As soon as I first contacted The HR Dept I knew it was for me – it just felt right. Every day has been fantastic"
Ian Pilbeam – Edinburgh & The Lothians

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Growing Your HR Business

I’ve never been one to just care about the paycheck rather than whether I’ve got a busy, fulfilling career. For me, it was always about job satisfaction.

After years of working in a corporate environment that seemed to be all about the politics, I got to the point where I thought, this isn’t enjoyable. Six years ago, I finally got fed up with it and started thinking about doing my own thing. Not long after that, I decided to become a licensee with The HR Dept.

Coming out of an institutionalised environment can be quite scary – you have to wear lots of hats you’ve never worn before, and you have to give up the corporate security blanket you’ve grown accustomed to. Beyond that, knowing how to get to a point where you’re successful enough to grow a successful business is even harder. 

Joining The HR Dept franchise as a licensee allows you to take that step of independence with the security of an established network behind you. The only thing I regret is not doing it earlier.

Expanding Your Base

For any organisation to grow, you need people to do so, and in HR, you also need to be aligning those people with what you’re trying to achieve. Growth is about demonstrating that you know what you’re talking about, being accessible, credible, and professional. It’s about showing people that you’ve got a track record that they can tap into and feel comfort when they’ve been having sleepless nights because of problems within their organisation. A plan always helps, but real growth really comes down to what you, personally, can bring to the table. Ask yourself: what are my best skills? In what areas, do I have the most experience?

When you’ve set up your own company, you want to build something that’s going to last as long as you want it to last. On my journey with The HR Dept, I started out with the Woking territory, then I took over Guildford three years later. This June, I took over Dorking and Reigate, and am now operating as Director of The HR Dept Surrey Hills. Within my three territories, we’ve got a 98% retention rate with our clients, and I got there by starting with the one territory and putting in the work there to make sure that was sustainable.

Expansion doesn’t only cover geographical growth – extending your skillset to be able to offer every facet of the HR lifecycle, from recruitment to redundancy, will allow you to network further and wider within any location, however big or small. Expanding your services enables you to package your marketing accordingly, with different approaches for the activity and demographics you’re wanting to target.

Because of the localised nature of being a licensee, you’re able to take advantage of referrals within your territory. Around 90% of our work comes through word of mouth; having people as your ambassadors who can recommend you to others is the best way to really get your name out there, and having the benefit of an established brand like The HR Dept backing your corner means that growth comes much faster than it might if you were starting out as a solo consultant.

Planning for the Future

I’ve worked with a business coach and advisors from day one, all with the support of The HR Dept. When you’re running a business on your own, planning for the future of that business can often become a daunting prospect. Having another individual to act as a sense checker helps to alleviate that worry and can bring you confidence in your decision making which helps to bring about real growth. And often, you’ll be surprised at your ability to get through something. Sometimes we underestimate ourselves in terms of what we can and can’t do.

When it comes to preparing for the future of your business, a crucial part of that journey involves planning your recruitment. With The HR Dept, you have on-hand access to invaluable resources and advice detailing the best ways to go about sourcing HR talent, from when to start looking to what to look for.

Mapping out what you want is a good idea, but it’s also useful to know what you don’t want for your team, especially within the current climate of the recruitment crisis. I often use DISC personality assessments to help me gauge the psychometric aspects of potential candidates. Personality is key – if you’ve got somebody in HR with the right personality, everything else will follow. 

Support Network

Every single licensee can identify with the situation of stepping into the unknown. All of us have been through that same journey. Having the support network there is what guides you through to the point of seeing real growth. That credibility, resonance with each other’s values, and communication with like-minded individuals feels like a real meeting of minds. There’s a connection amongst the network that allows everyone to learn from each other.

Every HR Dept licensee has got their own story to tell. People are always happy to share their insights, including the people in the central team. It’s like a big family – there’s always that support that you can tap into from licensees who’ve experienced that business growth. If you’re thinking of doing something, you can ask other people about their experiences, and they’ll always try to articulate what’s going to be the best way forward for you.

Martine Robins joined in 2016 as Director of The HR Dept Woking and then bought an existing licensee’s territory to become franchisee for Woking and Guildford. This year she has expanded further to take over The HR Dept Surrey Hills. If you think becoming a licensee with The HR Dept sounds right for you, feel free to get in contact today to find out more.