Interviews with our People and Culture team

FOD Mobility Group People and Culture Team
The People and Culture team from left to right: Jenna Clegg, Hannah Taylor and Gayle Howarth.

When it comes to our values at FOD Mobility Group, our people and culture are the top priority.

As we’ve moved into our new head office premises in Saltaire, our now fully formed People and Culture team have brought their own unique skills and experiences together to continue fostering an inclusive and diverse workforce where everyone can thrive.

We’d like to put the spotlight on this team today to share what motivates them in their roles and their career journeys so far. This interview features Gayle Howarth (People Development Specialist), Hannah Taylor (Senior HR Officer), and Jenna Clegg (Office Manager).

The People and Culture team is led by Matthew Heald (Chief Operating Officer and Board Member) who has been with FOD since it’s beginnings in 2009, having worked closely with our CEO and Founder Justin Whitson for over twelve years to ensure the continued success of the business.

Matt explained, “As a board we knew that bringing together the right blend of skills and personalities for our People and Culture team was key to our continued growth. Our colleagues are at the top of our pyramid in terms of who we are as an organisation and our values.

“Along with the move to our new headquarters this year, we brought this team together to align our workforce in this new space and to let people know that they have someone to talk to in any circumstance. We also wanted to expand on the social and charity aspect of the business and give people a clear outlet for training and development.

“Our amazing People and Culture team have a blend of different experiences, education, training, and skill sets which play to each other’s strengths. They maintain a talent-driven workforce from the early stages of recruitment, through onboarding and training along with providing a welcoming and friendly face to the business. Every time our colleagues, clients, suppliers, or interviewees walk in the building, they are greeted with a friendly face.

“We now have a strong backbone in the company to look after our people. This is something we’ve always strived for but as our workforce has grown significantly, we knew that we needed a dedicated team to look after what is most important to us.”

Tell us about yourself and your current job role

Gayle: I’m the People Development Specialist at FOD. I started working in car rental in the mid-1980s. I initially worked in operations with Europcar before moving into a training role, and then worked as a Learning and Development Manager in the same company. I have held similar roles with 1-car-1 and Nexus before joining FOD Mobility Group in 2017.

Hannah: I’ve worked at FOD since June this year and I’m the Senior HR Officer within the People and Culture team. My role includes managing employee needs and promoting our positive culture. I also provide advice and guidance to employees and managers on all human resource issues.

Jenna: I joined FOD in July as Office Manager and I’m really enjoying working here. I love the people, so it’s great to be part of the People and Culture team and actively look out for everyone’s interests and wellbeing. I tend to look after the day-to-day running of the office such as liaising with contractors or suppliers, managing health and safety, and organising events such as our recent Macmillan coffee morning.

What does a typical working day at FOD look like for you?

Gayle: There is no typical day, that’s what I like about working here. On any given day, I could be researching training providers, organising training events, working with section heads to identify training needs, suggesting the best options to address any skill gaps, or assisting my colleagues in the People and Culture team.

Hannah: My days working at FOD are so varied and no day is ever the same, which I love! As FOD continues to grow as a company, a lot of my time is taken up with recruitment, onboarding and inducting new staff members into the business. In between this, I tend to have day-to-day tasks such as updating policies and managing our online HR system.

Jenna: I generally spend the first part of my day making sure the office is presentable and everything is ready for the working day ahead. After that, my day is extremely varied which is what I love about my job; I can be writing a health and safety policy one minute and fixing a chair the next.

“As FOD continues to grow as a company, a lot of my time is taken up with recruitment, onboarding and inducting new staff members into the business.”

What three words would you use to describe FOD’s company culture?

Gayle: Active, collaborative, and caring.

Hannah: Friendly, fun, and supportive.

Jenna: Friendly, collaborative, and people focused.

Tell us about some of the People & Culture projects currently in the pipeline

Gayle: We’re arranging mental health training for the People and Culture team to support employees where needed and we’re working towards achieving B Corp and Investors in People certifications. I’m also working on a skills matrix for personal career development.

Hannah: The current focus of the People and Culture team is promoting FOD’s employee brand. Internally we’ve set up a Social and Charity Committee which have some great ideas for future events to bring everyone in the company together. In the future, we’re hoping to gain a workplace accreditation such as Investors in People to showcase the great work that we do. My own personal goal is to begin studying for my CIPD Level 7 qualification.

Jenna: Next month, we will be receiving training to become mental health champions, which is a great move for the company in identifying and helping employees in need.

”Next month, we will be receiving training to become mental health champions, which is a great move for the company in identifying and helping employees in need.”

What is the most rewarding aspect of working in People & Culture?

Gayle: Being part of a busy team, having the autonomy to plan my own work and being able to help others achieve their goals. I find it personally rewarding to see people develop and grow within the business. We ensure that FOD employees are safe and happy in their work environment and receive opportunities and encouragement for continual personal growth.

Hannah: The most rewarding aspect for me is seeing people genuinely happy and enjoying themselves at work and knowing that I’ve helped to create an amazing workplace culture.

Jenna: When we’ve spent time organising an event and everyone has a great day, such as our recent Macmillan Coffee Morning. It’s great to see people engaging with each other.

“We ensure that FOD employees are safe and happy in their work environment and receive opportunities and encouragement for continued personal growth.”

What’s the most challenging aspect of working in People & Culture?

Gayle: As the business grows and we recruit more people, it can be challenging sometimes remembering names, but it’s also fun getting to know all the new faces!

Hannah: As my role is so varied, it can be challenging sometimes to balance projects I am working on whilst helping people in the company at the same time. I am getting better at planning my days and deciding what needs to take priority.

Jenna: When things don’t go to plan due to aspects outside of my control, such as supplier delays, incorrect or faulty orders etc. However, it is very satisfying when I have resolved a situation successfully.

What inspired you to develop a career in this field?

Gayle: After witnessing different levels of training and becoming more involved in coaching and mentoring, I realised the importance of providing people with the right tools for their current and future roles, and the benefits that this brings to the business and individuals.

Hannah: I studied business at school and when I learnt about Human Resources I was immediately interested. I went on to do several work experience placements in HR and absolutely loved them. This led me to study Human Resources and Business Management at university and eventually developing a career in it. I truly believe that people play such an important role in the success of a company, and I love being able work with people every day in my role.

Jenna: I’ve always enjoyed organising and it’s something I like to think that I am good at, so being an office manager comes quite naturally to me. My background is in Customer Service Management, so I have always been passionate about building relationships and engaging with people which is a big part of this job.

”I truly believe that people play such an important role in the success of a company, and I love being able to work with people every day in my role.”

What have your highlights been so far this year?

Gayle: Welcoming my colleagues Hannah and Jenna onto our People and Culture team, assisting with the move into our fab new office, getting everyone settled in, and launching our Autumn 360 Review cycle.

Hannah: My highlight has been joining the FOD family and settling into my role. I’ve felt so welcomed, not just by my own team but also by the rest of the teams in the company.

Jenna: My highlight has genuinely been getting to know everyone at FOD and settling into my role. Everyone has been so welcoming, and I am so glad that I made the move to FOD.

What advice would you give to a newcomer starting a career at FOD?

Gayle: Be prepared to have fun whilst being part of a busy, vibrant, people-focused team.

Hannah: My advice would be to take the time to interact and get to know everyone in the company, which in turn will help you excel in your role. I would also advise to take advantage of the amazing training and development opportunities that are offered here at FOD.

Jenna: Organisation is key and be prepared to work in a busy, but friendly and extremely rewarding team.

“Be prepared to have fun whilst being part of a busy, vibrant, people-focused team.”

How do you like to spend your time outside of work?

Gayle: If I’m not on holiday visiting new parts of the globe, I like to keep fit. I often cycle on my e-bike with Steve (my hubby) or go for walks in the Yorkshire Dales with my springer spaniel ‘Brian’.

Hannah: I like spending my time outside of work with friends and family. I enjoy going out for food, hiking, swimming, and losing pub quizzes!

Jenna: I love to spend time with my little boy Alexander who is 14 months old. When I get time to myself, I regularly go to the gym to work out and do Zumba.

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