A human resources expert has taken the courageous step of crystallising two decades of expertise and offering it for the benefit of local small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).
Clare Dalziel has set up her own business called The HR Dept Northampton South, providing affordable, outsourced HR advice and support for SMEs in the local area.
Based out of offices in Northampton Business Park, her territory of operation includes the southern part of Northampton and stretches from Buckingham in the south, to Olney in the east and Moreton Pinkney in the west.
It’s a big step for Clare, who has spent more than 20 years working in a variety of roles in retail and with the NHS and health sector.
However, alongside director-level experience with a big business she has also spent considerable time with companies which have grown from start-up stage, so believes she is well-equipped to offer local SMEs a mixture of practical support and strategic advice.
“I’ve seen so much over the years,” she said, “from the restructuring of a large business to helping a new company set up its first stage of employment policies. My friends say I should write a book of all the stories – you wouldn’t believe some of the things I have managed.
“I’ve worked with many different people at all levels of business, including helping with recruitment, employee relations, numerous restructures, working as a store manager and managing a call centre.
“So I think I’ve gathered a good appreciation of the different aspects of employing people and running a business. I’ve witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly and I sometimes wonder if there’s anything I haven’t seen.
“That said, running my own business is completely new to me. It’s very different – a matter of building new relationships, getting to know a new community and embracing a new challenge.”
The HR Dept Northampton South is part of the wider HR Dept organisation, a network of 75 franchisees providing services in 112 territories in the UK, Ireland and Australia.
The HR Dept provides high-level experience but at an affordable rate for growing businesses, who can outsource bespoke HR advice and support without needing the budget for an in-house HR team.
“Being part of a franchise organisation has been really helpful,” said Clare, “as it’s given me some structure and support to help me along the way, rather than me having to face it all completely on my own. I’m enjoying the challenge and the variety of getting to know a range of new businesses in different sectors.”
Clare also said that smaller businesses are currently faced with a range of challenges with how they employ people, with new legislation affecting employment statuses, tribunal action and data protection.
“Unfortunately, many businesses leave getting help until it is too late,” “they only realise when they are faced with an employee issue. We also offer tribunal insurance, which covers the award – something businesses cannot budget for”.
“If you look at GDPR, for example, it’s an issue which was all over the news a while ago as it was rolled out. I get the impression that many smaller businesses have put it to one side but it’s still highly relevant to them, as their just as liable for auditing and could find themselves in serious trouble and facing major fines.
“Modern, up-to-date employment practices, a legally compliant HR framework and putting good structures in place will all play a big role in helping companies not only start up but scale up, as well as preventing and protecting them in case of people problems.
With the changes to legislation around IR35 in April 2020, I expect there will be many businesses who could benefit from my support to ensure they have carried out an audit and have evidence to show they have checked the employment status of all self-employed contacts they work with. This is a complex issue and shouldn’t be left until the last minute.
“Owners of small businesses are great at what they specialise in but that’s not usually HR. I love tackling problems and finding solutions, so I can take that headache away from them and leave them to concentrate on running and building their business.”
Gemma Tumelty, managing director of The HR Dept, said: “It’s great to see someone of Clare’s calibre and experience offering HR services to SMEs in Northampton South and the surrounding area. We wish her all the best operating the licence and are sure she will make it a great success.”