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Five minutes with Heather Andrews, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at PA

Jake Matthews | hr grapevine | 22 may 2015

What attracted you to PA Consulting?

I’ve always said that if I returned to a permanent role I would choose the organisation very carefully. There’s a number of things I’d look for. 

What attracted me to PA is that it is making quite a lot of changes, particularly around people and culture.

Change roles are important in my career, I’m not happy in a steady state environment, I like to be evolving and moving and keeping things relevant, but also the culture and the people are really important to me, so if those three elements aligned I would think seriously about going permanent, and that’s what happened. 

What do you think is key to being successful in your role? 

On joining PA it’s critical that we align the talent acquisition plan very closely to the business strategy. My role, and my team’s role, is around working closely with our clients - who are already on a change journey around the wider business – and understanding the talent and skill needs both now and for the future.

The ultimate aim is to deliver a pro-active solution to the business, and to advise and to be clear about what’s happening in the market place to support the business planning process. Those are the things that we need to drive to achieve success.

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What are the unique HR challenges that you currently face? How will you overcome these?

One of the attractions to PA is that it is already on a significant culture and change journey.

We have a strong leadership team in place, there’s a real appetite to do things differently, and that journey has already started. There’s a really good platform for us to evolve the talent acquisition approach.

I think the greatest challenge is making a change feel achievable to all those around who are affected by it.

My role is to identify the journey that we need to go on and then break it down into achievable steps so the team can feel that it is achievable. 

We need to pro-actively build a strong global approach to talent acquisition that’s relevant to its region but also consistent where it should be. Year one is about getting the basics right around the globe

How will your previous experience help you in this role?

I’ve had opportunities to work for some great companies and on some super projects. A combination of in house roles and project based work as an interim.

The greatest challenge of my career so for were the workforce projects I delivered for London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, both projects sometimes felt huge and complex, challenging and defining. When you’re dealing with that level of complexity and challenge, you have to keep it simple, thinking big but keeping it small. It really taught me that if you plan it right anything is possible.

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