5 mins with Ashley Wickham, speaker at our next #myHRparty !


In a few weeks we’ll be hearing from Ashley Wickham, our guest speaker for the next #myHRparty by myHRcareers (sign up for your free ticket here).  We’re really excited to hear about HR, L&D, and innovation, but first, let’s get to know Ashley a little more!

What do you do right now at Estee Lauder?
I am currently UK Business Change Manager for a large project that’s part of our retail strategy.  I head up Business change which includes communications, to ensure everyone knows what’s happening and why.  In addition to that, I oversee training governance to ensure that all the projects with training requirements are done to the best of our ability, and as effectively and efficiently as possible so everyone can do their job.

Can you tell us a little about your career path up to this point?
I’ve had 3 amazing years with Estee Lauder so far, before that I spent a few years offshore in Jersey heading the L&D function at a global law and fiduciary firm, and several more years in the banking industry prior to that.

When I first started my career, it was as a cashier/sales person at a bank.  It wasn’t until I got the opportunity to work on a fantastic leadership programme for 3 months (which turned into 6 because I loved it so much!) that I discovered that developing people was my real passion.  After that programme I returned to being a bank manager for a few years, to apply the learning and waited for an L&D role to come up and make the move. 

How was the transition from FS to retail?
It’s much more glamourous here!  I also love that it’s about customer service, people, leadership, and recognising that everyone can be developed to the best that they can be.  Actually, that last part is the same wherever you go, which made the transition quite easy. 

In addition to that, my business experience helped a lot.  An ex HRD of Heineken is quoted as saying ‘business people should be in HR, not HR people in business! 

What are you most passionate about in HR?
People development!  It’s about getting people to reach their potential and making sure we have a great talent pipeline–that’s the best thing.

What advice would you give to aspiring HR professionals?
Spend some time in business.  Spend some time on the shop floor, and learn about what it is your business actually does.  If you don’t it can be pretty hard to partner with the business, and you can end up with a bit of a divide.

During one Christmas season I worked at a Jo Malone London Boutique and had one of my best work days ever!  I really enjoyed interacting with people, finding out about them, and helping them choose their purchases.  Once you recognise why people are buying from you it creates a feeling of responsibility and loyalty to the business, and you find yourself wanting to do a really great job for the consultants when you’ve left the store and are back in the office.

Where does HR have the greatest potential?
Today, in the face of fast change, businesses need support. I think HR will enable them, by partnering with them to make good decisions and to do things to the best of their ability.  We are in a VUCA world where support from us is needed more than ever before.

How will HR change in the next five years?
I think the greatest change in HR over the next 5 years will occur in the realm of technology and analyticsFrom an L&D point of view the whole chalk & talk and instructor-led programmes will hopefully be  more of a thing of the past as we utilise digital more often.

For example, key influencers in the makeup industry (e.g. makeup artists, bloggers) post on Instagram or upload a YouTube video tutorial and for many of us, that’s how we learn how to do our makeup, we can learn a lot from that approach.

Thanks, Ashley!  We’re really excited for the next myHRcareers event–get your free ticket here and we’ll see you there!