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

Author Archive

Spotlight on Lee Monroe

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At the end of 2018, Lee Monroe became our licensee for The HR Dept Abergavenny, Brecon, Blaenau Gwent & Cwmbran.

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to Lee, and we took the time to catch up with him so he could share his background with our network.

Have you always worked in HR?

“When I left school, I worked mainly in customer facing roles in retail, leisure and media. It was only 16 years ago that I became more familiar with HR.

“Back when I started work in the late 80s, we didn’t have HR managers or even an HR department. Business owners/managers just dealt with their staff as they wanted. In some situations, it wasn’t nice. So when I became a manager at a young age, I wanted to be different and treat people as I wanted to be treated… with respect.

“It was when I was employed as a department manager by a major UK retail company back in 2002 that I became aware of HR, or personnel management as it was known then. I quickly understood that there were rules, policies and procedures that had to be followed.”

So when did you make the switch to specialise in HR?

“During an appraisal, my first “personnel manager” mentioned that both the store manager and she were impressed with how I managed to keep my team engaged through a new store opening. And also that I’d had completed all training and appraisals with them. I was encouraged to learn more about the personnel function with her. The rest is history!”

What has been your biggest challenge since working in HR?

“We are often involved in making difficult decisions based on the facts/evidence that we have in front of us. I found it very hard in the early days not to take things personally. After all… even HR professionals are human!”

Lee Monroe Launches The HR Dept Abergavenny, Brecon, Blaenau Gwent & Cwmbran

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A human resources expert and local radio presenter, a family man who has spent three years on the road, has returned home to South Wales to set up a company supporting local businesses.

Lee Monroe has spent the past 16 years working for supermarket chain Morrisons, being based over the last three years in Bradford in Yorkshire, Kent and Surrey and more recently North Wales and the English Borders.

The father-of-two has children aged 16 and 13 at his home in Tredegar, where his wife Emma also works full time and looks after his elderly grandmother.

So he has taken the decision to bring his many years of corporate HR experience to the benefit of local small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

The HR Dept Abergavenny, Brecon, Blaenau Gwent & Cwmbran will offer expert outsourced human resources advice and support at a price which smaller businesses can afford.

Mr Monroe is well-known in the area, having presented shows on community radio station BRfm/BGfm for many years. He currently hosts a Sunday breakfast show from 8am to 10am.

Now he faces a new challenge, to develop a business in the local community and apply his years of HR know-how at a grass roots level with local companies.

“I’ve spent the past three years living out of a suitcase,” he said. “Time flies when you have children and I wanted to make the most of them growing up, so it’s great to get back to South Wales and to be starting up a business here.

“It’s going to take some getting used to but I’m really excited about it and I’m looking forward to working with local SMEs.

“I’ve got so much experience to pass on, especially over the past few years with the head office and regional roles I’ve had, which have involved strategic work and policies and procedures for the 498 stores which Morrisons has across the UK.

“Now I need to apply that knowledge at the grass roots level, helping businesses with their people management, from writing handbooks and contracts right up to recruitment and strategic work.”

The HR Dept Abergavenny, Brecon, Blaenau Gwent & Cwmbran is part of an international company with a network of 73 franchisees providing services in 111 territories in the UK, Ireland and Australia.

Licensees provide high-level experience but at an affordable rate for growing businesses, who need the expertise on hand but have neither the need nor the budget for an in-house HR team.

The company also provides an option for HR practitioners looking for better work-life balance and a new challenge after working in corporate life.

Mr Monroe said that, in a rapidly-developing employment landscape, he was expecting his services to be in high demand in the local business community.

“What I really enjoy is meeting people and helping resolve their issues,” he said. “With new legislation like GDPR bedding in since May, the reviews on equality, the gender pay gap, and then with the Home Office having just published the Brexit Toolkit for employers, there’s a lot for SME owners to think about.

“Companies need to be aware of likely legislation and prepare for it in advance – the world is changing and those businesses which aren’t up to speed are going to struggle.

“HR professionals are available for advice so that, rather than having an additional headache to worry about, business owners can pass responsibility for the people issues over to us. We allow you to look after your business and take care of your people problems.”

Felicity Kenny, managing director of The HR Dept, said: “It’s great to see someone of Lee’s calibre and experience offering HR services to SMEs in this part of South Wales. We wish him all the best operating the licence and are sure he will make it a great success.”

Spotlight on Sarah Bradley

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Sarah Bradley started with us in September 2018 and is the director of The HR Dept Leeds South. In our spotlight interview, Sarah shares her background with us, her biggest HR challenges and her secret to success.

How did you get into HR?

I studied psychology at university. When I left I wanted to work in a role that would involve understanding people at work. However, there were no graduate entries into human resources 20 years ago.

So I joined the graduate scheme at Morrisons to become a general manager. Six months into my training I saw an advert for trainee personnel managers, and asked to join. They were sad to see me transfer trainee schemes, but saw how hard I’d worked and were happy to transfer me.

Three months later it was my first day as a personnel manager with a staffing structure of 98 employees. I was being told by a member of staff that she had grandchildren older than me, and that’s when the fun began!

What has been your biggest challenge since working in HR?

Coping with delivering endless restructures. I had a six-year run of redundancies, year after year, in my former role. I often instigated them and always fully supported the business goals. But it was draining when they came one after the other.

What is your secret to success?

I never stop learning. You’ll always find me with a motivational book or management guide close to hand. I soak up all new information and make sure I apply it.

5 Star for Franchisee Satisfaction

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The HR Dept is delighted to announce that we have been awarded the 5 Star Franchisee Satisfaction Badge in the WorkBuzz annual Franchisee Satisfaction survey. It is a tremendous recognition to receive a five-star rating. In 2018 we reached out to our licensees to hear about their experience with us. Here is what we discovered.

The franchise satisfaction benchmark, provided by WorkBuzz, surveys franchisees on their experience at The HR Dept covering a range of areas including support, training, marketing, branding and much more. The survey offers a platform for our licensees to anonymously voice their feedback to help us benchmark the support and training we offer. This has enabled us to strengthen and develop the assistance we provide our network as we hear their honest thoughts, opinions and ideas. All-together this pushes us towards our plan to develop a successful future for the network.

The HR Dept network consists of over 70 licensees worldwide who built successful businesses within their territory by following our proven business model.

The HR Dept Induction

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At The HR Dept we need a minimum of six weeks to help you set up your business. After the initial business set-up phase, you will be invited to a three-day induction where we will give you specific training on our unique business model. You will meet the team, be trained on how to use our internal systems, as well as meeting with our sales and business coaching experts.

Last week we ran an induction for our two newest licensees Joanna Charles of HR Dept Bradford and Niamh Kelly HR Dept Shropshire, who have now officially launched their businesses on the 1st of May.

Joanna Charles gave us some feedback about her experience at induction.

‘A great induction, not only to the HR Dept itself, but also to maximising your personal and business potential which is such a critical part to your success. From the engaging and expert delivery, to the extensive content and discussions, it very quickly confirmed I had made the right decision! You come away feeling part of a fantastic diverse community, fully supported but also challenged to really go and hit the ground running with clear targets and goals for delivery that gives you a great kick start on what to focus on when you head back home.’

Use your HR skills to assist SMEs

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One of the things our licensees love most about working with SMEs, is the range of clients that they get to work with. From coffee shops to boutique independent cinemas and everything in between!

One of our licensees operates her HR Dept from a more rural territory and has a really diverse client base, so has to carry a range of suitable footwear in the boot of her car including steel toe cap shoes, smart shoes and even a pair of wellies!

Being a licensee can be extremely rewarding as you will work with SME clients at different stages of their business. You might be helping a micro business take on their first employee, to a complete restructuring of a larger team. By working so closely with your clients you will get to know the companies you work with as you become an extension of their team, helping them become compliant employers and develop their workforce.

Click here to take a look at our video, that we filmed at our annual conference, about the types of businesses some of our HR Dept licensees work with. Some of them might just surprise you!