When do you join Bespoke HR and what prompted you to work for us?

I joined the Bespoke HR team two years ago. Having had a very corporate HR career, I was looking for a role which would give me flexibility, whilst maintaining my interest. I was attracted to the Bespoke HR model, working with SMEs and start-ups whilst managing my own time and workload.

Tell us about your HR career background?

I have been working in HR for 25 years and like most HR professionals it was accidental rather than a conscious decision. I have stayed in HR because of the challenges it brings, the variety and scope of work available and the changing employment landscape, all of which keep me interested.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Building relationships with new businesses, and problem solving complex and challenging issues where it is often difficult to find an obvious solution.

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?

Get the basics in place, an employment contract will save you much time and trouble further down the line when an employee is questioning their terms and conditions and what is implied and what is explicit.

What are the biggest challenges your clients face would you say?

It can be difficult for a small business owner to recruit and retain highly skilled staff because the corporates are able to offer bigger and better salaries and benefits. However it’s all about how you sell the role and the company, and flexibility is one of the biggest advantages of working in an SME. There are highly skilled people who will be flexible on salary for the freedom to work close to home/flexibly.

What would be your one single biggest piece of HR advice?

My one piece of advice to all small business owners is you can’t rely on ‘informal chats’ as a way to set standards, resolve issues or address a difficult situation. Whilst communication is key, ensure the employee receives the message in a professional setting, as everything you discuss is potentially ‘on the record’.

Tara Lohn is an HR Consultant at Bespoke HR.

LinkedIn: Tara Lohn