In this week’s hot seat is Johanna Scullion, who has her own HR consultancy business – HR Made Easy.
What is your job / business?
My business is called HR Made Easy and you can find out all you need to know at www.johannascullion.com.
I am a HR Consultant with 20 years post-graduate experience. After years in corporate including Big 4, I took the plunge to go freelance and opened my own boutique HR Consultancy in 2012. Day to day I specialise in working with owner managed small to medium sized businesses. I only work with a select list of one to one clients, providing them with my expertise and acting as the trusted HR Business Partner in their business.
My mission is to make HR easy for business owners who just want to “get on with running their business”. I want to empower my clients to understand HR, so they have the confidence to engage and manage their staff, helping their business to thrive.
Do you have a typical day?
I wish! I really don’t have a typical day and often my plans are put to the side when a phone-call or an email from a VIP client who has an urgent issue for me to attend to. When you work in HR you are either bottom of the list (think policy updates, new contracts etc) or you are in crisis mode (think an employee being caught stealing, an employee failing probation or an employee lodging a grievance). The honest truth is that when my clients phone me there are often in crisis mode and look to me for help.
So to do that I help my clients by simplifying staff issues. Peeling back the seemingly complicated layers that accompany ‘people problems’. I am solution focused and always puts the needs of my clients and their business at the forefront of everything I do. I do not panic… which is really helpful as many of my clients do, so my calm and logical approach always finds the right path forward no matter what the issue is we are dealing with.
But back to your question, my week is filled with face to face meetings with my VIP one to one clients working on whatever their particular issue is. I attend meetings with staff on a regular basis and if that is a formal meeting under the disciplinary process, for example, afterwards I need desk time to write up the notes and follow up letters as needed. I also spend time training clients and their staff; either in small groups or sometimes on a one to one basis. Most months I also have another set project running which could be implementing new contracts and staff handbooks or it could be advising a business owner on TUPE when they are expanding and buying another business. It is never boring in the HR world!
What do you love most about what you do?
I passionately believe that good HR is not just for large businesses, it is for every business no matter how small, unique or niche whether a business has one employee or one thousand, they deserve good HR. More than anything I believe that the best HR is informal HR, where business owners and managers talk to their staff on a daily basis. When wins are celebrated and losses are seen as a learning opportunity not a failure.
I love being able to empower my clients to have the confidence to use formal HR when necessary without being afraid or uncertain. I ensure that they know exactly what to do, what documents they need, be aware in advance of the potential challenges that may arise and are ready to manage their HR with the same confidence they sell their favourite product to their customers.
Because of my experience of the good and bad of HR, even when my clients are in panic mode I am not. Quite simply I find it easy to identify the root of client problems and more importantly see a way forward for them. There is always a way. As one of my favourite role models Marie Forleo says “Everything is figure-out-able”. I always end my client phonecalls with the question “How does that sound? Are you okay with this plan” Thankfully my clients always end the phonecall feeling happier, less stressed and to hear the relief in their voice that they know they are not alone – that is why I do what I do. It feels so good to be able to help people, especially small business owners who are doing their best and just need the added help from a professional from time to time.
And is there anything you don’t like so much?
Some days it is so busy I really feel like I need a clone. But that is part of the life of self-employed, so I am not complaining. On those days I turn off wi-fi and all notifications, do all my emails off line and focus on doing what I need to do. Once you remove the distractions of modern life I find it so much easier to accomplish my to-do list. It all works out by the end of the day and as long as the client is happy then I am too.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t wait for it to be perfect, it never will be. Just start now.
And just for fun…
For a classic it has to be “A miracle on 34th street” I will watch it anytime of the year!
For a more recent film that has become my new favourite it is “A greatest showman”. I love the feeling behind that movie that no matter what your circumstances you can have a dream and if you keep the faith and put all your effort into working for that dream … it can come true.
Right now it is Chillpreneur by Denise Duffield-Thomas.
Has to be a cup of tea… not exactly food but no matter what is happening in my life when I have a cuppa I always feel better. Works every time.
Get up, dress up and show up.
Favourite way to relax?
A long walk in the outdoors ideally by water (the Donegal girl is always there), but if no water then just fields and nature and my soul is happy.
If you would like to work alongside Johanna and our other members, please sign up for your first FREE session here.