Stephanie Stewart, who leads our people function at Krucial, is the latest member of the team to chat to us about her apprenticeship journey into HR, her role at Krucial, and her love of the outdoors.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I live near Glasgow with my fiancée and two dogs – Leo and Nellie.
Away from work, I love to be outdoors. My dogs are my greatest loves in the world, and I take them hillwalking and for early-morning walks along the beach, which I find really helps me focus ahead of starting my working day. I’m also planning my upcoming wedding – which is like a second job in itself – so I’m generally outdoors or really busy, but that’s exactly how I like things to be.
I’m one of the longest serving employees at Krucial and was actually the second hire the company made. I immediately saw the opportunity to build a culture and team from the ground up, a crucial factor in the growth of the business. Despite being part of the old guard (although I’ve only been here a few years!), I’m very much someone who likes to focus on the future.
As the world of work changes there’s no one single right way to get into a career – how has your education and career to date played out?
I’m a keen advocate of widening access for people from all disciplines and avenues into work, in part because I didn’t go down the traditional route of university.
I worked and found my passion quickly at an early stage for people and human resources, and I completed an apprenticeship in business which helped me hone these skills in a practical setting.
Now I’m at a stage where I can drive the culture within Krucial to be open and inclusive, and to see talent rather than just qualifications. Leading on this has resulted in what I think are really progressive hiring practices, which will benefit us in the long run as different skillsets come to the fore. The fact I never went to university has never been questioned because the proof is in the pudding, and that’s how it should be.
What does a typical work day look like?
I lead the people function at Krucial and I am involved in recruitment, culture, training and development. I also advise the Executive Team on issues relating to people strategy moving forward, which is an evolving piece of work given the scale of growth within the business.
All this means that no two days are the same – overseeing all HR and People operations means I could be designing a leadership training programme at one time while managing the recruitment of new team members the next. The variety, as part of a wider strategy I help set, is one of the reasons I enjoy my job so much.
Implementing strategies, managing budgets and designing training all falls under a wider goal I have, which is to build team members up, ensure they are the best performers they can be, and that they enjoy their work and feel valued.
Building a positive work culture is my main passion and being able to lead on making that a reality is incredibly exciting.
What’s unique about working in a People-centred role in an innovative company like Krucial?
In my role I set the direction of travel when it comes to company culture and HR practices – working for such a progressive business means that the Executive Team and founders are very supportive of new, ambitious ideas.
As a result, I find that there is a unique sense of togetherness within Krucial – something I’ve not experienced before – and an understanding of everyone pulling in the same direction. There’s a level of trust at all levels of the business in that we’re all experts in our own field, and the growth within individuals is far quicker than I’ve seen in previous workplaces.
We’re working in an exciting space at an exciting time, and I’m looking forward to the next step, both in my own career and for the business as a whole, as we gear up for further expansion.
Quick fire questions
- What do you enjoy doing in your spare time
Long dog walks with my two cocker spaniels Leo and Nellie – my fur babies!
- Fav holiday destination and why
Rome. The food, the red wine, the culture. I loved it. I also attended Mass with the Pope, which was hugely special.
- If you could be anyone for a day who and why
Michelle Obama – she’s an inspiration for women and girls the world over.
- Dogs or cats
- Fav food
Italian cuisine – my own homemade spicy sausage rigatoni is about the most delicious meal on earth (if I do say so myself!).