Welcome to HSSCU’s Staff Focus!
With everything going on at present, we wanted to reinforce that your credit union is still and always will be people focused. With that in mind, we decided to show you the faces behind the service that HSSCU offers – and who better to start with than the person behind the people! Please see life through the eyes of HSSCU’s HR Manager Louise, below 🙂
Hi Louise, firstly tell us a little bit about yourself!
Well I won’t bore you with my online dating bio 😉 But I’ve been working in HR since I left college. In my spare time I am a member of a local Musical Society ‘KIMS-Kilmainham Inchicore Musical Society’(shameless plug!!). I also love a bit of Zumba and being with friends & family.
What path led you to working in the Credit Union Movement and what has your time been like at HSSCU?
Well, I’ve worked in HR for 14 years now and all of that time has been in the financial sector. I was lucky enough to start working in the HSSCU in September 2017, which at the time was a scary move for me… but I have to say I’m loving it and I don’t regret that move one bit.
What has struck me the most is the ethos around our members – everything we do is centred around providing an excellent member service. I used to think my last place of work put the customer first, but the HSSCU and Credit Union Movement in general… well it’s on a different level!
What does your role and team look like?
The HR Team is made up of myself (HR Development Manager) and a HR Administrator. I work very closely with the General Manager who oversees the HR Function. We have responsibility for managing all aspects of the employment and volunteer relationship in the credit union. The role has direct responsibility for recruitment, staffing, retention, performance, line management, development, organisational culture, succession planning, adjustment and managing change.
What is an example of your general day in HSSCU?
Well I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve had 2 days the same (which I love!). It can range from advertising for new recruits, interviewing, coaching line managers or staff, providing training, running absence reports, answering staff queries on a range of topics, implementing well-being initiatives… or just being a friendly ear to staff.
How have things changed since COVID-19?
Covid-19 has changed everything for everyone in the world! For us in HSSCU, we have had to adjust our business model so that we can continue to do what we do best – provide our members with an excellent service in a safe and healthy manner for our staff and members. This has meant we enabled over 60% of our staff to work remotely to allow physical distancing to take place in our locations until we’re able to introduce and implement numerous health & safety measures into these locations in line with the HSE guidance.
You must have a lot of stress taking care of so many staff during a pandemic – how to you relax and unwind at this time?
What do I do to relax and unwind… Well I’ve been doing some gardening and that’s really putting a smile on my face. I can’t say it’s helped with my fitness as the garden is tiny, but for a non-gardener I’m very happy with the results…. I try to get out for a walk at lunch time or in the evening especially since I’ve been working from home.
Do you have any tips for our members on managing work loads during COVID-19?
I’m certainly not an expert and I’m conscious that within our membership there are most definitely experts, but tips that might help:
Time Management & Routine
- Structure your day – Get up as normal and have your routine, especially for those working remotely (get dressed, have breakfast, etc.).
- Do the tasks you like least, first – That way they will be done instead of ‘Oh yes, I must get to that’.
- Try look at your emails at set times during the day only – Constantly looking at your mails can mean you get distracted from the task at hand.
- Try do your team check in’s or meetings in afternoon – again the ‘experts say’ doing these first thing can mean that you are losing the time when you are most productive and should be concentrating on projects, etc. in the mornings.
- Prioritise to do lists – To do lists helps me know what I need to do and when. They give me a sense of achievement when crossed off – Allows me to brain dump at the end of the day so I can switch off!
- Switch Off – Set your goal of switch off time whether it’s 5 pm or different – Don’t look at your emails in the evening or at the weekend. It can wait until next working day.
What guilty pleasures do you have that keep the spirits up?
I can’t be telling you that!!… I’m a big foodie though.
Do you find it difficult to take care of staff around the country/how do you rise to the challenge?
We have a fantastic management team so my role is really to be there for them as a support when they might need advice. I consider myself an approachable person so I hope all staff know they can give me a call or mail and I’ll be there for them.
What is your favourite thing about working in HSSCU?
Cliché, I know, but the people… I know my role is to be a support to them, but I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve heard ‘Louise, don’t forget if you need to vent we are here for you too!’… Catherine & Sean have also been so great to me… I better stop there or the list will be too long , but yes I work with 90plus people who I know would have my back if I needed them 😉
One other thing I’m most proud of is that the BOD and Senior Management Team supported my proposal to introduce an Employee Assistance Programme for our staff and their families. These supports for staff are so so important and I know this has really assisted staff when they needed it the most.
What is your favourite thing about working in HR?
When I see a People Leader/Manager who I might have given advice, training, and support to thriving, being great role models to their teams and most importantly enabling their team members to be the best they can be.
We’ve noticed you have an affinity for musicals. Do you have any songs or musicals that the rest of us should be checking out?
Oh, it’s with a heavy heart that I have to say our next show has been postponed for this year ☹ We will be back stronger than ever next year!… but I plan on binge-watching some old classics over the weekend… Calamity Jane & Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.
Lastly, what, in your opinion, makes credit unions different to other places you’ve worked?
Hands down – The Credit Union Values & Ethos