In The Human Resources Glossary, William R. Tracey defines Human Resources as “The people that staff and operate an organization,” as contrasted with the financial and material resources of a company. As a vital part of any organization, the role of Human Resource professionals is to ensure that employees be hired, satisfied, motivated, nurtured, developed, and retained for the long haul.

One of the most successful people in the field of Human Resources today is Investors in People Chairperson Janet Webster-Watson, whose insights on HR have become invaluable to organizations worldwide.

“You know how sometimes you don’t know how you’re going to do something but you know you want to do it?”

Trust your gut and do it anyway; and before you know it, you’ll realize that you’re actually doing it already. Gunning for your passion is one of the keys to finding success in any job, and this is what drove Janet to where she is today.

Fresh out of university in Manchester, she found herself working as a graduate trainee at one of the factories of a company in London, and that’s when she decided that she wanted to get into training. After fifteen years with the company, she moved onto the field of publication, but was soon antsy for a better organizational culture. Sometimes, roadblocks lead us to our ultimate passion, and that’s when Janet decided to build her own consultancy business that revolved around people management and leadership. Soon after, she got into Investors in People.

“To be here in the Philippines, working with some amazing people, what more could I ask for?”

It’s never too late to learn new things to help you grow in your chosen profession. Twenty years into IIP, Janet bagged her MBA in the UK. “A little late in my career, but it was a really fantastic thing to do,” she said. That MBA brought her to new heights in the HR field. Ultimately, working in the Philippines enabled her to meet some amazing people that catapulted her to the top of the HR game.

“What it really comes down to is wanting to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Human Resources is all about helping people reach their full potential in an organization. And with Investors in People, Janet finds herself being able to do just that. She finds excitement in going back to an organization she helped build from scratch two or three years down the road, and realizing that it’s not the same organization it was before — that it has become a better workplace in every sense of the word.

Read and learn. Learn and grow. Grow and read.

You’d think that with all she’s accomplished thus far, she’s done learning. But Janet knows that the only way to grow is by reading what other experts have to say about her field, and incorporating the wisdom into her job. 

She recommends three powerful books for HR decision makers, starting with Nancy Klein’s Time To Think, which is all about enabling people to think better. “She has worked out what it is that you can do to help another person think better than they’ve ever thought before.” This is an amazing skill to have in HR.

The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge is also a helpful tool that was published in back in 1990, but is years ahead of its time. According to Janet, it is filled with mind-blowing concepts in that make you go “Wow!” while reading its pages.

Finally, if you need help in being able to determine the easiest way to help people change the way they think, then Mindset by Carol Dwek should be on your nightstand today. This book not only helps if you’re a leader of an organization, but also if you’re a parent needing to know about the most effective way to speak to your children. Choosing the right words to say is key, says Janet, because the right words create the right mindset.

Human Resources is all about saying, “I’m going to be looking after my people’s physical well-being, mental well-being, and social well-being so that they live happier lives, more fulfilling lives, and longer lives.” And that’s exactly the kind of revolutionary change that Janet Webster-Watson is doing for organizations all over the world today.