Being part of The HR Dept means I am able to offer tribunal insurance to my clients - something I couldn't have done on my own!"
Sheila Hudson – East Yorkshire

About us

The HR Dept was started in 2002 by Founder and Executive Director, Sue Tumelty to provide local and personal, practical and pragmatic expert HR and employment law advice to small and medium sized businesses.

Having come from a corporate background, Sue found that the hardest part of setting up the business wasn’t the HR side of things, but instead the business aspects and the marketing. So when the original Bristol office began to thrive she began to think how she could help other HR professionals set up quickly and easily under The HR Dept brand. That was the beginning of the story and the business soon became a franchise operation helping HR professionals to open offices across the UK, Ireland and Australia.

In November 2021, The HR Dept Group Ltd became an Employee Ownership Trust and introduced Keith Sadler as CEO and chair of the EOT. The EOT has put the people who are passionate about the business at the heart of its future, whilst protecting the unique culture and values that have been the foundation of the business since 2002.

The HR Dept is now the UK’s largest network of HR professionals providing outsourced HR support to local businesses. Not many SMEs can afford the luxury or actually require a full time HR presence. Nevertheless, employers still need to understand and comply with ever-changing employment legislation and with our ability to provide tribunal indemnity insurance covering legal expenses and awards, they get true peace of mind.

Our vision is to have an expanding network of HR Dept local offices across the UK and Ireland providing local and personal, high quality, cost effective services to the SME marketplace.

Meet the team

Central Office

Central Office
Your Support Function

      We are the only HR franchise to have a dedicated central office team, who are there to support our Licensees from the initial set up and ongoing running of their business. The HR Dept is a family business at heart and our support team have been chosen for their specific areas of expertise, including business development, operational, legal, finance and marketing.
      Sue Tumelty

      Sue Tumelty
      Founder

          Sue founded The HR Dept in 2002, two years later franchised the model and grew it into the success it is today. The original Bristol office is now staffed with a team of 15+ and the Licensee network covers the whole of the UK and Ireland. Sue is an experienced and commercially aware HR professional. Sue stepped down as CEO in 2021, appointing Keith Sadler the position as she transitioned the business to an Employee Ownership Trust. However, she is still a great a source of advice and professional support for the network as well as their ever-growing client base.
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          Meet our experts

          Rachel Woods

          Rachel Woods
          Professional Business Coach & Mentor

              Rachel started coaching in 2011 after many years working at director level in high growth IT and Healthcare companies, including as mentor in residence for an investment incubator where her role was to accelerate their listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange. After a period as Operations Director for an American Toxicology company, Rachel wanted to improve her leadership skills and did an ILM level 5 in coaching and mentoring.  After 3 years as a high growth business coach Rachel joined ActionCOACH, the world's number one coaching company as a business coach and mentor for the franchise partners. As a coach, Rachel believes in making clients more resilient and more resourceful.  This means that the coaching relationship is one where the client is consistently moving forward towards their goals and becomes increasingly more confident and able to cope with any challenge. For The HR Dept, Rachel works with our new licensees when they first join the network, delivering a business planning session within the licensee induction program, followed by 6 months of mentoring to help new licensees develop a business mindset and maintain a focus on early key activities.
              Karen Dunne-Squire

              Karen Dunne-Squire
              Sales Coach & Business Growth Expert

                  Karen Dunne-Squire is the owner and MD of Elation Experts and a leading expert on business growth and sales practice. She and her team at Elation Experts are a group of sales and communication experts who have been working with small businesses to help them meet their growth aspirations since 2009. Karen has worked with the HR Dept since 2012 to support all licensees to embrace the skills required to network and sell effectively. Whether providing structured training programmes, online webinar content or personal coaching calls Karen is available to ensure that all licensees have structured support in growing their businesses. “Working with the HR Dept is a real privilege because they take the success of each individual licensee very seriously”
                  Rupert Janisch

                  Rupert Janisch
                  Press and Media Expert

                      Rupert is the founder of Turn the Tables PR and our network's PR guru. He works with new licensees to provide a press launch in their local business press, as well as being on call to advising and supporting licensees with ongoing press activity when required. In addition, he is responsible for promoting The HR Dept brand nationwide – positioning us as a thought leader in Human Resources and, in particular, as the nation’s HR voice for SMEs. A qualified journalist with a degree in English Literature and Language and a post-graduate Diploma in Journalism, he helped formulate our response to the Government’s enquiry of the Future of the World of Work, leading to an invitation for Sue to give evidence at the Parliamentary Select Committee. He also ghostwrites and edits expert comment articles on behalf of The HR Dept’s management team, for inclusion in HR industry publications and journals.
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