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Ford & Stanley Executive

Opportunity Brief:  Head of People

Ford & Stanley Executive Search (Part of the Ford & Stanley Group) are specialists in Executive Interim and Permanent appointments to the UK & North American, Rail, Engineering and General Manufacturing Industries.

We have been exclusively entrusted and appointed by our Client on a retained search for a pragmatic and creative people leader who not only can design and deliver diverse HR projects in line with the people plan, but also has the “gravitas” to lead HR at a top level.

Below you will find an ‘opportunity brief’ developed from notes taken during the scoping meeting (Situational Discovery) held between the Business Manager of F&S Executive Search, Managing Consultant of F&S Executive Search & the HR Consultant of the client company. This brief is designed to give candidates a deeper insight into the opportunity inherent within the role, the challenges the role presents and provide access to the detail that sits behind the job specification.

Client Opportunity Statements:

“Integral to the continuous growth, reputation and capability of our business is the appointment of a pragmatic and creative Head of People. Someone who will be the catalyst in ensuring we have a motivated and empowered workforce and make positive steps on our cultural journey.”

“This individual will need to be ‘dogged in delivery’, capable of designing initiatives for the business and working closely with stakeholders to roll them out. Partnering closely with the Executive leadership team and working in a hands-on manner to upskill and mentor those across the business to realise the vision for employee experience.”

“Ultimately, we are looking for an HR leader who can think “outside the box” and become “the face” of HR at a top level. Driving this agenda through the business and our employees. For a capable HR professional this will be an opportunity-rich environment, and all though challenging it will equally be rewarding.”

The Opportunity

Challenges expected within the first 12 months include:

  • It is essential that the incoming Head of People recognises that the company are on a cultural journey and given that they are currently in the early stages of that journey, there may be some challenges culturally as the business continues to evolve.
  • The incoming Head of People will recognise what a good HR/People solution looks like but will equally appreciate what is currently achievable in the context of the business.
  • The company currently have very basic people solutions, the incoming Head of People will need to recalibrate how they measure success as progress will be consist, “small wins“ initially.

Key deliverables within the first 12 months include:

  • The incoming Head of People needs to quickly understand who the business are and what they do. Taking the time to get know employees and building trusting relationships at all levels.
  • It is expected that the Head of People is a true partner to the executive leadership team and will in particular understand the COO’s vision and overall growth plans for the company.
  • In line with the people plan, the incoming Head of People will design and deliver HR solutions, recognising the most appropriate in consideration of the business’s dynamics.

Agreed Hard Skills for candidates to secure an interview:

  • Degree educated and/or successful completion of a graduate scheme.
  • Experience working in a FTSE 100/FTSE 250 business or larger corporate that affords exposure to established people policies, processes, and tools.
  • A diverse understanding of HR, TA, L&D and ability to hold their own in a project arena.
  • Proven people management experience.
  • A commercially astute professional who appreciates the impact of an engaged team on business performance.
  • We are open to a candidate’s industry exposure for this hire but are looking for candidates who come from businesses that have ‘pedigree’.

Agreed Soft Skills for candidates to secure an interview:

  • A creative thinker with an ability to think “outside the box”.
  • A proactive and pragmatic character who gets things done.
  • Engaging and inspirational personality able to bring teams along a journey of change.
  • A positive “can do” attitude, who is focused on solutions not problems.
  • Commercially astute complete with a ‘business head’.

Working Arrangements & Location:

Headquarters are based in South Yorkshire. There will be an expectancy for the successful candidate to have an onsite presence in the office 4/5 days a week. However, the business can be flexible where appropriate.

Client Interview Process:

Three stages – two formal conversations with senior management, Teams and Face-to-Face, and a final informal coffee with the CEO if required.

Worth noting an online psychometric test is expected following a successful first-stage interview.

Ford & Stanley Interview Process:

  • 1st Stage – Formal Interview. Candidates are assessed on their suitability for the job in the context of the above and challenged on how the opportunity lines up with their career aspirations.
  • 2nd Stage – The ‘shortlist’. Candidates are asked to reflect on 1st stage, providing evidence and discussion on key points. Package requirements are reiterated and finalised. 

Good to know:

  • The business require a capable HR Leader to drive positive employee experience from the front, and in turn, impact the business’s overall performance.
  • The role formally reports to the CEO, with mentorship and guidance from the HR Consultant.
  • This role has 2 direct reports including an HR Business Partner (To be confirmed) and an HR Assistant.
  • The focus of this role is to take ownership and drive HR initiatives across the business in line with the proposed people plan. Designing these initiatives, partnering with the Executive leadership team, and increasing employee experience across the business.
  • The intention for the Head of People role is to step up/progress into the business’s HR Director by April 2025.
  • Important to note that the current HRBP is excited by the prospect of an incoming Head of HR and not intending to go for the role themselves.
  • The Head of People needs to appreciate the business are early in their people journey and have a realistic measure of success. It’s imperative that a successful candidate takes time to understand the business, understand its people and the COO’s vision. This will be essential to delivering the most appropriate initiatives for the business and maximising the level of engagement from employees.
  • The culture is maturing and as such it is expected that HR initiatives will need to be “bite size” initially to build an adequate foundation for further growth.
  • It’s worth noting that although the business are in a transition of culture, they are largely made up of individuals who are extremely capable, welcoming, and excited by the growth.
  • It is expected that this role offers a high level of autonomy and the company will be looking for the Head of People to tell them what they need to do to get to where they want to be.
  • This individual will need to be ‘dogged in delivery’, capable of not only designing initiatives for the business but also working closely with stakeholders to roll them out.
  • For a capable HR professional the business is an opportunity rich environment, and all though challenging it will equally be a very rewarding journey.
  • The headcount of the business is currently circa 130 permanent employees with a further circa 60 contractors/subcontractors.
  • The incoming Head of People will need to win the “hearts & minds” at all levels, becoming the face of HR for the business.
  • The company require a candidate who has the “gravitas” and “stature” to hold a room of executive leaders and confidently manage up as well as down.
  • The business is a specialist design, build and manufacturing consultancy of traditional material handling solutions and kinetic architecture.


Low £75,000/ Mid £80,000/ Top end £85,000

Supporting benefits

  • Car Allowance of £7,200 P.A
  • Annual performance-related bonus up to 20% (But likely to be 10%)
  • Annual Salary Reviews
  • Westfield Health Cash Plan Level 3
  • 2 x salary life insurance
  • 25 days Holiday + 8 Statutory
  • Holiday purchase scheme
  • 5% Pension matched contributions – Salary Sacrifice Scheme

Likely Job Titles:

Head of HR, Head of Employee Engagement, Senior HR Business Manager, Group Head of HR, Group HR Business Manager

Executive Search Delivery Team:

  • Tom Norton – Business Manager (Client recommendations/Advisory, negotiations, headhunting and interviewing)
  • Billy Jackson – Managing Consultant (Headhunting, Networking, Research, Search, Shortlisting, Longlisting, Interviews, Data & Market Intel)
  • Ralitsa Kuzeva – Executive Research Associate (Diary Management, coordination, candidate experience)

About Ford & Stanley Executive Search:

At Ford & Stanley Executive Search we go beyond a recruiting transaction with our core mission being that of every interaction we have with clients and candidates is best in class. We are select in the opportunities we represent, as such, work under strict exclusive and retained search assignments with forward-thinking and proactive global companies that place their trust in our ability to deliver a winning shortlist at the first time of asking.

Our Search Directors (who are themselves members of the F&S Group Board) and our in-house research team invest time at the front end of process with our client’s leadership team or stakeholders to consult, understand the opportunity inherent within the role, business need, map and agree timescales with supporting delivery plan well in advance of conducting the search. All candidates both active and passive (head-hunted) can expect full and professional engagement from the Executive Search team in addition a timely, thorough and engaging recruitment process from a committed employer that seeks to secure ‘cream of the crop’ from a busy and noisy candidate market. Ford & Stanley Group Ltd is committed to a policy of equal opportunities for all opportunity seekers and approach all opportunity with a mindset of who is right for the job irrespective sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, age, disability, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief or political beliefs and we place an obligation upon all staff to respect and act in accordance with the policy. We shall adhere to such a policy at all times and will review on an on-going basis all aspects of recruitment to avoid unlawful or undesirable discrimination.

    • Job type: Permanent
    • Location: South Yorkshire
    • Date posted:
    • Salary:£75000 - £85000

    This opportunity is being managed by:

    consultant photo

    Billy Jackson

    Managing Consultant


    Telephone 01332 344 443