Wendy Muirhead is Managing Director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), at Ceridian, responsible for Ceridian’s revenue and strategic growth across the region. She is a highly active member of the global human resources and payroll community, focused on driving value for customers as they manage global businesses with people in multiple territories and jurisdictions. Prior to Ceridian, Wendy held progressively senior roles at global HCM technology companies across Europe. She holds a master’s degree in philosophy from Glasgow University.
Recently, in an exclusive interview with CXO Outlook Magazine, Wendy shared her insights on why embracing HR & HCM technology is important in today’s evolving workplace, her current roles and responsibilities as Managing Director and Regional Leader for EMEA at Ceridian, success habits, pearls of wisdom, future plans, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.
Why do you think moving ahead with HR & HCM Tech is vital to navigating a changing workplace?
Embracing HR & HCM technology is crucial in today’s evolving workplace. These technologies not only offer employees the autonomy and flexibility that are critical in our fast-paced world, but when effectively used, have the power to change lives. For example, the ability to easily swap shifts means workers can juggle family commitments and emergencies in a way that wasn’t possible before.
Additionally, these advanced technologies serve as a critical tool for businesses to quickly connect customers with appropriate teams, helping them to realise their potential and significantly enhance the work experience and effectiveness of both employees and businesses.
What are your views on the future of work and the importance of in-person collaboration for employees to build culture?
My view on the future of work is that it will be characterised by a blend of technology and human interaction. In-person collaboration plays a vital role in building workplace culture. However, the future of work is really happening now, and it’s flexible, digitised, and always-on. This requires a balance between remote and on-site collaborations. Embracing digital technologies that can mimic in-person collaborations, fostering a culture of continuous learning, and empowering adaptability are all vital in today’s rapingly changing world of work.
Wendy, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Ceridian?
As Managing Director and Regional Leader for EMEA, my role involves listening to our customers and teams to see how we can keep growing Ceridian in a profitable and sustainable way, while ensuring that we’re delivering quantifiable value and helping our customers win in today’s always-on, fast-changing changing world.
By listening to and understanding our customers’ unique needs, we can quickly connect them to the right teams in our business, and allow our modern technologies help them reach their full potential. Similarly, listening to our employees’ experiences from a cultural perspective means we can nurture their development, while helping them feel empowered in the work that they do. And, taking it a step further, it’s also about empowering people to not only voice their thoughts, but to act on them as well. It also ensures we are producing fair and equitable workplace practices for all our people.
Do you feel that there are strong opportunities for women to grow and lead in the industry, and how is Ceridian fostering advancement opportunities for women?
A lot has changed over the last few years. The industry has seen significant growth, which has opened more opportunities, specifically for women, who are seeking careers in tech, and even more so for those aiming for leadership roles.
Everyone wins when diversity of thought and experience is embraced, and that’s one of the things I love most about Ceridian. We have Co-CEOs who are male and female, we have an amazing diverse split of boards and management levels across the globe, and we are constantly looking at ways to create opportunities not just based on gender, but for candidates with disabilities and from minority backgrounds as well.
What are some of the challenges that you faced in your career? Do you have some examples to share and advice to women leaders on overcoming them?
My career started in finance. But after I had my first son, I took a career turn and joined Ceridian, which is where I really fell in love with the payroll industry. When I first started, I didn’t know anything about payroll or HR. But I spent a huge amount of time with the payroll operations team, and I became very passionate about it, to the point that I know how to process a gross-to-net payslip manually – which I’m very proud of.
My advice to women leaders is to maintain self-confidence and to not shy away from pursuing their dreams. It’s crucial to find the right balance and remember that with the right support, anything is possible
In your academic or work career, were there any mentors who have helped you grow along the way? What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors who helped shape my professional growth. However, the best piece of advice I have ever received is to always be proactive: Get involved, ask questions, and if you want it, go get it.
Could you highlight some of your success habits that enable you to meet your goal?
Some habits that drive my success involve actively listening and engaging with customers and teams, maintaining a healthy balance between work and personal life, and constantly learning and adapting to new technologies. I like to complete my actions in real time as it helps me maintain my work life balance. I believe these habits have been key to me reaching my personal goals while helping Ceridian’s customers meet their goals and unleash their full potential.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
In the next five years, I see myself continuing to grow with Ceridian and our team, or as I call them, Team Awesome! I also plan to continue to leverage my experience and skills to further drive our business towards sustainable profitability, all while enabling both our customers and employees to tap into their fullest potential.
What is your secret to striking a work-life balance?
I want to be really honest as it isn’t easy, and I don’t always get it right. It starts with empowering yourself to set clear boundaries and to say no when what’s being asked of you doesn’t fall within those boundaries. Striking a work-life balance comes down to having the right support and knowing exactly what you want from both areas. I can tell you as a working mom, my job makes me a better parent, and being a mum enhances my work performance and the success of my interactions with our people, customers and partners.
What advice do you offer to young people interested in a career in the industry?
Don’t be shy – if you want it, go and get it! Get involved, ask questions, and surround yourself with the right people because anything is possible with the right team. Remember, a career in technology isn’t limited to those with a tech degree – there are many transferable skills that can be applied in this sector.