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Caroline Edwards

  • Programme: Human Resources Strategy for Transforming Organisations
  • Nationality: British
  • Job Post-programme: HR Director, UK and Ireland, Carphone Warehouse

Professional background

Caroline Edwards completed London Business School’s Human Resources Strategy for Transforming Organisations programme in November 2012. She is a passionate and successful HR leader, who is driving wider economic prosperity, through drawing on her HRST experiences to make change at an organisational level.

Retaining Competitive Advantage

Like many other businesses, my company has been, and still is, trying to navigate through a very difficult economic climate. We have made some significant organisation structure changes to support our growth strategy over the last 18 months. These two things, plus the fact that technology continues to progress at speed, means that in this climate we need to be agile and able to change fast to remain competitive.

Forward Thinking

Studying on HRST was a chance for me to think through the questions that all this change has posed. Tasked with setting the HR strategy to take Carphone Warehouse through the next two years, one of the things that really stood out for me was the emerging trends for the future, surrounding demography and the style and approach of leadership required. We pride ourselves as a 'people business' and, with a better understanding of our own demography, I've applied my learning from HRST to create HR practices and processes to manage the changing trends of our workforce. This ensures we will attract and retain talent for the future.

Greater Impact

HRST has also lit the touch paper to make a difference in the wider business environment. Lynda Gratton’s ‘five trends’ have helped me think more broadly about my HR strategy. I’m much less internally focused now and better able to think about external factors that impinge on our strategy. This allows me to contribute at board level in a more strategic and holistic way.

As part of this outward-facing perspective, I’ve also made a commitment to help reduce UK  unemployment levels. I believe we are in a strong position to impact this problem, so with the buy-in of our CEO I’ve been investigating a number of different options. Directly sharing our workforce planning with a scheme like the Government Work Programme (which assists the long-term unemployed) is one route we will be exploring as part of our resourcing strategy in 2013.

Crystallised Aspirations

Stepping away from the company to focus on thought leadership and share best practice across industries has been hugely beneficial. It has also crystallised my personal aspirations. The programme emphasises the need to build skills and capabilities that differentiate you in the future marketplace. It also highlights the big change in social media. Going forward, I intend to develop my expertise in change management, be focused on getting and staying connected in this digital world and maintain meaningful networks.