Geraldine Casey, People Director and Member of Tesco Ireland’s Executive Board is Principal Connections HR Leader of the Month for March.
As you will establish from Geraldine’s interview, she has had a remarkable career journey to date. Since joining Tesco’s Graduate Programme in 2001, Geraldine has subsequently gone on to become Tesco’s first female Store Director in Ireland. In 2013, Geraldine was appointed Operations Director and today, she is People Director for Tesco who employ 13,000 people in Ireland.
Q. Tell us a little bit about Geraldine Casey the person, and of course, the professional?
Kerry native Geraldine Casey joined Tesco through the company Graduate Programme in 2001 and went on to become the first female store director in Ireland in 2009. She was promoted to Operations Director in 2013 before being appointed to her current role of People Director for Tesco Ireland in 2014. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from University College Cork.
Geraldine was recognised by the Women’s Executive Network as one of Ireland’s Top 25 most powerful women in business in 2016. She is a Voluntary Director of NCBI and a ‘Women in Leadership’ sponsor for Tesco Ireland.
Passionate about the charity sector Geraldine Casey is actively involved in the Tesco Charity Partnership which has raised €3million to date for Temple Street Children’s Hospital.
Q. Describe your company?
Tesco is one of Ireland’s leading retailers with 150 stores and two distribution centres nationwide. As a leading food retailer, Tesco is one of the biggest private sector employers in Ireland employing over 13,000 colleagues across the country. Tesco offers the highest average rate of pay in the industry and market leading benefits. Being a sustainable business is very important to us and we are proud to support the communities in which we serve. Supporting local suppliers is very much part of the business ethos of Tesco Ireland; we source from over 480 Irish food and drink suppliers and support 13,000 Irish farm families. All of the fresh beef, pork, lamb and eggs that Tesco Ireland sells are 100% Irish.
Q. What do you see as the key challenges you face in your current role?
I’m really proud to work in a gender diverse organisation; at Tesco 50 percent of our board is female, plus over 50 percent of colleagues, both in head office and in stores, are female. I believe gender diversity is really important for businesses today, not only because it leads to better decision-making and collaboration but also to a more diverse and inclusive culture.
Q. What in your opinion are the key characteristics of your top performing people?
Our best investment is in our people. We believe in treating people with respect, giving everyone an equal opportunity to get on. Every organization strives to have the most qualified individuals on the team. If you’re prepared to go the extra mile for our customers, you can expect more of what you need with Tesco. More opportunities to develop valuable skills. More scope to make a valuable contribution. More ways to get on in your career. For us, “Every little helps” is much more than just a slogan. It’s what we all work towards every day. Across the business, we’re all committed to doing more for our customers, communities and each other. It’s this upbeat, collaborative culture that makes Tesco such a special place to work.
Q. What or where do you believe the biggest advances in human resources will be over the next five years?
It’s amazing how technology is impacting the world we live in and I think the HR industry is incorporating technology at a rapid pace. If you look at how social media is being used in recruitment with over 92% of recruiters turning to channels like Linkedin and even Snapchat to identify candidates. I think technological innovations will continue to drive advances in human resources going forward.
Q. How important are health and well-being initiatives in your employment strategy?
Health and wellbeing initiatives are an integral part of our employment strategy. We have introduced a ‘Little Steps to Living Healthier’ programme, which is designed to support colleagues to make healthier choices for their mind and body. The programme profiles three strategic pillars: nutrition, healthy body and healthy mind all of which encourage colleagues to live healthier lives. The initiative focuses on information sharing, advice and incentives to support colleague involvement.
Q. In your opinion what is required to have a top career as a Human Resources Director?
Retail was not an obvious choice for someone with my qualifications, but I really enjoy the buzz of retail and being constantly surrounded by people. For the retail industry it’s important to be resilient, adaptable and work as part of a team. We have people with no formal qualifications who have done very well and those with qualifications who have also done well. Having an academic background helps with decision-making and handling and sifting information, but for us it’s more about teamwork. If people are mobile and prepared to move, there are also opportunities to travel within the company, as Tesco’s has stores across central Europe and Asia.
Q. What keeps you motivated day to day?
I love what I do and the people in Tesco are what make it such a great place to work. When I hear positive feedback about the really tangible and positive difference we’re making to the lives of colleagues, customers and our charity partners I can’t help but feeling really proud and motivated to do more.
Q. What is your proudest career achievement to date?
I’m really proud that Tesco has successfully achieved the Great Place to Work standard this year. We always put our colleagues first and we are delighted to see this recognised. We’re thrilled to now have a foundation from which to continue on a meaningful journey for our 13,000 colleagues across our business. From our exceptional graduate programme to senior management training programmes, our best investment is in our people. It’s our people that make the difference every day – helping us create value for our customers.
About Tesco Ireland
Tesco is one of the biggest private sector employers in Ireland employing over 13,000 colleagues across the country. Tesco offers the highest average rate of pay in the industry and market leading benefits. Tesco continues to be the biggest buyer of Irish food and drink in the world and contributes €3.2billion to the Irish economy every year. Supporting local suppliers is very much part of the business ethos of Tesco Ireland; we source from over 480 Irish food and drink suppliers and support 13,000 Irish farm families. All of the fresh beef, pork, lamb and eggs that Tesco Ireland sells are 100% Irish. For further information please visit www.tesco.ie
About Principal Connections
Principal Connections is Ireland’s leading retained Senior Executive Search and Headhunting Firm and the Irish Arm of Agilium Worldwide Executive Search Group, one of the World’s largest and foremost Executive Search Organisations.