We're always curious to hear how our members and contributors tackle the challenges that the ever-changing world of HR throws at them. We've got a wealth of experience and knowledge across the site, and what better way to showcase the diversity of our community than to get them to walk us through an average day?
Want to tell us about your way of working? Email us at [email protected], or let us know in the comments below.
Kate Wadia is a Service Delivery Director at Phase 3 Consulting, simplifying the world of HR systems and explaining how emerging HR tech can have benefits across an organisation. She has written several popular articles for HRZone on the topic of HR tech jargon and payroll.
So, Kate, tell us about your average day...
07:00 – I’m a real early bird. After diving outside for some fresh air first thing I like to be at my desk or on my travels by 7. It’s a great time for fresh ideas, writing or just some careful thought. I worry I’m irritatingly chirpy in the mornings (it’s not for everyone!) and I do love it when I find a client or colleague who wants to talk to me now! By 8 a.m. though, coffee is calling and I’m quite obsessive about that.
09:00 – My working calendar is planned around a week up in Manchester and then a week down South. Office opening hours mean for me starting meetings with clients or colleagues, or a day of consultancy.
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I am far too familiar with Euston station at this time; train-spotters please note that I’m the slightly crazy lady on the platform with far too many bags and scribbling random ideas into a scrappy pink notebook. To run a consultancy company you need a high level of trust in your colleagues, as we all go about our lives independently – but my business partner and I believe that it’s a virtuous circle.
I don’t believe that professionalism is at odds with taking yourself lightly
11:00 – Midday is all about people for me. My best times are spent in coaching, challenging and coaxing colleagues and clients to develop our thinking; whether that is about the HR tech project we’re working on, their own skill-set or how we can take forward new ideas and approaches to our little world of work. I don’t believe that professionalism is at odds with taking yourself lightly, so we do have fun. I’m very lucky to have a fabulous team. I suspect I’m not as good at listening as I should be – I do try.
13:00 – I’m not a lunch person and usually it needs third party intervention to get me out for a break - I can get very focused. As a consultant, you are still your professional self over lunch and it’s not always planned for you to get a break; my handbag is a bottomless pit of bananas and breakfast bars.
The best way to deal with that I find is to be yourself at work, and then there’s no stress. Did I say there is a pool table in the Phase 3 office for break-time?! But if someone is going to play the guys they need to be in with a fighting chance of winning, so that’s not me.
16:00 – 4 p.m. is seriously coffee time. I have a natural, internal GPS pointing me to Caffe Nero’s, and I’m searching for the person who wants to share some time with me there. Best is a croissant or something dainty and full of sugar on the side - I think I’m also searching for my second wind. At home, the alternative craving is for a taste of the domestic, and usually that’s a moment with my kettle and cat.
I think giving people your full attention is vital
17:00 – I can ignore my email inbox until this time, as others head off and meetings come to an end, because recently I started to work with a PA. It’s both wonderful and strange to have someone organising your whereabouts and for us it’s been liberating in that I can concentrate my energies totally on those I’m with - I think giving people your full attention is vital. But now I need a good couple of hours to crack on with making sure everyone has the answers they need to take forward their tomorrows and that I’ve captured my own day.
19:00 – My working day is too long really and I aim to wrap up around now. In Manchester I’ll hot-foot it out of the hotel or office to find some egg sandwiches (consultancy life is not that glamorous!) and at home, if I’m off the train from London or have closed the laptop then I’ll jump in the shower and pick up the phone to friends and family.
My husband and I are quite traditional so I do like to have dinner cooked for him by the time he’s in, but we eat late, so that works. When I’m away it’s a post-it note as to where he’ll find it ready in the fridge. I’m full-on or full-off as a person and by 10 p.m - count me out!
Now, tell us…
What things do you champion within HR?
Empowerment isn’t a desperately trendy concept but it is one I subscribe to very much. In growing a small company I’ve observed how fantastically professionals can develop if they are allowed to do so.
It is a mistake to regard learning & development as limited to activities that you can record as events.
Importantly, it is a mistake to regard learning and development as limited to those activities that you can record as events. I’m not sure what the answer to that is in working environments without close people management opportunities, but I think that the key question is one of culture.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
I love that I’m surrounded by people every day and such a variety of people styles, languages and perspectives – bear in mind I work in tech!
We use the headline for our company “People behind people technology” because our belief is that it matters not what the apparent discipline of the job to be done is, but that it will be the collaboration, the partnerships and the thinking & learning styles that make a project a success.
It will be the collaboration, the partnerships & the thinking styles that make a project a success.
Because I travel around, working cross-sector with both clients and my own team members, I really do appreciate the differences in people. I’ve learned a lot from that.
What keeps you up at night?
Most things! Without everything in precise place in my mind, I don’t sleep well. Disruptors are most likely to be an unresolved question, or someone I could have made happier.
I can get quite wound up about politics too, or at the moment, “Bake Off”! Even conversation with friends over dinner that have been just too interesting and fun. And my husband snores, which doesn’t really help.
About Kate Wadia
Kate’s passion at work is for bridging the gap between technology and people at work, translating for HR professionals the language of HR systems and making meaningful their potential. She believes that success with people technology is through people and that people are the differentiator.
Using simple techniques drawn from HR experience, project management, business psychology and analogy with everyday life, Kate presents and explains how to work well with technology and technology projects in an HR leadership role.
With a background in contrasting private and public sector HR management, Kate developed her thinking in seeking for herself to understand her first HR systems project-work. Currently she leads as Managing Director for Phase 3 Consulting, offering an independent take on the HR systems market in the UK.
Kate’s guiding principle is that openness offers knowledge-sharing, credibility and trust, best delivered with incorrigible enthusiasm.