As the Official Legal Advisers to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth the Games, a small group of our people have been given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the Commonwealth Collective and be a volunteer during the Games. Over 14,000 volunteers from across Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond are needed to play the vital role in helping deliver the biggest multi-sport event in the UK since the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In the third blog post from our volunteers, we meet Peter Bond to tell us about his role as a volunteer and his career so far at Gowling WLG.
Tell us about your role at Gowling WLG.
My current role is HR operations manager, which I’ve been in for just over two years. My role involves supporting the HR operations team and our people at Gowling WLG, from on boarding through to off boarding and all the other HR processes in between. I’m a part of the entire employee lifecycle, which starts from when the employee accepts an offer from the firm. I’m also responsible for letting the firm know when someone is leaving, updating our internal people directories and making sure the process runs as smooth as possible.
Most of my role consists of improving all the processes within the on boarding and off boarding of employees and ensuring that things are as good as they can be, or finding ways to improve them. A few of my recent projects have included changing the firm’s holiday year, and implementing a new recruitment system.
How did you get into your career?
I’ve been with Gowling WLG for almost 10 years, having started in 2013 as the Compensation and Benefits Manager. I’ve worked in Human Resources for over 20 years and it’s a career I ended up in by chance but I enjoy it nonetheless. I started my career in HR in Payroll departments before moving to Rewards, where I supported organisations and employees with salary changes and bonuses.
What will your role as a volunteer for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games involve?
I will be volunteering as a member of the Media Operations team, based in Birmingham City Centre. My role will consist of assisting with the press activity, co-ordinating athletes for press walks once they have finished competing and liaising with journalists to understand what they need and the athletes they want to interview.
The role will be heavily focused on maintaining relationships with the journalists and organising time to make sure the athletes come off the court and are able to speak to all the journalists in a set time.
Why did you want to volunteer for the Games?
I have lived in Birmingham all my life and it’s a really big deal to the city, so I wanted to be a part of that and also support the city in delivering such an incredible event.
As Gowling WLG is the Official Legal Adviser to the Games I also wanted to represent the firm, having worked here for such a long period of time.
The improvements that are being made to the city in the run up to the Games are also great to see and it’s exciting that the Games will bring so many new people to Birmingham. I wanted to be a part of all of this, which is why I decided to volunteer.
It’s, of course, also a brilliant opportunity for me to do something completely different and out of my comfort zone. I have been in the same career for a long time and although I’m constantly working on different projects it will be great to do something so unique and will allow me to grow and develop some new skills and give me a new focus.
What are you most looking forward to at the Games?
I’m looking forward to the atmosphere that the Games will bring to Birmingham. There is already so much regeneration happening in the city to prepare – the ‘Floozie in the Jacuzzi’ fountain has recently been switched back on and restored, just one example that the city wants to make sure Birmingham is looking its best during the Commonwealth Games.
Do you think your day job helps you as a volunteer?
My role as a volunteer is completely different to my day job in HR, but I do think the responsibility of managing and supporting a team will help me massively with co-ordinating people during the press walks. Working in HR means I have to lean on my interpersonal skills as I’m working with employees all the time and supporting them. I hope that being a people-person will help me develop relationships with the athletes and the journalists.
I’ll also need to be sensitive to the high emotions that will be running through everyone. There will be excitement but there will also be disappointment for athletes, perhaps not performing as well as they wanted or just missing out on a medal. I will need to take this into consideration when I’m taking athletes to the journalists to make sure everyone still feels comfortable.
What sport are you most looking forward to watching at the Games?
I have bought tickets to see the athletics so I am looking forward to watching that at the Alexander Stadium. And of course watching the beach volleyball, which is where I’ll be based as a volunteer, and seeing the custom made court at Smithfield with a backdrop of Birmingham City Centre.
To find out more about Birmingham 2022 and how we’re playing our part as the Official Legal Advisers of the Games, read our story so far.
About the author(s)
Peter Bond is a HR Operations Manager at Gowling WLG.