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John McGowan, Operations Director (now retired) at Companies including Amalgamated Foods Limited, Booker Cash and Carry, Douwe Egberts Coffee Systems, Nichols Plc, and Café Bar UK Ltd.

If you employ people, I believe proactive business-focused HR is the most critical management activity within any Company – if it wishes to be well-run and successful. HR has the greatest potential to achieve optimum efficiency, maximum performance, lowest unit costs, and hence highest profitability. ‘People costs’ are invariably the largest single cost within any Company and HR must be able to ensure that each £ spent in employing people can be justified by employing only the required number of highest quality staff; ensuring they receive and earn the appropriate levels of pay, incentives & benefits; receive appropriate and timely training and development; creating conducive working environments (hours worked, shift patterns, etc.). HR people need to know not only the theory but also what actually works in reality to motivate people so that they can consistently give their best efforts by working efficiently and flexibly within well-designed equitable processes and systems.
However, too many HR people are one or a number of the following:- bureaucrats, pseudo-social workers, politically-correct faceless people who ‘sit on the fence’ and/or merely follow the latest fads.
I’m delighted to confirm, that Andrew is the only HR person I’ve known during my career who is not described in the above paragraph. He is a refreshingly different ‘down to earth’ and unpretentious commercial HR human-being who not only has extensive successful HR knowledge and experience but also possesses a creative and questioning nature combined with an excellent sense of humour. He has excellent communication, influencing and persuading skills together with very strong genuine human insight and empathy.

I’ve known Andrew for about 30 years’ and have used his services many times in all sorts of situations and business sectors. I worked with him originally as a colleague in Northern England, (where, incidentally, he regularly negotiated with Len McCluskey when he was a District Official with the TGWU – now General Secretary for the UNITE Union!) and have since used him many times as an interim HR professional to resolve problems and undesirable situations; deal with hostile employee relations and Company/Union situations. He thrives on change and is still as passionate about what he does as when I first met him in 1982.

Andrew's View

We always welcome contact from people who are interested in hearing and seeing first-hand the essential contribution HR is capable of making to any business. Whatever aspect of HR, or any people-related aspect of business, you would like to discuss, in confidence – please email, call, or write to us.