A day in the life of an HR Business Partner featuring Mandy Smith, Close Brothers Motor Finance

We recently has the pleasure of speaking with Mandy Smith, HR Business Manager at Close Brothers Motor Finance and Inspiring Automotive Women Award Winner 2020. 

In this interview, Mandy tells us more about her typical working day, and details her love for the Close Brother's Colleague Forum and Women in Motor Forum, as they focus on her favourite topics of colleague engagement, wellbeing, and inclusion. Mandy details her interest in people and says that joining Close Brothers Motor Finance is the best career move she's made.

Read Mandy's full interview below:

What is your job role?

As HR Business Partner, I manage a small team of HR professionals who support the Close Brothers Motor Finance family, which consists of around 500 colleagues, including our support functions. We support anything that is directly linked to the colleague, whether that’s reward and recognition, engagement, wellbeing, diversity and inclusions, recruitment, talent and succession planning, learning and development, employee relations, and more.

What does your typical working day look like?

I typically wake at 06:30 am, shower, make sure my teenage daughter has made it out of her bed for pre-school preparations, and let the dog out into the garden. 07:30 am boot up the laptop and grab a coffee. Of course, pre-pandemic this consisted of an hourly commute each way, or a train to London, but at the moment the majority of my week is at home, sitting in the dining room.

I spend the first hour in pre-meeting mode. Responding to emails, jabber messages, and WhatsApps, and preparing/reading up for the meetings ahead. 

Then there is usually a variety of 121’s with my team, senior leaders, colleagues, etc.  I like to be ready with a reminder of where we left off at our previous meeting, and any questions/discussion points for the moment. Often project meetings or management committee sessions will follow, which require reading, listening, and contributing on behalf of the business, not just your areas of expertise. If I’m lucky a Colleague Forum or Women in Motor meeting will end the day. Both are very engaging and focus on my favourite topics of colleague engagement, wellbeing, and inclusion. There’ll be lots of snacking and grazing throughout the day! I try to pop a lunch break in the diary but find I get distracted with a paper I’m writing or end up ordering the food shop online or hanging my washing out. 

I’ve recently taken up yoga via an app, so at the end of the day, I try to attempt one of the workouts.

Then it’s feeding time. My husband was a chef in a past life, so I try to stay busy and out of the way so he starts preparing dinner. 

Probably sit down around 8:30 pm for a spot of TV. I like crime, thrillers or comedy. Living in the countryside, I’ve just finished watching Clarkson’s Farm, which was hilarious.

I’ve always been interested in people. I love hearing their stories and being curious about what is motivating them, or not, as the case may be, so HR was a natural progression for me. I joined Close Brothers almost 6 years ago after an agency contacted me and told me about the journey the Motor Finance business was about to embark on. I was instantly interested. The vision was colleague-led, which I find is rare in reality, and whilst there was (and is) a lot to do, the challenge was what pushed me to pursue the role. It’s been the best career move I’ve made. 

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