Jacqui received her MBA from Glasgow University Business School. Shortly after Jacqui became the Head of HR Professional Advisory Services at Aegon UK Plc. In 2010, Jacqui moved to Standard Life and became the People Director of Operational Excellence, where she still works today.
Participating in a programme like Human Resources Strategy for Transforming Organisations (HRST) was part of a longer term development plan that was put in place when I first joined Standard Life. I currently lead all people-related operational services, but as a recognised talent leader within the organisation, the aim was always for me to have the potential to progress to a wider leadership role. I also have additional responsibilities leading a three year HR transformation programme. This is around changes in technology and how we deliver our services back to the business. As I’ve only been in a true HR role for a few years, I wanted to be absolutely sure I had the necessary skills and tools in place. Finding a peoplealigned programme allowed me to take a step back and focus on my general leadership style, as well as looking at the creation and execution of strategy. HRST appealed both because it met these criteria, and because of the outstanding reputation of Lynda Gratton and the School itself.
The theory base and content of HRST was invaluable and addressed many of my development needs. Right at the beginning of the programme we spent a whole morning looking at the future of work and what is changing in the workplace environment and the role of technology. This was a brilliant session and totally aligned with my current role managing the transformation programme. It gave me an insight into thinking strategically. The programme really made me sit back and think long-term about the company and how we were setting ourselves up for the future. The quality of speakers throughout was also exceptional.
Boosting my knowledge with a course of this calibre had immediate positive effect. I have a large number of direct and indirect reports and am now better skilled at leading people through significant change. I’m also far more confident about my own impact as a leader, which in turn makes me more adept at dealing with stakeholders and reporting to the board.
Although the course had a very strategic focus, I learned a number of simple tactical tools which I’ve since implemented in operational services. One of these is a framework that helps identify the link between human performance and the financial result. That is considering what an outcome would look like from a behavioural perspective and enabling people to deliver their business goals. I now have a good reputation for keeping a financial focus, which is not something that HR is traditionally renowned for.
I’m fortunate to be on a continual learning journey at the moment, one that is enriched by the nature of the programme I’m leading and the technology I’m implementing. In the same way that HRST has successfully impacted my own performance, the role I’m in is impacting business at a local, regional and global level. Everything we are doing is about transformation – making working environments better and more productive for people. Using new technologies and data to manage people more efficiently will enable leaders globally to focus on talent and, ultimately, make our business much more effective.