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 – Eastbourne, Brighton & Hove
It’s a hugely collaborative and highly professional network – I can’t rate it highly enough."Katie Aldridge With The HR Dept since 2016
Katie didn’t have a traditional route into HR, as her background is actually in science and mathematics. After living and working abroad in a scientific capacity for many years, she then settled in the UK and started working for the civil service as a PA. From there Katie ‘fell into HR’ and was able to complete her CIPD qualifications, a Postgraduate degree and MBA in the HR field, ultimately going on to become the HR Director for a large corporate company.
“I spent over 20 years working in HR roles across a broad range of industry sectors, including pharmaceutical, financial services, agricultural and not-for profit, in companies that ranged from global corporates of 20,000 employees down to a local company with just 8. Eventually, I reached the point where I fell out of love with the corporate lifestyle, wanted a change in career and the ability to have greater control over my lifestyle, so I started to explore what options might be out there.”
Once I was ready to leave the corporate world and was working on my business plans, I wanted to be able to provide the same breadth of HR to small and medium size companies as that which most large companies have.”
“Having researched, I realized that to grow the business to the point where I could do that would take a minimum of 5 years. However, through researching I came across a number of franchises that offer HR on an outsourced basis which would get me to where I wanted to be quicker. I spoke to a shortlist of 3. The HR Dept was by far the most established, was also the best fit with my own values, and with the type of services I wanted to provide.
I went to Bristol and met with a member of the central team, spoke about what I wanted, what The HR Dept was all about and felt a real synergy. After speaking with nearby Licensees, it seemed like a no brainer and I signed up pretty quickly!”
I was experienced in HR so knew how to deliver the service, I had no experience in establishing and running a business though. The business coach initially can help guide you with this and building confidence. There are also so many in the network who have this experience, and the support and advice available is phenomenal, both from the central office and from other licensees.
It’s a hugely supportive environment, whatever situation you encounter, if it’s one that is new to you, it’s likely that someone in the network has encountered it before, and the advice and guidance is given freely and willingly.”
It’s rare to come across politics in SMEs which I like and the opportunity to make a difference is huge. The results are tangible and visible so it’s very rewarding.”
I recently took on a second territory and am working on how I establish myself within this new geographical area. Linked to that, I have seen a growth in the customer base, which has resulted in the need to recruit and expand my own team. All in all, the future looks exciting and promising.”
You really need to think about why you’re looking to do this. If I look back to my old job, I earned good money, had a safe and secure lifestyle – it sounded ridiculous to give all that up for something I knew wasn’t going to be an easy ride. But it just felt right! I was prepared to live through the initial tough period, knowing that the good would come again, and thankfully I was right.”