David Mc Goldrick, Director of Human Resources for Comfort Keepers, a Sodexo Brand, is Principal Connections’ HR Leader of the Month for July.

Over the past 30 years, David has worked across a variety of sectors including Retail, Manufacturing, Transportation, Airlines, and Healthcare. On his journey to become Director of Human Resources at Comfort Keepers, David has held senior human resources leadership positions with high profile companies including Ryanair, Dunnes Stores, Carphone Warehouse, Pat The Baker and Park Rite.

Q. Tell us a little bit about David Mc Goldrick the person, and of course, the professional?

Originally from Sligo, I am currently Human Resources Director for Comfort Keepers / Sodexo Ireland. A keen drummer and a passionate Sligo Rovers fan, I can also be seen occasionally cycling around the roads of Meath at the weekends. I have over 20 years of Human Resources Executive Management experience in a variety of sectors spanning Retail, Manufacturing, Transportation, Airlines, and Healthcare, working for companies from Ryanair to Comfort Keepers / Sodexo. Although accomplished in all areas of Human Resources Development, I am particularly known for the effective approaches I have taken to transformational leadership and engagement programmes over the years. I was ranked in the Top 20 Global HR leader Global index in 2016 and have been recognized internationally for my leadership programs.

Q. Describe your current company?

Comfort Keepers provide a managed home care service throughout most of Ireland.

At Comfort Keepers our mission is to provide our clients loved one’s with the highest quality of life that is achievable. We treat each of our clients with the respect and dignity they deserve, as though we were caring for a member of our own family.

Our greatest asset is our dedicated team of caring professionals. Comfort Keepers employees undergo a rigorous series of interviews and Garda vetting before hiring and once on board our team members are extensively trained in the responsibilities and duties required for elderly care. Our team members are happy and motivated to provide excellent quality care for the elderly, physically impaired, and those with dementia.

Comfort Keepers has won two awards this year. On the 28th of March we were ranked third in Indeed.ie’s Top 25 Best Places to Work in Ireland 2018 list. The ranking, which is published each year, is based on employee rating and reviews of their experiences working for a company.

The second award came from the All Ireland Business Summit where Comfort Keepers won not only the Enterprise All Star award for Best in Category – Senior Care and an All-Star Award for Community Focus, but we won the All-Ireland Business of the Year 2018.

Q. What do you see as the key challenges you face in your current role?

Ireland’s population is set to increase by almost a quarter by 2030, with the major driver being inward migration, according to new projections by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

The growth in overall numbers, combined with a projected increase of up to 94 per cent in the number of people aged 80 or over, will have significant implications for the health service of which Home care is an integral part. Home help hours demand will also rise by up to 54 per cent, and demand for home care will rise by up to 66 per cent. Meeting this demand for skilled carers is not only a challenge for Comfort Keepers but also a concern for Irish Society.

The changing demographics matched by a falling birth rate will mean less health care workers in the future.

Our goal is to continue to make Comfort Keepers a preferred place to work for people who want to excel within the health care sector. Our commitment to this goal was reaffirmed through our award by Indeed as the third best place to work in Ireland and by our winning the All Ireland Business summit.

Q. What in your opinion are the key characteristics of your top performing people?

Knowledge, Skill and Attitude.

There are many and varied theories, leadership programmes and academic journeys that an individual can pursue to develop but in my own view knowledge, skill and attitude are the core characteristic’s. However, these competencies need to be aligned to the organisations goals and mission, reflected and measured in order to have a supreme level of performance.

Q. What or where do you believe the biggest advances in human resources will be over the next five years?

It’s probably a contradiction but AI is increasingly emerging as the biggest and most effective tool for any HR practitioner. From offerings such as non-biased recruitment processes to deep data mining and report production and synopsis, AI will have the biggest impact on HR over the oncoming years. Five years on from now we will be managing an older workforce who will need to be in tune with a deeper digital landscape and that transition needs to start now.

Q. How important are health and wellbeing initiatives to employment strategy in your opinion?

Quite simply vital.

We at Comfort Keepers have found the best staff initiatives that we have introduced have been staff led and have involved making Comfort Keepers a better place to work. We now offer flexi-time, shorter working weeks, early finishes on Friday’s, an enhanced EAP structure, our own wellbeing strategy I-Care. We work within a very emotive sector where caring, compassion and empathy are present every day and it is vital that we support and look after our employees.

We have been nominated for many awards around our caring culture and this culture extends not only to our service users but also to our employees.

Q. In your opinion what is required to have a top career as a Human Resources Director?

An Open Mind, not only to see right and wrong but also to understand the deeper reasons for an individual’s behaviour. Continuous self-development is paramount along with an appreciation and ability to work within a changing environment. It is also important to create a successful succession planning culture to enable leaders to lead better.

Q. What keeps you motivated day to day?

Providing the best service we can for all our clients. I have been privileged to work across many industries but there is no better feeling than seeing the difference we make to a client’s life. As a team at comfort keepers we work tirelessly 365 days a year 24/7 to ensure that our clients lives are better, enriched and enable them to stay in their own homes for as long they are able.

Q. What is your proudest career achievement to date?

Being part of the Comfort Keepers team that back in 2007 had 170 employees to today being part of the greater Sodexo family, being able to bring what we do right here in Ireland to a global health care platform.

Q. Who inspires you professionally?

Two people, firstly my Chief Executive, Brid Gould, who is an everyday inspiration to me and I am lucky to work with someone who values dedication, professionalism, ideas, quality driven and energy;  it is a marvel to witness this each and every day. Secondly, Dave Ulrich. I read a quote from him in 2012 “Business leaders increasingly realize that to adapt to changing business conditions and customer/investor/community expectations, they have to do more that articulate a future direction or strategy.  They have to make sure that where they say they are going actually happens.” This statement offered me a vision of firstly a HR world which really was becoming global and secondly emphasised what HR can and should be to the organisation.

Q. How do you stay current?

I enjoy reading business literature and autobiographies, I am a keen contributor and participant within LinkedIn. I am fortunate to be asked to speak at conferences and find these events ideal meeting point for ideas, thoughts and new contacts.

Closing Comment:

Thank you to David Mc Goldrick for participating in our HR Leaders Series 2018.

About Principal Connections 

Principal Connections is Ireland’s leading retained Executive Search Agency.

With locations in Dublin, Cork, Galway & Athlone, Ireland, Principal Connections partners with Large Multinational Corporations, Small to Medium Enterprises, Start-up and Family Owned Businesses, Not-For-Profit, Semi-State and Public-Sector Bodies in the identification, assessment, evaluation, and recruitment of key Management, Executive and Specialist leadership talent.

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