Top tips for becoming a good manager in the eyes of your team. An interview with Helen Massey, Senior HR Consultant at oneSource


07 Jan 2020

Top tips for becoming a good manager in the eyes of your team. An interview with Helen Massey, Senior HR Consultant at oneSource

What makes a good manager? Often it’s the 365 degree feedback from your team that tells you where you need to stop, start and continue. We spoke to someone who’s team clearly rates them as a leader.  

Penna were delighted to have recently attended Havering LB’s very first STAR (Special Thanks and Recognition) Staff Awards, sponsoring the Manager of the Year Award. Jon Dilling, Penna’s Sourcing Lead, caught up with the winner of the award, Helen Massey, afterwards. Read on for how her HR career has progressed to this point, and why her team rate her so highly.

Jon Dilling: Congratulations on your win at the Havering Awards Helen. Tell me about your HR Career to date?  

Helen Massey: “I joined the London Borough of Havering 10 years ago.  It was my first time working in the public sector, and it really was all very new to me.   During my career I have always worked within HR. I continue to enjoy the variety of work that I have been involved in which has included implementation of new systems, managing a range of contracts, e.g. Occupational Health and Employee Assistance programmes, implementation of managed service provider arrangements for the provision of temporary agency workers, and many other projects. 

I currently manage and advise daily on the use of agency workers across both the London Boroughs of Havering and Newham. The two councils came together to create shared support services three years ago and my role involves ensuring that the contracts for both councils are meeting their KPI’s and continue to be cost effective.  Every day is different working within HR. There are lots of new projects coming down the pipeline – life is never dull in our world!”

Jon Dilling: Over those 10 years with the borough, and now with Newham and oneSource, tell me what’s the achievement you’re most proud of?  

Helen Massey: “It might sound cheesy – but it is actually winning this award for Manager of the Year. Everyday, I come to work with the aim of doing a good days work but to be recognised by my team and peers is truly fantastic. Overall, there were 80 managers nominated from across the council.

Being nominated by my whole team was just wonderful. There’s great potential within our HR function. My style is to encourage everyone to develop, learn and be creative – always allowing them to grow in their roles. Good management is about encouraging a feedback loop, and being open, honest and having trust at all times.

It’s a cliché, but I really do love coming into work. Management is one of the most rewarding parts of my job – so it’s fantastic to win an award and to be recognised because of this.”

Jon Dilling: Tell me about oneSource, and the impact of the innovations you’ve implemented there?

Helen Massey: “OneSource provides shared back office support services for local government and other public services. In a time where authorities are looking to innovate and maximise value for money, more and more councils have become interested in models like ours.

I work across two very different boroughs – Newham, in the east end of London, and Havering, on the outskirts of the city, but they both share a vision for smarter, more innovative and modern ways of working. For instance, both councils want to do more to empower their employees and adopt more flexible approaches to work. That means changing the working relationship and focusing on the outcomes being delivered by people, rather than whether we can see them at all times. It also means doing more to make sure our processes are streamlined and automated as far as possible. The end goal is to improve our service delivery to residents, and I remind my team of that all the time.”

Jon Dilling: Thanks Helen. Ending on a big question here, talk to me about the importance you place on HR in the public sector?

Helen Massey: “I think that HR is extremely important in the public sector. My team is responsible for supporting the councils to deliver better outcomes for residents by enabling our employees to do their best possible job, every single day.

This is all epitomised by the new values and behaviours that have been implemented for both councils. At Havering, our values are “I CARE”, which stands for Integrity, Creativity, Ambition, Respect and Everyone. At Newham, we are aiming to put people at the heart of everything we do – so it’s appropriate that our values spell out HEART: Honesty, Equality, Ambition, Respect and Together. My team and I look to role model those values everyday – that’s how we can serve our councils, and ultimately our residents, the best.”

If you would like to speak to us about your own recruitment needs at management level, please get in touch with Jon Dilling, our lead on Sourcing at Penna. Penna’s Sourcing Practice supports clients recruit posts in the £30-75k bracket, including middle management and harder to fill vacancies.