Get you your peers through our career profile series. Today we speak to Craig Morgans, head of talent acquisition and learning & development at The AA.
CV in brief
- Head of talent acquisition, learning & development, The AA, Oct 2015 to date
- EMEA RPO Implementation, Futurestep / Vodafone, Jan 2015 to Oct 2015
- Head of Resourcing, Willis, July 2013 – Dec 2015
- Head of Resourcing, Care UK, March 2012 – July 2013
A day in your life
Tell us about your job, organisation and team.
I’m responsible for talent acquisition, learning and development across the whole of the AA group, UK wide. We currently have just over 7000 employees working across several main sites in England and Wales.
I have two extremely passionate and dedicated teams, made up of some different personalities but that keeps things fun! Alongside my internal teams, we also have three close strategic partners (TMP UK Worldwide, Guidant Group and Optamor) who support delivery across both areas.
My talent acquisition team work multi-site and last year delivered over 2000 hires, whilst my central L&D team support the business with group wide strategy and initiatives.
What is the most rewarding and challenging parts of your role?
Alongside the reward of working with my team, it’s operating within an organisation which is going through a significant period of transformation. There are so many opportunities to get your teeth into change related business projects, some of which have already led to the output being nominated for industry awards.
The challenge is keeping up with the ever changing demands of a business which forecasts hourly and can be very dependent on factors such as the weather. Couple that with being part of an organisation which has several different business units and then trying to build an employer brand which brings to life so many different stories.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I have a very short journey into work these days, which is a nice change! No more London commutes or 90 minute drives to the office. From then on, mostly meetings with my team, the business or one of our close managed service partners.
Why did you choose your current organisation to work for?
The brand and the breadth of the opportunities which the AA can and have delivered. From day one, both arears of my responsibility were start up projects. My role didn’t previously exist within the organisation and I had to recruit the group L&D team from scratch, whilst completely re-structuring the talent acquisition function and all associated processes.
What skills are essential for your role?
Understanding the business and how it runs operationally. Above this, I’d say creativity and innovation. You never get better results by continuing to just do the same thing.
How did you get to where you are now? Have you followed the career path you expected?
I’ve had some amazing opportunities and one or two amazing managers along the way who just trusted me and allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them. I started a long time ago in ‘personnel’ as it used to be called and haven’t followed what many would call the traditional career path. I had the opportunity very early on in my career to work within a COE and haven’t looked back.
What challenges have you faced along the way? How did you overcome them?
Being the youngest HR Advisor (early 20s) in one organisation and having to overcome the fact people see you as in-experienced. How I overcome that? Delivery… Results talk for themselves.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
It has to be winning awards for all the work we delivered back in my time with LV=. That was another massive change project and the results spoke for themselves. Particularly proud of the fact we pushed boundaries and tried new things – we didn’t want to follow the crowd / re-invent and we’re on a similar journey now within the The AA.
What advice would you offer to others who are looking to get to where you are now?
Take time to understand your business, its ways of working, get your hands dirty, don’t forget where you come from and finally, don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
What advice would you give to your 22-year-old self?
Don’t be hard on yourself. Take calculated risks and see mistakes as an opportunity to learn.
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Sweet or savoury? Sweet
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Can I say neither! I’ve never really listened to either
Apple or Android? Apple
Introvert or extrovert? Extrovert
Early bird or night owl? Night owl
Winter or summer? Winter
City or countryside? Countryside
Film: World War Z. I have a fascination with Zombies
Song: Closer to the Edge, 30 Seconds to Mars. Song is great, video even better. Upbeat and gets you going at the gym
Book: Aliens love underpants. As I’ve had to read it to my youngest so many times!
Childhood hero: Mark Hughes, Manchester United. Loved the physicality of his game and his passion
Guilty pleasure: M&Ms (Peanut)
Place to eat: Wagamamas
Holiday spot: Nepal. I spent 23 days trekking to Everest Base Camp a few years back and loved the culture & people.
Piece of advice you’ve been given: You’re in control of your own destiny. Give yourself choices. (Education and career)