Behind the Business with The HR Dept. Newcastle
Bdaily goes behind the business with Jayne Hart, Managing Director at The HR Dept Newcastle, whose team of HR professionals offer practical advice and assistance to North East SMEs.
What key challenges has your company recently faced?
Many businesses don’t recognise the value of having HR support and do not see the connection between having spot on people practices in place and their productivity and profit. All too often a client will come to us once they have an issue, by which time it has become costly and complex to resolve.
What is your biggest achievement over the past 12 months?
I’m going to cheat and look at since I began my HR Dept 20 months ago! I am really proud that we now have a local client base of almost 60 small businesses and importantly for me, we know each and every one of them!
The service we provide is very much based upon a local and personal service but with the backing of a national franchised network. This attracted me to the HR Dept franchise in the first place and it is something that I hold dearly, I never want to provide a faceless, impersonal call centre service.
What is your most important focus for the coming year, and what do you hope to achieve?
To continue to grow our local client base sustainably and get to a position where we can take on a HR Adviser and ideally an Apprentice. But at the same time not to compromise that personal approach that is so important.
What excites you most about your industry and business?
The fact that people are so unpredictable and we can never quite be sure what we will be asked on the advice line or what kind of disciplinary we may be supporting next! Believe me there are stories to be told!
Strangely I actually like the legislation side of HR! I find it rewarding to understand the ruling and then figuring out how to practically apply it and what the boundaries are. Most of all it’s the fact that I get to work with business of all shapes and sizes and business owners with varying approaches to their people management. It’s great to get to know them and to adapt my style and the way I will advise and support them.
What do you wish you’d known when starting out?
That mistakes are okay, we all make them, it’s what makes us grow as individuals and it’s really not worth beating yourself up over! As long as you learn from them that is.
What will be the “next big thing“ in your industry, and how do you plan to handle it?
There are lots of changes coming up this year as usual for employers. The National Living wage in April and the continuation of auto enrolment is going to impact on small businesses bottom line, especially those who haven’t planned ahead. There will be fines for not complying so its crucial businesses get it right. We have been advising our clients for some time about the changes and offering up practical advice.
Looking further ahead, flexible working is slowly going to become the norm. Employees won’t expect to be based in an office at a desk all day, working traditional hours in the future. For some sectors this is great news and they will (and have) full embraced it, for others it is going to be a challenge. Either way, it’s not going to go away.
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