Lucy Orchiston- I love a challenge!
In this blog, we speak to Lucy Orchiston, Head of Engagement at Euro Car Parts. She gives us her advice for making yourself stand out and thinking outside the box!
Can you tell us a bit about you and your career:
When I joined the company as Recruitment Manager, the staff turnover had reached an all-time peak, so I set out on a mission to sort it out. Through some hard work and sheer determination, I was able to make some visible improvement and was subsequently promoted to HR Business Partner. With it, the role gave me full responsibility for our logistics department and so I set about implementing processes to increase employee welfare and reduce attrition, which was received really well by our logistics team. I’ve since been given the opportunity to replicate this across our group of businesses as Head of Engagement; the role I’m in today. There’s a lot to get my teeth into, but I love a challenge!
A typical day in your career:
My day varies from working with my UK colleagues in the field to further afield, in Europe. My duties include looking at our company turnover, people process, behaviours, training and development and company culture, all with a focus of improving engagement with our 12,000+ people.
What made you choose this career/industry?
People departments are at the core of the business, helping to drive everyone to a common goal. We are the insights and trusted advises of managers – I like to make positive, impactful change and that’s why I wanted to work in this field.
How did you get to where you are now, and did you face any challenges along the way?
It hasn’t always been easy; there have been hundreds of challenges along the way. My biggest challenge was changing the attitudes of many who quote “we’ve always done it this way”. But I get it - people naturally fear and are resistant to change, so it’s important to make sure they feel a part of that journey and their opinions matter.
If any, can you tell us more about how you overcame those setbacks?
Involving people in our decisions and everything we do can help them understand that change isn’t always a bad thing. Communicating with those who are reluctant to change, is always a way to reassure them.
What is an important initiative that you feel passionate about in your role?
People! They are at the heart of everything we do.
What’s great about being a female in your role?
For me, being female has never been a blocker, it’s about your ability to do the job over anything else. I have always worked in male-dominated environments and I think being female brings a different way of working and thinking – a positive, never a negative.
What is your biggest achievement in life?
The LLA (Logistics Learning Academy) is something I am most proud of; this was a bespoke training programme I created for our logistics division. Off the back of this, I won an award for the creation and impact the programme has had on the business.
What is the biggest lesson that you’ve learnt along the way?
If it’s the right thing to do, stick to your guns! Just because someone doesn’t understand, make them, by taking them on the journey and keep chipping away, it will eventually happen. Even if it’s a little longer than you hoped.
I like to take each day as it comes!
What three tips would you give to young females starting their careers?
I would start by saying, if you put your mind to it, you can do anything! Also, don’t be afraid to get things wrong, this is all part of the learning curve and have confidence, in yourself and your ability.
What is the best bit of advice that you have ever been given?
You can always take a lesson from the bad as well as the good. If you see someone behaving the wrong way, this is still a lesson as you know exactly how not to be.
What are your key motivators?
Making a difference and seeing how things have changed because of something I have implemented or created is my key to motivation, it pushes me to do more. Seeing things like this make me feel like I have added value to everything I do.
Do you think enough is being done by businesses to address gender imbalance?
As a company, we are far more aware and mindful in comparison to previous years, sadly there is still a lot to be said about the imbalance in other industries.
What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organisations?
I would say that you must think outside of the box, try and do the thing that others aren’t doing, to make yourself stand out from the rest.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
Gender shouldn’t matter, it’s all about having the right skills for the role. Make sure you start on the right path to success with the correct training. Give yourself time to understand the business and keep learning. I have learnt so much from someone who has had years of experience in a similar role - a senior mentor, who you can learn from is crucial!
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?
Have faith in yourself and be patient. You are a sponge – soak up all that knowledge, learn and take in as much as possible. Put all these skills into your toolkit because every tool can be used at some point in your life.
A massive thanks to Lucy for her blog, such inspiring advice! Want more inspiration? Check out more of our wonderful women here!