Congratulations Tracy! The recent letter that dropped through the letter box was quite a surprise and unexpected. My professional body (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development – CIPD) had sent me a letter enclosing a certificate commemorating 30 years experience in the world of HR. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about that – was it great that I had chosen a profession all those years ago that I still thoroughly enjoyed or was it a sign of my advancing age.
Regardless, it did cause me to reflect on how I had arrived at my current role, as an independent HR consultant working with a wide range of small organisations, after many years working with Leadership Teams and Boards of trustees in the not-for-profit sector, providing a wide range of HR services for both small and large charities.
One of my current clients is Action Planning and through that I have been able to work with a wide range of different charities. The work can be quite varied too. One area where Action Planning specialises is recruiting for those “hard to fill” roles. Action Planning offers a bespoke recruitment service, tailored to the needs of the charity, and using our knowledge of the charity world and targeted headhunting, we have been able to recruit some very high calibre staff for organisations such as the Quakers, Ronald McDonald House Charities and the British Paralympic Association.
One area of work where I am often asked to support charities is a review of contracts of employment and staff handbooks. Employment law often changes and in my experience charities (particularly the smaller ones with fewer resources) don’t review their documentation as often as they should. It’s an area that often gets overlooked in governance reviews and yet badly written or out of date contracts can cause organisations a whole heap of challenges!
Often my review of contracts and staff handbooks will uncover other HR issues and it’s great to be able to provide an added value to my clients through flagging up areas for them to review that they hadn’t previously considered.
One of my other areas of expertise is undertaking grievance and disciplinary investigations. Organisations can often find themselves managing quite complex and tricky staffing issues and my clients recognise the benefits of bringing in someone who has that external perspective and can swiftly and dispassionately investigate what are often quite complex matters.
When I’m not supporting charities with their different HR needs, I can be found walking in the lovely Wiltshire countryside where I live with two cats and a husband (yes, that is the right order!) and attempting to keep my rather large garden in check.