When do you join Bespoke HR and what prompted you to work for us?
I joined Bespoke HR in May 2015. I wanted to work for the company for both personal and professional reasons. For personal reasons, Bespoke HR’s office is close to my home and it has a very flexible approach and ethos to working, which allows me to have a super work-life balance, which is of paramount important to me as I have a young family. Bespoke HR values it staff and recognises their responsibilities outside of work. Professionally, the range of clients we service, both in terms of size and industry, and the variety of their queries and support requirements keeps you on your toes, makes work interesting and challenging and means you are always learning.
Tell us about your HR career background? How did you get into HR and what motivated you?
Prior to joining Bespoke HR, I previously worked as a solicitor for Penningtons Solicitors LLP (now Penningtons Manches Cooper) and as a Legal Advisor for Abbey Legal Protection Limited,in both cases advising on a range of employment law and human resources matters, both verbally and in writing. I now work for Bespoke HR as a non practising solicitor. I found employment law particularly interesting as it covers both contentious and non contentious work and obviously has a human element which often creates unique work and unexpected and unpredictable scenarios.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Navigating through the technicalities of law to then formulate a range of practical commercially aware solutions.
What advice would you give small businesses owners who don’t have any HR support or budget about how they can look after their staff and their business?
Follow us on Twitter and read our blogs and/or as a first point of call take advice from the ACAS telephone advice service or read the ACAS best practice guides, which are always very thorough. Invest time in the basics; well drafted contracts of employment and key procedures – disciplinary and grievance. Invest in professional advice before taking any significant decisions (see the best piece of HR advice below).
What are the biggest challenges your clients face would you say?
Being sufficiently knowledgeable of all their employment law and HR responsibilities and having the resources and time available to comply with best practice processes and requirements – this is particularly the case for SMEs. Employment law is always evolving meaning it is hard to stay up to date and the administration associated with HR best practices is often time consuming and this is burdensome for smaller businesses.
What would be your one single biggest piece of HR advice?
Always take advice before making any significant decision in relation to an employee – the law is prescriptive regarding HR procedures that a reasonable employer is expected to take in relation to employee relations matters, whether conduct, performance, redundancy, sickness or grievance issues etc. and the costs of getting it wrong are far more than the costs of seeking advice. Never underestimate the ability of an employee or ex employee to cause difficulties for a business.