Douglas Johnston founded HR Risk Management Ltd in October 2012. Based in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, where Douglas has lived and worked for close on 30 years, the company’s focus is on workplace conflict and resolution and employee relations
Douglas gave us an insight into his views on HR amongst other things
How did you get into HR?
I applied for a job as a Personnel Officer at a firm near Edinburgh. I got an interview and heard later that the job was mine, but then the company pulled the plug on it. So, I was downsized before I was even offered the post, which must be some sort of record. After that, I decided to go back to college and get a Personnel qualification and here I am.
Humour. Resilience. Respect. no Mindgames.
What’s the logo about?
It’s inspired by an actual structure that demonstrates that communities can find shared interests that help them resolve the conflict.
Tell us something most people don’t know about you?
A few years ago, I played in a charity football match at Easter Road Stadium, home of the mighty Hibernian FC. As a wee boy I always wanted to play for Hibs, so that was my ‘Field of Dreams’ moment.
Who do you most admire?
People who speak up. It’s the hardest thing to do.
What have you learned?
Listen to your instincts. It was one of the best bits of advice I’ve had.
Oxymoron of choice?
HR practitioners and Managers using procedures as an excuse for not making decisions.
On your tombstone?
I’m not ready to confront my own mortality yet, but I was told recently by someone I respect that I had ‘made a difference’ to them. I’d settle for that.
Who or what has influenced your life/career?
I’ve been affected by seeing wildlife in its natural surrounding over the last few years, but seeing Bruce Springsteen in the early eighties was also significant.
In what way?
It returned on my ‘performer’ gene, although it’s only in retrospect I’ve realized that.
What has influenced you in HR specifically?
Well, the performer gene is important in HR, but in 2000 I attended a presentation by an HR Officer from the Millennium Dome project. She talked very matter of factly about her role which was front line operational work, resolving problems with managers and staff. That helped me realize that where I really add value and make a difference, is when I’m working with managers on operational issues and my focus has been on that ever since. So, while I can’t remember the name of that HR Officer, wherever you are, thank you
What would your superpower be?
The ability to come up with the right word or phrase at the time and not 10 minutes later and then thinking ‘I wish I’d said..’. I can’t think of a word to describe that power off the top of my head, but give me 10 minutes …
Give us a song about HR
‘There’s a Hole in My Bucket’
Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
MSc in Human Resource Management from Stirling University
20 years’ HR experience in the NHS
8 years training and development experience in public, private and voluntary sectors.
Lectured on HR topics with Aberdeen University and Inverness College
Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner
Qualified Workplace Mediator