Celebrating 20 years of The HR Dept

The outsourced human resources specialist marked the anniversary with a two-day conference for franchisees and company management

The HR Dept launched in Bristol in 2002 under the leadership of Sue Tumelty, offering specialist HR advice and support to small and medium-sized businesses in the area. Two decades later, a network of franchisees covers more than 100 territories across the UK and Ireland, collectively servicing some 6,500 smaller businesses, with a growing presence in Australia too.

Last autumn Sue announced succession plans which saw the company’s employees taking ownership of the business in an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). To mark the 20th anniversary of the business she was joined at The HR Dept’s now annual conference, held near Reading this year, by the newly-appointed board of the EOT, alongside the majority of the franchisee network and third-party suppliers and partners.

“What a journey we’ve been on,” Sue told the conference. “It’s been a lot of fun and together we’ve built a solid leadership team which is ready to take over the reins. I couldn’t be more proud.

“Indeed when I started the business 20 years ago I remember making a promise never to sell to someone who didn’t embrace our values. Now those values, the licensees and the team are protected, so it’s onwards and upwards.

“I always tell people setting up new businesses that it’s important not to lose your nerve, to adapt to market pressure, to listen and to grow. That approach has helped us become solid in our position as the market leader and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens over the next 20 years.”

Felicity Kenny, recently appointed managing director of The HR Dept, said: “This year’s conference was special for a number of reasons, but primarily due to the celebration of 20 years of The HR Dept, which started with Sue running her company from a dining room table in Bristol in 2002.

“It’s come such a long way and it’s been amazing to reflect on 20 wonderful years, while also having the opportunity to plan where we go next.”

Keith Sadler, a specialist in corporate finance who, as chairman and CEO of the EOT board, is supporting The HR Dept with its transition to an EOT and on into the future, said: “In her speech to the conference, Sue mentioned that it’s in my hands that the growth and reputation of this business will be safe, and I certainly intend it to be so. But it’s a collective effort to continue the story that Sue started 20 years ago.

“I see the new structure as being the best for all stakeholders and Sue has been very generous in migrating the business over to an EOT. And that’s what I really like about this business. It’s the people, with a collaborative approach, who make it a success. From what I have seen, I have no doubt that The HR Dept will be around in another 20 years – an even bigger, better and more successful business.”

Originally published on www.what-franchise.com

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