Head of HR Foods UK

Date: 27-Nov-2022

Location: Leek, United Kingdom

Company: Ornua Co-operative Limited



Ornua is a dairy co-operative which sells dairy products on behalf of its Members, Ireland’s dairy processors and, in turn, Irish dairy farmers.  It is Ireland’s largest exporter of Irish dairy products, exporting to 110 countries worldwide.  Headquartered in Dublin, it has annualised sales of over €2.3 billion and a global team of 2,850 employees.  Ornua operates from 10 business units worldwide, including 16 production facilities, and has sales and marketing teams working in-market across all four corners of the globe. 
The Group is structured across two divisions: Ornua Foods and Ornua Ingredients. 
Ornua Foods is responsible for the marketing and sales of Ornua’s consumer brands including Kerrygold, Dubliner, Pilgrims Choice, Kerrygold, Avantage, Forto, and BEO.  Markets are served by production facilities and in-market sales and marketing teams in Africa, Asia, Germany, Ireland, the UK, the rest of Europe, the Middle East, and the US. 
Ornua Ingredients is responsible for the procurement of Irish and non-Irish dairy products and for the sale of dairy ingredients to food manufacturing and foodservice customers across the world.  Ornua Ingredients is also responsible for managing volatility through de-risking and trading strategies. The business is supported by production facilities in Saudi Arabia, Spain, the UK, the US and by in-market teams in Africa and the Middle East. 



At Ornua, our Values guide us as we work together and care for each other to achieve great things. Our five values, and their underlying behaviours, encourage us to Seek and Embrace New Ideas, Make It Happen, Be Our True Selves, Show You Care and Achieve Great Things Together. 


Job summary:


To oversee the implementation of the Global HR strategy for Ornua Foods UK, ensuring it is aligned to, and supportive of, business growth and objectives.  Be the voice of HR at the local Executive Team table, providing appropriate support, coaching, advice and challenge to senior management.  


Key Areas of Responsibility:


  • Devise and implement a People Plan for the business which is aligned to the business strategy and local business plans, in close collaboration with key stakeholders e.g. local Executive Team, Global HR Director, local HR Business Partners.


  • Play a strong leadership role as a member of the local Ornua Foods UK Executive Team, that is responsible for business strategy and direction.


  • Lead a high-performing HR Team of Business Partners and HR specialists, while collaborating closely with the People Services Team and Ornua’s Global HR Centres of Excellence to maximize HR service delivery to the site.


  • Drive focus and improvements across the full employee lifecycle, including:
    • Attraction and retention, onboarding
    • Employee engagement, wellbeing and diversity and belonging
    • Enhancement of a high-performance oriented culture
    • Talent and succession planning
    • Talent and leadership development
    • Employee communications
    • Employee relations
    • Organisational development and change


  • Oversee the people aspect of change programmes and initiatives, ensuring such matters are handled in a constructive, timely and sensitive manner.   Successfully lead and implement employee engagement initiatives, harnessing their outcomes to leverage improved business performance.


  • Leadership development planning and delivery in cooperation with key stakeholders.  Coaching leaders and sourcing or delivering programmes to support their development.


  • Lead the local talent acquisition function, ensuring the correct resource planning is conducted to meet current and future business needs.  Ensure Ornua Foods UK is recognised as an employer of choice in the local community.
  • Provide expert and proactive advice to senior management and the business on ways to leverage talent to maximize business performance. 
  • Seek opportunities to further increase HR effectiveness and efficiency, via policies, practices and approaches across the broad spectrum of HR.


  • Oversee a calm and productive employee relations environment, through positive engagement with worker representatives and the appropriate training/upskilling of relevant managers and leaders.


  • In conjunction with the Reward Manager, ensure a fit for purpose reward strategy and framework is in place for Ornua Foods UK and oversee the smooth running of the annual pay review process.  Own the annual HR budgeting and headcount planning process, tracking the progress of same throughout the year.


  • Ensure regulatory, compliance and reporting requirements from a customer and other third party perspective in relation to people/HR are met at all times.


  • Play an active role as a senior member of the global Ornua HR community.


Key requirements:


  • A relevant HR (Bachelor’s level) degree (or relevant field) or post-graduate qualification.
  • Significant experience in a HR/people environment at a senior level.   
  • Excellent people leadership skills with a clear commitment to developing talent.
  • Prior experience in a manufacturing or Food/FMCG environment is desirable.
  • Demonstrated experience in organisational change programmes and resolving complex employee relations issues.
  • High levels of drive for achievement and initiative.
  • Strong stakeholder and relationship management skills with a track record of credibly advising and challenging senior leaders.
  • Excellent communication, influencing, interpersonal and teamwork skills, with a strong customer service focus and attitude.
  • Skilled across wide range of strategic HR practices, including: talent management, resourcing, development, employee relations, organisational development and change.


ornua competencies


  • FORWARD LOOKING: Leads others through change and contributes to competitive challenges and functional strategy plans.
  • CUSTOMER FOCUS: Advocates for the customer, balances customer and business needs and spots opportunities for growth.
  • OWNERSHIP: Empowers performance, ensures quality and delivery, reward initiative, courage and success and makes decisions about sustainable growth.
  • WORKING TOGETHER: Ensures own team effectiveness; facilitates and leads cross-functional working.














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