Senior people business partner, CH&Co Group
Nominator Alison Gilbert, HR director
Proudest moment “Delivering success and opportunity to tomorrow’s talent by overseeing four placement students.”
Biggest inspiration “My mum Tracey has supported and encouraged me to strive for what I believe in, and my dad Phil inspired my approach to delivering the very best.”
Ambition “I have a personal goal to progress into the position of HR director by the time I reach 30.”
Starting as a voluntary HR advisor at Dairy Crest aged 17, Robert Burden quickly progressed to administrator at Babcock International Group, where he clawed back 30% on recruitment spend from underperforming agencies. He then moved on to HR manager at contract caterer Compass Group. Today, aged just 24, his role at CH&Co sees him help support 1,900 employees in 76 London locations across the Lusso and Ampersand brands.
He has displayed drive from the beginning, not least in self-funding his Level 5 CIPD and part-funding his Level 7 CIPD. This thirst to succeed was recognised by the HR in Hospitality Association, which gave him the HR Rising Star Award 2017 and he now sits on its committee.
But Burden’s real strength lies in helping others. As just one example, he has taken responsibility for four placement students from Bournemouth University alongside his day-to-day role. Over an eight-month stint, he held progress meetings to ensure they were happy, challenged and on-track, and thanks to him, all the placement students from 2016/17 will be offered permanent roles with the group on completing their degrees. Eleven placement students have been taken on for 2018/19.
Burden also works with the Enterprise Advisor Scheme to give schools guidance on how to create work experience programmes, and as a Springboard Ambassador he has attended seven careers fairs in six months. He is also involved in a new relationship between CH&Co Group and the Prince’s Trust and will be co-managing a get-into-work course for young people.