March 2024

IWD Meet Helen Shocker, Hamberley's Head of Recruitment

Despite challenges, Helen has been leading the HR team with determination and creating a culture of inclusivity where everyone's voice is heard. As we approach International Womens Day, we sat down with Helen to learn more about her journey to success, how she climbed the corporate ladder, and her advice for aspiring female leaders.

What year did you join the Hamberley team?

I joined in January 2023 as Head of Recruitment for the group and have since worked with our Chief Executive, Paul Hill as part of the SLT team.

Before joining HCH, I worked in financial services for a large insurance company before venturing back into healthcare recruitment. I describe it as my respite period before I stepped back into the industry that I enjoy working in.

What was it about Hamberley that made you want to be part of the team?

I joined HCH because the values of the company resonate to that of my own, and I genuinely feel that all at HCH want to deliver exceptional care to our residents. I’ve worked in healthcare recruitment for over 13 years now, and I have great pride in working in a sector that is rewarding not just for those who deliver direct care to residents. It is a wonderful and wholesome feeling knowing that you’ve been able to support someone fulfil their dream, achieve their careers goals or simply be the starting point in a such a wonderful career in care. We have a team of remarkable individuals, who are all from different walks of life and have one common goal together to serve our residents.

How long have you worked in the care industry?

I started my career in agency recruitment over a decade ago, venturing into consultancy work and then moved into an inhouse recruitment role at Sunrise Senior Living and Gracewell Healthcare, where I worked there for 6 years before the business ceased operations of its homes in the UK.

What challenges have you faced along the way?

Recruitment in healthcare isn’t easy, we know that there are a few factors that impact us as a business and it’s mainly because of the challenging market. The competition is fierce and not just within the industry, there is a war on talent and trends economically and financially within the UK impact us. Companies like HCH/INS/HNC offer stability despite the uncertainty.

If you have any advice for any women who would like to be in a leadership role in the future, what advice would you give them?

For me, it’s about understanding what you’d like to achieve, what kind of leader you’d like to be and most importantly what you want to give as a leader. For some, leadership comes to them naturally and for others it comes through learning, having a role model and coaching yourself. Reflection is key in a leadership role, a decision you make isn’t just about how it impacts you, but rather how it impacts your team, the business and everyone around you.

What do you think are the most important qualities of a successful leader?

I think effective leadership requires the ability to inspire, motivate, some patience, and the ability to be agile to support others effectively.

Who are some of your female role models?

To name a few, Emmeline Pankhurst, Amanda Blanc, Aviva CEO, Indra Noori, PepsiCo CEO.

How do you maintain a work-life balance in a high-pressure leadership role?

Coffee, a lot of wine, a sense of humour, my husband’s guiding wisdom, a good peer network and my strong sense of responsibility. Everything I do has an impact on our residents, and I want to do things right. We can sometimes forget our place, drift away from the purpose of our roles but it’s important that we all know our residents are in the centre of everything… We do it for them, their families, our own HCH/HNC/INS family.