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My First Year as an HR Consultant in Cumbria

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 Well, here we are 12 months in as a HR consultant, and what a year it has been!

One of the things I can say for sure is that I've never looked back. There's been highs, some lows, plenty of challenges, and of course a few funny stories too!

As an HR consultant in Cumbria, I'm constantly amazed by people - the good and the bad - and it's one of the things I have always enjoyed about HR as a profession.

Amazement also comes from the businesses that exist and how many businesses are out there in Cumbria and the UK, small, medium and large!

What I've learned in my first 12 months as a freelance HR consultant

I met with a colleague a couple of weeks ago and he asked me what I'd learnt from my first year.

Distracted by eating cake at the time, I couldn't think of a good answer… but that question has given me food for thought for the weeks since and really helped me to reflect!

We all learn, all of the time. Even as an experienced HR professional, there are things that come across my desk that I need to read up on or take advice on. It's easy to see that as a weakness, but people are people and we can't plan for everything!

As an HR consultant, I've played many roles: good cop, bad cop, advisor, listener… the list goes on.

I've also seen how difficult it can be for business owners to find a trusted advisor, a confidant or someone to talk to when times are tough, or they just don't know what to do. I've had the most satisfaction from helping, guiding and supporting the clients who have chosen me to do exactly that.

I'm in awe of businesses that - against all the economic challenges - are growing and expanding, even if that's as simple as taking on their first employee and me supporting them through that.

Sometimes HR doesn't always go to plan…

Whilst HR is a serious topic, I think it's really important to be able to laugh at yourself as some parts of the day are just funny!

Now, most of the people that know me will tell you that I'm very organised and my personal friends will tell you about the labelling machine that I have!

However, there are times, like everyone, when things don't go according to plan!

Like the time when I turned up for a meeting with a client and they weren't there. 'How strange' I thought, as this client is also very organised. All became clear when I checked the invite… and I realise I'd forgotten to invite them!

The best bits of my first year as an HR Consultant

When asked what I've enjoyed the most, the first word that springs to mind is usually 'variety'. Life as an HR consultant is never dull and the whole day can change with one phone call!

Like the time when a client rang and said:

"I've just suspended someone and don't know what to do next. Can you come and see me NOW please!"

I was tempted to wear a superhero cape but thought they'd appreciate my calm approach more!

And another new client, who responded with "you just looked dead nice on your website'" when I asked where he'd come across me… thank you, that really made me smile.

To anyone who is thinking about branching out on their own, in HR, or otherwise, I'd absolutely recommend it! There's variety and a great network of businesses - we can all help each other. It can be tough, but the satisfaction far outweighs the challenges of self-employment!

I couldn't do it alone!

Of course, like everyone, I have my support network, made up of professional colleagues, family, and friends.

I've also been incredibly lucky to have Sue (Kaveney) coach me through my first year and pass on her 13 years of HR consultancy wisdom!

A big thank you to everyone who has supported me in my first year and I look forward to working with many more amazing businesses in 2023!

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Thursday, 29 February 2024