HR in the Hot Seat – 5 mins with Rod Barker Benfield, HR Coordinator – Karmarama
What do you love most about your job?
The people. They’re ultimately what make any job worthwhile. You need a good bunch of people to bounce off and interact with, otherwise you go a little stir crazy just keeping your head down and not speaking to anyone. One of the reasons I like working in the creative industries is that everyone’s really friendly and there are very few hidden agendas – it’s just as easy to talk to the CEO as it is to talk to the Runner. Working in HR you have to be able to talk to and understand people as best you can. There’s no doubt that everyone is always super busy and working on things that are super important all the time, but every so often it’s nice to take step back and realise that we’re all skin and bones underneath and we’re all just trying to make our way in the world. It’s the ‘Human’ part of Human Resources.
What are the three things you couldn’t do your job without?
A healthy working environment. I don’t need to be sitting on a £2,000 ergonomic chair, but I need to feel comfortable in my immediate work space and know that if I need to get some fresh air for ten minutes I’m not going to get slapped on the wrist.
Flexibility – one of my passions is photography and I’ve been lucky enough to have a freelance photographic career on the side of all the HR work (check out www.rodography.com). This wouldn’t have been possible without the flexibility of my employers. Karmarama are incredibly generous in that they allow me to work from home one morning a week which frees up my afternoon to chase leads, rustle up new photographic clients and head out on shoots.
Tea – without tea I couldn’t function. Simple.
What do you think makes a good HR Professional?
The ability to listen, be tactful and make most people realise that if they have a work related problem they normally have the tools needed themselves to be able to solve it. It’s not rocket science, it’s relationships.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My boss. She’s a mum with three young kids, works incredibly hard and always makes time for people who come up to speak to her no matter how busy she is. She makes me realise that I have no excuse to feel tired in the mornings!
What are your tips for success?
From an HR point of view be good at managing your own time, but also be good at managing expectations. If you can’t do something or it’s going to take a little longer to do, make sure you let everyone involved know rather than bottling it up and missing deadlines. I also like making time to meet the new starters – they can sometimes be nervous and having someone help ease them through their first few days is something they’ll be grateful for. They’re also keen and excited to be there which has the benefit of rubbing off on those that have been around for a while!
What do you do after a stressful day?
I ride a scooter to and from work which is great as it allows you to completely forget about a stressful day within seconds as you’re too busy concentrating on the roads. Aside from that I also play dodgeball once a week (yup – just like the movie) or hit the movies.