Meet John Gorman, HR Director for Green Isle Foods, our HR Leader for April
John Gorman, HR Director for Green Isle Foods and Head of Human Resources for 2 Sisters Food Group (Frozen Division) is Principal Connections HR Leader of the Month for April.
John has served a fascinating career over the past 30 years. For more than a decade he dedicated himself to the role of Group Training and Development Manager before subsequently going on to take up the post of HR Manager (Pizza Business Unit) for Green Isle Foods. John’s career success has led him to his current post as Head of Human Resources for the Frozen Division of 2 Sisters Food Group and in 2016 he was appointed HR Director for Green Isle.
Q. Tell us a little bit about John Gorman the person, and of course, the professional?
I am married to Sara; we have 4 daughters and live in Clane, Co. Kildare.
With over 30 years experience in FMCG in supply chain and people service roles I have really enjoyed the challenge of supporting our business and our colleagues across Ireland, the UK, as part of a multinational plc and in more recent times in a privately owned multinational business. Following the sale of the Goodfella’s Pizza business I am leading the people agenda through a complex separation process and the transition to the new owner. It is a fascinating and challenging experience and I am fortunate to work with a very capable HR team and brilliant people all across our business.
Following a successful career in operations I moved into an L&D role. With over 11 enjoyable years as Group Training and Development Manager I took up the role of HR Manager for the Pizza Business Unit. I am now Head of HR for the Frozen Division, leading the HR team in Green Isle Foods, Hollands Pies and Matthew Walker in the UK. In 2016, I was appointed HR Director for Green Isle Foods Ltd.
I completed the IITD Diploma in Training and Development in 1998 and latterly went on to complete an MSc. in Training and Performance Management with the University of Leicester in 2007. I am long overdue my next qualification…
Q. Describe your company?
2 Sisters are one of Britain’s most compelling business success stories of the past 20 years. With more than 23,000 colleagues drawn from 36 nationalities helping to make a mind-boggling array of some of the finest food in Britain and Ireland at over 40 manufacturing sites – from pizza to pies, poultry to puddings, from ready meals to ranges of soup. 2 Sisters are committed to delivering the highest quality products to our retail and food service customers.
The Frozen division produces and sells frozen pizza, vegetables, pies and fish and includes the brands Goodfella’s, Holland’s Pies, UpperCrust Pies, Green Isle and Donegal Catch in its portfolio. The division supplies to all major retailers in the UK and Ireland with Holland’s Pies also selling product via fish and chip shops and sports stadiums. Goodfella’s is a leading brand in the frozen pizza market in Ireland and the UK.
The frozen division employs up to 1,000 people in Ireland across four sites; Naas, Longford, Gurteen and Portumna. In the UK there are up to 500 people across our 2 sites in Lancashire and in Derby.
Q. What do you see as the key challenges you face in your current role?
In the short-term my time is focused on the effective separation and transition of our people to both businesses following the sale of the Goodfella’s Pizza business.
The key challenge for our business is retaining emerging talent in an employees’ market. Working with talented people to identify win : win reasons to continue their career growth in our business has and will continue to challenge and direct the people agenda going forward.
Q. What in your opinion are the key characteristics of your top performing people?
Having the internal drive and desire to succeed is a key ingredient in any FMCG environment and when this is coupled with focus and resilience it makes for a must have member of the team.
Being passionate for, and interested in food has also made a point of difference in many cases. Energy and enthusiasm about good food has always had a very positive effect on people all across our business.
Finally, values based decision making coupled with the ability to work effectively with others and on their own, has resulted in better results at an individual and team level.
Q. What or where do you believe the biggest advances in human resources will be over the next five years?
- Integrated people systems and technology will reduce the administrative burden for managers of people, colleagues and the HR function itself.
- AI will replace repetitive people administrative and service activities.
- Many other people services will be delivered virtually and will continue to be outsourced where appropriate.
- Recruitment agencies will be completely replaced by technology that will allow individuals to market themselves direct to employers and vice versa. The technology will allow both parties to engage without the need for a third party. (We’re sure you don’t really mean this John…)
- The function will begin to add significant value by designing and developing the workplace of the future where people’s workplace optimises and focuses their time and efforts to suit their specific skills and interests while delivering on the business results.
Q. How important are health and well-being initiatives in your employment strategy?
Healthy people are good for business and helping our people keep healthy makes good business sense. Our investment in employee well-being reflects our commitment to ensuring our people are able to perform at their best while in work.
Q. In your opinion what is required to have a top career as a Human Resources Director?
- A willingness to help people make the right decisions for their career.
- Being able to identify, understand and explain the people factors that drive business performance.
- Having an advanced insight into the interaction of the workplace and human behaviour – helping the business and its people find the balance for effective performance and a sense of achievement.
Q. What keeps you motivated day to day?
I enjoy what I do and have a great respect for the people I work with. Being part of a successful team in the function and the business gives me a sense of value and achievement.
Q. What is your proudest career achievement to date?
I have two… being elected as President of IITD in 2008 and being part of the Irish delegation to the EU Conference Teamwork Against THB for labour exploitation in 2016, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (THB – Trafficking in Human Beings)
Q. Who inspires you professionally?
While this changes regularly, I keep going back to and take inspiration from Edward de Bono. Lately I really enjoy listening to Roselinde Torres on leadership.
Q. How do you stay current?
I like to remain active within IITD and make good use of the networking opportunities that IBEC offers. I am also on the IITD’s mentoring panel and get to meet different people with wide and varied challenges.
I particularly enjoy taking the time to research subjects that I am interested in and when all else fails I look at further education – which is now long overdue.
Thank you to John Gorman and Green Isle Foods part of the 2 Sisters Food Group for participating in our HR Leaders Series 2018.
About Green Isle Foods part of the 2 Sisters Food Group
Green Isle Foods Ltd established in 1982 is the leading Irish Frozen Food Company, and a fast growing supplier to major UK retailers. Employing over 750 people in Ireland, we produce a range of pizzas, pastry products and fish products under the Goodfella’s, Green Isle and Donegal Catch brands, as well as retailers’ own labels.
Green Isle Foods is part of the 2 Sisters Food Group and has a total turnover of £3.3 billion with approximately 23,000 employees worldwide. We operate in some of the most dynamic and fast moving categories of the food industry. We are focused on providing our customers with branded and own label products.
For further information please visit 2 Sisters Food Group
About Principal Connections
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