I feel richer now than I felt on my corporate salary, because of the freedom of doing things my way!"
Sarah Bradley – Leeds South

Author Archive

Spotlight on Amanda Strange

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Amanda Strange is the licensee of The HR Dept Cheltenham and Stroud. We caught up with her to find out how she got into HR, share some of her experiences and tell us how she’s getting on in her first few weeks at The HR Dept.

Have you always worked in HR?

When I left school at 17, I went to work for the Magistrates’ Courts in an admin role. I stayed there for 17 years. For most of that time I was the PA to the Justices’ Clerk. Back then we didn’t have an ‘HR’ department as such. But I was responsible for keeping the personnel files and also recruiting magistrates and organising training. You could say I’d started working in HR but not realised it at that point!

What inspired you to go “full HR”?

After the courts I decided to leave for a completely different sector – a large commercial outsourcing company. I joined as the PA to the MD and as HR administrator. There was a regional HR manager in place. I saw what she was doing and thought I would like to do that.

I liked the idea of driving around to different client sites, supporting managers with issues and helping them to solve their people problems. I liked the thought of being the “expert”. An opportunity arose for me to take on a regional role and the company invested in my development and supported me with gaining my CIPD qualification.

It was the best thing I could have done in terms of changing my career direction. It was challenging as it was a fast-paced business. I was learning on the go, but the type of business it was gave me a wide variety of issues to deal with. This was great for my learning and general experience.

How have you found being a licensee for The HR Dept so far?

At the time of writing I’ve almost completed my second month. So far I’m really enjoying it. I feel like I’m starting to become part of the SME community in my territory and the support I’ve had from the central team has been amazing. I’m looking forward to signing up my first client!

Giving you the support and tools to succeed

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The HR Dept business model is tried and tested with 65 HR professionals who have all successfully set up their own HR Dept businesses in their local area.

You have the HR expertise to provide solutions to local SMEs, but do you have the business, finance and marketing knowledge to make it a success?

The HR Dept gives you the training and support you need in those areas that might not come so naturally to you. Alongside our specially selected expert partners, The HR Dept central office team ensures Licensees have the tools they need to allow their businesses to reach their potential, none of which you’d have by going it alone;

  • 4 weeks’ holiday cover every year – so you won’t have to give up your holidays!
  • comprehensive sales and marketing training
  • business coaching
  • IT and technical support
  • complete business setup and accountancy advice
  • self-service marketing materials and website

and much more. Find out more about our support here. 

If you want to discover more about starting your own business with The HR Dept and becoming part of the largest collaborative network of HR Professionals we’d love to hear from you.

Why SMEs should outsource HR

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The CIPD’s head of public policy, Ben Willmott, has recently discussed the significance of HR insisting that ‘many small business owners failed to recognise the challenges they faced as people management issues that could be corrected through HR’. It therefore raises the questions of why SMEs battle with the unknown territory of HR when they could easily outsource it?

Willmott maintains that small businesses have a people management “blind spot”, often overlooking how stronger HR practice could support their growth  and ‘if you help them get their house in order around the basics, that provides a foundation for growth’. To read this article in full click here

As an HR Dept business owner you could offer practical support at an affordable cost, whilst allowing the business owner to focus on the areas they know best.

By providing HR solutions to SMEs you become a trusted extension of their team and integral to the running of their business. Using your expertise to provide HR solutions will allow SMEs to take their business even further.

Spotlight on Niamh Kelly

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A huge welcome to Niamh (pronounced “Neave” and meaning “radiance”) into our network. Niamh has opened The HR Dept Shropshire and will be helping local businesses there to prevent people problems. Niamh has 25 years’ high-level HR experience in education, healthcare the corporate life. Lets find out a little more about her…

What kind of silly stuff have you been asked during your HR career?

“This ‘mandatory training’ – do you mean we have to go?”.  This was in relation to legal compliance training required for the company I was then working for to retain its licence.  A reminder that no matter how many times you think you have communicated something, there is always someone who feels your message could have been clearer!

What has been your biggest challenge since working in HR?

On three occasions I’ve had to discuss “end of life” with employees, and help them plan for their families’ wellbeing after they were gone. It wasn’t something I ever expected to have to do when working in HR. I had always assumed that my role would stop when I left work each day.

It brought home to me the importance of remembering that the “resource” in human resources is the person. And that my role was to ensure that we supported our people to the best of our ability.  I’ve always tried to think of that when dealing with difficult processes such as redundancy or dismissal.

How have you found being a licensee for The HR Dept so far?

Exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time!  It’s different from working in large organisations. There you are both constrained and supported by the myriad of policies and procedures.  Now, it’s very much “thinking on your feet” and remembering all the reasons why you went into HR in the first place – to make a difference!

If you weren’t working in HR what would you love to be doing?

I’ve always wanted to do archaeology – I even started an online foundation course!  But now I fulfill my love of history by finding out more about family trees – both mine and my parents-in-law. And I’ve found a few skeletons, including a murder and a link to Jack the Ripper (not on my tree I hasten to add!).

SMEs urged to ‘think outside the box’ in talent search

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Our Licensee Sara Abbott, from the HR Dept North Birmingham, commented to Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce on attracting talent for an SME:

SMEs must think outside the box when it comes to attracting the right talent, according to a HR expert.

Sara Abbott (pictured), from the HR Dept North Birmingham, says many smaller companies can offer greater flexibility and career progression than corporate juggernauts.

And she believes these benefits can be of huge benefit when it comes to recruiting.

It comes after an SME confidence-tracking survey from Bibby Financial Services (BFS) revealed that the nation’s small and medium-sized businesses face a struggle to find workers with the right skills.

Sara said: “It’s daunting for SME businesses when they see the fabulous campus offices of Silicon Valley firms, the luxurious free breakfasts laid-on by flourishing digital agencies and the bonuses that financial services companies can offer.

“These eye-catching benefits may seem hard to beat. But all is not lost. There are strings to the SME bow that can help them compete for great employees.”

“Many SMEs are able to offer more flexibility than large corporates. In a small firm you often get the opportunity to turn your hand to the wider aspects of a role.

“This could be an attractive point to emphasise, as it shows a clear route to progression. It’s doubly good for the business because if you can get a person with the desire and capability to grow themselves, then the business will probably grow around them.

“A winning formula all round would see the business communicating well, so that the person knows they are making a difference and feels encouraged to continue.”

Sara says more and more SMES are starting to realise the benefit of investment in training to plug skills gaps and retain staff.

She added: “Training is another attractive benefit to offer – not just for recruitment, but for retention too.

“Got a skills gap? Instead of trying to hire the ready-made solution, train someone in your team to develop into the role.

“As well as plugging your skills gap, this fosters staff loyalty and goodwill.”

To read the original article go to https://www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com/

HR Dept in the Elite Franchise Top 100

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We are delighted to announce that we have made the top 50 in the Elite Franchise Top 100. Elite Franchise 100 recognises the sector’s brightest businesses and ranks them according to a broad range of criteria from their financial performance and heritage in the industry to their contribution to the community and the way they embrace innovation.

Click here to find out more about the Elite Franchise 100!

Omar Rashid launches The HR Dept North East and South West Birmingham

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An ambitious young HR professional with over a decade of corporate experience has set up his own business offering outsourced advice and support to SMEs in two parts of Birmingham.

Through his new company The HR Dept North East and South West Birmingham, Omar Rashid will work from premises in Stratford Road to provide HR services to businesses in his territories.

He will be looking for clients in the business communities in a variety of areas including the Harborne, Selly Oak, Bournville, Nechells, Tyseley and Sparkbrook.

Nor does Mr Rashid, aged 34, plan to stop at two parts of the city. His plan is to take on staff within a year to 18 months, before eventually expanding the business further.

For now though, Mr Rashid is excited about the prospects and the challenges of launching his own company, having become disillusioned with the bureaucracy of corporate life.

He said: “I’ve thought long and hard about this and I’m really excited by the prospects. I’ve got a young family, which gives me the drive, energy and ambition to make this company a real success.

“I’ve lived in or near Birmingham all my life and I know there’s a really strong SME community in my territories of operation. For example in Harborne and the Longbridge Technology Park – these are places I’m keen to get to know better and find those businesses who need help to grow.”

Born and bred in Birmingham, Mr Rashid studied a Business Management degree at Coventry University and after taking a HR module in the final year followed up with completing his masters in Human Resource Management.

“I really enjoyed it,” he said, “and it’s been a passion of mine ever since. However, having spent a decade working with corporates and in the public sector I had this impression that small businesses don’t need HR – that they could just get rid of someone if they needed to.

“Since I found out about The HR Dept, though, my eyes have been opened. HR is as important for SMEs as it is for big businesses and part of my mission is to point that out to businesses, help them protect themselves and add value at the same time.

“I’m still as passionate about HR as I was since I did that first module at university. It’s great to be able to bring this new offering to Birmingham’s SME community.”

Mr Rashid said that small businesses are facing all kinds of challenges in the current business climate, with legislation changing all the time and new demands on business owners to manage their people properly.

“Now that employment tribunal fees have been scrapped,” he said, “it gives more power to employees ensure they are treated properly.

“So if companies are making a mess of redundancies or dismissals, they are at a growing risk of being taken to tribunal. I can help make sure these processes are done in a correct legal manner.

“The changes in tribunal fees, new measures like GDPR and shared parental leave, alongside the uncertainty posed by Brexit, makes the role of an HR professionals even more relevant and important.

“The key point about outsourcing is to let the HR expert concentrate on people issues, leaving business owners free to do what they do best, which is running and hopefully growing their business.”

 

The HR Dept talk to Elite Franchise Magazine

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The HR Dept Managing Director Gemma Tumelty made the front cover of this month’s edition of Elite Franchise Magazine.

Gemma was really excited to have the chance to share The HR Dept story and how she came to run the family business.

Click here to read Gemma’s feature.

HR Dept franchise vs your own HR consultancy

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There are many benefits that come from being part of a franchise organisation. Take a look at some of the key benefits below of joining us as a HR Dept licensee business owner vs starting your own HR consultancy business.

• You are joining an already established brand.
• Benefit from joining a nationally recognised, high quality HR provider with excellent customer results and feedback. Check out our recent customer survey here.
• Up to 4 weeks’ holiday cover – know that your customers will be looked after when you take some well deserved time out.
• Be part of something bigger – with our growing network of HR Professionals we encourage collaboration and draw on the expertise of all our licensees to benefit you and your customers.
• Employment Tribunal Insurance – rest assured knowing your customers are covered if they have taken your expert HR advice. This type of cover is not something you would be able to offer on your own.
• Continual Learning – employment law updates, webinars and training. We make sure you are updated so you can advise your customers effectively.
• DIY set up costs are far higher than the initial setup fee, which is all spent back on you!
• A quicker route to market for your business. Be up and running in as little as six weeks (it could take you up to 6 months to set up your business in the way that we do)

HR Dept goes to Parliament!

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If you keep up with Parliamentary goings on, you may have heard about the Future of Work Inquiry. This inquiry was started by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Commitee so it can better understand the issues employers face today and will face in the future to put recommendations to Government for real change, to make employing people all that easier tomorrow.

At The HR Dept, we do our best to make sure SMEs voices are heard. With our 6,000 customers all over the UK we’re well placed to understand the pressures they face, so immediately decided to put a few of our ideas forward for the Select Committee to review. We think that our employment classifications are too complex, that there are too many grey areas for SMEs to run aground. The ‘Worker’ status for example is highly misunderstood and hence commonly misused.

We recommended an abolishment of the Worker status, to replace the system with one that is cleaner, clearer and easier for SMEs to use. Off the back of our proposals, we were brilliantly invited to present them to the Future of Work Inquiry in Westminster itself, alongside the TUC and the New Economics Foundation.
Founder and Chair Sue Tumelty represented our proposals brilliantly on the day. You can watch it here.

Also in attendance were Jill Bottomley from The HR Dept Trafford and Warrington, and Sara Abbott from The HR Dept North Birmingham. The work they put into the proposals alongside Gordon Teasdale (HR Dept Glasgow North and Central) essential in getting the opportunity to present them directly to the committee. As HR professionals, we can assure you there’s no better feeling than being able to influence for the better the future policy that directs all our working lives.

With The HR Dept, you don’t just get to grow your own successful HR business, improving your life and supporting the small businesses around you, you may also get the chance to change the entire field of HR.