Sarah Williams is the Head of Human Resources (HR) at Lookers.
Whilst Sarah would like to see more women enter the retail motor industry she believes that the presence of so many men has actively encouraged her to greater career heights, to stand out and be taken seriously in her HR role.
We wanted to know more about her, her life outside the motor industry and her HR role.
Tell us about your life before Lookers, Sarah
I wanted to study Art but I was clearly more cut out for a Business life as I opted for a degree and then a post-graduate qualification in Business. This was the grounding for my career in HR. I live with my partner Darren and our two small children, Antonia aged 6 and Max aged 9 months,
Prior to my role at Lookers I helped other businesses achieve ‘Top 100 Best Companies to Work For’ and ‘Great Place to Work’ Awards for 3 years running, as Group HR Manager at Swansway Garages.
How does the Lookers’ HR team do its job?
I have been with Lookers since 2013. I head up a very busy HR team – made up of Regional Business Partners and a team of proactive administrators. I believe in “engagement, reward and recognition.” I want us to stand out in our industry as the good guys.
We support initiatives such as ‘NICER’ designed to work with colleagues to create an atmosphere that makes customers feel special and want to smile! I’m proud of our game changing initiatives which make us stand out in our industry.
I am a keen advocate of reward and recognition programmes that are all part of making Lookers a great place to work. I have recently coordinated a wider range of employee benefits including staff retail discounts at Argos, Asda and other well-known high street brands, as well as a range of insurance products for employees.
Would you like to see more women in the automotive industry?
On the topic of women, I wish there was more equality in our industry, however as a female I believe my gender has helped me stand out and be taken seriously by my male colleagues. I don’t feel at all intimidated by the number of men and I can certainly hold my own in a male crowd!
It’s good to see a female heading up this critical function within such a masculine environment. Sarah can undoubtedly influence others when it comes to staff recruitment and growing the female talent pipeline. It’s easy to recruit from a selection of skilled and experienced males but with a little extra effort, ambitious females can be encouraged to apply as well. This means the employer ends up recruiting from a larger pool of talent than before, allowing female talent the opportunity to rise to the top, as Sarah clearly has done.
ABOUT Lookers PLC
Lookers believes that any position with them isn’t just a job, it’s a career. Their mission statement ‘Customers for Life’ also extends to staff who they hope will stay with them throughout the duration of their working life.