Name: Aileen Slingsby
Job Title: People Director
Start Date: April 2019
This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating our People Director, Aileen Slingsby. Aileen has been with us for four years and has been promoted an incredible three times since joining Xperience as a HR Advisor in 2019.
“I studied Spanish and French at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, going on to a post-graduate degree in marketing before joining a US-owned insurance corporation’s IT arm in NI.”
Aileen didn’t take a traditional route into HR. After her studies, she worked in IT operations for a US insurance giant for nine years, spending the last two managing software testing teams. After this, Aileen decided to take stock and reassess what she wanted, realising that what she really enjoyed in her earlier roles was the ‘people stuff’.
“I really enjoyed the recruitment and redeployment parts of earlier roles. I was also heavily involved in developing and executing performance management projects within the companies I’d worked for”. With that experience and a passion for the work, Aileen applied for a HR Business Partner role in an outsourced Contact Centre and ended up being the HR Lead for Northern Ireland before moving into the utilities industry gaining multi-jurisdiction HR experience in the Republic of Ireland, and then subsequently joining us at Xperience.
“I have both a bachelor’s and a postgrad degree, and when I joined Xperience I decided to have my knowledge and experience formally recognised by the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD).”
Although she had both a bachelor’s and a postgraduate, Aileen, was keen to work on a HR qualification as well and decided to complete her Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Experience Assessment and still continues to study with the professional body today, deciding to broaden her skills outside of traditional HR and upskill into Organisation Learning and Development as well.
“I’m People Director, I lead the Human Resources Department, otherwise known as the People Team. This means I oversee the full employee lifecycle, a team of five people professionals and much more.”
Aileen’s responsibilities include Xperience Academy, our early careers programme, the Employee Value Proposition (Xperience’s employee benefits scheme), and all other People related activities such as talent attraction and acquisition, onboarding, learning and development, engagement, well-being, performance management, and the people element of mergers and acquisition activity. Her team are also aware that the “Future of Work” is changing and are working on strategies to ensure that as an employer, Xperience are positioned to keep pace with future trends.
“I’d seen the job in an ad from a recruitment agency and I called to find out more information. Once I’d had the chance to talk to the hiring manager, I firmly believed this was the right opportunity for me”
She met with Yvonne, the interim HR Director at the time, who Aileen credits with being a key influence on her career journey and Martin McAllister, our Business Improvement Director, who made it clear that there was a career path for her at Xperience. It was clear that Xperience had big aspirations for growth and Aileen seized the opportunity this presented to shape HR for the company as well as develop her own team.
“The biggest changes have been in the size of the company as well as a big change in company culture. We’re all about our people now.”
In the four years Aileen has been with us, we’ve acquired two more businesses in Bury St Edmunds, and St Neots, each with their own staff and specialties. This has led to a change in demographics and culture. The company has shifted its focus to employees, with the employee voice being loud and clear in the business. Part of Aileen’s work in creating an employee centric workplace was the introduction of Culture Amp, an employee survey software. The results of these surveys have shown that employees feel listened to, and their feedback is acted on.
“The most rewarding part of my job is being able to see employees grow and develop and seeing how they have progressed in their careers. I also enjoy being part of a fast-paced environment and working with people who are passionate about what they do.”
“I firmly believe that life is too short to stay in a job that you don’t enjoy. When you love what you’re doing, everything else falls into place.”
With her own experience as proof, Aileen shows that progression s possible regardless of tenure or background. All that is needed is the right approach, work ethic, and determination.
Aileen’s approach to leadership is based on trust. She believes in her team and believes they have the capability to fulfil their roles and responsibilities without needing to be micromanaged.
“Aileen is one of those managers that genuinely cares for the people within her team. She always makes time when we need support or guidance, but also encourages us to work autonomously and come up with our own creative ideas/solutions to problems. She makes each of us feel valued and appreciated for what we do, and constantly pushes us to challenge and develop ourselves as people professionals!” – A member of the People Team
“Take the time to understand what you enjoy doing and pursue your passions. Success will come when you have a passion for what you do.”
As a strong advocate for women in tech, Aileen recognises that many women still struggle with self-doubt in the business world and the feeling that they can’t have it all. For Aileen, the question is ‘why not?’. The right team and the right employer can make all the difference. Aileen is committed to empowering other women in tech to pursue their dreams and overcome any obstacles that may stand in their way.
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