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Tuesday Transformation - Rashida Beckles

Group Training & Culture Development Officer, Ocean Hotels Group and Chickmont Foods Limited

Who is Rashida Beckles?

A fun-loving, dynamic person with an innate desire to build people up and give back wherever I can. Dedicated, creative, positive and supportive, I highlight and celebrate the value of life.

I am also a high-impact, Training & Engagement Specialist with a strong passion for the development of people through, training, best practices, mentorship and success celebrations hence my career in Human Resources.

What does a typical day for you involve?

Wow, to put it into words is a task on its own as each day is dynamic. You can have the most organized to-do list and then something pops up which may consume half of your day.

Organizing training, capturing & promoting colleague moments, identifying opportunities, attending meetings, arranging logistics, partnership prospects for employee development, seeking initiatives for colleague wellness, health & safety, hearings, data entry and the list goes on…

What I must say is that HR can look different in various organisations and different sectors. It depends on the value placed on HR and the overall business objectives & organizational culture.

Why did you choose the field of Human Resources?

I often remark that the field of Human Resources (HR) chose me, as despite having completed my studies in Sociology from the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill Campus) and attaining my MSc in Social Policy & Social Research from the University of Southampton I was still indecisive on whether to venture into Community & Youth Development or Social Anthropology.

An opportunity presented itself and I was recruited to assist with administrative duties associated with a hotel closure and my HR foundation started there. While the initial scope involved significant paperwork there was a spark which garnered as I saw the ability to make my mark by being personable and meticulous despite the nature of the assignment.

From there I went on to be the first Human Resources Coordinator for a reputable all-inclusive hotel chain, the first Talent & Culture Officer for an International hotel brand and now the first Group Training & Culture Development Officer for a collection of companies.

Human Resources allows me to put my skills, education, experience, exposure and personality into practice with the gratification of seeing people and organisations develop as a result of my impact.

From as young as I can remember I had this desire to help people which led to me being heavily involved in Community & Social Groups such as Key Club, Environmental Club, Barbados Youth Development Council & the National HIV/AIDS Youth Committee in my younger years.

Over time my civic responsibility saw me as a member of the Business & Professional Women’s Club, Global Shapers, Constituency Council, Junior Chambers International and other community organisations.

What advice would you give someone who is interested in pursuing a career in Human Resources?

You have to love what you do, it may seem cliché but often times you have to be your own cheerleader. Therefore the drive, enthusiasm & satisfaction often have to come from within you.

I believe it is key to know your strengths and also areas for growth to help lead & develop on your journey. Know that communication, ethics, commitment, flexibility, adaptable, time management, teamwork, leadership, passion, innovation, consistency, objectivity are just some of the core characteristics for a great HR professional. It is essential not to take things personal as you execute your job, as you will not always be in the popularity circle as you are on the middle of the balancing beam.

HR is also there to create, promote & adhere to policies, procedures, strategy, training and programmes to propel the organization forward and meet its objectives. We are the glue between the employee and employer partnership…’the heartbeat’ so to speak.

Remember that HR captures the lifetime of an employee in an organization, thus it also involves aspects of Labour, Compensation, Benefits, Health & Safety, Policy, Organisational Behavior, Culture, Decision Making & Administrative duties. On the more progressive front it includes; Wellness, Technology, Analysis, Retention, Risk Management, Emotional Intelligence, Diversity & Inclusion to name a few.

There are many young professionals on the job market with no experience. Any advice?

Certainly, research is key we live in an age of technology and can attain so much information, resources and data. Have an idea of where you want to work, what are the company values and skill requirements for success in that organization.

Identify the various careers out there, many careers have diversified and others are evolving in the face of the current health & economic situation. Seek to understand the skills required in various jobs across different sectors.

Additionally, volunteering builds character and exposes you to varying levels of growth, thus join a group, even during COVID-19 try following one of them on social media.

Know what areas you require growth in many can identify their strengths but not their gaps. Watch documentaries, follow people of positive leadership, motivation and influence on social media.

Update your curriculum vitae, do a free online course, practice interview techniques… use what you have to enhance yourself while identifying your goals. Have a plan A, B, C and D and know that sometimes you may not be successful in one area but be self-aware enough, do some introspection to identify what went wrong and what you could do differently.

Know that the journey will not always be straightforward but it is key to appreciate the lessons learnt along with those experiences to make you dynamic and that you can relate on different perspectives.

How much value do Human Resource professionals place on professional development?

A high amount, as working knowledge is essential on a day to day basis. Therefore it is not only about certificates and hard skills but soft skills, staying abreast or ahead of trends, expanding reach and networks. There is a fundamental role to practice what you preach (for me) thus if I am trying to show colleagues how to enhance themselves, upskill, see their talents then I too must look for ways to lead by example and stay current.

Over the years then bolstering myself perusing studies in Labour & Employment Relations, Training & Development (amongst others) and completing my certification as a Professional in Human Resources International (PHRi).

My portfolio now spans culture, training, engagement and development as many organisations realize that people have the talent and are the wheels on the ground that execute the various tasks which make the operation function, successful and sustainable.

What does success mean to you?

Wow… Success personally is being able to fulfil my purpose.

It is about leaving a positive impression, encouraging others to be better & helping others where I can. It is being reflective and always improving.

Professionally, success for me is being part of the new ethos of what Human Resources can be, highlighting & bringing continued value to the profession.

We’re curious, what are your two (2) guilty pleasures?

Only two…hmmm let’s see food (so pizza & ice-cream) and dancing (always jigging)


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