Being part of The HR Dept means I am able to offer tribunal insurance to my clients - something I couldn't have done on my own!"
Sheila Hudson – East Yorkshire

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I was ready for a new challenge and the idea of working for myself seemed like a natural progression and exciting. "
Shelia Hudson - East Yorkshire With The HR Dept since 2008

For 20 years, Sheila had been the HR, Quality and Health and Safety Manager for a holiday home manufacturer in Hull until she was made redundant in November 2007 as a result of industry decline.

“After evaluating my options and recovering from the common knee jerk reactions which surround people when they come out of their comfort zone, I started to realise that starting my own business could be the best thing that had ever happened to me. Some 12 years later working for myself has fulfilled my initial proved to be a life changing decision, fulfilling my professional goals and achieving a much-improved work/life balance

Hit the ground running

“It became obvious at the early stages of my market research that SME’s are looking for a tribunal insured advice line, and this was not something that I could offer working on my own.  This triggered my market research of franchise operations that would not only allow me to provide this to clients, but also share my values and enable me to build a business that could grow and remain competitive in the challenging and ever changing field of HR.

“I was attracted to the HR Dept because they were transparent; offering a proven business model and shared values.  Any concerns about whether they would talk the talk but not walk the walk were soon dispelled, and satisfied clients and a successful business are evidence of an effective business strategy, built from a business model that is flexible and adaptable to the many different HR professionals who wish to run their own business but in their own style.

“Like any business in its infancy teething problems were experienced, but these were anticipated and the level of support provided by HR Dept means that its effects are minimal. 

“In my experience success with HR Dept can be measured by what you are prepared to put into the business.  Networking is key In the early stages, however the consistency of work is by referral and in this respect the objective of networking becomes one of enjoyment and spending time with clients and colleagues, as opposed to an effort aimed at securing business. Your clients become your networkers by referral.

“The Central Office in Bristol is a support team as and when you require them. If you don’t use them, you can’t complain that you don’t get value for money, quite frankly! The support by The HR Dept is still as strong as ever. It doesn’t stop when you’ve got your business off the ground; they are there if you need them.”

Building relationships

“The majority of my clients I took on in my first year I still have now. This is not just because they receive an excellent service, but because you have the opportunity to become a part of their team. So whilst it seems that you are setting up your business on your own, you’re actually not on your own.

“Your clients need to know that you are not a call centre, in my experience this is what they want to move away from and want to hear.”

Research and development

“The development of my own business is key and has offered my own family its own opportunities. As the business has grown over the 10 years I have recognised that I need to continually develop the business and this has allowed me to do this. My daughter now works for the business on a part time basis and my husband deals with my entire book keeping. This has freed me up to concentrate on business development and looking after the clients. In addition, I can rely on The HR Dept to continually research and develop value added services to ensure what we offer is competitive and like no other” 

Holiday cover

“Your clients need reassurance that if you are working on your own they will have continuity of support, and this is provided by The HR Dept. I have also had the opportunity to build up an excellent relationship with other licensees to provide onsite cover at these times and I return the favour during their holiday periods. This works extremely well and you can take a break in the knowledge that your client’s needs are continuing to be met by The Central Office.”

The next steps

“You get out of your business what you put in. There is an ever-increasing demand for HR professionals. All businesses that employ people, however small are potential clients and it’s about letting them know what The HR Dept are about and what we offer.”