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

Case studies

View all case studies
I knew fairly quickly that this was the right option - It was a recognised brand with a fantastic support network and meant you could hit the ground running immediately without being alone."
Helen Gilfillan - Bishop’s Stortford & Halstead The HR Dept since 2019

Helen has 35 years’ HR experience and has worked in a variety of sectors from Manufacturing to Retail, with Public Sector and Service industry experience too. She would describe herself as a HR Generalist but before joining The HR Dept she operated at board level in a more strategic capacity. Helen is a Chartered Member of the CIPD and a Masters graduate, as well as being a Certified Practitioner for Thomas International’s Personal Profile Analysis (PPA).”

“I actually started out in a secretarial capacity around 35 years ago working with a ‘Personnel’ Department, then I worked my way up through the different levels of HR completing my CIPD qualification along the way.  I’ve worked for companies such as Lancaster Garages, Tyco Electronics, Ralston Purina, Flakt Woods and Essex Police to name but a few.”

The beginning

I had always wanted to run my own HR consultancy and I stumbled across The HR Dept through a recommendation from a friend. She heard about me thinking of setting up alone and encouraged me to look into The HR Dept first. I obviously carried out my own due diligence by attending a Discovery Day and I was able to speak to some Licensees to find out more. From speaking to the team, I found the passion and enthusiasm of everyone to be a ‘breath of fresh air’ and so inspiring – I was sold! I resigned soon after in the December and launched The HR Dept Bishop’s Stortford & Halstead in the March”

“The biggest benefit has got to be the flexibility and work-life balance, allowing me to work around other commitments. It was really important to me to be able to be there for my kids more when starting up on my own, and being a business owner means I can pick and choose if I want the odd afternoon off or be there for my youngest child (even if it is just as a taxi service!).”


The support has been fantastic from all the team at Central Office as well as other licensees from across the network.  Starting your own business is extremely daunting, especially as a single parent with mouths to feed, so the support in the start-up of the business with Accountants, Marketing, Sales and a business coach was invaluable. And it doesn’t just end after 6 months, they’re always there for you as you progress and the Licensee network love to help each other & share all our different expertise.”

What do you like most about working with SMEs?

You can really feel you make a difference and add value to them and their business.  During my career I have worked for smaller organisations and that personal contribution is fantastic.  I love getting out there and really understanding the business, their culture, and their people, so then I’m confident that I can tailor responses and documentation to match their style. I’m also very commercially focused which is so important for my clients, as I get to work hand-in-hand with the business owners to see things from a perspective that is best for their business, not just what is ‘best practice’ from a high level HR standpoint.”

The future

When I first joined The HR Dept, I had always envisioned having another territory and maybe some staff and an office one day, but that dream has come around sooner than expected! I have been able to fast-track everything and it’s very exciting making my dream a reality.”

My HR Dept future is going to involve expansion, offices, and staff to run a proper business so I will be able to concentrate on business development and move away from the ‘day to day’ operations more. I aim to be a little less ‘hands-on’ in possibly five years’ time and take some time out for myself and my family.  I also hope to get my golf handicap back to a decent level after 25 years of not playing!  As they say, business is done on the golf course.”