Dominic Ceraldi
Dominic Ceraldi

Member Article

Getting the best from your HR

Dominic Ceraldi, HR Director of the UK’s largest independent plumbing firm, Pimlico Plumbers, explains why HR saturation can be a risky business and advises how to make HR the heart of an organisation.

How many HRs does it take to change a….

The old adage is that you can’t have too much of a good thing - but when it comes to HR teams, I believe the opposite can sometimes be true. In the past I have worked for organisations that are saturated with HR people and I do not think that is necessarily a good thing. There is the risk that organisations can get wrapped up in bureaucracy and policy, and that can get in the way of carrying out the day-to-day running of the business. HR is often guilty of this if it has people in place who are not adding any value to other areas of the business.

Can’t see the wood for the HRs

I had a manager in Blackburn who used to say when dealing with HR, ‘you have to go through the fields just to get to the other end of your own street’.

At Pimlico it is not like that, we are very clear on how we operate, and that is with transparency. Making the wrong decision can have a bad effect on any company, but not making a decision because of endless red tape can deal a critical blow.

Our HR team has clearly defined roles, and although we all have an understanding and knowledge of each others’ roles, we do not tread on each others’ toes. This does not mean that we go about our business individually; on the contrary, the HR team meet every morning to discuss operational issues and who and what we are currently working on.

Breathing space to succeed

By encouraging some level of freedom for team members, they can work with other departments without worrying too much about the usual issues that can prevent collaborative work between different departments from succeeding. I firmly believe that the success and credibility of the HR partnerships within the organisation rely on the quality of the people working in the HR team and the relationships built with other departments.

This way of working has allowed me to establish strong relationships with other directors and managers in the key areas of the business, and to proves that the HR function can be of real value. I work as a close business partner within the organization and if HR was to be removed, the impact this would have is immeasurable, not only in an operational sense but also in loss of morale within other departments.

More than just HR value

Our HR team has become an invaluable point of communication for directors and mangers to come to with various operational issues; from recruitment and retention, through to salary negotiation. We provide a function which takes away the headaches of people management, and allows managers to get on with what they are employed to do within their departments.

I refer back to my manager in Blackburn who once said ‘HR would be a good department if it wasn’t for the folk working in it’, well I disagree with that, I believe that the Future of HR lies in our own hands. We must ensure we do not take away the human element and ever become unapproachable.

Finding the right people

I am always looking to improve and get it right with the selection criteria, and I work with closely with my Recruitment Manager to make sure we continue to get it right at the first stage of filtering candidates. In my mind this is the hardest part of the process, after all, if you get it right at the first stage, more often than not it will be right all the way through to the final stage. I reckon that we have the selection process off to a fine art now, and at least eight out of ten candidates who come through the door are right for Pimlico.

And once they’re with us? The way we treat people through all stages of their time with Pimlico is important, that means from recruitment through to retirement and we continue to review and develop our HR planning to ensure we are managing people effectively.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Dominic Ceraldi .

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