Meet Sharron Pamplin, one of CIPD’s new Chartered Companions

We caught up with one of our five new Chartered Companions to find out more about her career and experience working in the people profession.

Chartered Companion is the highest accolade and level of membership awarded by the CIPD. The selection is made directly by the CIPD Board, and since 2019 we have announced almost 50 new Companions, representing all parts of the profession. With just 172 Chartered Companions from a membership of almost 160,000, they represent just 0.1% of our membership.  

In December 2022 we announced five new Companions. Sharron Pamplin was one of them. Sharron has spent over 20 years in director-level roles within the people profession, spanning multiple sectors including financial services and engineering. She was recently appointed as the first ever chief people officer at Lloyd’s Register, having spent the last few years as a partner at Deloitte in the UK. We caught up with Sharron to find out more about her career and experience working in the people profession.  

How did your career in the people profession start?  

You could say it was ‘meant to be’ as I was actually being interviewed for a role in finance, not HR!  My early career was in the Civil Service finance department and I went for an interview with British Rail in their finance team.  I thought the interview questions were slightly unusual and at the end of the interview they thanked me for attending and instead of the usual ‘we’ll get back to you’ asked me if I would have a seat in reception.  After a short while they invited me back into the meeting room and explained that both interviewers were from the HR department, the head of finance had not been able to make it, and they thought I would be perfect for a vacancy in their HR team!  Needless to say, once they had told me all about it I said yes immediately and haven’t looked back!   

What’s been the biggest achievement in your career so far? 

The recognition by my own professional body! Alongside this, I would say I have been really lucky to have had the opportunity to work with some amazing organisations that have given me the chance to make such a positive impact on their business, colleagues and wider society. One of the things I am most proud of is how our profession supported colleagues during the pandemic. Young workers and early career professionals particularly felt the impact of working from home, which typically meant less hands-on support, and fewer opportunities to network and learn from others. At Deloitte, where we hired about 1,600 graduates and school leavers annually during this time, we rethought learning and development to enrich our colleague's experience from home, spending nearly £30m on learning and development, including an award-winning virtual induction programme.   

What makes you proud to work in the profession? 

I am passionate about creating and embedding cultures that engage colleagues, enable them to be their true selves at work and provide them with amazing learning experiences and fulfilling careers, so I am really proud to work in a profession that champions better work and working lives.  

What advice would you give someone starting in their career in the profession? 

Be inquisitive, strategic and professional. The business needs of the people profession have changed. Decades ago HR was seen as a paper pusher, a provider of compliance and policy advice and tea and sympathy. Today, people functions are much more dynamic, playing an essential role in helping manage an organisation's most valuable asset – its people. To do this you need to be inquisitive, ask questions and know your industry. Talk to any business leader about what they need from their people function and they will say it’s to have the right talent, the right leadership and the right culture to be successful. It’s never too soon to get to know the business better – whether that’s by reading analyst reports, catching up on industry news or going to industry trade shows. You need to find out what customers actually want from the business and build relationships with customers, analysts and shareholders.     

What does Chartered Companion membership mean to you? 

I have an intrinsic desire to leave a legacy of positively impacting people's working lives so, whilst being in this profession is a privilege and rewarding in itself, being recognised as a Chartered Companion was the icing on the cake!

You can find out more about our Chartered Companions, as well as details on how to make a nomination here. (Chartered Companion Nominations | CIPD) 

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