Sharon Handy

Consulting HR Director | Reading

London (City), London (Mayfair), London (Canary Wharf)

Sharon Handy Photo

Sharon is an experienced HR Director and Business Partner who has built and managed high-performing HR teams internationally.


Sharon was my UK HR Business partner at Progress Software. She was professional, supportive, insightful, knowledgeable, and always very approachable - at all times. And always happy to make suggestions to explore an alternative approach to a situation, which I greatly appreciated.
(Mark Spiteri Chief Research and Development Office Progress Software)

Sharon is a dynamic, detail oriented and consummate HR professional. Her leadership through significant change and reorganization was exemplary.
(John Melo Chief Human Resources Officer Roche) 

Sharon is a true Business Partner, with a never-ending enthusiasm for problem-solving and finding solutions in the most challenging of situations. Her commercial focus and very strong interpersonal skills are coupled with her ability to analyse extremely complex detail, and she has a strong desire to understand and learn more about any new situation.
(Ushi Nightingale Senior Director HR 

Sharon is an exemplary senior HR professional and a trusted business partner to the VP staff in the region.

Her valuable insight always helped in dealing with HR issues at both strategic and tactical levels, with a positive and refreshing viewpoint on how to get the best out of people and set the standard for how HR can add real value to the good management of an international organisation.
(Russ Cockburn Director SPB)


An experienced Consulting HR Director, Sharon helps businesses from PLCs, to fast growing tech businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups align their people strategies with their business needs and goals -  making the most of their most important assets, their employees.

With much of her career spent supporting organisations across Europe, The Americas, Middle East, Africa and Asia she has first-hand experience of best practice used to help organisations adapt and grow successfully as well the cultural and political understanding and sensitivities needed to compete in challenging and diverse environment.

Enabling organisations to make the most of their human capital, she has a track record of understanding complex business environments and delivering people strategies and solutions to meet changing demands and needs. Her experience working across industries as an HR Director and Business Partner ensures that she understands both the strategic and the operational practicalities of delivering HR solutions within an organisation. From understanding the resource limitation’s and time constraints when rolling out new HR systems, to ensuring communication is continuous and appropriate to all stakeholders, keeping people informed and involved throughout.

Add to this her experience of talent management, managing change and driving employee engagement within a range of industry sectors and she definitely has the full range of HR hats.

Specialisms include:

  • Organisational design and process improvement
  • Change management (including reorganisations and rightsizing)
  • Talent management
  • Employee engagement
  • Employee relations
  • Outsourced HR services


Engagement and change management

Organisations where employees are engaged and emotionally attached to their place of work, job role, position within their organisation, colleagues and culture continually out-perform their peers. With much of her career spent working in industries and in businesses undergoing considerable change and in highly competitive and fluid markets, Sharon is passionate about ensuring employees are fully committed to their employer, its strategy and success

Recent work includes:

  • Implementing a cross functional employee engagement team within a medium sized business, wanting to leverage its employees experience in improving communication and solving business challenges with creative solutions.
  • Designing and implementing content and approach for a platform to build employee engagement through improved, cross functional communication and knowledge sharing. 
  • Developing and implementing engagement surveys and net-promoter surveys within sectors ranging from software to publishing. 


Business Integrations and TUPE transfers

Successfully guiding organisations through transformational mergers and acquisitions is an area that Sharon has notable experience of, and in particular getting them ‘day one ready’ through involving HR fully in commercial conversations from the offset. This has the added benefit of avoiding limiting commercial restrictions later down the line. Areas she regularly assists with and advises on include due diligence, consultation processes, employee integrations as well as cultural change management.

Recent work includes:

  • Managing a TUPE consultation process for a software business being acquired by a market leader. Work ensured that key talent was retained through the essential continuation of the client’s flexible and innovative working practices alongside the IP transaction.
  • Working with an executive team to ensure that the proposed changes resulting from a major acquisition and subsequent reorganisation were fully understood at senior management and operational levels. This included the development of communication plans and implementation of briefing programmes to support the transition.


Talent management and acquisition

Accurately anticipating, planning and attracting the right talent is an area where many organisations have established processes.  The world of work is changing, and the need for businesses to think differently about how they attract AND retain their talent is increasing.

Sharon works with businesses to help them understand their current talent capabilities and plan retention and attraction strategies to meet future requirements. This includes helping organisations to develop:

  • A clear understanding of the people element of their organisation’s current and future business strategies.
  • An accurate picture of the key gaps between the talent in place and the talent required to drive business success.
  • A talent management plan to close the talent gaps.

Recent work includes:

  • Developing heat maps of core and new skills and knowledge areas within a sales organisation needing to adapt from product to solution sales.
  • Developing and putting in place an innovative performance review process enabling the client to move away from divisive performance ratings and annual discussions, to quarterly conversations and business focused goals. This also involved managing the launch and subsequent roll out of the new processes as well as preparing senior leadership team communications.
  • Helping an organisation create a tailored interview process to reduce time to hire and improve hiring decisions, resulting in reducing the new hire turnover rate by 50% and overall turnover from 30% to 15%.


Employee relations

People are the most important part of any business. No organisation can run effectively without them and the benefits of proactively managing relationships in the workplace are understood by most employers - specifically to keep the organisation functioning smoothly, avoiding problems, and making sure that employees continue to performing at their best.

Sharon has considerable hands on experience of dealing with complicated employee relations matters -  from conducting investigation and handling grievances for clients, through to supporting them with their organisation design and structure and handling redundancies and consultation processes at all levels.

Sharon helps organisations achieve this by:

  • Providing proactive support with managers and HR teams to identify and resolve conflict before formal issues arise.
  • Conducting investigations and providing clear grievance and disciplinary investigation reports that enable managers to correctly deal with the concerns raised.
  • Coaching managers and leaders in giving difficult messages and feedback to individuals and teams.

Recent examples include:

  • Conducting an investigation and providing a report on allegations made through a whistle blowing hotline relating to bullying and racial harassment.
  • Grievance investigation into a complex alleged bullying situation within a large organisation.
  • Supporting a manager with a capability process after role requirements had changed and no longer aligned with the individuals experience or career goals.


Mediation

An integral part of her experiences has been working with individuals and teams to tackle conflict and issues. 

The (introduction to) mediation training course Sharon has developed has been successful in encouraging managers and HR teams to use mediation as a way of resolving issues before they become formal grievances or reach the disciplinary stage. Recent examples include:

  • Running a training session to introduce mediation to an organisation that had high levels of formal grievances. The session covered the benefits of mediation and a mediation process as well as looking at some of the practical skills required and was run to encourage earlier intervention and provide confidence and ability to conduct informal mediations.
  • Presenting at an Independent Schools Conference on Conflict Management, providing practical advice, aimed at HR professionals, who need to coach managers in dealing with conflict within their teams. 


Wellbeing and mental health

With over 25 million working days lost in the UK due to work related ill health and over 60% of this caused by stress, depression or anxiety the operational and financial benefits of having a well-functioning wellbeing and mental health plan are clear. Sharon is a passionate advocate and supporter of wellbeing and mental health in the workplace, and regularly helps organisations address this through developing and putting in place wellness plans and raising awareness of mental health at work. This includes programmes designed to help managers and teams support individuals returning to work after absences which is an area of particular interest for her.

Recent examples include:

  • Coaching a manager with a team member suffering from depression. This included increasing the manager’s understanding of the illness and its effect on the individual; to helping them to talk to the broader team and build a supportive environment for the person to successfully return.


Coaching and mentoring

Providing both formal and informal support and guidance to help executives through to managers and new staff develop their skills and careers is a continuing focus for Sharon. Benefits these produce for organisations include:

  • Ability to coach high performing managers in areas where they may still need support, with it being perceived as a positive investment by individual and company.
  • Targeted focus on improvements and goals which can be measured.


International experience

With an international HR background, Sharon has worked with organisations and managers across the globe providing advice and guidance in handling people matters, and rolling out global projects. This has included complex restructures and employee relations matters, where she has also worked with international legal advisers, including our Ellint partner in France, as well as providing day to day HR support and rolling out new benefit packages, performance review processes and, of course, hiring and onboarding local talent.

Countries Sharon has worked in include:

  • Europe: Ireland, Italy, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden
  • North America: Canada, USA
  • South America: Brazil, Mexico
  • Middle East: Dubai, Saudi Arabia
  • Africa: Morocco, South Africa
  • Asia: Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore


Professional memberships and qualifications

  • Member of Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD)
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Personnel Management


Recent articles include:


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