Donna Miller, European HR Director, Enterprise Rent-A-Car

I knew very little about HR when I started out as a management trainee 20 years ago. But a position in HR opened up, and I was encouraged to go for it. At the interview I thought the role sounded really interesting and a good match for my skill set. 

I am fortunate that in Enterprise all the departments work together on business issues and strategy. That means I'm always aligned with the direction of the business. You can't be a successful HR person if you don’t understand the ins and outs of the business. Without that it would be very difficult to contribute, to make recommendations and to implement strategy. 

HR is a great field. There are plenty of opportunities to specialise in fields such as recruiting, training, legal, retention, engagement and more, and all of it demands a strategic brain. HR people need integrity, flexibility, communication skills, a passion for learning, an aptitude for sales, a head for business and, of course, interpersonal skills. You certainly don’t need to know everything (or anything) about HR - you can learn what you need to know. You also can’t be afraid of asking questions and challenging the way that things are done. 

The most important thing is to find a company that matches your own personal values. HR is generally the keeper of the values, and it would be incredibly difficult going into work each day doing work that didn’t match your own beliefs. 

HR is an evolving discipline, with a constant flow of new legislation and requirements. That keeps the role fresh, but it means we are always looking for new and better ways of doing things. Every one of my 20 years with Enterprise has brought new challenges and new successes. There's nothing I'd like more than to be here for another 20!

Career highlights

For me, the best days are when people achieve success. Just last week I got an email telling me that someone who I had interviewed for a management trainee job had been promoted. There's nothing better than that. 

Another highlight was in 2004, when we developed a recruitment campaign for Enterprise in Europe, so that we could achieve our significant hiring goals. It was a really exciting opportunity to create something from nothing in conjunction with our recruitment advertising agency – and then to see incredible success from the campaign. 

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