Interview with Jayne Wright - HR Director, Mindwise

Posted in : HR Interview Series on 11 October 2017
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Jayne Wright - HR Director, Mindwise
Jayne Wright

Position & Organisation: HR Director, MindWise

Number of Employees: 102 employees and 87 volunteers

Time in Post: 3.5 years

Previous Job: Head of HR RSA (covering NI, Channel Islands and IOM)



Tell us about your business in a sentence

MindWise exists to transform lives and develop new visions for mental health by challenging stigma and discrimination and providing quality services and support.

What was your first ever job?

My first ever job was as a shop assistant in a local pharmacy. I worked there after school and on Saturday mornings and my special responsibility was to keep the baby section well stocked! My first ‘real’ job was as an Accounts assistant with Royal Insurance (later to merge with SunAlliance to become RSA). I quickly moved into HR (or personnel as it was known in those days) gaining experience and development in a variety of HR disciplines and roles, eventually heading up the HR function for Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

What are the key challenges you face in your role?

I love working for MindWise, we are a very values driven organisation and I have the privilege of working with a great team. The third sector however faces many challenges at the minute with austerity measures and political instability in Northern Ireland causing much uncertainty. Funding cuts coupled with the knock-on effect of the increases in National Living Wage mean we are constantly having to do more with less. Attracting and retaining the right staff into our sector and ensuring our workforce is able to flex and adapt to the dynamic and changing environment we are currently working within are key challenges.

What keeps you going when things get tough?

I don’t take myself too seriously! Sometimes we need to accept that we don’t have all the answers and surround ourselves with good networks of support and expertise. I like to think of myself as a positive person and tend to see challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.  I am also very lucky to have great support in work from colleagues who genuinely care and notice when the head is down. At MindWise we encourage all staff to complete WRAP training (Wellness Recovery Action Planning) which helps you to identify in advance what your ‘triggers’ are and what measures and support you need to put in place to counterbalance them, I found this to be a very useful tool.

If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?

It would have to be something to do with food! I’d love to present a cookery show or train as a pastry chef.

Who do you most admire in business locally and/or internationally? Why?

I had the pleasure of meeting David Clutterbuck at a recent coaching master class, David is one of the leading experts in the field of coaching and mentoring and has written over 70 books on the subject. Whilst I was impressed by his vast knowledge, the thing that impressed me the most was his zest for life. David challenges himself to learn a new skill every year, this has included training to be a masseuse; learning how to ice-skate, training to be a comedian and he is currently training to be a magician (he has also has written 4 children’s books). Although he is incredibly gifted, he doesn’t seem take himself too seriously and just enjoys life!

How do you unwind after a tough week?

I love to spend time with my family and get out for long walks with our little dog. I am also very involved in my local church community and find Sunday worship is a great way to unwind and regain a bit of much needed perspective and focus.

What’s your top office/business bugbear?

Email overload – being copied into emails that have nothing to do with me.

What would be the key piece of advice you would give to people considering a career in human resources?

Don’t have tunnel vision, be interested in your business. Learn to speak their language and don’t bombard them with HR jargon. Make sure you understand the needs and challenges the business faces, so that you can see the issues from their perspective and develop the right HR solutions and interventions.

This article is correct at 11/10/2017

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