I certainly have no regrets at all, it's the best thing I ever did. I kind of wish I'd done it sooner."
Serena May – Sussex-by-the-Sea

Case studies

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As soon as I first contacted The HR Dept I knew it was for me – it just felt right. It was a life changing decision! "
Ian Pilbeam - Edinburgh, Mid & East Lothians With The HR Dept since 2014

Ian Pilbeam joined The HR Dept in 2014, as an experienced HR professional and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, he really hit the ground running. Ian, as a local HR professional is passionate about making positive differences and changes to local businesses, their people and the community. We spoke to Ian about his past, what he’s up to now with The HR Dept, and what he envisions for the future. Maybe his story will inspire you to also consider joining the largest HR franchise in the UK.

You and your history

“I have nearly 30 years HR experience, nearly all of it in the Public Sector. The only way I could get into the private sector was to start my own business and join it! And yet I have found that I am a natural fit. Large public sector bodies are comprised of loads of small departments of specialists, much like many SMEs. The liberating difference with SMEs is that you can focus solely on what that business wants, and not worry about the bigger governance or political perspective, or organisation politics. And The HR Dept has then helped me to learn how to run a business successfully.”

Why become a licensee?

“I was ready to do my own thing. But with the comfort blanket of the franchise. The HR Dept balances off pretty much all of the risks. So long as I stay healthy and work hard I knew I would be successful. As soon as I first contacted The HR Dept I knew it was for me – it just felt right. I really enjoy what I do. Not just because I am no longer constrained by being the senior HR person in a large organisation, but because I am now my own boss and over time have built a business that can largely work without me. Every time we help a customer I can see the immediate difference. Great HR can make such a difference for businesses. The impact is obvious. It is so rewarding. Yes you have to find your own customers, and you certainly need some capital to cover the first few months’ income and the investment you need to make, but customers do come. These days I have to pinch myself when I look at the wide range of organisations we support”

Being different

“We are so different from any other provider. By offering practical and pragmatic HR advice, delivered locally and personally and backed up by Tribunal Insurance, we fill a gap in the market between standalone HR specialists and the large call centres. And there are plenty of businesses who have no HR provision at all that we can help. It’s also really helpful having so many services under one roof- we are a one stop shop. It’s all about building awareness of the service locally, and then delivering excellent services so that you become known for helping businesses locally with their HR. The name of the franchise helps as well – ‘HR Dept’ we are what it says on the tin – The HR Dept for local businesses.”


“I have built up an amazing team led by our MD who provide the day to day support for our expanding client base. This was my choice as I wanted to build a sustainable business for the future. We are here for the long term and have a wide range of services, both for HR and Health & Safety. We are working hard to continually grow the business and help as many local organisations as we can. It’s very rewarding.”

Running your own business

“Having the flexibility and freedom to do things my way, but being able to draw on a proven tested business model that I know works. Seeing other HR Dept licensees who have gone ahead of me being so successful gave me the confidence to know that, so long as I apply myself to the methodology, it would also work for me. This belief was well placed and we too are now successful. There is also a wealth of knowledge and experience within our network. I am a member of the largest HR department I have ever been in, even though I run my own business.”

Why The HR Dept?

“The HR Dept gives me so much for a modest monthly fee – unlimited support, a proven business model, experienced colleagues across the UK, and products (contracts, policies, letters etc.) that are there ready for me to use. If I was a standalone independent HR provider I would have had to start from scratch – the difference is huge. And for some customers, the Tribunal Insurance we offer is a clincher in itself – it offers them peace of mind.”