Who are you, what is your background and can you tell us a bit about your current job role at YUM Brands?
I currently head up the Talent Acquisition and Employer Brand team at Pizza Hut in the USA, a role I would describe as ‘leading the coolest and most innovative Talent Acquisition team in the USA!’ and who recently won DFW’s Recruitment Team of the Year!
Pizza Hut has over 6500 locations in America and generates sales in excess of $6 billion, every year we recruit over 200,000 new employees and in fact receive over 5 million applications.
Our Corporate office is based in Plano just north of Dallas, TX and we have recruited some of the best and the brightest talent in all areas; in particular we have focused heavily on resourcing industry leaders for our ecommerce and digital team.
I am originally from the UK, and have been lucky enough to have enjoyed a career across three primary industries having spent 5 years in the Hospitality industry with Expotel Hotels, 5 years in Retail with both Sainsbury’s PLC and Mothercare PLC and currently Quick Service Restaurant industry with Yum! Brands.
YUM Brands is a very large organisation spread across a number of countries. You had a great job with them in the UK….How did you get to be seconded to the USA business and what was your brief for the role?
At KFC my most significant achievements were twofold:
Firstly developing their restaurant recruitment strategy; rationalising their supplier base, defining and integrating technologies and aligning in store and online touch points to ensure that both the right quantity and quality of candidates apply.
Secondly was the development and deployment of our Employee Value Proposition, we worked relentlessly to promote KFC as an Employer of Choice and benchmark KFC UKI externally. This resulted in the company being ranked 2nd ‘best employer’ in the large organisation category by Britain’s Top Employers 2010 and also being listed within the Top 50 Workplaces 2010 by the ‘Great Place to Work Institute’.
As this was the first time that a Yum Brands business had been recognized by the GPTWit resulted in a lot of internal exposure for both myself and my team. This in turn enabled me to move to the US business where I worked in Louisville, Kentucky at our corporate HQ. Working in a hybrid role within the Global Talent Function, supporting an office of 450 employees as their Generalist HR Leader and also working Globally on people planning, technologies and workforce planning.
What are the main differences working in the USA and what will you bring back to a new role in the UK?
There are many differences and even more similarities; I think the two greatest lessons for me are scale and pace of technology adoption.
As i mentioned we have over 6500 plus locations across the whole of the United States, each state with its own tax, laws and peculiarities so I learnt very quickly to approach each project or piece of work with a mindset of whilst the scale is very large you need to retain your local / detail oriented approach.
The second lesson learnt is the openness to the speed of technology adoption which is exciting and fascinating to be part of. I have been lucky enough to have been in the right place at the right time, I have had the opportunity to attend events at Facebook HQ, gain exposure to some amazing brands and network with inspiring individuals who are really pushing the boundaries of social/mobile technologies and how they can help enterprises recruit, engage and retain great people.
You are a specialist in Talent Acquisition and use Social Media to drive attraction. Which companies do this well and what do they do that is different?
There are alot of great brands that do this well and i think those who succeed start with a very clear strategy and take the time to understand both the media options and their core demographic. It doesn’t have to cost alot and if you start with the end in mind and measure everything you will be able to clearly show the ROI, but it is a marathon and not a sprint.
At Pizza Hut we launched ‘Pizza Hut People’ our social media brand using a low cost, high engagement/relevant targeted content approach we became the second largest Careers Facebook page, with almost 200,000 likes and a reach of 1 million each week within 6 months.
What are your key achievements in the USA role?
Built an amazing team, who have re-engineered almost every aspect of how Pizza Hut approaches Talent. They have truly changed the mindset of the business and are widely recognised both internally and externally as best in class. I also feel honoured to have been able to help over 200,000 people find work in the extremely tough economic climate that the US has been facing these past few years.
I have also had a whole heap of fun, innovating, designing and developing solutions for this great brand. I ensure that I live our recognition culture through each and every interaction with candidates and colleagues alike! Oh and i can make some awesome pizza’s too!
What would you like to do when you come back to the UK?
I love the HR function so whether it is Talent Acquisition, Management, Employer Branding or Generalist HR I would love to lead a great team of individuals to help make a difference to an organisation, its people and its profitability.
Who has influenced you the most in your career and why?
I have been lucky to have worked with some great HR Leaders so far in my career and have learnt something from all of them so it would be hard to single anyone out. In the past two year I have been lucky enough to work with some super millennials who I have learnt a lot from, and in my experience the future of HR is in safe hands!
What do you do with your downtime?
I have 4 children, so that is my downtime! Soccer practice, ballet, tumble tots you name it we do it. I also love to travel and my wife and I took a year off in 2006 (prior to children) to travel the world. Obviously we now make our trips more family friendly but still like to be a little adventurous.
Any Pearls of Wisdom or strategies for success that you would like to share?
I very much believe that everyone and everything is a learning opportunity, so take the opportunity to stop and reflect every once in a while!