Senior HR profile: Stevan Rolls, head of HR, Deloitte

Written by
Changeboard Team

03 Feb 2011

03 Feb 2011 • by Changeboard Team

How did you get into HR?

I probably have one of the most unlikely career paths to my current role. I started out in electrical engineering then retrained as an occupational psychologist.

After working as a consultant for some time I got a job heading occupational psychology and organisational development at Ford. While at Ford I also got my first taste of working in HR; as the HR manager for Ford of Britain. I have to admit, I didn’t like HR very much and don’t think I did a great job. However, I learned an immense amount.

I then moved to Arthur Andersen, eventually heading recruitment there. From Andersen, I moved to EY where I took responsibility for resourcing and latterly employee relations and HRD for support functions. From EY I moved to Deloitte and have lead the firm’s HR function for the last three and a half years.

Background to Deloitte

Deloitte is currently the number one professional services firm in the world employing over 170,000 people in 147 countries across the globe. The UK arm is the second largest firm within the network employing over 13,000 people.

Your biggest career success to date?

Over the last three years we have transformed the HR function at Deloitte. This has been a massive undertaking: moving to a more centralised model, improving administrative processes, upgrading technology and instilling a high value add HR approach.

I have a great group of people in the team and we have been operating successfully with the new model for over a year now. This has transformed the reputation of the function.

What are your current responsibilities?

I am responsible for all HR in the UK and Switzerland and also work closely with our CIS practice on the development of HR, learning and talent initiatives in Russia and the CIS countries.

How do you develop your people at Deloitte?

Deloitte offers an amazing array of development options to our people. At the most basic level, the nature of our business means we can offer challenging and developmental work experiences from very early in peoples’ careers. They are then supported, day-to-day, by their performance managers.

We also have a strong focus on mentoring and coaching. In fact the firm has made a unique investment in a cadre of dedicated internal coaches, who support learning in the work place and follow up specific learning programmes.

We have formal development programmes focused on key career milestones, on technical and enabling skills development throughout an individual’s career. All this is supported by an extensive suite of online courses and learning support materials.

Our aim is to blend a mix of different approaches and techniques in order to accelerate learning and transference of skills to the workplace.

Why should talent work for you?

We’ve got a great record of attracting talent to work for Deloitte. People join for any number of reasons but principally for the opportunities we provide and the people who work here. We’ve got the widest range of service offerings of any of the large consulting firms and this provides the opportunity for people to work in the most diverse teams possible.

The firm is known for being an ambitious organisation that strives to win in the market and beat the competition. I think that has an especially strong appeal for people when they realise that this is founded on a strong and collegiate team culture.

What is your next big HR project?

In the summer we get a new CEO so my next really big project will come out of the new strategy set for the firm. I am sure we’ll be engaged in putting some even more positive and progressive programmes in place for our people. In fact I’m very optimistic that he will be very ambitious for HR and the talent agenda.

Tell us something people wouldnt know about you?

People might be surprised to hear that I used to race motocross, have a second Dan Black belt in Karate and have written and recorded an album of original music - a pretty unlikely combination of interests.