Category Archives: HR Network

Make someone feel AWESOME today!


How often do you take the time out to tell someone how good they are? How what they did really made a difference to you, or how they conducted themselves in certain situations really impressed you?

All too frequently we are quick to criticise, suddenly becoming experts in every aspect, from running a hotel to repairing cars.  When we receive poor service we are more than comfortable to outwardly complain as loud and publicly as possible, even more so with social media playing such a large part in our lives.

How many articles have you read online and then read the comments people make on them, people can be very direct and negative when hiding behind profiles and twitter handles. Would they say these things to perfect strangers if they met? I suspect they would soften their criticism.  This leads me on to wondering why we are not so loud and vocal about good service or accomplishments.


Angel Park Golf Course – Las Vegas

On a recent trip to America I recalled my first visit and how uncomfortable I felt  As a stereotypical reserved Brit I felt a little intimidated at how pumped up, positive, excitable and gregarious the Americans were.

On my most recent visit confidence had grown in me and I envied the culture and the passion outwardly shown by our American cousins. Whilst playing golf,  I observed the two ball ahead of us. after every good tee shot or a fantastic putt the guys would would, fist pump, shout “awesome man!” “get in the hole” then  whoop and holler before proceeding to pat each other on the back……after every shot! They truly meant it and were very vocal.  My group however were being much more reserved,  a great tee shot was met with “shot” which is customary amongst  my golf buddies.  This needed to change  I decided to celebrate their successes as loudly as the two ball in front of us were, hilarity ensued (not least because my American accent is appalling!) but because yes we did feel a little ridiculous and this was not really the golf etiquette we were familiar with, however, the mood of this round of golf changed, we were excited, positive, motivated, heads were held high  and our confidence grew, needless to say I had played the best golf I have ever played!

Making people feel awesome doesn’t just have a positive effect on the person you are complimenting it makes you feel good too!  So in this vain I have asked a few of my colleagues to send me some of the recent recommendations they have received via LinkedIn so I could shout about their successes and the clients and candidates who took time out to make them feel AWESOME!


Keeley Mckay – HR Recruitment Manager


Kim MacNamara - HR Business Director

Kim MacNamara – HR Business Director

Kim is a HR Recruitment specialist who has successfully placed HR across the UK  she is driven by a focus on an excellent customer experience.





Lucy Wesson – HR Recruitment Consultant for the North

Lucy  recruits within our northern team recruiting HR professionals for Yorkshire and plays a key role maintaining our Customer Service Excellence award.

lucy recommendation

Has a consultant at Ashley Kate HR surpassed your expectations?  Would you be willing to recommend them? If you were pleased with their service shout about it, help them to grow their reputation, let other people in your profession benefit from their skills. If so please contact me via email or call me on 0845 413 3200 why not follow me on twitter for further updates on Social Media tools in recruitment.



Ashley Kate HR Launch Internal Recruiters Group on Linkedin

cropped-cropped-cropped-AKHR_FACEBOOK_BANNER_315x85111.jpgAfter the success of LinkedIn HR Professionals & HR Directors Group we have taken the decision to launch a brand new group exclusively for Internal Recruitment professionals. Internal Recruiters Group

This Internal Recruiters Group  aims to allow Internal Recruiters to receive advice and share ideas and initiatives through a network of Internal Recruitment specialists. A forum in which Recruitment / Talent events and Internal Recruitment jobs are posted by members and regular employment law updates viewed.

Ashley Kate HR is a UK-based leading HR recruitment consultancy we actively encourage networking in the HR community for both generalist and specialist HR professionals. We have successfully brought hundreds of HR professionals together at employment law networking events, on our HR Professionals LinkedIn group, HR Directors LinkedIn group, through newsletters and bulletins and now this is all available for Internal Recruitment Professionals through your own LinkedIn Group.

Click to Join Now.

We welcome the opportunity to connect with Internal Recruitment Professionals from all industries and sectors, support you in making new contacts and enable and facilitate you to share knowledge and insight with each other. Plus, you can give a boost to your career and your company/organisation by getting better connected on LinkedIn.

So If you enjoy networking and want to connect with other HR professionals – you can join our Internal Recruiters Group or if you are not an Internal Recruiter you can still join our LinkedIn Groups HR Professionals Network-UK and HR Directors Boardroom. The former cited as one of the fastest growing HR specific groups.






51% of HR Professionals plan to move jobs in the next 12 Months

Kim MacNamara - HR Business Director

Kim MacNamara – HR Business Director

Did you know that 51% of HR professionals are planning to move jobs in the next 12 months?

This is just one of the revealing statistics highlighted in Ashley Kate HR’s latest HR Salary Guide and Market Trends report which is out now.

Once again Ashley Kate HR  have seen a significant surge in  HR vacancy registrations and year on year saw a further increase of 11%,  at all levels. Hiring levels are returning to pre-recessionary levels, as many firms are adding more weight and support to their departments in order to grow their operations. Businesses are no longer just replacing leavers but are now looking to substantially expand their teams, which is also the case at Ashley Kate HR. Resourcing is now key to an organisations success, with strong HR driving business critical growth initiatives.

Change As the proportion of the UK plan to move, jobs increase  – work forces are becoming more ambitious in their reasons for moving on and this is due to a number of dominant factors including ; salary dissatisfaction, lack of promotional prospects, lure of better training and development opportunities and better conditions . This means that a higher number of employees are now keen to source a new role and employers, who are focussing on strengthening their EVP offering, have attracted more interest.

If you would like to find out more about the key findings from this market leading HR salary survey contact us now either via email or call 0845 413 3200.

FIRP, HR Recruitment Director –  Kim MacNamara is a HR recruitment specialist who has successfully placed senior HR roles across the UK and is driven by a focus on an excellent customer experience.  Working alongside Claire BakerGemma Thomason Lucy Wesson & Paula Shaw they provide effective recruitment solutions for HR roles from Administrative to Board level.

If you enjoy networking and want to connect with other HR professionals – Kim also runs the LinkedIn Groups- HR Professionals Network  and HR Directors Boardroom. The former cited as one of the fastest growing HR specific groups. Kim is also responsible for running the Ashley Kate HR HRD Boardroom style debate events in the UK.

If you are looking for a new opportunity in 2015 register your details with us today.


What’s in a Job Title?


Amanda Underhill – HR Recruitment Manager

Recruitment Consultant, Recruitment Manager, Lead Recruiter, Resourcing Specialist, Talent Manager, Senior Recruitment Consultant – these are just a few of the many job titles I could use, but with my last promotion I became HR Recruitment Manager.  Ultimately I help clients recruit HR professionals and help HR professionals find new jobs, I support our Directors in various sales management duties, network through social media and face to face and coach candidates on CV writing and interview technique – so what should I call myself? (be kind :) )  The list for a recruiter is endless, but ultimately most of us do the same role.


jobtitleDo I manage a function, a team, a project – how is my ‘Manager’  title determined?  Am I confident that if I sent my CV out to 100 external and/or internal recruiters or even directly to hiring managers that my CV would be read past my job title before shortlisting me for a further discussion? I am not so sure.  I have been guilty of making an assumption on a job title in the past, and I suspect you may have too.

Consider a recruiters point of view when they are recruiting at a specific level they look for that level or just one below on a CV.  It is important your CV isn’t missed even if you have all the right qualifications.  So consider your  job title when accepting your next role. It will be a stepping stone in your career in years to come. Negotiate for it just like you would your salary.

Jobtitle2So just how important is your job title? How important is the job title in an advert in attracting candidates? In today’s current climate, we have become defined by our job titles, and at times we can depend on them too much, particularly when recruiting or interviewing or ego boosting.

One job title that’s thrown around is the HR ‘business partner’ or ‘strategic partner’. We know the model was created so HR could work closely with the business senior leaders, typically the board of directors and heads of, to develop a HR agenda that closely supports the business aims and goals, but lately I’ve seen the job title, but with a operational Senior HR Advisor job description and salary attached to it.  So why not just call it a Senior Advisor?  Is this just a creative way of employers looking for that “Rising Star” candidate in the industry; paying no more than a £5K increase, but with the title of HRBP to make it look more appealing?  What we do know is HR leaders need to look to their own HR teams to ensure their individuals have the right ‘internal consulting expertise’ if they are truly going to partner managers and bring about the ROI (but that’s a different blog!)

ceoJob titles are important if they are used correctly; if they are used to distinguish the differences between job levels. Hiring Managers should be using them to gauge career progression. Take the title of CEO, there are hundreds of  “twenty-something” entrepreneurs who work out of their bedroom using that one.  How do they expect to live up to such a grand job title?   Stop and reflect – are you actually doing yourself a mis-justice in elaborating too much?

So I ask you again how important is your job title?  Very. So use it wisely!

If you would like to discuss any HR related topics further please feel free to email me  on or call me on 0845 413 3200.  You can also connect with me on LinkedIn or Follow me on Twitter .

Amanda Underhill is a results driven recruitment professional with 15 years experience in recruitment. She loves the challenge of filling those ‘hard to fill’ roles.  Amanda is a member of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals. 

In addition to Amanda, the South team at Ashley Kate HR consists of Jacqui Wall (HR Recruitment Consultant – London), Keeley McKay (HR Recruitment Manager – South East) and Natasha James (HR Recruitment Consultant – South East). 





To Blog or not To Blog?

Kim MacNamara - HR Business Director

Kim MacNamara – HR Business Director

Top reasons why you should be a HR/Recruitment Blogger!! 

Blogging is increasingly becoming an invaluable tool for HR professionals seeking new job opportunities, for a variety of reasons.  Standing out in a competitive job market is key for HR professionals who want to make their mark on a potential new firm.

Here are some of my top reasons why you should be blogging now.whyblog


Self promotion – Blogging enables you to reach huge numbers of people instantly – an audience at your fingertips to promote you and your successes and increasing the chances of conversion into an interview.

Credibility – Writing about key HR topics positions you as knowledgeable and an expert in your field.  This can raise your profile and image in the market place.  Blogs can provide valuable additional information to support your CV in the recruitment process.

hands shakingEngagement – Future employers may be more receptive to meeting you if they understand what you have written about and received value from it.

Opportunities – Your views on a topic can turn into a lead that is picked up by a potential HR function looking for your specific skills set.

Additional Networking Engagements  – Not only will blogging make you more visible to firms, it could open the door for further value added offerings such as speaking and debating opportunities.

Portray an accurate picture -Write factual accounts of your story with no amendments – one that is compelling and makes the employer want to find out more about you.

promotion2014Make new connections - Your readers will potentially become not only new  work colleagues  but also friends and good business contacts that will support your job search and increase your networking capabilities.  Whether it be through comments, e-mails, or social media, you may be surprised at how quickly you benefit from connecting with people on-line.  The blogging community is friendly, encouraging, and genuinely keen for you to succeed.

Building your knowledge - Blogging encourages you to think carefully and deeply about your thoughts and views and you will widen your knowledge  even further  when researching and creating your blogs.  Plus the feedback you get will help further broaden this knowledge.

inspirational-photoInspiration – You not only will be inspired to write but also read and comment on other blogs. Blogs provide valuable meaningful information to the employer who will be encouraged to meet you in person to find out more!

Happy Blogging ! iloveblogging


If you want to be seen as an influencer and build a network of HR connections then the team at Ashley Kate HR can also help support and promote your HR and Recruitment blogs by posting on their market leading online Social Media sites, contact me for further details on how we can assist you with this via email  or call 0845 413 3200.

HRHQ is the Ashley Kate HR blog which features guest bloggers as well and contributions from the Ashley Kate HR team, if you would like to guest blog please email Joanne Wilson

FIRP, HR Recruitment Director –  Kim MacNamara is a HR recruitment specialist who has successfully placed senior HR roles across the UK and is driven by a focus on an excellent customer experience.  Working alongside Claire Baker, Gemma Thomason, Jorja Carr & Paula Shaw they provide effective recruitment solutions for HR roles from Administrative to Board level.

If you enjoy networking and want to connect with other HR professionals – Kim also runs the LinkedIn Groups- HR Professionals Network  and HR Directors Boardroom. The former cited as one of the fastest growing HR specific groups. Kim is also responsible for running the Ashley Kate HR HRD Boardroom style debate events in the UK.

If you are looking for a new opportunity in 2015 register your details with us today.














The by-product of Fifty Shades of Grey

FiftyshadesSo, Valentines weekend coming up and the much eagerly anticipated and talked about release of Fifty Shades of Grey the movie, have you booked your ticket yet?  Be warned a predicted Baby Boom has been announced.

Sociologists come up with all sorts of excuses for baby booms; recession, wars ending, cold winters, hot summers, national disasters, national successes and now Fifty Shades of Grey. The release of the books created the biggest baby boom in 40 years.  That’s right, 2013 was a bumper year for bumps, with a large proportion born in the February, directly correlating to the Fifty Shades of Grey sales spike in May 2012.fiftyshadesofgrey

The upcoming release of Fifty Shades of Grey has had far reaching effects to say the least.  HR Grapevine reported that B&Q have reportedly put staff on ‘stand by’ for increased demand for certain products. The DIY retailer’s staff briefing goes on to say: “All staff are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the content of Fifty Shades of Grey by reading the novel or watching the film upon its release. Copies of the book will be delivered to each store and can be lent to staff on a one week basis. Understanding the storyline and how some products that B&Q stock feature in the film will better prepare staff for incoming queries.”

So B&Q are forward thinking (though not necessarily appropriate), are you? If this potential baby boom were to happen are you prepared for a potential mass maternity/paternity leave exodus? With the introduction of Shared Parental Leave last year what effect will this have on your business come Autumn? With the government’s new shared parental leave which came in to force on December 1 last year, small businesses need to be aware of the HR implications. While the news may be welcomed by parents, there are a number of complicated elements employers need to consider.

For babies due on or after April 5 2015, mothers can now choose to end their maternity leave early and opt for shared parental leave with their partner. Essentially they will take up to a maximum of 50 weeks (of the total 52 weeks) for maternity (or adoption) leave to be shared between them, either at the same time or not.

HRN EVENT BANNERThroughout the year we host a number of Employment Updates with Eversheds LLP across the UK on subject matters such as Shared Parental Leave, Right to Flexible Working & Holiday Pay Entitlement, follow our company LinkedIn page for updates on events near you.


HR Employment Law Update March 2015

HRN Header 01This is an essential update for anyone involved in HR.

We would like to invite you to the next Ashley Kate HR Network Event where leading employment lawyers from international law firm Eversheds LLP will provide an update to HR professionals on key legal developments including;

Calculating holiday pay

The new right to request flexible working

Case law Update

The event will be led by Simon Rice-Birchall from the Eversheds LLP Human Resources Group.

Simon Rice-Birchall:
Simon has considerable experience of employment litigation and has a reputation for his discrimination law expertise, having been responsible for a number of high profile discrimination cases over the last ten years, and continues to build his reputation in this area of his practice. In addition, Simon’s contentious workload includes unfair dismissal, whistleblowing and executive terminations.

In addition to his contentious practice, Simon also gives advice in relation non-contentious matters, such as the implications of TUPE in relation to commercial transactions, issues relating to proposals to change terms and conditions of employment and large scale redundancy exercises.

Simon has expertise of employment issues arising in the public sector, such as in local government and relation to the Police. Simon is described in Chambers by sources as “sharp, on the ball and highly efficient. He is a recommended lawyer in Legal 500.

Kate Sheehan
Kate is an senior associate in the Eversheds Human Resources Group. She specialises in both pensions and employment law and her experience across both disciplines provides a unique insight into the interface between the two subjects.
Kate specialises in all aspects of employment law with a special interest in tribunal litigation, discrimination and advising on changes to employment contracts (particularly when associated with pension scheme changes) and subsequent consultation obligations. Kate also provides general pensions advice to both companies and trustees, including advice on scheme mergers, the pension aspects of TUPE, age discrimination and scheme change.

Breakfast pastries and refreshments will be provided at 8am for an 8.30am start.

The event is sponsored by Ashley Kate HR and is free to all HR Network members. Non-members will pay a small charge of £25 (plus VAT) per delegate.

If you would like to attend this update, please complete the form below.  We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday 3rd of March 2015.

Venue:        Eversheds LLP Leeds
Address:     Bridgewater Place Water Lane Leeds LS11 5DR
Date:           Tuesday 3rd of March 2015
Start Time:  8am for an 8.30am start  Finish Time: 10am

[contact-form to='' subject='HR Network Confirmation'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Telephone Number' type='text' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]



A blog about a blog – and other blogs


Naomi Asher – Managing Director and Co Founder of Ashley Kate HR

We were absolutely delighted that HRHQ, Ashley Kate HRs blog, was shortlisted for the UK Recruiter – Recruitment Agency Blog of the year award, one of just 4 finalists from over 200 entries.

It’s the first time we have entered an award like this so we weren’t entirely sure what they were looking for but we are pleased that what we are blogging about seemed to hit the mark.






If you don’t already subscribe to and read HRHQ, here’s an overview of what you can expect. Our blog is designed to provide insight into, give information on and share knowledge about the;

  • HR sector
  • HR Networks
  • Employment Law Updates
  • Recruitment sector
  • Ashley Kate HR events and internal news

Articles are provided & written by our team of HR recruitment consultants, resourcers, our Communications Coordinator & guest bloggers from the HR sector as well as myself, we post regularly to ensure the information provided is not only informative but also current and relevant.

The Ashley Kate HR team subscribe to many blogs to hear their insight and learn from their knowledge, these include the ones in the other categories of the UK Recruiter Blog awards, here is an overview of some we would suggest for recruitment professionals.


Finalists for Recruitment Department / In-house Recruiter Blogger:

Change-Effect Written by Neil Morrison,  this is a very insightful blog, always full of good strong well written articles which push boundaries, and leave you thinking what you can do to effect change.

HR Gem - Gemma Reucroft continuously provides thought provoking and honest blog updates, combining HR related issues and everyday life into witty, strong, interesting and valuable articles which within out office we all love to share and have a quick debate on.

The HR Juggler  – Written by Alison Chissnell provides an insight into the life of a busy HR Director.

The King’s Shilling – Matt Buckland writes frank, to the point curser scrolling articles, which provoke many comments and get you thinking more deeply into subjects.

Following are the finalists for Recruitment Industry Supplier Blog:

Barclay Jones
Bubble Jobs
Colleague Software
Seed Jobs
T Recs

All of these blogs offer so much to the Recruitment & HR industry and are deserving nominees for the UK Recruiter Recruitment Blog of the Year Award 2015.

There are  a lot of blogs out there, if you are looking for something specific to read about in the HR or recruitment field and the blogs above don’t cover it, or your would like to start your own blog or have content you have written which you would like to be posted on Ashley Kate HRs blog – HRHQ, please contact our Communications Coordinator Jo Wilson via email or call 0845 413 3200, and Jo will be happy to help.





Popular Discussions for HR Professionals on Linkedin

Ashley Kate Logo LargeOur HR Professionals Group on LinkedIn (one of the fastest growing HR networking groups) is always very active here are a couple of questions which generated a lot of discussion last year.

Thank you to all our members who continue to help make this group a useful tool for HR professionals throughout the UK.



Amanda Underhill - Senior Recruitment Consultant for London

Amanda Underhill – HR Recruitment Manager

Amanda Underhill MIRP When recruiting for a role that is ‘Hot Desk’ only – do you think this restricts the volume of applications received?


Les Potton Chartered FCIPD ACII Director – Target HR and Training Ltd- Interesting question and when you think about it, it’s down to what people value and the state of the labour market at the time. if there are lots of jobs around then it may be more restricting. Personally it would attract me as it paints a picture of flexibility and empowerment. However, some might see it as less secure. Hot desking makes economic sense and I can’t imagine it putting off many people.

Amanda Underhill MIRP HR Recruitment Manager- London & Kent- I agree Les you would think it would be an attraction and it definitely is more economical We have had a few roles lately that are ‘Hot Desk’ only , but this seems to put them off and have been the hardest roles to fill.

Les Potton Chartered FCIPD ACII Director – Target HR and Training Ltd- Probably a silly question, but do they really understand what Hot Desking means, or is it that we underestimate the human desire to have office territory !

Amanda Underhill MIRP HR Recruitment Manager- London & Kent- Amazingly yes they do! I thought most people would jump at the chance of working in a collaborative and innovative workspace; it also leads to better engagement. Over heads down, productivity up! A win win situation surely? That fact that it gives people the chance to work from home too I thought would be a huge attraction, but maybe it’s the lack of privacy, or the sharing of workspace , who knows. I just wondered if im missing anything else.

Ruth Hardcastle BSc (Hons) Assoc CIPD. Benefits Specialist – Open to New Opportunities

My experience of hot desking in the office did not work particularly well…the team members who had been there longest were reluctant to hot desk (working from home was not encouraged). The idea sounds good in theory but in practice it doesn’t always work. Humans are naturally territorial and in terms of their environment like to know where they are sitting when they come into work. It can be divisive in teams unfortunately.

Anya Leadbetter Interim Human Resources and Organisational Design Manager at Golden Gates Housing Trust

It doesn’t make the candidate or the new starter feel very welcome I must say. It could perhaps be sold as home working for most of the time which may attract a different kind of candidate perhaps? I can’t see it working if there is no opportunity to work from home – surely the point is to ensure the best use of resources and not have huge office spaces empty in city centres?

Les Potton Chartered FCIPD ACII Director – Target HR and Training Ltd- I agree that it needs to be part of a flexible working arrangement, particularly for roles where people are on the road a lot and can choose to work from home. It’s simply a place to plug into the internet between meetings in the office. I can see it being unattractive if you have to be in the office every day and play musical chairs for the window seat :)

Dr. Mohammed P Aslam MCIPD HRM & Employee Relations- I agree with Ruth. Hot Desking is always a problem for most people. It can be sold for short periods but over the longer periods people become restless and don’t feel as though they are a valued member of the team. It can work but my experience shows it works badly. Homeworking is an excellent alternative but that has its own challenges of motivation and team spirit but with the right kind of infrastructure it works very well.

We are all HR Directors now.  Paul Robertson-Marriott MBA, Chartered FCIPD Director and Founder at Semini GlobalTop Contributor Asks…..

directorWhy is there this proliferation of this title? When you look at the JD it is clear that the role is not really HRD level. Is this employers over inflating the status of a role to attract a wider range of candidates or cost saving by having the HRD do the work of the HRM as well? If I am correct what are the consequences for HR careers?

Laurel Hewitt Human Resources Manager at the sargeant-partnership- It should and could also be considered that the role is to cover all specifically in small businesses who do not have enough employees to warrant having more than one person responsible for the HR function. Also anyone who has a knowledge of the function will only be inflating their own importance and realistically when looking for a job role change will not have the right qualifications. The employer is not always the one at fault when naming job roles.

Andy Bailey Strategic HR Business Partner at Herefordshire Council- it’s probably the same reason that people who found their own companies trade on the title of director as well – it’s about status and equivalence in a world full of sales directors, customer service directors, finance directors ……… need I go on.

Jeremy Mansell HR Director at Orona UK- The trend has probably grown from the need to differentiate the seniority of the role from the apparently omnipresent, often meaningless and always confusing title ‘business partner’ which can mean anything between little more than a glorified HR clerk in some organisations right up to head of function in others. Lets get back to calling a spade a spade and giving jobs titles which really reflect the role’s content and status.

Janet Ogundele International commercially focused HR Director. Media, Retail, Financial Services & Brand Marketing-  The job title should accurately reflect the nature and essence of the role to effectively attract the right level of candidate and not to waste the time of the recruiter who then has to sift through inappropriate applications. Marketing techniques such as beefing up a job title, seems to blur clear communication and this has a cost in terms of attracting the right level of interest. I agree with all the other comments made so far in this interesting discussion.

Laurel Hewitt Human Resources Manager at the sargeant-partnership- I agree with your comments Janet, however, it should also be considered that the person applying for such positions is also being led astray and having their time wasted also.

Janet Ogundele International commercially focused HR Director. Media, Retail, Financial Services & Brand Marketing- Hello Laurel, yes I fully agree with you.

RoseMarie Loft HR Director at The National Gallery- For every job that has an ‘upgrade’ through its title, there is probably an equivalent that has been ‘downgraded’ in the hope that the organisation will pick up the right skills that it needs for a lesser cost. The executive team has a novel idea: “I say, why don’t we save money by removing the Director of HR post and put in a Head of HR, reporting to Finance. But the person can do the same job, we just don’t need to pay them as much!” And of course, through our major cultural change programme, the new Head of HR isn’t going to be hampered by reporting to an accountant at all! Then comes the cycle in two years time when the organisation decides that HR isn’t being ‘strategic’ enough, but we can’t possibly reintroduce the old job title because that would make us look like we made a mistake. “I know!,” says someone in the corner, “Let’s put the word ‘strategic’ in front!”, a particular favourite of local government, or call it ‘organisational development’ instead (favoured by the health sector). “That will make all the difference!” (Like any organisation wants to put someone in place in a senior position that isn’t ‘strategic’?) HR has, unfortunately, been the victim of far too many restructures on restructures on shared servicing on reverse TUPEs where management teams have made very uninformed decisions about want they want from HR without considering what they need. Nor is consideration given to the fact that you can’t point to HR in the corner and say ‘you change’ without realising that in changing the way people are managed means that the biggest revolution in behaviour has to come from the service receiver. By all means, change the job titles, reporting lines and job descriptions, but do your culture, policies and procedures support this? Is there even a need to create parity with other ‘directors’ (I actually support this, as to do otherwise devalues people management)? So whilst I agree that there are proliferations of job titles that don’t really mean a lot, I believe a lot of this has to do with organisations not knowing or understanding what their HR needs are.

Thank you to all the contributors to our HR Professionals LinkedIn Group, we are looking forward to even more interesting debates in 2015.

If you enjoy networking and want to connect with other HR professionals – you can join the Ashley Kate HR LinkedIn Groups- HR Professionals Network  and HR Directors Boardroom. The former cited as one of the fastest growing HR specific groups.

If you are interested in contributing an article to HRHQ please email : for further information.




Death of the Suit?

Gemma Thomason - Senior Recruitment Consultant for the North

Gemma Thomason – Senior Recruitment Consultant for the North

There has been a real shift in the work place on what to wear.  A move by creative companies such as Google and Facebook to wear more casual dress has become a part of new workplace culture.

Attitudes toward dressing for business have changed significantly over the years. Once upon a time, most workplaces demanded suits, ties, dresses, skirts, pantsuits and other formal work wear. In some professional service industries, women were not permitted to wear trousers!

It is a question that often comes up for job interviews; I would always advise to go as smart as possible, unless advised otherwise.  See Amanda Underhill’s Blog on Dress Etiquette for Interviews. Which leaves no room for doubt on dress code!

I always ask this question as would not want an interviewee to feel out of place.

Personally I always clarify further when I hear the dreaded ‘smart casual’ (what is that anyway?) Jeans and jacket? Skirt and blouse? Are clean trainers allowed? – answers on a postcard please! Smart casual can mean different things to different employers.


Would this snappy dresser be able to perform better in a suit & tie?


Potentially the most important Interview of his life…did you judge him before he sang?


I think it does depend on the culture.  I have worked with retailers where you would be out of place if you didn’t dress ‘on brand’ even as a HR professional joining the business.

I have heard of a retailer, reject candidates based on their ‘style’, candidates would be well turned out in professional dress, which would be appropriate for any interview in the HR profession, however rejected based on the fact that they weren’t  ‘on trend’ enough, this particular retailer had expected candidates to visit the store and find out what the shop floor wore and dress accordingly in line with their potential colleagues.

I must admit personally I do prefer having a more formal dress code at work; it puts me in the right frame of mind and always allows me to switch off at the end of the day when I can completely relax leave work at the door and remove the formality of the day.

casual fridayA dress down day is of course is always welcome.  Casual Fridays have become a staple of many work weeks, but dress-down days can be extended to other situations as a way to reward employees for good work, thereby boosting morale. Something very much liked by the Ashley Kate HR team.

I think casual Fridays are a way to reward employees on an on going basis. It marks the start of the weekend with a reprieve from the norm. Dress-down days can be used as an occasion for company-wide charity fundraisers that help bring employees together in support of a good cause. Casual days can also be a reward for reaching a sales goal, successful conclusion of a major project or realising any other achievement.

Dress-down days do not have to be free-for-alls. In some workplaces, it may be appropriate to wear trousers and a button-down shirt on casual days, but inappropriate to wear jeans, sandals or shorts. dressdowndontsMy advice is don’t leave employees guessing. Determine what is appropriate for your kind of business and whether employees will be interacting with customers on casual days. You still want to project a professional look to clients. Lay out guidelines for dress-down days in the formal business dress code and employee manual and cover the subject during training.

For me an office environment with a smart dress code works on many levels and takes the thinking time out of what to wear in the morning.

But then perhaps I was one of the geeks who used to love wearing a school uniform and be excited at the prospect of a yearly trip to Clive Marks (other school clothing retailers are available)

But in todays working world does it still matter how you dress? Just because you’re a sharp dresser does this make you a better fit than a sports billy?

Gemma Thomason- is a Senior HR Recruitment Consultant for Yorkshire and the North West. She is a customer focused, HR Recruiter and a key member of our Northern team.

Gemma has had key success in filling roles in the Yorkshire and the North West area including several at Regional HR Manager level with a global distribution firm, HRBP’s for a national Not-for Profit organisation and also in the Professional Service sector. She enjoys recruiting in the specialist areas of HR and has had some great outcomes especially in the Reward area recently.  If you require any assistance with recruitment please feel free to contact Gemma direct on 0114 221 8000 or email  you are more than welcome to connect with Gemma on LinkedIn or follow her on twitter.