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Hannah Waddington

Hannah Waddington on resourceful purpose

By Hannah Waddington

Founder, Maru HR

Hannah Waddington has a musical background, but it is notes of morality which have inspired her to create Maru HR – human resources recruitment business with purpose.

Focusing on a people centric culture to fulfil senior level HR roles nationwide, Maru is backed by TIMESTWO, a specialist investment business for recruitment entrepreneurs.

On the eve of the launch of her new business, Hannah shared how she is using intuition and integrity to deliver HR that makes a difference to both individual, industry and the economy at large.

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What do you find compelling about specialist HR recruitment?

HR recruitment is an exciting space to be in, because working practices are changing rapidly and HR is at the centre of it.

Really important subjects like inclusion and diversity, mental health and wellbeing, and transformation, all have HR at their heart. So, I think HR’s remit is going to grow and become more holistic and strategic.

These areas also mean a lot to me personally. People are now really seeing that, from a mental health and wellbeing perspective, happier employees are more productive, and more diverse teams produce better results. It's the right thing to do, but it also has a real business benefit and that's where having the right HR leaders in place can make a difference.

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges for the sector right now?

The challenge with HR isn’t finding enough people, it’s drilling down to who the best candidate is. With HR, a lot of it is about the person and softer skills like their stakeholder management and how they communicate. That's the kind of recruitment I really enjoy, where you have to get to know that person and use intuition and experience to know whether or not someone's the right candidate.

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"Technology can be used to make sure that people are using their skills properly, unlocking the opportunities within the human capital of an organisation."

What role do you see yourself having in shaping the future of HR beyond recruitment?

Purpose is so important when you start an organisation, and my purpose is to help HR directors create the impact they need to shape better workplaces in the future.

But recruitment companies have to be quite careful. We can’t start writing diversity policies for organisations, that’s not our job. What we can do is help businesses collaborate and share ideas. We’ve got hundreds of HR directors trying to do the same thing, so we can facilitate them talking, give insight, and help get buy-in for strategies by showing the return-on-investment others have had.

To support us in this role, a key partner of Maru HR is The HR World, which is another TIMESTWO Investments company that runs a networking and problem sharing platform through hosting events and thought leadership reports. This is a real USP in the market.

Are there any issues in the realm of HR and recruitment that should be talked about more?

The conversation around artificial intelligence and machine learning needs a much more progressive mindset. It can be seen as threatening people’s jobs, but technology is never going to replace humans and instead can free up individuals so that they can use the skills that are unique to them.

There are lots of amazing platforms out there – technical assessment tools like verbal reasoning, or psychometric testing, which can discover unknown skills. Technology can be used to make sure that people are using their skills properly, unlocking the opportunities within the human capital of an organisation.

"Purpose is so important when you start an organisation; and my purpose is to help HR Directors have the impact that they need."

Hannah Waddington, Founder of Maru HR

What is the origin of the name Maru HR?

Maru means circle in Japanese and so the name represents a cyclical and all-encompassing HR service. There was also a spiritual being called Maru who taught people how to build ships and so it has a connection to the ship-building history of Southampton.

Can you tell us about your work as a volunteer?

I volunteer for a local Southampton charity called Communicare. There are lots of very lonely people and Communicare is a befriending service. Volunteers are matched with an older lady or gentleman who you befriend and spend time with. It’s an incredible charity, they’ve got a long waiting list of people that need befriending and I would highly recommend it.

Who inspires you?

I have just finished Michelle Obama’s book. She’s incredible. She’s done some amazing work and works incredibly hard. The thing I love about her is that at the centre of everything she does is such a huge purpose-driven philosophy, and that’s the kind of person that I would love to emanate in some small way.