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5 minutes with IQ-EQ’s Caroline Bagshaw on becoming Group Chief People Officer

IQ-EQ recently announced the appointment of Caroline Bagshaw as its new Group Chief People Officer.

Caroline’s HR career to date spans more than 26 years and a diverse range of industry sectors, including technology, pharma and financial services. She has 18 years’ experience in regional and global HR leadership roles, and PA Life spoke with Caroline about her new role…

Q. You have worked in a range of industries, could you tell us more about your previous roles?

Throughout my career I’ve aimed to achieve as broad an experience base as possible and have been lucky to work in a number of different sectors – pharma, tech, finance and banking – over the last 30 years. I’ve also held roles in different areas of HR expertise, including reward, talent development and HR business partnering. My responsibilities as an HR business partner have ranged from national through to global, but I’ve held an international remit for around 20 years now and have thoroughly enjoyed enhancing my international perspective through assignments in both Dubai and Singapore.

Q. How did you feel when you were appointed the new Group Chief People Officer at IQ-EQ?

I was delighted that IQ-EQ had selected me, putting their trust in me to lead their People function. Naturally, after receiving the news of my appointment I celebrated with a nice bottle of champagne!

I love the IQ-EQ brand sentiment and am already proud to work for a company that understands the importance of both intellectual and emotional intelligence in delivering the very best for its clients and employees. I appreciate the fact that the firm sets a high bar for itself and it has been clear since my very first interactions with the business how important IQ-EQ’s core values (authenticity, boldness and collaboration) are; they’re at the forefront of people’s thinking and ways of working.

I am really looking forward to working with a team of great people and being part of IQ-EQ’s continuing global growth story.

Q. What will be your main responsibilities?

As Group Chief People Officer, my primary responsibility is developing and implementing the group’s people agenda in line with its business strategy. This means continuing to build an exceptional Group HR team that champions IQ-EQ’s employees while driving the bottom line. And of course, creating and delivering dynamic programmes and experiences to ensure we attract great people who stick with us! In other words, I need to ensure that the HR function puts both ‘IQ’ and ‘EQ’ into action – we must deliver intelligent solutions that drive business performance, but our people must be at the heart of everything we do.

Q. How do you think the pandemic will affect your role?

Firstly, given the travel restrictions, I have to think about different ways of meeting and getting to know people, building connections and trust.

Most significantly perhaps, for my role and the wider HR agenda, the pandemic has provided a catalyst for taking a fresh look at how we work, both as individuals and teams. We must support different ways of working, in particular remote working and ensuring our line managers are well equipped to manage people remotely – especially as the increase in flexible and remote working arrangements is likely to be a permanent change, post-pandemic.

Also, the pandemic has caused us to think more generally about how we engage teams. Indeed, many of us have been working and managing virtually for years – whether in international roles or just on a different floor! But the Covid-19 situation is different because those teams are not getting local social interaction either. So, for me, it’s about fulfilling the social side of work, which has been significantly lacking for the past year. This is going to be a continued area of focus.

Hand in hand with this is a greater emphasis on mental health and general wellbeing. By this I don’t just mean virtual yoga classes, but rather comprehensive employee assistance programmes and clear support for flexible working and caring roles.

Q. What is your favourite thing about working at IQ-EQ?

So far, everyone I have spoken to at IQ-EQ is passionate about the business and wants to do what is best for our clients, our employees and the business itself. During the interview process, I could feel that the culture here is one of collaboration and high integrity – and I am seeing it already.

Q. What do you do to unwind after a busy week?

Walking with my three dogs and catching up on reality TV shows! Outside of lockdown and when normality resumes, I also really enjoy visiting antique and motoring memorabilia shows and spending weekends away across the UK in our motor home.

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