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Paul Sexton, the VP of HR – global sales and marketing at NXP Semiconductors, takes 15 minutes to chat with Sabrina Zolkifi.
What attracted you to a career in HR?
I joined HR because when I was working in a resort where everyone worked in different departments, I saw the HR person was the only one who had access to everyone. I was attracted to the access and variety.
How do you think HR will evolve over the next few years?
I think HR will evolve in pockets. Where there are HR professionals that truly understand the businesses they support, leaders that understand that talent are a powerful differentiator and the adoption of technology to provide managers and employees with direct access to information.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
“Back yourself”. If you go into any discussion and accept that everybody is doing the best they can, that your opinion is no less or more important than anyone else’s, and have the confidence to step forward in that regard, you’ll find the outcome – be it yours or someone else’s – is positively impacted as a result of backing yourself and having the courage to say what you know is right.
Do you struggle with that?
I don’t – I encourage people to speak up. I say to everyone on the team: “If I ever say anything you don’t agree with, you have to tell me.”
Then I’ll either explain in a way they’ll understand, which means it’s been a worthwhile conversation, or I can’t explain it and therefore I shouldn’t do it, which makes it good that they stopped me.
How would you describe a regular work day?
If I’m not travelling, I’ll check my emails first thing in the morning, and see what’s been happening overnight. Then I will talk to as many people as I can to move forward the operational actions and initiatives that I am either leading or contributing to.
We use Lync and video conferencing a lot so we can have the necessary discussions and get to a decision quickly. In between the result-oriented discussions, I’ll try to respond as best I can to emails and chip away at the actions I have that move the company forward and make life better for the employees.
What is one thing you can’t work without?
I can’t work without respect. Respect for the people we work with and for, respect for the employees that we lead and support, respect for the company and its business goals and respect for the customers we serve.