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Can you still enjoy a varied career after 25 years with the same company?

16 Oct 2019

As Accenture continues its graduate recruitment campaign, Lisa Rose, its director of HR in Ireland, discusses her own career journey.

Is it possible to stay in the same company for 25 years and still have a varied career? Director of HR at Accenture Ireland, Lisa Rose, certainly thinks so.

As the working world continues to evolve, many have argued that joining a business and sticking with it for the rest of your career is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

But Rose doesn’t necessarily agree. She believes that there are opportunities for upskilling, growth and learning when you progress your career with the same organisation. That’s something she’s eager for graduates to keep in mind, especially given the fact that her team is in the midst of recruitment season.

‘I feel really privileged to have had a very diverse career that has helped me continuously learn and grow over the last 25 years. Every day feels fresh and stimulating’

What’s your job like at Accenture, in a nutshell?

I am proud to be the HR director for Accenture in Ireland, and with well over 3,500 employees working across a number of industries and disciplines, there is always something new and exciting to learn.

It’s a hugely diverse organisation with more than 80 different nationalities spread across the various parts of our business, from client teams to the Dock – its global innovation centre – as well as the teams in Accenture Corporate Services, which is responsible for internal operations globally.

My role is broad and covers the full spectrum from attracting, retaining and developing, to engaging and rewarding top talent. Our people expect to have interesting and varied careers, to build skills and capability, to move around, to progress, and to feel motivated and happy at work.

I want to ensure our people feel that they can be themselves each and every day, both professionally and personally. I have a seat at the leadership table and I enjoy being the trusted adviser on all talent-related topics to that team.

Last and certainly not least, I lead an outstanding HR team who put our people first by listening, supporting and caring, and of course delivering an excellent HR service.

What are the biggest challenges facing your sector and how are you tackling them?

Attracting talent is an ongoing challenge for many employers here in Ireland. Accenture has grown and evolved significantly in recent years and the variety of roles we are recruiting for reflects how we continually reinvent our business to stay ahead of the changing needs of our clients.

These roles range from software engineering, analytics, platforms and technical architecture, to agile, interactive marketing, artificial intelligence, change management, cybersecurity and blockchain. We have an extremely diverse set of skills.

Another key area for me is the retention of talent. We have to get the employee experience right, every moment matters. Our people thrive in Accenture because of the interesting and innovative work with our clients, our diverse workforce, the scale at which we operate and our culture of collaboration.

Whether that is working to implement new technology, protecting a client’s infrastructure from cyberattacks or prototyping new ideas at the Dock, we take a multi-disciplinary approach to bringing distinctive skills and experiences together.

Our career counselling framework is also a big part of our culture and a way of providing ongoing mentoring and career advice, so that from day one, our employees have a dedicated person to talk to and meet with on a regular basis.

A priority for me is to really push the boundaries on flexible working and how we can be more creative to ensure we are retaining our top talent, who may have different needs at certain times of their career.

Headshot of a woman smiling into the camera against a red wall

Lisa Rose, director of HR, Accenture Ireland. Image: Accenture

What set you on the road to where you are now?

I joined Accenture as a graduate straight from university in the UK in 1994.

I feel really privileged to have had a very diverse career that has helped me continuously learn and grow over the last 25 years. Every day feels fresh and stimulating.

Starting off in our consulting division, I progressed relatively quickly from joining our graduate programme to reaching manager in less than five years. I worked on several big system integration projects that took me to the US and many countries across Europe.

It gave me a good understanding of technology and the breadth of our business, but it was when I moved into the change management space that I found my niche and my focus shifted to talent and organisation.

I had a maternity leave shortly after being promoted to manager and it was when I returned after a year that I made the natural transition into HR, something that I had been thinking about for some time.

I have worked in most parts of HR in local and global business partner roles across our industry divisions and, prior to coming to Ireland, I helped establish and operationalise our Global Cyber Security Practice.

I have taken on a new role every few years within Accenture, which has led me on a path of continuous learning, stepping up to new challenges and building a great global network. I was delighted to be asked to come to Dublin to support our Irish business and to ensure we have the right talent strategy and people programmes in place.

What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?

Having spent 25 years in Accenture, I am sure I have made mistakes along the way but I have had great coaches and mentors who have helped me, supported me and guided me.

I am a big believer in the power of a growth mindset and looking for stretch opportunities. Positivity is also one of my top strengths and I leverage that as much as I can to ensure my team and I tackle everything that comes our way with a sense of perspective and a sense of humour.

My biggest mistake is not having moved to Ireland sooner, and my main learning is that it was not as hard as I thought it was going to be! In fact, it was quite the opposite.

How do you get the best out of your team?

I like to inject some fun into my team every day. There is truth in that old cliché that ‘laughter is the best medicine’, but laughter also benefits leadership, it boosts engagement, relieves stress and encourages collaboration.

I take a very open and transparent approach with my team to build trust, and I listen. I like to look at individual strengths, with a view of having the right people in the right roles, but I encourage team members to step out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves – this is where the real magic and growth happens.

It’s important to provide regular feedback and give praise and recognition when we achieve great things together. I believe in my team and therefore I give them the space to shine.

Do you have any advice for people starting out in a career like yours?

My advice for anybody starting out in any career, not just HR, is three-fold.

Firstly, be curious, learn and ask lots of questions to really understand the business. Secondly, be courageous and open to all opportunities. Finally, smile, be kind and always do the right thing.

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