In this article, I’m kindly joined by Harriet Lavender, Co-Founder of Trapeze HR, to talk about growing a successful consultancy in the Human Resources industry.
Read on for our discussion on:
- What Trapeze HR does and how it helps clients.
- How Trapeze HR got its first few clients and the business’ main marketing channels for getting new clients now.
- HR changes and challenges Harriet sees coming down the line and her advice to HR professionals and employers on how to face these challenges.
- Harriet’s advice on how to grow an HR business.
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Harriet Lavender On Growing A Successful Human Resources Consultancy
Over to Harriet on growing a successful Human Resources consultancy…
What’s your background? How did you get into business?
I’ve had a varied background, like many recruiters!
I fell into Recruitment having worked in a Global Recruitment firm as a PA – a role to fund living in Oz for a year.
After a brief stint as a Montessori teacher (which I loved but paid poorly) I was headhunted to join a start-up HR recruitment business as employee number 1!
It was here that I realised just how much I thrived in finding people new careers; I like to think one of my strengths and keys to success, is in building strong relationships, alongside empathy, giving me a good soft skills basis to support people in their job search, which is often a very personal journey. After maternity leave with twins, I moved in-house, a role I loved but a remit that offered little flexible working.
After 2.5 years at easyJet, I returned to agency recruitment and met my now business partner, Jane.
Both passionate about flexible working and the benefits both to businesses and individuals, 2 years later, we had an itch that needed scratching and set up Trapeze HR!
We wanted to do things our way – values-led & true to our beliefs.
What does Trapeze HR do?
Trapeze HR is a Human Resources recruitment business that focuses on flexible & agile working.
Our clients seek HR professionals from across the HR spectrum, including generalists, reward specialists, L&D professionals, and Talent acquisition.
Work patterns can range from agile and remote working, 2/3/4 days a week, or compressed hours across a whole week; anything goes! We partner closely with clients and tailor our approach to suit their individual requirements. The flexible & agile talent market lends itself well to SME’s & start-up businesses (with less volume & potentially budget), many of which are in a high growth stage.
Clients often come to Trapeze for their first HR hire, having ‘muddled through’, prior to contacting us. Most of these businesses have aggressive growth plans, desiring more structure and formality around processes and people policies to ensure future sustainability. Building the company culture is also key at this stage.
In-house recruiters are necessary hires for many of our clients, saving continual agency fees and ensuring the cultural aspect is key in the hiring process. Roles can be permanent, contract or interim.
How do you structure your services?
We partner clients in a truly bespoke way; that’s been the joy of starting up our own business. We can ‘bend and flex’ as we need, for each client requirement.
We work in a consultative way, guiding on how HR adds tangible value both strategically and operationally. We’re there from the start of the process, scoping out the role, writing job descriptions through to offer acceptance. Our terms are also bespoke, with several packages to choose from.
How did you get your first few clients? What are your main marketing channels for getting new clients now?
Our individual networks have been our main source of business to date. Having built and nurtured these over the past 20 years (Jane was an HR professional and I’ve always focused on HR recruitment), we were able to tap into this resource from the off.
Referrals have played a large part in our business development.
We work hard on our social media presence, with thought leadership pieces and blogs, as well as hosting roundtable events, encouraging discussion on real issues in businesses today. These are always well attended and lively!
The HR industry continues to evolve at a rapid rate. What change and challenges do you see now and in the future?
Having worked closely with several Tech scale-up/start-up businesses in our first year, we have been privy to the challenge that is faced in the competition for tech & engineering professionals. This requires evermore creative & inventive strategies, to harness and retain the best talent, through engaging & stimulating EVP campaigns, tailored benefits on offer and a flexible approach to how people can work.
The overall candidate & employee and therefore “workplace” experience, is another area that SMEs need to focus on, to have appeal and edge in today’s market. Tangible commitment and investment must be made to ensure a positive experience from the moment an applicant ‘touches’ their business, in order that brand reputation is retained. We envisage more of the smaller businesses appointing Employee Experience specialists to focus on interview and onboarding processes – something many of the larger corporates and multinationals have recognised the need for.
Wellbeing and mental health awareness continue to be a “front and centre” priority for many clients and specialist resource in these areas continue to grow. The sooner businesses commit to investment in these areas, they’ll reap benefits; not only to employees but to the wider community, who see the statement they are making about how they look after their own people – their greatest asset.
Any tips on interesting people, websites, tools, podcasts, or books that HR businesses should check out to grow faster?
We think the following are useful go-tos for the SME’s we work with:
Hibob.com – has a great holistic proposition in how it approaches workplace experience.
Hunted – a progressive hiring platform for recruitment businesses who really go the extra mile to engage, support and challenge norms around how and who to recruit.
Books: ‘The Power of People Skills – How to Eliminate 90% of Your HR Problems and Dramatically Increase Team and Company Morale and Performance‘ by Trevor Throness.
‘The Mother of all Jobs: How to Have Children and a Career and Stay Sane(ish)’ by Christine Armstrong.
What Should Potential Clients & Partners Do Next To Learn About Trapeze HR?
Get in touch or take a look at our LinkedIn profiles, to get a feel for us. Our website will also give you a more detailed idea of what we do:
Jane Middleton on LinkedIn.
Harriet Lavender on LinkedIn.
Harriet and Jane have built an excellent business in a well-considered segment of the HR industry.
I wish Harriet, Jane, and the Trapeze HR team all the best for the future!
While you’re here . . .
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