Colleague spotlight: Meet Sarah Lyon, Senior HR Adviser

Amy Owens

Written By AdviserPlus

14th April 2021

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Sarah Lyon is one of our Senior HR Advisers and has been working at AdviserPlus for the past 8 years. Sarah has been heavily involved in the development of our new cutting-edge product, empower®, ensuring that it meets the needs of our clients as well as our advisory team. 

Why did you join AdviserPlus? 

I initially joined AdviserPlus following redundancy from my previous employer, which was a business process and customer management outsourcing company. I had worked within the HR Shared Services team there for 15 years, and so when I left, I was keen to stay in HR in a similar sort of role. I visited AdviserPlus as part of my interview process and really liked the culture. Being from Warrington, Bromborough was also in a handy location for me to commute to as I didn’t want to work in a big city.

What does your job entail?

As a Senior Adviser, my job is to empower managers to support their staff effectively. We’re there to make sure than they don’t fall down a rabbit hole of risk when dealing with employee relations issues, so we’re there to protect the manager, and the business, to ensure the employee is managed fairly and consistently in line with client policies and procedures and, ultimately, avoid tribunal situations.

I’m a point of escalation for other members of the advisory team and tend to get involved in more complex cases such as disciplinary, grievance, bullying and harassment, and capability, and I ensure that we provide consistent and risk managed advice and guidance in line with the client’s policies and procedures. I ensure that we add value, not just process manage.

More recently, I’ve been involved in the development of empower®, our flagship new solution that supports managers to navigate people processes through guided journeys. My focus has been on the user journey– making sure the technology, the presentation, the workflow triggers and the letter templates work for both the manager (client) and our own advisers. It’s an exciting time as I’m currently working with one of our newest clients, a flagship aviation business, on the implementation of empower®.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

I enjoy building relationships with clients, understanding their business direction and supporting managers to enable them to develop their skills and confidence to effectively manage their teams.  We’re there to make their jobs easier, and allow senior HR leaders to concentrate on the strategic parts of their roles. I like the fact that you can develop within AdviserPlus and I get my reward and development seeing others move through the ranks and achieve their goals.

In your experience, what are the key challenges for HR at the moment?

It’s really challenging reacting to all the new developments relating to COVID – they change frequently which creates lots of additional work in the background. We need to ensure that we’re not only keeping up to speed with developments but also that we’re proactively going out to the client with updates and communications.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment to date?

I worked on the Implementation Team for a while in 2014 and had the opportunity to project manage a Disability Confident seminar which was hosted by AdviserPlus, and included guest speaker Simon Weston CBE who is a remarkable man. I’ve also been lucky enough to travel to India three times in my previous role, and was the lead adviser responsible for transitioning internal HR activity from the UK team to the India team which involved new working practices, systems and training.

Finally, can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

I’m a brown belt at kickboxing, just two belts away from getting my black belt. I got into the sport originally through my daughter and husband who took it up as a hobby. I’ve now been doing it for over seven years and can’t wait for the gym to reopen so we can start up again.

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