This Episode: HRD Insights with Dan Simpson

In this HR Uprising episode, Lucinda is joined by Dan Simpson, Head of People and Leadership in Europe at Siemens. They explore a variety of topics, mainly discussing Dan’s journey and career progression through the world of HR. In addition, they also explore the benefits and drawbacks of working for a large global organisation. Overall, providing key HRD insights that can be applied at all levels of HR.


Key Takeaways

  • Dan’s experience in people began in Sainsbury’s, where he joined the staff council in the hopes of bolstering his CV. His provocative questions and initiative saw to it that a career in HR began soon afterwards.
  • One of the most valuable lessons learned early on was that no-one in the HR world should deem to know their people if they don’t know how the business itself works from top to bottom.
  • HR is about being a partner to the business, and helping the business build the capability it needs to deliver its own promises to its stakeholders.
  • Relationships have been key to not just Dan’s career, but the growth of the HR industry in general. HR is all about leveraging the most useful and talented members of a business in order to make it stronger.
  • The danger of scanning the outside and bringing it in is that context can be lost along the way. Context is extremely important when trying to design things that make sense to your environment.
  • When it comes to diversity and inclusion, advocacy is never enough. With the help of his team, Dan was able to provide data-based conclusions in order to promote these vital causes in business.
  • The trick of great organisational development (O.D.) is to frame the problem around “generative images”. Decide where you are now, and encourage people to describe it to you with the problems that go with that.

Best Moments

  • ‘Two weeks later I found myself in an assessment centre’
  • ’Never let anyone near a HR office, if they don’t know how the business works’
  • ‘Assessment centres and development centres are still the closest match you will get to a real-world event’
  • ’Sometimes you have those crossroad moments where you have to make that call’
  • ‘I had a real challenge getting Siemens to buy into diversity and inclusion’
  • ‘Unconscious bias training is like one of those wearable devices you put on your wrist’
  • ‘It’s so important to maintain your perspective, even in the heat of the moment’

Valuable Resources

About The Guest

Dan Simpson began his career at Sainsbury’s, having been talent-spotted by the HR Director and invited onto the graduate programme. Whilst at Sainsbury’s, Dan worked as a graduate trainee manager, executive assistant to a senior Director as well as the Personnel and Training Manager of two stores.

Consequently, Dan left Sainsbury’s to join Siemens in their UK corporate HR talent management team. He became the Head of HR for Siemens Wind Power in the UK and then moved back into a corporate role to become the Head of Talent for the UK and Northwest Europe.

Following this assignment, he was appointed as the Head of People & Leadership across Europe and served as a member of the Siemens Global Talent Expert team. Certainly, he is passionate about diversity and inclusion, leading on this for Siemens in the UK and globally throughout his career.

In 2020, Dan will join the new Siemens Energy company as it prepares to be listed as a separate company in the autumn. He will jointly lead the global expert team for Organisational Development, focusing on building an enterprise succession and diversity concept.

Away from work, he is passionate about politics, Star Wars, comic book movies as well as Arsenal FC. In addition, Dan lives with his wife and two children in Surrey.

About The Host

Lucinda Carney is a Business Psychologist with 15 years in Senior Corporate L&D roles and a further 10 as CEO of Actus Software where she worked closely with HR colleagues helping them to solve the same challenges across a huge range of industries. It was this breadth of experience that inspired Lucinda to set up the HR Uprising community to facilitate greater collaboration across HR professionals in different sectors, helping them to ‘rise up’ together.

“When we look up we rise up”

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