Tonight’s the night! UK Blog Awards 2019

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Just a quick message from me to wish all of the finalists the very best of luck for tonight’s awards.

The event is being broadcast LIVE on YouTube from 6:30pm so if you’re not subscribing to their channel already, please make sure you do and you never know, next year you might fancy entering yourself!

Keep all of your fingers crossed for me, it is an absolute pleasure to represent HR and wellbeing initiatives within the workplace to create better working cultures for everyone and inspire others by using my blog to convey these essential topics.

Good luck everyone!

A million thank you’s! I am a finalist at the UK Blog Awards!

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I can’t quite believe that I am writing this but thanks to your votes, I am delighted to announce that I am a finalist at the UK Blog Awards 2019!

Continue reading “A million thank you’s! I am a finalist at the UK Blog Awards!”

From Travel Agent to HR Consultant; my career journey so far

When I meet people that have either read the blog or seen me speak at an event, one of the first questions I get asked is how I managed to get from being a Travel Agent to an HR Consultant.

The reason I was inspired to write this post is because at this time of year, many people think, new year, new career, and I thought this may help some people if they were considering this particular situation.

The shameless selfie above was taken just before Christmas outside of the Maidenhead branch of TUI (formerly Thomson Holidays, and yes I did get some strange looks!) this is where I had my first proper job interview at the age of 18 when it was known as Lunn Poly (that may take a few of you back!). I was just about to finish my A-Levels in business, Travel and Tourism and I didn’t want to wait until my exam results, I wanted to get into work as soon as possible, so the day after my exams finished, I was working and sending people all over the world on their dream holidays.

Continue reading “From Travel Agent to HR Consultant; my career journey so far”

2018, you were awesome. 2019, bring it on!

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What an incredible year 2018 has been!

Career wise, it has been very hectic but productive and I am thankful for the experiences that the year gave me.

I am also grateful for all of the support, lovely comments and wonderful connections that I have made. I am looking forward to much of this in 2019!

Continue reading “2018, you were awesome. 2019, bring it on!”

The UK Blog Awards 2019 – cast your vote!

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We are now only a few days away before the public vote for the UK Blog Awards closes!

I’m really lucky to have got through to the second round and I would be delighted to make it through to the next stage. If you are enjoying my HR musings, then please do take a moment to vote (no personal details are required, you simply click on vote!)

Continue reading “The UK Blog Awards 2019 – cast your vote!”

I’m in the 2019 UK Blog Awards!

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Wowsers what a year it has been and with only 6 short weeks left of 2018, for me it is now all about 2019!

I am really excited and privileged to be nominated at the 2019 UK Blog Awards for my humble little HR blog and I couldn’t be more proud; it is all thanks to your support that I am here in the first place so a big thank you to you all.

If you enjoy reading my HR musings, then please do take a moment to nominate me, there are to forms to fill in, you just click the link here and press the vote button, and it is as easy as that!

Wish me luck and keep your fingers crossed!

What is HR’s role when a company goes into administration?

 

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In 2012 I gave a short interview to People Management to provide a perspective of HR when a company sadly goes into administration after the collapse of HMV.

Following the news that BHS has gone into administration; putting 11,000 jobs at risk, I thought it would be appropriate to share my experiences from when I worked at Entertainment UK, part of the Woolworths group which collapsed in 2008.

When the announcement was made on 26th November 2008, it’ll be a moment in my early career that I will never forget and I quickly learned that business can be unbelievably harsh therefore I must toughen up to support the needs of the employees and secondly, I have never seen such a variation of reactions in one room before, it’ll be an image that will stay with me. Poor business decisions alongside difficult trading and an ever increasing pension deficit all contributed to Woolworths demise and now it seems history is repeating itself with the employees suffering the most.

So what can HR do when a company has hit the buffers? Unexpectedly, employee reactions are amazingly mixed; some are not surprised, others are shocked, some are relieved, others want to do everything they can to save the company, but the majority are distressed and concerned for the future.

When you work in a business where it has a substantial heritage, you often have an incredibly loyal workforce which has a community feel to it so it is vital that HR provide support as much as possible and handles the situation with great sensitivity. Support each employee as an individual case and listen to their concerns.

HR is almost completely helpless once the administrators arrive on site, yet it is a very busy time for them. Simple requests such as holiday entitlements and resignations have to be run past the administrators first which can take a long time to obtain a response. Most company contracts and assets are frozen which can include employee assistance programmes (unless the full fees are paid for upfront) so HR has to take on the role of handling the situation to the best of their ability and trust me, it is incredibly difficult.

Speaking to the employees is vital, as a HR administrator I went to pick and pack in the warehouse to get orders out just in time for Christmas. Surprisingly it was a jovial time as it looked like Woolworths might actually survive. It was great to see the stock moving again but it had been an incredibly slow two weeks to get to that point and I just couldn’t sit in the office anymore!

We were advised on 12th December 2008 that the iconic doors were closing with final trading taking place on 6th January 2009. From 12th December the HR team had 5000 employees queuing up for advice on their redundancy pay, shares and pensions. I remember going home that evening and feeling completely numb and being able to memorise RP1 forms in my head!

The amount of tearful thank you’s we received as a team in such difficult conditions made us really appreciate that we had the opportunity to work with some wonderful people and that by actively listening and being supportive has impact on employees.

I decided to contact as many recruitment agencies as possible in the hope that we could find suitable employment for as many employees as possible. We held CV workshops, interview skills training (some had been with the company for 40 plus years so this was their primary area of concern) and invited the recruitment agencies in to register candidates. Obviously this shouldn’t be done until further information from the administrators are announced and confirmation of the future of the business is received.

For now BHS continues to trade as normal until a suitable buyer is found or a decision to cease trading is made. As my former colleagues and I often say – there’s life after Woolworths, it’s just hard to imagine life without it.