Irene Sullivan is an Managing Consultant at Bespoke HR
When did you join Bespoke HR and why did you want to work for us?
I joined Bespoke HR in August 2023. I was aware of Bespoke HR quite a while back and had thought the company looked like a great place to work with the perfect combination of interesting and varied work, friendly colleagues who are all HR people and a company that prioritises its employees striving to be a great place to work.
Tell us about your HR career background. How did you get into HR and what motivated you?
I’ve always loved working with people and find great fulfillment in helping people and, where possible, improving people’s working lives. I began my career in HR having worked in management positions in both the retail and hospitality sectors. After having worked as a manager in ski resorts for three seasons, I started working with a ski company in the HR department based in London. Following this I moved to the charity sector for the best part of a decade, which demanded a different set of HR skills.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I have enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, the variety that comes with working across different industries. The best part is meeting people from different backgrounds with different life experiences, hearing their stories and building trusting relationships. In my current role, I relish the opportunity to work closely and collaborate with a fantastic and inspiring bunch of people, who all bring their different perspectives as we work towards the same goals.
What advice would you give small business owners who don’t have any HR support or budget about how they can look after their staff and their business?
In my experience gaining the trust and respect of your employees is key. Having a strong and authentic set of values, communicating these and weaving them through every process will ensure that employees know what to expect and what is expected of them as they bring their best to contribute to the success of the business. Verbally recognising employees’ efforts regularly and prioritising fairness towards employees will help the business gain the trust, respect and loyalty which is needed to succeed.
What are the most common HR challenges your clients face?
One of the most common challenges my clients face is ensuring the right systems are in place to maximise efficiency, functionality and cost-effectiveness. Others experience challenges with keeping up to date with changes in employment legislation and best practices and ensuring that management within the business is informed and trained in these areas.
What would be your one single biggest piece of HR advice?
Prioritise your people and they will give you their best.
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