Q&A Aston Barclay’s Stephanie Grace

Car auction

Aston Barclay’s HR Director Stephanie Grace speaks to MotorPro about how the business has adapted it’s approach during the COVID-19 pandemic and how it’s supporting its staff

How do you source talent for your organisation?

We aim to recruit talent directly, sourcing candidates from a range of platforms including our website, social media and job boards. The HR team work closely with the recruiting manager to find the best possible candidates. During lockdown, we have embraced virtual selection processes and even had key appointments join during lockdown who had never met their teams face to face until the offices reopened. An unusual induction process for everybody, but a proven success story.

What are the key education and training requirements for people entering your company?

We offers employment opportunities across a broad range disciplines however our recruitment processes seek to find individuals that share the company’s values and who will provide exceptional customer service. As well as investing at recruitment stage, we also support our employees’ development throughout their career offering a range of training and development programmes.

What is your staff turnover figure?

It continues to fluctuate as we have been delivering a change in structure over the past 18 months which has seen all our central services such as IT, HR, Health and Safety and Finance move to our Wakefield head office.

How many apprenticeships do run and in what areas of the business?

We have a number of apprentices across all areas including transport and administration. We also run an in-house auctioneering academy to upskill employees who have an interest in moving into auctioneering which is led by our Head of Vehicle Sales. We have recently appointed a new Group Auctioneer from the programme. We have a strong track record of developing our apprentices with many now in managerial or supervisory positions across the group.

You’ve continued hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic, but what impact has it had on the apprenticeships?

Training providers were extremely supportive, working with us to ensure the apprenticeships continued throughout lockdown. We took time during lockdown evolving our learning and development offering to ensure learning is accessible remotely, limiting the impact of COVID-19, but also providing a more flexible approach in the future.

Recent months have proven leadership skills are paramount to a successful business, what development programmes do you run?

As a business we take pride on our ability to change. Changes we’ve made over the last 18 months have proven successful during lockdown, and our leaderships teams have played a key part in driving these successes. Our recently launched leadership development programme will give current and future leaders the skills and tools they need to lead their teams through change and turn potential into performance. The programme is a blended approach of assessment, feedback, specific development courses, and networking events to inspire a culture of high performance.

What is your key focus for the next six months?

We have gone through 18 months of change, so over the coming months it’s all about supporting our teams through the ongoing challenges COVID-19 continues to bring, both personally and professionally. With a number of colleagues still working flexibly and often remotely we have been working hard to maintain the Aston Barclay culture and engagement in a new, very different world. We’ve increased the frequency of communications sent to our employees and adopted new technologies which mean communications can be accessed across any device at any time.