Workplace Leaders
Stirling Ackroyd
Group HR Director

Dominic Easterby

Authentic, people-first cultures require investing in both talent acquisition and internal talent development, and seeing that many kinds of vital initiatives are investments of time, rather than money.

Max Webber, Co-host of The Interview, sat down with Dominic Easterby, Group HR Director at Stirling Ackroyd, one of the UK’s leading property services groups specialising in residential lettings, estate agency, and surveying. With over 15 years of diverse HR experience spanning learning, talent, culture and more, Dominic shared his invaluable perspectives on holistically embedding inclusive and engaging cultures that enable sustainable commercial growth.

Dominic's Journey

Max: Could you introduce yourself and provide a brief overview of Stirling Ackroyd?

I’m Dominic Easterby, Group HR Director at Stirling Ackroyd. I’ve been with Stirling in various capacities for around six years now, spanning a period of significant evolution and growth for the business. To give you a brief overview, Stirling Ackroyd is a UK-based property services group covering areas like residential lettings, estate agency, surveying, and property management across both commercial and residential real estate sectors.  

We’ve experienced extremely rapid growth as a business, having expanded headcount by around 100% over the last four years alone, although growth was stemmed a bit by the pandemic. But nonetheless, extremely quick expansion in a short window! We’re a fairly major employer within the property services space, predominantly in greater London and surrounding areas.

Max: What led you to specialise in human resources over the course of your career and progressing to the Group HR Director role at Stirling Ackroyd?

Like many people who wind up in HR roles, it wasn’t initially my plan. I studied a fairly generic business degree and truly wasn’t sure what career I wanted to pursue when I graduated. I happened to land a graduate job at a company that, in hindsight, didn’t seem to know exactly why they were hiring this cohort either! But I essentially saw a major opportunity in their underdeveloped HR function. They were a high-growth business rapidly scaling up headcount for some large infrastructure projects, but had huge untapped potential from a people perspective. I realised I could really make an impact and get stuck into shaping the function.  

And that’s honestly how it all started in HR for me. I quickly realised that I genuinely enjoyed the work – it’s an incredibly varied profession with everything from talent acquisition to learning to total rewards mixed in. I also discovered I was quite skilled at it and could really grow in responsibility and influence in that business. It was opportunistic in many ways, but ultimately, the company saw that HR potential in me as well. They actually sponsored my CIPD qualifications to further my expertise. So that’s how the rest became history for me! I was drawn in by the “people element” and the enablement. 

Max: What are some of the key initiatives you have focused on to drive employee engagement, inclusion and continuous development?

We’ve matured an incredible amount over the past five or six years since I took on this Group HR Director role. Five years ago, our focus was purely on establishing the fundamentals, like clarifying our employer brand and value proposition. We were focused on determining precisely who we were as an employer at the time versus who we aspired to become in our industry. We’ve had a goal for many years of becoming the outright employer of choice within estate agencies and property services, and everything we’ve done has moved us towards that.  

While it’s very much an ongoing journey, we’re now at the point where we’ve already addressed and delivered on many of the foundational initiatives to make Stirling Ackroyd a place where top talent can feel comfortable and thrive. The focus now is on fine-tuning the employee experience – continuing to evolve our supportive, inclusive culture while amplifying career development and progression opportunities. A major priority for us at present is equity and inclusion. For example, we’re doing considerable work on anonymising hiring processes to reduce bias. We’re also supporting important events or moments that matter to our people, like Black History Month, in ways that are authentic to our culture – not jumping on bandwagons. We aim to demonstrate our values clearly through symbolic gestures paired with daily consistency in experience.

Max: What tactics or strategies have you found effective for fostering this type of culture amongst busy, distributed teams with competing priorities? 

It’s always an ongoing challenge in central functions like HR to ensure full engagement and buy-in. People can understandably grow frustrated if they invest significant effort but don’t see what they feel is meaningful participation. For me, first and foremost, it involves a cross-section of people right from day one when designing any new initiative or program – avoid trying to design for people in isolation. We must also realise engagement looks very different for fully remote workers. So, focusing on overall influence versus superficial adoption metrics is key. Ultimately, choose cultural initiatives tailored to your actual audience and existing organisational strengths. 

Max: How have you worked to credibly link your variety of people programs and cultural initiatives to tangible commercial outcomes? 

There is copious data out there looking at the correlation between highly engaged workforces and business performance. So, fortunately, I have leadership support on that general connection. However, we still have fruitful conversations on measuring ROI for specific initiatives when appropriate, even if that’s a time investment versus pure cost. I believe it comes down to deeply understanding your goals and measures. For example, in tackling challenges like wellbeing and mental health, we’ve created practical tools focusing on removing barriers to optimal performance versus just avoiding issues. In this way, resolving the root causes still ultimately drives productivity, sales, and manager effectiveness.  

Max: What’s the most meaningful or impactful piece of advice you’ve received in your career so far?

Fortunately for me, it’s very clear and has always stuck with me. Early on in my career, one of the first real mentors I had in this profession gave me simple but enduring guidance: “chase skills and experiences”. Expose yourself to as wide a breadth of challenges as possible; continuously diversify your skills. If you follow that growth-focused path, the career opportunities and the money will organically follow. 

It's guidance that has stuck with me now for fifteen years and still heavily influences how I operate. I’ll always leap at opportunities to expand my skills through new challenges or problem spaces, rather than questioning what's in it solely for me or how I’ll directly benefit. It comes down to maintaining that growth mindset and personal evolution. 

Curious to see what the future of training looks like?
Max Webber
Max works closely with people leaders and change-makers in our professional services markets. If you're looking to feature on The Interview, or simply want to learn more about GoodCourse, then get in touch at

The future of training is here, are you ready for it?

Tired of chasing your learners to complete dull training? Let's speak today👇
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.