Ross Hammond, HR systems managerBy Rachel Harper
Ross heads up the School's HR technology and analytics team and is currently helping to deliver Project Connect: a new People Management system for the School. Now in his second stint at the School after working and travelling in New Zealand, he shares his passion for horticulture, his celebrity gardening connections and how the new system is going to change all our working lives.
What does your typical day at LBS look like?
My work is very varied and includes working on projects, configuring and testing software, meeting with stakeholders and colleagues and helping to oversee our staff reporting including the annual staff HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) return.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are currently in the second phase of 'Connect' - the project to roll out the new People Management system. It's exciting because very soon we will start to see the system making a huge difference for staff and faculty across the School. We will be introducing Employee Self Service (ESS) and Manager Self Service (MSS) to the School community - this will mean big time savings for everyone.
We are also working on a number of other initiatives that will improve internal HR processes and reduce reliance on paper and introduce electronic document storage. So enough to keep my team busy for the time being!
What difference will these projects make to the LBS community?
I believe that introducing ESS and MSS is going to have a transformational impact, greatly improving many of 'business as usual' processes that are currently paper-based by bringing them online. It will also enhance the HR team's service to the School.
Employees will be able to book leave online, view payslips, book learning events and update their personal details and view organisation charts. Managers will have better access to information about their teams and tasks with the ability to run their own reports.
What keeps you motivated?
I really like what I do which helps and can be quite focussed (sometimes too focussed).
What is top of your bucket list?
I want to learn how to sail (properly) and go back to New Zealand with my wife and kids but probably travel there by plane and not by boat!
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
The current cast of Saturday Night Live seem to be great value! My former colleague and a great laugh Tony Kirkham, who heads up the Arboretum at Kew. The late writers John Steinbeck and Daphne Du Maurier because I love their books. Musician Roddy Woomble would make for great entertainment and, if we really wanted fireworks, Piers Morgan and JK Rowling.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
I think that the fear of failure can be quite a powerful thing for a lot of people and and can stop you from pursuing and doing so many things. Inevitably it’s the few knocks and setbacks that help you in the long term but that first taste of failure can be quite deflating. I guess life has taught me that it’s about dusting yourself down and going again if you want to achieve anything.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Personally - getting married to someone infinitely smarter, funnier and nicer than myself and being a parent to two great kids! Climbing Mt Egmont / Taranaki in New Zealand comes a very distant second to those.
In work- rolling out a new system for several thousand staff at a large UK University.
Tell us something surprising about you…
Most of my close colleagues will know that I’m a big Arsenal fan and spent a lot of time chasing waves in Cornwall having contracted the surfing bug many years ago (I even bought the VW campervan). Most won’t be aware that I have a big passion for horticulture, having worked at Kew for three years. During my time there I met with Alan Titchmarsh and Diarmuid Gavin amongst others.