Inspiring Careers – Linsay Mair

Welcome back to our exciting new series, where we uncovering the diverse careers of people working at Three! We want to celebrate the uniqueness of each individual’s career journey, sharing stories that inspire and ignite the spark of curiosity. 

This week we are talking to Linsay Mair, People Systems Lead in our People team.

What did you see yourself doing for a job when you were younger?
I had a fleeting thought of being the female Indiana Jones, as I liked art and history and fancied the idea of traveling round the world to exotic places, but decided it wasn’t really practical as a career choice. I’m not sure I ever had a plan of the job I wanted, and I’ll be honest, I’m still not entirely sure what I want to be when I grow up!

Tell us a bit about your career path at Three and how you came to be in your current role? When did you join Three and what role did you start with?
I started with Three way back in 2005 as an HR temp who was brought into sort out the filing – we still had paper files back then. No-one ever told me to leave so I just kept coming back until they made me permanent as an HR Administrator. I worked my way up to Team Leader of the Employee Services Team in 2007 and left Three in 2009 to go back to working on Disney Cruise Line (which I’d done before joining Three) as a Training Officer and Assistant HR Manager. I came back to land, worked as a Shared Services Team Leader for a financial services company before returning to Three as HR Shared Services Manager in 2014. In 2015 I joined the project team that implemented our cloud-based People Systems and after going live with our People Online programme in 2016 and Taleo Recruiting programme in 2017 I moved permanently into, what is now, the small but mighty, People Systems Team.

The 4 of us are accountable for running, maintaining and updating our People Systems suite. We’re also responsible for all the reporting and data analytics & insights that come from these systems. At the beginning of each year I’ll be setting up the Annual Goal Plans and Performance Documents; each quarter it’s coordinating the testing cycle for our quarterly system upgrades; throughout the year I support the business with changes to systems.

What do you think has kept you at Three for 9+ years?
The People are the main thing. The People Systems Team are amazing and I have fantastic friends and colleagues in the People Team and across the business that I love working with.  A close second would be the opportunities I’ve had to learn and develop in different areas of HR/People Team.

How do you make decisions? What process do you follow?
I ask “why” a lot and I probably overuse the phrase “start at the end”. If I understand the outcome that we’re trying to achieve and the reasoning for what we’re doing then I can make pragmatic and sensible decisions, based on experience and risk / reward. I’m also a big fan of spreadsheets and lists.

What excites you most about your job?
The challenge!  There is always something changing, or some new “can the system do…?” or “what if we changed…?” problem to be solved and I love getting into the thick of processes to see how we can improve them.

What has been your career highlight so far?
There have been a few – the implementation of People Online was a big one as I had never (and still don’t) consider myself to be technically minded, so being part of that project was hugely rewarding. Completing a Prince2 Project Management qualification during lockdown is another, as it had been a while since I’d had to study or sit an exam and winning a Superstar Award back in 2018 was a really proud moment for me.

Has your career taken the path you expected it to?
Not at all. I have a degree in Retail Management and managed in a High Street jeweller for a few years before running off to sea with Disney Cruise Line, where I worked as a Merchandise Hostess, and then an Executive Assistant on a cruise ship that sailed round the Bahamas and Caribbean (and gave me free access to Disney World, as well as a lifelong love of the Company).  It was whilst on the cruise ship that I got interested in HR and pursued roles in that area when I came back to ‘land’ and joined Three.

At no point during any of that time did I ever imagine that I’d end up in a People Systems team!

Have you ever had to face a perceived setback in your career that you later realised was an advantage?

I had a period of ill health back in 2004, which meant I had to leave my job on the ship, without having any idea what to do with myself.  It was during this time that I undertook a professional development qualification in Personnel Management and started working for Three in HR and actually started thinking about what my future career could look like.  Having that broad HR experience with Three allowed me to return to the Cruise Ship a few years later in their HR team, before ultimately coming back to Three and progressing here.

What has been the best change you have seen at Three during your career?
Technology – did you read the part about the paper files?  When I first started at Three we had a filing room full of employee files, a fax machine, one phone line to the HR team that we took turns to answer and we used to print and post every letter and employee contract.  The evolution in the People Team and the supporting technology and systems has been the biggest positive change and had the most impact.


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