HR without the headaches

Ensuring you are keeping up with the latest HR developments and employment law updates is a headache for small and medium sized businesses, many of whom don’t have the budget for a dedicated HR Manager.

“Our business is a real team effort and we are always busy. Neither I nor my fellow directors Matt and Mark have time to keep up to date with current employment law and keep on top of it all ourselves,” says Tim Hole managing director of thriving South West business the Garage Door & Automation Company.

“We supply and fit garage doors and gates across the whole of the South West so I’m often on the road. We have a fantastic company accountant here and she shares responsibility for HR with me. Neither of us have a background in HR, so we needed to find a way of filling that gap.”

“An expert is just a phone call away”

Stephens Scown’s HRExpress service has been the perfect solution for the business. “I’ve been in this business for over 20 years and the changes to employment law and HR seem to be coming thick and fast these days. HRExpress gives me complete peace of mind. I know that an expert is just a phone call away. Without that support I think I would have plenty of sleepless nights!” says Tim.

The Garage Door and Automation Company has five offices and 36 members of staff, and is the ideal kind of business to benefit from HRExpress. Ellie Hibberd, partner and head of HRExpress at Stephens Scown explains: “For businesses like the Garage Door Company it often does not make commercial sense to take on a full time HR Manager. However, they still need to make sure they are keeping on the right side of HR best practice and all of the employment law legislation as well as keeping their workforce motivated and engaged.”

Another benefit, adds Ellie, is that: “As we’re a law firm, the advice we give benefits from legal privilege. Many businesses don’t realise that that’s not the case for an HR consultant and e-mail exchanges are likely to be disclosable in litigation.

“Unlike other law firms and HR consultants, we are very rare in that we have a dedicated team of both legally and HR-qualified individuals.”

“To be the best we can be, it has been important to get our HR right.”

“Our business is built on its reputation, with 40% of new customers coming through word of mouth and recommendations from other customers,” says Tim. “We are very focussed on our customers and do business the old fashioned way. To be the best we can be, it has been important to get our HR right.”

So how has HRExpress helped that aim? “Having our policies and staff handbook drafted for us has been invaluable. Whatever the issue, the response from the HRExpress team has always been very quick. The advice is easy to understand and implement. If we need help drafting a letter for a member of staff about a particular issue, a template letter will be with us within the day,” adds Tim.

“As well as the helpline support when we need it, Ellie and I meet once a year to discuss how things are going and I really appreciate that chance to catch up,” he concludes.

For Ellie being a trusted advisor to a thriving business is the most rewarding part of her job. “We know from our own experience that a happy and engaged workforce makes for a more successful business and we want to pass that knowledge on to clients.”

Ellie Hibberd is a partner and head of HRExpress at Stephens Scown LLP. HRExpress offers commercial, practical support on HR and employment law issues that can be tailored to individual companies’ needs. For more information call 01392 210700, email or visit