One of the main reasons I joined The HR Dept was because I wanted to be part of a community of like-minded HR professionals that I could call on if I needed help. I was not disappointed! "
David Hudson – Clapham

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Leaving the Corporate World to Become an HR Dept Licensee

Michaela Gartside joined The Network in 2013 starting with the Bracknell & Wokingham territory before expanding into Staines-Upon-Thames. Read below to find out her motivations for joining The Network.

How did you find The HR Dept?

Before joining The HR Dept in 2013, I was in an international HR role where I was Head of Reward for an IT/Telecoms organisation. I was doing a lot of traveling internationally and working part time. Eventually, I got to that point where I knew I needed to do something different after 25 plus years of corporate life, retail, and IT.

So of course, I went off with all the different ideas, is it another job? What am I going to do? And, what I recognized was going for another job was just changing the organisation. I didn’t dislike what I did. I didn’t dislike where I was. I worked with some great people, but I recognised that my role had become very cyclical with the annual performance reviews, bonus plans etc and I felt it was time to do something different. So, I then started to research the “what different” and stumbled across The HR Dept doing web searches.

What attracted you to The HR Dept?

I knew I could do HR, but the reality was I’d never run my own business. I had those spreadsheets to help me decide whether to go solo or through the franchise model and ultimately, I chose the franchise route because of the safety net provided and how somebody else was helping me create my own business. That really gave me the confidence to go out and do it.

What attracted me to The HR Dept was the whole piece around being given the framework. I didn’t need to think about what I going to name the company, how I was going to create a website, or the systems I was going to use as all of this was being provided.

I went down and met Sue and the team in the Central Office, and I can remember driving back up the M4, ringing my husband saying, “this is it.” I loved that from day one of running your own business, you could go out and talk as a business owner, having been through the induction programme and talk about what services you can offer and it’s all branded.

What is life like as an HR Dept licensee?

Being an HR Dept licensee means no two days are the same. I don’t sit at my desk knowing what’s going to come in today. I don’t know which clients are going to ring or what issue they’re going to present to us with and that is where the fun comes and what keeps us alive, active, and constantly learning.

Also, although HR remains the same across different sectors, how you apply your HR skills, the tone, the language, the types of conversations and the issued faced are all totally different and that’s really where I feel stretched and where the stimulation is.