After more than 35 years in the HR profession, Chris Degg has this month retired from what he calls the ‘best job I’ve ever had’. The director of HR at UK Power Networks joined the firm in 2007 and has been responsible for employee relations, rewards, learning and development, employee engagement, staff communications and payroll.
During Chris’ ten year tenure, UK Power Networks, which keeps the lights on in London, the South East and East Anglia, has twice been awarded Investors in People Gold accreditation, been named Utility of the Year four times (under two schemes) and twice been placed in The Sunday Times’ Top 30 Best Big Companies to Work For.
“My job at UK Power Networks is the culmination of years of hard work, and the difficult decisions to move jobs when I’ve been comfortable. The result is that I’m leaving my career in the best job I’ve ever had. I work for a great company, my fellow directors make a great team, I’m proud to be part of the HR department and I work for a really good boss. So I’ve managed to leave on a high in a company I really enjoy.
“I think the biggest lesson I have learnt in my career is that you never stop learning and this is something I would like to pass on to young people entering the industry. I may be in a senior position, but I am always learning from my teams. Be keen to learn and have a good work ethic. You have to remember no one owes you a living so you need to demonstrate how you can contribute, listen to experienced colleagues and show initiative. But of course, remember to have fun whilst doing it.”
His parting wisdom to HR directors is that the biggest challenge they’ll face in future is the increase in retirement age. He said: “The key will be keeping staff feeling engaged for their entire career. What was once appealing may no longer be, and you will need to translate your offering to reach all generations. Secondly, with a changing workforce, learning and development opportunities will be crucial, as there will be a need to provide employees with the right skills for a changing environment.”
In his retirement Chris is looking forward to travelling, with a trip to Japan booked to watch the rugby World Cup. He also has plans to visit India and South America in the pipeline. He wants to watch more fixtures by his favourite football and rugby teams, Leicester City and Leicester Tigers.
As a longstanding Scotland resident he is also looking forward to spending time with his wife at their home north of the border, and exploring closer to home. After commuting to work at UK Power Networks in London for many years, he will be happily ditching his train ticket for the foreseeable future.
In his early career Chris worked in a variety of HR roles including at British Nuclear Fuels, Whitbread and Allied Distillers.
He is succeeded in the role by Andrew Pace.