Life at Wilmington
“Wilmington is serious about developing people and helping them be the best they can. Everyone is encouraged to contribute ideas for improvement; it’s an important part of the way we work, as it means we all have a say in enhancing our roles. I’m looking forward to developing my career with the company.”
“I was on a mission,” says Eloise Hardy, HR Assistant at Wilmington Shared Services. “I wanted to get into HR, and it took me longer than I expected, but I believe that you should never to give up on your dream.” Which is why, after four years in the recruitment sector, she was delighted to be offered a job at Wilmington, joining a team of four and working in the company’s UK offices near London.
Developing long-term relationships
“In recruitment, I always enjoyed getting to know my candidates,” says Eloise, “but once I’d placed them, the job was done. At Wilmington, we develop long-term relationships with colleagues, maintaining regular contact as their careers progress.” Now she deals with all aspects of an individual’s employment, from on-boarding and induction to benefits administration and maternity leave.
Although initially she didn’t realise the difference it would make, becoming part of a public company with a global presence was a huge step forward for Eloise. Her level of involvement varies from business to business, depending on the level of local HR expertise, but her responsibilities extend to every one of Wilmington’s twenty-three operations, stretching across eight countries and multiple time zones.
Shared Services means exactly what it says; it’s an approach that serves Wilmington well for centralised functions, including IT and finance. Eloise explains: “We provide HR expertise to managers and individuals across the Wilmington family. Some businesses have a local HR function, but for others, it’s a full-service relationship. We get to know every part of Wilmington in one way or another.”
Self-service HR solutions
One of Eloise’s key tasks is to respond to queries from colleagues; many of these appear as emails to Wilmington’s central HR support account, with the team receiving around 100 requests for help every day. It soon became clear that many of the questions, particularly from managers and new starters, were recurring; reducing the time spent on dealing with these was a priority.
Eloise identified a potential solution, which she presented informally to her manager – something that’s encouraged across the entire team. “Everyone is encouraged to contribute ideas for improvement; it’s an important part of the way we work,” she says. “It means we all have a say in enhancing our roles – something I’m always thinking about.”
“I suggested that we should develop self-help guides in these two areas,” Eloise tells us. “We already had a one-page briefing document for managers, but it wasn’t really fit for purpose. Lesley, my manager, agreed that I should rework the Manager’s Guide, and draft a new Benefits Guide for colleagues in the UK. Now we have an up-to-date Manager’s Self-Service Guide and an all-new Employee Benefits Guide, which went live in February 2018.”
It’s still early days, but Eloise believes that these new guides will significantly reduce the number of requests for support, enabling colleagues to deal with routine HR matters themselves, while giving the entire support team additional time to devote to more complex individual queries.
Learning never stops
Development isn’t just for colleagues – since she joined Wilmington in October 2016, Eloise hasn’t stopped learning. She’s extremely grateful to her manager for giving her opportunities to extend herself; these include learning about new HR legislation that affects Wilmington businesses, working with colleagues in the United States to gain experience of U.S. employment best-practice and acquiring situational management skills.
“I can say without doubt that my workplace learning has helped me in life outside the office,” says Eloise. “I work closely with people at all levels in the company, which means finding the right approach for each of them. Learning how to deal with some stressful and occasionally difficult situations isn’t just a work-related skill. It makes a real difference at home as well.”
Wilmington is also investing in Eloise’s career. She’s about to start working towards an HR Support Apprenticeship, a professional qualification developed by the British Institute of Recruiters (BIoR). During the 18-to-24-month course at the BIoR Business School, Eloise will spend at least seven hours each week learning new skills and working on tasks that are designed to challenge her.
Naturally, she’s excited about the prospect: “It’s really great that my senior manager has recommended me for an apprenticeship. It shows that Wilmington is serious about encouraging people and helping them be the best they can.”
Enabling others to succeed
Something else that didn’t go unnoticed was Eloise’s commitment to Wilmington’s core values: enabling, enhancing, collaborating and innovating. So much so, that in 2017 she was nominated for a Wilmington Award in the ‘Enabling’ category; these annual awards recognise Wilmington people who go the extra mile for their customers – whether internal or external. Eloise was delighted to make the final shortlist of three, and intends to continue making a difference in the years ahead.
Would she recommend Wilmington to others? “Yes,” she says. “It’s a great company with a lot happening and I have a really supportive manager. Senior management are also very approachable, which means a lot to me. I’m looking forward to developing my career at Wilmington.”
Wilmington's Eloise Hardy