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Talks with Sarah Hamilton

We caught up with our Head of HR Operations Sarah, to find out a little bit about her, her team and the importance of mental health awareness week. 

Tell us a little bit about your role, and how you’re finding Harrods.
I am the Head of HR Operations, which means I look after the Workday Team, People Support, Reward and Benefits, and Occupational Health Services. From the moment I started working for Harrods back in December, I felt the magic, even though I have primarily been working remotely, the passion and the love that colleagues have for the brand just shines through every interaction. The times I have been in the store has just strengthened that feeling even more, when I see the effort, time and love that we put into making Harrods what it is, it just makes me want to do the best possible job I can so I can keep up with everyone else! 

What does the ‘’art of the possible” mean to you and how does it show up for you in your teams? 
For me, it means that nothing is off the table in terms of ideas, creativity or suggestions. If we feel that we need to do something, and it will benefit Harrods and our people, we need to do it.  It could be easy in some areas in my team to keep doing what we have always done or get lost in a world of process, but I want to see my team listening more to our colleagues and leaders, and delivering HR services in a way that matters to them and empowers them to get on with their jobs.

Which one of our people values resonate the most with you and why?
It would be Strive to Exceed.  I know personally, I am quite achievement-focused, I have learnt to balance it over the years!  But I know that constantly pushing myself to be better, reflecting on what I have done and thinking about how I can challenge myself, keeps me motivated.  But the best thing is that moment on someone’s face when you exceed their expectations, it just makes you feel that all your effort has been worthwhile. 

How are you finding working from home? Any tips for us?
I found it quite difficult at first, I was used to keeping work and home very separate, both physically and mentally. I have four children so working from home meant that life and work crossed over.  What really helped me was still being strict about my time for work and time for home, but also talking to my children about what it means for me to work from home and how they can help me to be a good mum but also good at my job.   

This week is mental health awareness week, and the theme is connecting with nature, what do you like to do to experience nature? 
I’m am a very outdoors person!  I live in Yorkshire and we are surrounded by beautiful countryside.  So I spend so much time as possible out walking and I do the Yorkshire three peaks every year with three generations of my family.  I also run five times a week, no headphones, no music, just switch off and get outside running.  I also love outdoor swimming, we holiday in the UK a couple of times a year, often camping, and one of the first things I do is to find the best outdoor swimming spots near to where we are staying! 

Can you tell us something about yourself that most people will not know or surprise us?
My partner and I have just bought an amazing 45-year-old vintage Renault Estafette van. We have had it converted into a pop-up coffee and cake bar.  It will be my partner’s business day-to-day but the whole family will get involved at some point, we are particularly looking forward to taking it to festivals this summer.  We love to camp and festivals are such good fun and a great experience for the children.

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