Five minutes with… Juliet Vermeulen, HR Manager, Global Corporate Challenge

Juliet Vermeulen talks business growth, getting out of her corporate comfort zone and the benefits of side-step career moves.

Juliet Vermeulen talks business growth, getting out of her corporate comfort zone and the benefits of side-step career moves.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? 
It’s hard to narrow it down, but I think it’s to acknowledge that you don’t, can’t, and shouldn’t have all the answers. This profession is constantly redefining itself and relying on ‘the way I’ve always done it’ is a high road to nowhere. Move with the times because the world of employment is constantly changing. The other one that jumps out is that if, as an HR generalist, you ever lose your empathy, it’s time for a career change.
What challenges do you think HR will face in the next 10 years? 
Rebranding ourselves as key enablers of growth and commercial results and ensuring we’re living up to that. I think we will see a lot more ambitious HR practitioners taking side-steps into business operations to help develop their commercial nous.

I also think HR will need to begin paying a lot more attention to new, emerging technologies, innovations and global trends and how to harness these to support their employer brands. The modern white collar workforce is looking for authenticity, balance and a purpose they can get behind. This is the number one thing that continues to attract candidates to Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) in some very tough markets. The employers who will win will be those who communicate what they stand for and why it’s so important in the most compelling way. Benefits and compensation in the traditional sense will (and should) become hygiene factors to engagement and purpose.
What is the most interesting aspect of your role? 
The opportunity and importance of aligning GCC internally to be a shining example of what we stand for out in the market: proud to shout about the impact of a healthy, rewarding, balanced life on the individual and the virtuous cycle that creates for organisations in terms of engagement and the bottom line. That, coupled that with the great responsibility of playing a fundamental role in an organisation that will continue to pave the way for the future of workplace health and performance. Growing 50% year on year and touching millions of lives worldwide is compelling enough to get me jumping out of bed every morning.
What do you feel is your biggest professional achievement to date?
Taking a bit of a risk in moving well out of my ‘big corporate comfort zone’ into a completely new environment, culture and a new role that was largely for me to define, and maintaining my resilience through the first, most challenging year of doing that.
How would you sum up HR professionals in two words?
Should disrupt
Complete this sentence: If I weren’t in HR, I’d be…walking dogs.  

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