Delivering Great HR in an SME

Next session for the morning is with Sue Harper, HR Advisor with Leap 29.

Sue’s going to talk about earning trust from your director(s), the value HR can bring, implementing processes that bring value and hiring the right people!

Leap 29 are global recruitment specialists and operate across Europe and America.  Their values underpin what they do.  They’re passionate about delivering the best service to clients and best service to their candidates.

Passion – high energy, positive, fun, pride in the company and strive to do the best for customers

Integrity – focus on achieving the company goals, protect the company image and keep promises to clients and candidates

Respect – share and learn from others, appreciate and value others

Hard Work – yes this is how it is but they get recognised and rewarded for their efforts, going the extra mile gets noticed

Sounds like a focussed and driven environment – but at least if you know that’s the deal up front you can choose if that’s right for you.

Sue’s core elements to building trust with her Director – credibility, openness, honesty, truthfulness, dependable.  A lot of what we expect from ‘authentic’ leaders who build relationships with their teams.

And to get buy-in to what she wants to do she takes accountability, looks for innovative ways to do things (smarter not harder), looking for new opportunities, be a champion, influence others from a belief in this being the right thing to do, strategy – think bigger than the immediate activity – what does it mean for other elements of the business.

People want to work with people they trust.

Sue’s working with her business to create a learning environment that begins with raising self awareness, taking opportunities to grow and so to be the people we want to be.  To do this she needs to consider the whole spectrum of HR and show that it does more than just keep an HR person happy – this is about the business overall.

Leap 29 have taken their strategic goals, got clear on the business outcomes that will deliver that, but also the people outcomes that will deliver for the business. Under that is the HR activity that needs to align behind those people outcomes.

And beneath all that is an understanding of the data, the inputs, the behaviours that could be driving an observed problem e.g. ‘we have an absence problem’ turned out to be a lack of clarity about what was expected around absence – Sue introduced a new procedure and clarity about how to report absence on the system.  Currently the reduction in absence stands at about 50%.

In Hiring the Right People, Leap 29 link their own values to the theories around the psychological contract.  They use a variety of attraction methods including job boards and careers fairs.   They use telephone interviews – which is particularly effective as first-stage screening given they’re often employing people who will be spending a lot of their time talking to clients and candidates on the phone. There’s then an assessment centre for a day and then an interview which includes an on-the-job assessment and interview with hiring manager.  Sounds like a really big selection process.  I wonder what the conversion rates are like and whether there could be a simpler approach that would still get the right results for the business – and save them time and money.

An ongoing challenge for any business.

Observation from the audience that Sue’s shared a very grounded approach to HR but wonders what impact the value of ‘hard work’ has on candidates.  Are they encouraged to work smarter, not harder, to innovate, to do things differently. And where does the fun come in?  Sue says the reality is that in a sales-driven environment ‘hard work’ is sometimes the reality to get the results but they try and keep things fun.

23% turnover of staff in a business of just short of 100 staff. Question from the audience about the ability to grow people with such a high turnover, and to then grow the business.  Sue says they have a thorough probation period where people are trained and developed to succeed.




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