Head of HR Business Partnering

Who we are:

GWR is the proud custodian of one of the most prestigious railway networks in the world. Our services call at over 275 stations, stretching across the South West of England.

We aim to transform the way people think about rail travel by setting a new standard – a better experience for our customers. Together we will restore the railways as a very special way to travel – relaxing, fast, efficient, friendly and fun. 

About the team

HR leads the challenge of instilling a high-performance culture by ensuring all colleagues recognise the correlation between people and operational performance, revenue and safety. The HR Business Partnering team drive this through a responsive and strategic business partnering service to over 1000 managers and 5000 colleagues. 

About the job

GWR is seeking a commercially astute HR leader to manage strategic partnering and HR operations during an exciting time of transformation.

As Head of HR Business Partnering you will drive organisational and individual performance through excellence in HR operations and the development of line manager capability. You will also provide a strategic people focus as a member of the leadership of the HR function. With strong leadership skills you will be able to demonstrate experience of improving individual and organisational performance through the delivery of excellence in core HR processes, and the building of positive relationships across the organisation. A key part of the role will be to build capacity and capability and deliver maximum value to GWR. 

What you’ll be doing

Your main responsibilities will be:

  • Helping to design and deliver the HR Strategy, ensuring that HR delivers the Business Objectives and acts as a key agent of change.
  • Lead and manage the HR Business Partners, ensuring that they are an efficient and effective team that contributes to the Great Western Railway HR Plan.
  • Build the capability and capacity of the HR Business Partner team, ensuring that they provide a professional HR service to Line Managers that builds line manager capability.
  • Ensure franchise commitments that are set out within the HR plan and that these are successfully rolled out across the business.
  • Lead and implement HR initiatives with the HR Business Partners to understand process blockages and monitor the effective implementation of HR initiatives with a view to ensuring consistent use among Managers.
  • Establish and monitor HR operational processes and practices, reviewing effectiveness and utilising KPIs to demonstrate successful delivery.
  • Deal with escalated people issues as appropriate, i.e. employee relations, disciplinaries and Employment Tribunals.
  • Ensure regular appraisals are undertaken with all Direct Reports and SMART objectives are set in line with Great Western Railway Performance Management. 
  • Control of all training and development issues for your designated team, including the coaching and mentoring of the HR Business Partners. 

About you

You’ll need to be:

  • Ability to understand business strategy in a HR context
  • Data driven, and able to use analytics to influence decision making
  • Independent and results focused
  • Agile and able to respond to changing demands
  • Excellent stakeholder engagement skills at a senior level 

As a minimum you’ll need to have:

  • In depth and extensive knowledge of employment law
  • Significant experience of generalist HR within a heavily political, unionised environment
  • Experience of managing a regionally based team
  • Experience of transforming practices and cultures 

The Reward:

As well as a great team environment and comprehensive training, all GWR colleagues enjoy a range of benefits including defined benefit salary pension scheme, free rail travel across the GWR network for you and your family, company-sponsored health care plan, childcare vouchers and an Employee assistance programme. 

About the location:

Milford House is a modern office in the centre of Swindon within easy reach of the train station. Although Headquarters are in Swindon, you will be expected to travel extensively across the GWR network to drive value add HR operations across all regions. 

Working Pattern:

Although 0900-1700 Monday to Friday, the Railway operates 24/7 and as such there may be occasions where flexibility is required.

The more varied our workforce, the broader the expertise within our organisation. And the broader our expertise, the greater our chances of innovation and success. That’s why we’re committed to equality of opportunity, diversity and inclusion at every level.

If you share our passion for the railway then we would love to hear from you.

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