Parkinson Lee Executive search are delighted to be sharing a series of interviews with Business Leaders from across the region. Each month we will be publishing “an interview with…” highly respected Executives.
Our thirteenth interview is with Jason Boyle, former Chief People Officer at Tunstall Healthcare Group.
Jason is a passionate and inspiring leader who champions the people agenda to transform organisation structures, culture, engagement, ways of working, and performance.
Over the last 30+ years, Jason has gained extensive experience in the design and delivery of commercial people plans to support business growth, culture change, and performance improvement and has led on acquisitions, change, integration, transformation, talent, inclusion and diversity, leadership & employment engagement projects.
In this interview, Jason has given an insight into his impressive HR career, some of his greatest professional achievements to date, and his passions outside of the professional arena.
Interview with Jason
Can you give us an overview of your incredible 30+year HR career?
HR was not really a considered choice but more of an accident. I joined a YTS scheme, a modern-day Apprenticeship Scheme, and started several placements within the Personnel team, as it was then, and it sparked an interest and real passion. It offered an amazing opportunity to both study and gain valuable work experience at the same time, resulting in me being professionally qualified by 23.
I have learned that you need to push yourself out of your comfort zones and take risks, some of them worked out and some didn’t, but all in all, that defines you as a person, leader, and professional. I have worked with some amazing people, teams, and businesses and have never taken the easy route, but again, that is what has enabled me to keep learning and growing in all aspects of my life. There were a couple of times in my career when I was offered roles outside of HR, but I’ve found that being an HR leader puts you at the heart of any business, central to its success, and also a key influencer.
Throughout your career, you have held numerous HR leadership positions, can you share with us, some of your greatest professional achievements to date?
There have been several highlights, but the most recent is the work supporting TalkTalk. I led a complex group transformation program known as One Team, which was about relocating its Headquarters to Manchester from London, implementing a simpler and lower cost operating model and organisation structure, new modern ways of working, and improvements to the people agenda. All of this was underpinned by a comprehensive communication and engagement program, providing real clarity to colleagues on business priorities moving forward. This was a real team effort, and the success was down to amazing colleagues and a real passion and desire by the Executive team to embrace and make the necessary changes ultimately providing a better customer experience and a great place to work for existing and future colleagues. It’s great to see TalkTalk continue to go from strength to strength.
Up until 2015, you spent most of your career in the telecommunications, technology, and IT sectors, before moving into pharmaceutical, healthcare, and electrical component distribution, was there a reason behind your transition into new sectors?
I would love to say there was a real strategy in my decisions, but it really came down to opportunities at the time! One of the career choices was driven by my desire to lead a global people team and contribute to a business turnaround, the move into pharma and healthcare was opportunity-led. However, what Pharma and Healthcare did provide, was working for organisations with a real purpose of saving lives and making a difference – that has really resonated with me. There are not many organisations that can say this, and I am proud and humbled to say I have been part of the work they do. These organisations and their colleagues are real heroes in my opinion.
Is there a point or position in your career that has been most pivotal to you and if so, why?
Yes, my time at Marconi. This was a successful global player at the time I joined and following significant changes in market conditions and strategy, the business was quickly wrong-footed and needed to change, reduce in size and cost and refocus. It was a matter of business survival.
This was probably the toughest 4 years I have experienced with the amount of change necessary and the impact on colleagues around the globe. I was quickly immersed in situations that I had not been involved in or experienced before and had to learn quickly through a variety of sources including peers, colleagues, leaders, and external partners.
I learned how to do things in different countries, with different cultures and legal requirements, and generally how to make things happen. Additionally, how to do things at pace and do them in the right way, which has shaped my perspective since then. I think this gave me a passion for working globally and celebrating what diversity can bring.
Given your career and experience, what advice would you give?
Be bold, make decisions quickly, and have a clear and simple rationale for any change, supported by a robust and effective communication and engagement plan. I have been involved in delivering some tough and difficult messages throughout my career, but if you deliver the message in the right and compassionate way and colleagues understand, it does make such a difference.
Lead from the front and don’t be afraid to take a risk or two!
In January 2022, you joined Tunstall Healthcare Group as an Interim Group Chief People Officer, what were your priorities during that period?
My immediate priorities were to focus on the global people team and build some capabilities that did not exist already, create a people strategy for the next 2 years to support the business, and drive some transformational changes in the operating model and structure. I was proud to also be behind the recent expansion into Manchester as a key talent attraction strategy.
What do you consider the most challenging aspect of a Chief People Officer?
Good question. For me, it’s about understanding and connecting with the business and providing an effective strategy that combines the right level of ambition with the need to just get on and make things happen.
You can have great people plans, but people are individuals with hopes, expectations, and needs, therefore you need to be agile in what you do and change course quickly where required.
In today’s economy, what would you say are the biggest people risks that companies face?
I think the whole talent agenda is both a risk and an opportunity. Whether that is being able to attract and retain the best talent, through balancing the costs of providing a competitive employer proposition and reward package, given the cost-of-living challenges everybody is facing. Businesses need to be innovative, engaging, and provide the flexibility that colleagues demand post-COVID. They also need to look at how effective their organisations are in terms of operating model, costs, productivity, digital footprint, ways of working and embracing automation, AI, and simplifying what they do. Clarity, accountability, and trust should also underpin everything.
Your contract at Tunstall Healthcare Group came to an end in October, what’s next for your career?
I am currently open to any opportunity both permanent and interim – for me, it’s all about the business challenges, the people you are going to work with, whether it excites you and what value I can bring.
Outside of your profession, what are your greatest loves and hobbies?
Travelling and food are top of the list. I am also trying to get my PPL (private pilot license) but progress is slow due to the UK weather!
For more information on this interview or to discuss how Parkinson Lee could assist your organisation in hiring an Executive or Board Level appointment, please contact our Managing Partner, Lee Bhandal on 07590 529 274 or email@example.com.