THIS week’s High Flyer is Linda Glass, HR manager for Interface, a global manufacturer of modular flooring
What’s your job?
I’m the HR manager for Interface, based in its Craigavon factory, which employs 200.
How did you get there?
I came from a HR background at Almac, where I worked for 15 years before some part-time roles as an HR consultant and a lecturer in Southern Regional College. I began my career at Interface on a part-time basis too, six years ago, but I’m now firmly full-time.
Do you have a typical working day?
As a general rule I don’t know what the day will bring – there’s always a surprise and plenty of variety, not least because as a global company there are central initiatives to integrate into our homegrown plans in Craigavon.
What qualifications do you have?
After my GCSEs I started down the medical route, undertaking a medical secretarial course before enrolling in an HR course. I then changed direction and completed my Certificate in Personnel Administration and Practice, followed by a CIPD post-graduate Diploma at Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education.
What other skills do you need in your role?
Copious amounts of energy and passion and an acceptance that your priorities may change in an instant. You also need to simultaneously combine a grasp of strategic managerial issues with an empathetic understanding of employees’ personal issues.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I love the buzz of spinning all those plates! I enjoy helping employees and creating a working environment that meets their needs and Interface’s.
And the worst?
Perhaps not surprisingly, the worst thing is the same as the best. Too much to do at the same time is nobody’s idea of fun. Thankfully I have a great team so we always manage to find a way to manage the busyness.
What do you think are the greatest challenges/pressures of the job?
The greatest pressure is not having the time to do everything I want to do. When you’re dealing with employees you need to give them space and time to talk things through. Humans aren’t machines; we all need that personal touch. That means that the paperwork often has to be rescheduled for a different time.
What did you want to be when you were at school?
I was determined to be nurse – and had even got as far as enrolling before my parents talked me out of it. I’ve always had an interest in helping people and that motivation has found a natural home in my HR career. With hindsight I’m glad I listened to my parents.
What advice would you give someone considering a career in your profession?
HR is a really diverse field so aim to develop as wide experience as you can early on, be that recruitment, reward and benefit, or learning and development issues. It’s also important to think beyond your HR role; get involved in wider management work streams and take a holistic view of how HR fits into the business.
What’s the most common question people ask when they find out what you do?
“Are you the one who does all the hiring and firing?” This is usually quickly followed by “I wouldn’t do your job for love nor money!”
How do you like to relax outside work?
Running is my thing. I belong to a local running club and do around 30km every week. I’ve completed the Dublin, Paris and Carlingford half marathons, and have a few other target cities on my list. I also like to travel, and have two children aged 18 and 19, but I wouldn’t put them in the relaxing category!