Laura Ducens has worked in her industry since the 1970s and now wants to use her expertise for the benefit of small and medium-sized businesses in her local area.
Her company, The HR Dept Northampton South, will provide outsourced HR advice and support for SMEs in Northampton, Olney, Roade, Towcester, Silverstone, Buckingham, Morton Pinkney and Bugbrooke.
It’s a significant change for the businesswoman from Hunsbury Hill, but Laura says she is relishing the challenge of setting up on her own.
Ms Ducens has worked in HR since her first role at BHS in 1973, spending time at a variety of large retail and logistics corporates before becoming head of HR at Bestway Cash & Carry in 2001.
After 15 years at the London-based firm and having helped oversee significant growth at the company, she decided to leave corporate life and pursue a new path.
She left Bestway in April last year and discovered The HR Dept a few months later, agreeing to take on the license for operating the Northampton South franchise of the successful national outsourced HR business.
After several months of training she is raring to go. She said: “I’m feeling really good about the potential for this business. I think you have to be confident to be in HR and confidence helps you run your own business as well. So I’m looking forward to the challenge and excited about meeting some people.”
A member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Ms Ducens said she is looking forward to applying her decades of HR experience to the benefit of SMEs in her new business territory.
She said: “I don’t want to force myself on SMEs because I do realise that HR can be quite scary to them. It’s about getting to know the business and communicating how you can help them.
“What I offer is so diverse and so widely applicable that it’s only by listening to companies that you find out what their problems are and what they need.
“And I don’t just bring technical HR expertise. That corporate experience is actually really useful for SMEs which are looking to grow, as I can suggest things that big businesses do for their employees and how that can be introduced on a smaller scale.
“So businesses which are growing and developing can really benefit from my expertise. Legislation is rapidly changing and as soon as you start employing people you need to be aware of the implications and the potential risks to your business.”
The HR Dept is a national company based in Bristol which has a network of 63 licensees working in 85 territories around the UK and Ireland, providing the full breadth of HR services, from recruitment, employee relations and benefits to the admin of policies and documents, to SMEs in their areas.
Managing director Gemma Tumelty said: “We are delighted to see someone of Laura’s quality and experience setting up The HR Dept Northampton South. We wish her all the best with running the license in her new territory and have great confidence that the new business will be a huge success.”