Lisa had worked in HR for seven years, but never within the housing industry. This exciting new role with Cynon Taf Community Housing Group wasn’t only a shift in sector for her, but also a big level-up in terms of career progression.
We were buzzing to chat to Lisa as she took a break from her busy schedule.
Lisa, great to see you again! First thing’s first - can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Lisa Hobbs, and I’ve worked in HR for nearly seven years now. I wasn’t always looking to go into HR - before that, I worked in various office roles, but then a HR administrator role came up and I decided to give it a go. Turns out, I loved it. The company put me through my CIPD Level 3 and then five years later, I left for a promotion as a HR officer within a healthcare company. I now - thanks to Moxie - work as a Senior HR Business Partner at Cynon Taf Community Housing Group (Cynon Taf).
What is it about HR that you love so much?
It’s SO varied - no one day is ever the same, which is great. I also really enjoy supporting people, helping them to stay on the right path and guiding managers as to how they should be doing things. Basically, I help them help themselves.
Tell us a bit more about your current role.
It’s actually pretty different where I am now. Typically, you’d work within a full HR team or department with various other departments around you. Here, I am the HR representative within a resources team. This means that the wider team doesn’t get involved with any aspects of HR, other than our team support, Gemma. We work closely together and it’s brilliant to have that support. And of course I have my manager Claire for support and guidance.
We have a workforce of around 105 employees made up of three subsidiaries. There’s the umbrella company, Cynon Taf, and then underneath that you have Care and Repair and Down to Zero. Down to Zero is a fairly new initiative (although one that’s been in the works for a while) focused on working with tenants, staff, local communities and volunteers to get down to carbon zero and tackle climate change. It’s a really interesting initiative and is proving super popular.
It sounds like it! We’d love to know, what was the catalyst that made you want to change roles?
I wasn't looking in the first place but the company that I was working for went into liquidation and I unfortunately was made redundant. I was an HR Officer at the time, but my manager had a feeling something was happening and resigned. I was therefore given the opportunity to become interim manager in the department; which was a great experience, but I wasn’t really ready. When I started to look for roles elsewhere, I wanted to take a step up, but not to manager level, so I started to explore advisor and partner positions.
I did line up a few interviews for permanent roles, with one actually being a lower level role but it came with loads of benefits. While I didn’t love the idea of side stepping, I knew I could work my way up if necessary. That’s when I was contacted about this agency role.
I felt so confused, but Sam and the team at Moxie made me feel like there was no pressure and that the choice and control was totally in my hands.
What was it that caught your attention about this role?
A big plus was that I’d never worked for housing associations before, and it seemed like something I would really enjoy. Plus, the role was an immediate start and I’d already been out of work for a few weeks. It was a step up from my last role and just felt like a bit of something different! I also asked if there was the opportunity to do a few less hours over a four day week - an idea that Sam confirmed they would be happy to offer.
On reflection, I also got a lovely impression from my now manager, Clare, during our Teams interview. She seemed so relaxed and friendly and gave off that vibe about the company. The process was super quick and simple - one informal interview with minimal stress. And the money was good, too… which, let's face it, always helps!
Oh, it absolutely does. How was the entire process working with Moxie?
It was great. Sam came across really helpful and was never pushy. It was very informal, to be honest, like a chat with a friend. I really appreciated that as it minimised any nerves or stress I might have been feeling.
He never tried to shoehorn me into the role. Even when I wasn’t sure, we spoke and he asked me to take the time to consider what mattered to me, and why I might choose this role over the other ones. He didn’t want an answer on the phone, he just wanted me to go away and think about it.
The thing is, it works in an agency’s favour to be like that. This was an agency role, and if they pushed me into a position that I wasn’t going to love, chances are I could get up and leave which would only look bad on them. As it is, I love the role - so it’s all gone the right way for everyone.
What are your plans now you are in the role?
Like I said, I’m really enjoying where I am. There’s so much freedom here. I came from a very structured environment and coming into this one - where it’s super relaxed - has been interesting as I’ve had the space to put new structures and processes in place.
The plan is for this role to come out as permanent, and when it does, I’ll be keen to apply for it. However, I’m not in any rush - sure I don’t currently get the benefits that go with the company, but I’m paid a decent wage on a weekly basis, so I’m rolling with it.
The next ‘thing’ will be to hire a middle person in between myself and Gemma. It’s definitely needed, as we need someone to take charge of the day-to-day HR tasks so I can put more attention into bigger projects. The great news is that I have now implemented the processes so that when recruitment does start, we’ll be ready and with everything in place.
That is great news - we’ll look forward to seeing what happens with your team. As always, we’d love to round off with a few words from you on your overall experience with Team Moxie?
It’s been great - I really can’t fault them. They were so helpful every step of the way, filling me in on the role and the company before I went to the interview so that I was 100% prepared. We’ve had a few conversations since then and they’ve always been friendly and relaxed. All in all, they were brilliant.
Time to say goodbye
Lisa, it’s been so much fun to work with you - the friendly vibes have definitely been two-sided! A huge thank you for taking the time to chat with us today and we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for when your role becomes permanent.
Looking for a new role in the housing sector?
If you’re looking to take the next step up the career ladder, we’d love to help you.
Head over to the job seekers section of our website and give us a bell if you’re searching for a recruitment rock that you can count on. We recruit for other fantastic roles in the HR space as well as wider housing support and management roles.
Make sure to also check out our other candidate stories, including the awesome Ross from Merthyr Valley Homes.