Toyota Talks: Chris Hayes | My Career Path

We’re publishing a series of interviews with senior leaders at Toyota GB, discussing their Toyota career and what the future holds for the company. Our aim is to inspire the next generation of innovators. This time we speak to Chris Hayes, Director of People and Planning.

Hi Chris, can we start with you telling us a little about your Toyota career?

Chris: I’ve been with the company for 15 years. I started here working in the Lexus brand for three years and then had the first of my two overseas assignments. The first was to the United States to work for our Toyota Motor Sales operation in California, and the second was a three-year assignment at our European headquarters in Brussels.

Fifteen years is a long time. What has kept you at Toyota for so long?

Chris: I’ve been very fortunate to be able to grow and develop in a company and a culture like Toyota’s. We put people development and career planning at the very heart of what we do as a company, and I think I’m a very good example of that. I’ve been very fortunate to do a number of different roles in a number of very different functions. At the same time, we’ve got a very capable and supportive leadership team who are there to give you lots of advice and guidance and encourage you to strive for the next level.

With Toyota you’ve had the chance to travel the world. What differences did you notice at different Toyota operations?

Chris: All markets are very different. They have very different external dynamics and customers are very different by market, but Toyota has a very common set of internal values and an internal language around the Toyota Way philosophy that unites all of our operations.

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What would you say to anyone considering a career path that involves working outside of the UK?

Chris: My advice would be to 100 per cent go for it. It’s incredible what you can learn by studying other markets and organisations. From my perspective, the two assignments I’ve done have been hugely beneficial when I’ve returned to my home country because I’ve amassed a much better understanding of the global and regional context within which the UK operation sits, and that makes me much more effective on a day-to-day basis.

Could you tell us more about what the Toyota Way philosophy is?

Chris: Within the Toyota Way we teach and practice respect for people. Respect for people has a number of different dimensions; communication, consideration and co-operation are values which form a significant part of that. Whether you’re at the forefront of our commercial efforts in sales or you’re providing administrative support in our financial offices, we have a very equal and very humble set of values that recognises that each and every individual has a huge amount to offer the organisation. By taking a stance like that, we create a very unified, equal and inclusive culture.

Thanks Chris. Any advice for anyone considering a job with us at Toyota?

Chris: A career here can be hugely exciting and rewarding. We’ve got a unique culture. We are incredibly inclusive and we stand at the forefront of the changes that are happening in our industry today. We have some of the most highly energised and engaged teams in the industry and if you want to be part of a hugely successful team, be fully supported and nurtured through your career to be the best that you can be, then Toyota is definitely a place for you.

Read more: Toyota Talks: Paul Van der Burgh
Read more: Toyota Talks: Paula Cooper

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