At Work: Human resources - My top tips

Gordon Ross, HR director, Fire Services National Benevolent Fund

Focus your HR: I analyse all HR elements of the charity. It helps me to focus on the finer detail of how the organisation is functioning.

To help me prioritise the key elements of the HR strategy, I use the Risk Matrix in Lynda Gratton's book Living Strategy: Putting People at the Heart of Corporate Purpose. This helps me to be more objective, I can identify big issues and it's easier for trustees to interpret.

Use the A, B, C + D of recruitment: We are a growing organisation, and I wanted something simple for managers to focus on during selection processes. We want people with the right attitudes, even if they arrive with skills and knowledge gaps, so we use a model. HR perfectionists will spot the flaws, but it works for us. A is for attitude: make sure they are right for the job, the team and the organisation. B is for bright: are they bright enough to do the job and develop? C is for commitment: are they committed to the role, the team and the charity? D is for development, which is a natural progression if you get A, B and C right.

Treat everyone as a customer: I expect everyone in my team to treat all our staff and volunteers as customers.

HR is here to deliver a service: if we don't, we shouldn't be here. It links back to A in the ABCD above. At the same time, we're not an agony aunt.

Manage risk: Don't just analyse the problem - see the organisational risks and the impact on your staff. Take the difficult decisions for the better long-term benefit of your staff. The organisational culture and objectives may be more important than the risks attached to one member of staff.

Make work fun: What's life without fun? We encourage humour in the workplace.

We don't stop people from telling jokes and we're not 100 per cent politically correct; but vulgarity is not acceptable. You can still have fun without upsetting people.

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