This week we interviewed Claire Gordon our HR Graduate. She fills us in on why she chose Biffa and what her role entails.
Tell us about your journey so far Claire…
When it came to my final year of University and the time to apply for graduate schemes, I was more than a little uncertain about which direction this next big decision would take me. I studied a Joint Honours Degree in Psychology and Business, with an integrated placement year, and knew from day one that I wanted to pursue a career in HR in a large corporation.
Never did I Imagine that I would end up in such a sexy industry as the waste world! When I discovered Biffa’s first ever rotational Graduate Programme, I was intrigued because I knew there would be opportunities to gain exposure in all areas within HR.
Did you always know you wanted a career in HR?
Growing up I always wanted to be a pop star, (I think we’ve all been there at one point in our lives), but when I knew that couldn’t happen, HR was the next logical choice! My very first experience of HR was work experience in a small Engineering company where HR consisted of one HR Manager who handled all aspects of the department.
Back then, although it was very one dimensional, I can always remember how valued, respected, and relied upon she was, which is how I wanted to feel in a future role. I’m the kind of person that needs to understand that what I’m doing is something that fits into the bigger picture. It’s one of the things that I find rewarding in my work.
What do you like most about working for Biffa?
What I like most about working for Biffa is the ‘team feel’, I was conscious that coming in to such a large organisation where people are spread out over so many different geographical locations, there wouldn’t be a team culture, but I was very wrong. It’s just like one big Biffa family. I like the support that people have for each other and the development opportunities there are.
The passion that people within Biffa have for what they do is infectious and it was the first thing that stood out to me when I came in for my interviews.
Is the graduate role at Biffa everything you thought it would be?
Simply, yes. It’s been everything and more. Over the first 4 months of the job I have already gained knowledge and experience in all areas of HR along with all of the divisions and areas such as Customer Services and frontline operations.
I have had great exposure to multiple different projects as well as just starting to get my teeth into my very own strategic project.
Did you ever think you would be working in the waste industry? How do you find it?
No, never. For me, it didn’t matter what industry my first graduate role would be in, I just wanted to work in a large organisation where I could challenge myself and one that understood what modern age HR encompasses, and that is most definitely what I got!
I never in a million years saw myself working for Biffa, but I am now a massive waste geek and I love absolutely everything about Biffa (I’m not afraid to preach it!). During my induction phase I went on numerous site visits. I was completely blown away by the sheer complexity, scale and fascination of operations, along with the smell that lingered in my hair for days!!
What are your day to day responsibilities?
Every day is different for me, which is one of my favourite things about the scheme. My programme runs on a rotational basis. The first 4 months I spent a week at a time moving through our departments, such as Employee Relations all the way through to Learning and Organisational Development.
Is there a particular area you enjoy the most? If so why?
I’m a really adaptable person and get the best out of my time with all departments. People have asked me where I have enjoyed the most and I just can’t answer because they are all so different. I really enjoyed spending time with a few of the HR Business Partner’s because their days weren’t static – when people are so dynamic, you have to expect that each day presents a new challenge.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a bit of a socialite and love spending time with my friends and family and drinking lots of Prosecco! I also have a slight addiction to shopping and am a big fan of Suits – Gabriel Macht, need I say more? Recently I’ve just started up a crazy new fitness phenomenon called Boogie Bounce and it is BRILLIANT, I would recommend it to anyone!
What advice would you give other graduates?
My biggest bit of advice would be take every opportunity to get involved, never say no!