In our new blog series we’ll be meeting all members of the Sapience HR team and finding out what makes them tick!
First up is Founder and Director of Client Development, Sue Hook. Sue grew up in Cornwall and studied here, but lived and worked elsewhere in the UK and abroad before being drawn irresistibly back to the Duchy. Using her accumulated experience of many years working in challenging roles and varied settings across the sector, she started her own HR company.
Sue is recognised as a leading voice in HR industry and frequently gives expert comment on issues as diverse as mental health, workplace culture and succession planning.
“An accomplished change manager, consultant, mediator and facilitator, Sue’s ability to ask straightforward, no-nonsense questions gets her immediately to the heart of a person or an organisation.”
Sue, can you start by telling us what your role involves?
I’m in charge of the overall running of the business, so my role is multi-faceted as you can imagine! My day to day focus is on marketing, securing new business, and the retention of our current broad range of clients. It’s fast-paced and requires both attention to detail and ‘horizon scanning’, but I love a challenge.
What made you go into a career in HR support?
I genuinely love working with people. I like the psychology of what makes people tick and how that impacts on their behaviour. I also have a bit of thing about fairness and fair treatment; HR is about getting the best out of people at every level, and fairness is an essential pre-cursor to that. I like the intellectual challenge of interpreting and applying employment law, but actually the most effective HR policies and strategies are about the psychology or people rather than ticking legal boxes.
What do you enjoy most about your current role?
I enjoy supporting our clients at a strategic level and helping them to get it right for their business. I also love watching my own team develop; from my position as an overseer I can facilitate their career progression and help them become more specialised in the areas which most interest them.
If you could give one piece of advice to employers/businesses, what would it be?
Always tackle any niggles you have with staff. Things don’t get better on their own and the sooner you acknowledge and confront these issues with proactive, positive solutions, the easier they are to resolve.
What are the values that drive you?
Fairness (see above!) Love of learning. Creativity. Curiosity. Ethics and honesty. I suppose creativity will come as a surprise – most people wouldn’t see creativity as a useful tool for a HR expert, but thinking about challenges creatively can be a huge asset.
What do you love to do outside work?
I am a real foodie so any new restaurant, or new chef to try, always gets me excited. Living in Cornwall is great as the local food scene here is so varied and interesting. I also love appreciating nice wine and gin and socialising with friends – I need little excuse for a cocktail party especially if the weathers’ great and we can relax outside.
I love walking. What better place to walk than the Cornish cliffs and countryside! Visiting the theatre and cinema is how I get my culture fix and I also love to paint – a constant source of joy and frustration!
What’s the best thing about living and working in Cornwall?
I can walk to the beach in a few minutes and my work worries are always put into perspective. Even on a rainy day, there’s always a brilliant view to compensate. I think Cornwall gives you a great incentive to achieve lots in your working life, because your down-time is so rewarding. But, people in Cornwall work incredibly hard to stay visible in their respective industries. To be successful from the periphery requires relentless proactivity!
The sheer variety and range of small businesses in Cornwall makes for an interesting economic landscape. There’s also many organisations ready with support and a helping hand, and plenty of networking opportunities.
If you’d like to talk to Sue or any other member of the team about how Sapience HR could partner with your business, contact us today.