Nicola was keen to use her generalist HR experience to build on the way Lidl rewarded and engaged with their people. She’s really positive about how far the business has come and their £10 million investment in employee benefits.
What were you doing before you joined Lidl?
I was at a high-profile advertising company working as a Senior HR Advisor. It was a generalist role, so I did everything from payroll to rewards engagement, benefits, learning and development – everything except recruitment. It gave me a good background to specialise in the area of rewards and engagement at Lidl.
What attracted you to Lidl?
It felt like there was still a lot of room for growth and influence. So, it was a wonderful opportunity to use my experience to put in place really great benefits, reward systems, and generally improve what people get in terms of the package.
Can you share what your job entails?
One part is looking at rewards and benefits. I'm very fortunate where I get the lovely job of implementing things that support our people’s general wellbeing. Then there’s personnel welfare, which is where we offer confidential support and advice for employees and make them fully aware of everything that's available to them. Once you've spoken to someone a couple of times, they know you're there for them. You build real relationships.
What have you achieved in your time at Lidl?
I'm quite proud that we’re now offering enhanced maternity benefit, which is great. I think it shows that we really support people with young families and hopefully we can sort of do more around that area in terms of supporting young families or just families in general and making sure that we're a respectful business and thinking about individual circumstances. I'd like to see more of that happening. In order for a business to be successful, the employees have to be happy as well. We’ve recently invested £10million in employee benefits. It’s great to be part of a company that wants to support people in their well-being and make sure they have everything in place in order to do their jobs well. So, I’m very proud of that one. I'm also happy that I'm really starting to make good connections as it gives me more of an insight into the company, so that I can influence and tailor benefits around people.
What's your main challenge at work?
I would say it’s the operational side. Lidl is a huge company with so many different processes and so much information about everything. My challenge is getting to grips with that – understanding the structure of the company, understanding how everything works and who's the best person to contact. But I’ve got a good team of people who have been here a long time, who help and support me.
Tell us more about the team.
I feel very fortunate that everyone always has time for you, to listen to your problem or offer advice. Generally, people are very helpful and will pick up the phone to you and are quite happy to spend five minutes just going through your query. We’re also a small dynamic team, so we can bounce ideas off each other. I really like working in collaboration and getting ideas from the team, as I can access the thoughts of broader UK network.
What qualities does someone need to do your job?
I think you need to be able to consider the full picture. You have to be objective, diplomatic, yet decisive. Good relationship-building is essential, as is communication. And you need to think positively to create a positive environment.
What’s your work-life balance like?
I actually live quite far away, so it's great that there's flexibility in that there are not set hours. Wimbledon is a great area as well, so there’s always something social going on. And it’s only going to get better, especially with the implementation of mobile working.
What does the future hold for you?
I want to keep developing my skillset, knowledge and relationships, with a view to becoming a really good partner for our employees. I want them to feel that I'm a trustworthy source, objective, unbiased, and that I will actually support them in moving ahead with any issues they might have.
Can you sum up Lidl in just four words?
Ambitious. Driven. Knowledgeable. True to their core.