Our Industry Person of the Week is Amanda Capon – Global HR Director Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group. Here is what she had to share!
Q: How did you get started working in your field?
Amanda: I’ve spent over 20 years in Human Resources, but it wasn’t where I started my career. Despite thinking I wanted to work in HR in my late teens, I began my working life in Sales, Marketing, and Logistics. I then moved into Office Management and fell into HR when the Personnel Manager of the group of companies I was working for left and I made a case for taking over. It was an exciting time – I was in at the deep end and needed to learn very fast. But, there’s no doubt that this situation was a great learning experience; and many of the lessons I learned at that time have stayed with me. Now, two decades later, I’ve been lucky enough to work across all HR disciplines and in most sectors although mostly within engineering and technology businesses.
Q: What do you love the most about your job?
Amanda: Working for Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group is tremendously exciting. As part of FTSE100 – Spirax Sarco plc – we operate at the absolute cutting edge of innovation and technology and it’s great to be a ‘cog in the wheel’ of such a forward-thinking and successful company. My own role is a varied one, but, I am particularly honored to be part of our Executive Team which leads the strategic vision of the business. I love the challenges and exposure to the breadth of the business that this brings. It gives insight to all aspects of the company, globally, and means I can really add value through knowledge and understanding. We have a fantastic, global team of colleagues at Watson-Marlow in all sorts of roles, and I love working with such a brilliant group of people. It might sound like a well-worn cliché, but, I genuinely love what I do and see it as more of a vocation than a job!
Q: What are you most proud of?
Amanda: Companies are nothing without their people. And, as such we are very definitely a people-led business. We place huge emphasis and effort in nurturing and developing talent amongst our colleagues and I’m very proud of the work that my team and I are involved in to support the personal development of our colleagues and make a positive difference to their lives. I love it when colleagues find their niche and flourish; it’s extremely rewarding. If I look back on my career, I think I am most proud of the occasions when I have taken a chance on someone, supported their development, and watched them thrive and excel. I feel a real sense of pride in others believing in themselves and achieving their potential.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Amanda: That’s a great question. I think one of the best pieces of advice I can offer is this: Never assume you know what’s going on in other people’s lives – everyone is facing multiple challenges. Treat adults as adults and always communicate as openly as you can. You will never add value to the business unless you really understand it and how it works. Keep learning and being challenged. And don’t forget the importance of internal and external networks – diversity of thought and opinion is so important.
Q: Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Amanda: We have such an exciting business, there are so many to choose from! During the COVID-19 lockdown, we’ve been working hard on safety, communication and engagement. Our pumps and associated products are essential to our customers who are working on vaccines, as well as being critical to so many key industries such as water and food manufacturing. So, it has been really important for us to keep our teams safe and motivated to ensure we’ve been able to support our customers. We’re only able to do brilliant things thanks to our brilliant colleagues. We changed the tone and frequency of our communications, also including weekly films from our Managing Director. Like many companies, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of instant messages and Teams calls, which has almost brought us closer together! It’s been a really good opportunity for us to proactively seek feedback and tweak what we’re delivering to our colleagues in different media which suits them. It’s been an interesting project and one we’ll keep working on for a little while yet as we realize we can’t over-communicate.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
Amanda: It’s also worth saying that Watson-Marlow has long been a tremendous supporter of encouraging more women into engineering – and recent initiatives – for example, our recent support of International Women in Engineering Day – offer up just one example of the way we’re actively working hard to make our sector more balanced and more diverse. It’s very important to me – and to my colleagues too. We also support all sorts of events and initiatives to promote STEM subjects in schools and colleagues – not only with young girls, but boys too. It’s vital that we prepare the foundations for our next generation of engineers. It’s great to be a part of this.
Watson-Marlow is a wonderful place to work. Check out our website to learn more about us: https://www.watson-marlow.com/gb-en/