Get to know Cathy McCosker, HR Advisor at Reality HR.

You’re one of our newest team members – tell us a little about yourself.

I joined Reality HR towards the end of 2019, but I’ve been in HR a long time! I started my career in resourcing and then spent a couple of years in a recruitment-focused HR role for an advertising agency. Before coming here, I spent 12 years in an HR role for De La Rue, which became Portals De La Rue and is the company that manufactures banknote paper.

What experience did that role give you?

I worked on site at the paper mill – there was an HR team of five of us working across 500 employees, many of them on shift patterns, so it was fast-paced! That was a very broad, employee-focused role and during my time there I saw lots of change. We dealt with any issues around misconduct, performance and sickness absence and spent a lot of time working with managers to support them in how to deal with issues first-hand. We also handled a lot of recruitment and more recently stress and mental health came to the fore.

How is life as a consultant at Reality HR different?

Going from being in-house to external consultancy is quite a change but it’s an exciting one and I like to think my experience has left me well-equipped to deal with whatever is thrown at me! Previously I learned all about one set of employees and one client, and now there are many more, but I the team here pride themselves on getting to know the businesses they work for very well.

On a personal level what attracted me was the variety of clients and issues I need to support them with. The company’s approach to work-life balance was a massive positive to me, as like many of the team I work part-time.

Also, I’d been somewhere for a very long time at the same every desk every day so the fact that this is so different, and that I can use my skills in a different way, is an exciting new challenge.

Going back to the start, how did you first get into the world of HR?

I did a history and politics degree and was in my third year and thinking about getting a job. I realised I liked dealing with people, so as a 21-year-old I thought let’s try HR – and that was that. I’ve been doing it one way or other another ever since. To be in HR it’s essential to have a real interest in people – the way they behave and interact, what motivates them and is important to them in their work life, so this is a very rewarding career for me.

What do you get up to when you are not working?

I’ve got two girls who are aged six and four, so when I’m not working, I’m a full-on mum! It’s really important to have balance in life – it’s sometimes difficult to achieve but when I get the chance I like to go for a run, and I play hockey for Winchester, so that’s when I get “my time”.