very open about it to people and I think it is important that we talk about this and I think it's important that people do self-examine. And if I can help promote that, that's a good thing.
Since this has happened, a lot of colleagues have reached out with similar health issues and we've been sharing and I've been learning from them and they've been learning from me because as you go through this journey, it's good to talk to other people.
A couple of years ago, we improved some of the healthcare benefits around cancer care specifically, and I'm really very grateful for that personally. Right now I can see the value of it, but I think our biggest challenge is promoting those healthcare benefits to people.
What It Takes For HR To Get A Seat At the Decision Table In Business
What do you think it takes for HR executives to get a seat at their company's decision-making table?
To be honest, in the world I come from in DHL supply chain, it has always been a creditable player with a seat at the table. So I don't think that it's changed that much in terms of the last year. But, I think what we do need to do to continue to be there is to be really close to our operations, understand our customers, our operations, and what's actually making the money for whatever organization that we're working for.
To learn more about HR Executive Lindsay Bridges and her work, please reach out to her on Linkedin.
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