Spotlight on Laura Sihdu of HR Dept Newport and Monmouth
Could you explain a bit about your background and how you got into HR?
I’m an HR Generalist through and through. While studying business studies at university, I realised that I was never going to be an Accountant, but was fascinated by people, so I decided to get into HR. I’ve worked my way up in generalist roles and over the years I’ve worked in a power station, telecoms, aerospace manufacturing, logistics, publishing and finally property development.
Can you share a funny/odd story from your world of HR?
During a redundancy consultation meeting I thought I was giving good news and told a lady she wasn’t redundant. To my horror, she stood up started shouting and threw a chair across the room! It turns out she had secured a role with a competitor and was hoping to leave with a redundancy package!
What made you think about starting up your own HR Dept franchise?
A whole host of factors! I was stuck in a rut and wanted to broaden my skill set, at the same time I was feeling pretty fed up of office politics and the commute. It’s also really important to me to balance childcare and be able to make the school play and sports day.
How are you finding it at The HR Dept?
Everyone has been extremely welcoming and helpful. Starting out on your own is really daunting, but following the support and advice of the team has been invaluable.
What has been your biggest challenge since working in HR?
When I started out in HR, I worked in some very male dominated, blue collar workplaces, it wasn’t uncommon to see nude calendars on the wall and be on the receiving end of ‘banter’. It’s only looking back I now realise how hard it was to prove myself and hold my own in that environment, but I did and those calendars had to go!