Spotlight on Rebecca Bull
“I believe vision, creating something someone wants to have, being willing to work at this and having a ready dose of resilience at the ready is key!”
A background into you and your business?
After graduating from Nottingham Trent Business School in Business, HR and German masters I worked across a number of Global Companies and household names such as Games Workshop, Convergys (US), and Speedo International before starting my own business.
My HR Hub was launched in 2016 and is now an Award-winning HR consultancy for start-up, small and fast-growing businesses working with clients across the UK and some overseas. We are committed to providing HR and Business support for start-up, small and fast-growing businesses.
In 2019 I launched my second business, My HR Club. Whilst initially formed to support ‘stand-alone’ HR professionals working in SME’s who were in need of a supportive, like-minded community, it has since evolved into a fully-fledged low-cost, remote and self-service HR offering for small businesses on a low budget that are in need of HR support or guidance.
We are passionate about helping the growth of start up’s and partnering with you on your journey through providing best in class HR solutions with a wide selection of ‘one-stop-shop’ outsourced HR consultancy, recruitment, training, reward, health and wellbeing solutions at affordable prices. We have done all of the negotiating and offer packages that small businesses simply could not negotiate directly. We want small businesses to have all the ‘bells and whistles’ that large companies have and we have achieved this, working with incredible, best in class suppliers from across the UK, we offer their products and services as a discount for SMEs. Our suppliers are hand-picked, with small, entrepreneurial businesses in mind. They are flexible and low-cost and all of the products are tried and tested and are loved by the businesses we already work with.
At My HR Hub, we know that the best companies are made up of happy, engaged people that drive performance and improve businesses, so our focus is to work with the leadership team and business owners to help them understand how to do this, to empower them to do this.
What made you choose this career/industry?
From the age of 17, I lived overseas for 9 years in Switzerland, I just love adventure and travelling, as well as languages. I came home and went to University to study German and upon finishing I applied for a role as a German-speaking PA to the MD of Games Workshop Germany. After working in this role, they said they were particularly good with people and I enjoyed helping others. Within a short space of time, Games Workshop agreed to fund my Postgraduate course in HR and Business Management at Nottingham Trent University, this was a part-time 5-year course. The MD at the time is now a client of My HR Hubs! The rest they say is history.
My HR Hub has been growing steadily for 5 years, over 90% of new clients are through word-of-mouth referrals, we have been awarded several awards for our growth over this time. My HR Club is now approaching 2 years old and we have expanded our team from one (just me) to four over the course of the past year and are now gearing up to deliver our services further across the UK and beyond.
What has been your biggest challenge or setback during your career?
Before setting up My HR Hub, I always found in my HR roles, the challenge in small businesses was the lack of understanding of the importance of the HR role across the Board/Management Team. I have had many battles getting the business to see the importance of people in a business and over the years this has been a struggle. Over time though the penny is dropping, Covid-19, though devastating, has brought all of the most important elements of managing people to the surface: compassion, caring, communication, collaboration, consideration. My HR Hub was set up primarily so I could practice the type of HR that I love doing, that mirrors my values: Passion, Creativity and Making a Difference. I knew that I needed to start my own business to hopefully in time allow me to work only with the clients that truly respect and acknowledge people and their contribution. I am so pleased to say that there are many small businesses out there that now do this.
As a result of this, I set up My HR Hub, and in 2019 I set up my second business, My HR Club. This Club was originally based on my former experience working mainly ‘stand-alone’ for 20 years in HR. I had a need to communicate with others in similar roles, have access to up to date HR templates, regular training on HR topics with the experts and a community of those who you can share the frustrations, challenges, highs and lows of HR with. My HR Club has since evolved beyond this into a fully-fledged, low-cost HR offering for SME’s. Members of the Club benefit from a variety of benefits and services, such as weekly Zoom workshops with expert guest speakers, concessional rates on HR software and services, a portal of good-to-go HR policy and document templates, an invite to our annual Luxury HR Retreat in the Derbyshire Peaks, and more!
Obstacles and determination to succeed
My core values, passion, creativity and making a difference. I also am not work-shy and was determined to offer small businesses something that did not exist in the UK.
I underestimated the hard work it would take to establish a business, but I was not scared by this, I was happy to take on the challenge. To anyone thinking of starting their career I would say do something you are passionate about, work harder than work harder again! Finally, be kind, this business currency overrides any ego and expectation that you deserve to succeed.
Be clear about your offering and get a great website to showcase this. Build trust and collaboration in your community. Be prepared to ride the highs and the lows in equal measure.
As with every job, there are highs and lows for me working with great business owners who care about their employees, making a difference is definitely high. The worst being admin!
Can you motivate and lead others? Are you visionary? Do this because you have a passion for others, their development and how this links with business growth - learn about motivational theories, know that everyone is different. Do not do this for the status. Everyone is motivated by entirely different things. Know what they are.
Get to know your team personally, what gets them out of bed in the morning, what their aspirations are, but realise that motivations change over time. Do not be hierarchical, people respect Managers who are on their level, who support, empathise, consider, communicate and value.
Throughout the pandemic we have been extremely busy supporting our SME clients - we started with Business Continuity Planning, then Furlough, Employment Law, Health and Safety advice, Redundancy support and more. We hold weekly Zooms to keep our clients updated and have also held workshops on these subjects for the Chamber of Commerce and other local organisations to support local businesses. To anyone struggling with remote working:
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Ensure everyone is trained to use the technology and is confident doing this.
Having regular ‘welfare check ins’ that don’t just focus on work performance - good mental health is critical to successful remote working!
Our products and services are all online anyway, especially My HR Club and our weekly Zoom educational sessions. The transition to fully support clients remotely has been quite seamless for us. In this pandemic, I would go as far to say that HR is the other ‘emergency service’, we have been incredibly busy and have also attracted new clients during this time, so feel very lucky.
Our client base has grown 25% over the last year, and to cope with the additional demand we have faced over the course of 2020, the My HR Hub and My HR Club team has grown from just one (me) at the beginning of 2020, to four today. It’s been a crazy year for the business, and I am still adjusting to not being alone and doing everything myself – it makes a nice change!
The team are here for our clients day and night, this has been the most tragic of times, we have had businesses close, employees have sadly passed away and spending reductions in the workforce looming. We are here to guide, support, conduct the work and be a shoulder for those that need our personal support. Our clients have been incredible, very strong, kind to their employees and very generous. We are lucky to support some amazing business and Covid-19 has brought out, in my opinion, the best of human nature, to see this play out in small business is quite humbling.