Features - A Day In The Life
Alice Sheahan (née Jones)
Posted 01 November 2016
New York Programme
September 2010 Intake
Alice Sheahan (née Jones) (NY, September 2010 MBA) is a graduate of Warwick University and a postgraduate of the University of Edinburgh. Alice currently holds the post of HR Manager for URBN UK Ltd, which is the UK subsidary of Urban Outfitters Inc. Alice explains "it's the US fashion retailer that brings you the amazing, creative and innovative brands Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain and BHLDN. In my role, I am responsible for the full people remit for all brands and shared services at our Head Office in London". Here, Alice shares her career path to date, (which included some time with The LEGO Group in Paris), and a sample of a typical day in her life...
How did you get into this line of business?
I always knew I wanted to work in Human Resources. After university, I worked as an HR Executive for a small, business consultancy in Edinburgh. It was a great job, but it wouldn't give me the international exposure that I wanted to move forward in my career. That's where Mountbatten came in... It was the perfect way to further my experiences in HR whilst working for a global brand (I worked at CitiGroup whilst in NYC). Following my time with Mountbatten, I joined The LEGO Group as an HR Consultant, initially in the London office before being transferred to Paris. MB was definitely and important stepping stone to working in an international environment and role.
Let's talk about a typical day.
I live outside London and commute into the city centre everyday so I'm normally up and out of the house around 6.15am.
Every day in my role is completely different, which is what makes it so exciting. As a generalist, I look after a wide range of HR disciplines, which include our performance management process, engagement surveys, bonus and reward structures (includes payroll and our benefits offering) as well as the design and delivery of all our training and development. Most days will be spent partnering with senior managers to effectively manage their teams. This is usually in the format of coaching but can vary depending on what has been thrown at us and what our people focus is at the time. At the moment, my focus is the design and roll out of our engagement survey; it's an amazing way to get a read on how we're doing as an organisation and what we can do better. I do also manage a small team of HR administrators and talent coordinators so making sure they deliver against expectations on a daily basis is an important part of my role. Our business is constantly changing and evolving, and as a result, so does the demands of the business from a people perspective. My job really is to help the business navigate through it all!
Where do you have your lunch?
Lunch is different each day as I move between all our offices. At the moment, my favourite place to grab a delicious lunch from is Cure + Cut on Monmouth Street in Seven Dials. Their salads are delicious.
What time do you normally leave your workplace at the end of the working day?
I don't think there is ever a 'normal' time. We are flexible on office hours and empower people to manage their own time. If I'm not in the office, I've got my work phone on me so there is never really an end to my day.
How often do you travel for work?
When I initially joined URBN, I travelled extensively across Europe, visiting all our stores as they were my focus. As my role has evolved, I'm much more head office centric so my "work travel" is the power walk from Oxford Circus to Covent Garden as I get from one meeting to another!
Can you share your favourite place in London to meet friends?
My most recent discovery is POP Brixton, which I love for an afterwork drink and quick bite to eat. It's home to about 50 independent, local business, giving the entrepreneurs a place to build their businesses whether in food, drink, retail, design or the creative industries. It's worth a visit.