North Sydney businessman Brad Adams has acquired the rights to expand a successful UK company, which provides outsourced HR advice and support for SMES, across Australia.
Mr Adams is the new Master Franchisee for The HR Dept and plans to build a network of highly qualified HR professionals around Australia to serve thousands of SMEs in their localities.
Set up in Bristol in in 2002, the parent business now has more than 65 franchisees operating licences of The HR Dept in over 80 territories around the UK and Ireland, serving more than 6,000 SMEs.
Now Mr Adams, who will also be running his own local version of The HR Dept on the Lower North Shore area of Sydney, is tasked with doing something similar in Australia.
Mr Adams said business conditions across Australia were making The HR Dept’s offering – outsourced, specialist and expert HR advice and support on a retained or pay-as-you-go basis – relevant and attractive for SMEs.
“It’s a challenging time for small businesses across Australia,” he said. “Businesses owners are under pressure and good management of employees, compliance with labour laws, proper procedure from recruitment to terminations and all that lies between, is more important than ever.
“Legislation is changing, social media is revolutionising the way we do business and we operate under a complex industrial relations system in Australia with more than 120 Awards in place.
“Every business wanting to grow, restructure or even just consolidate, needs to be aware of the legislation. Through The HR Dept Lower North Shore I can offer the type of support you would receive from an in-house HR director but only when business owners need it and at a price SMEs can afford.
“It is easy for small business owners to dismiss the HR side of the business when things are running smoothly, but this can lead to costly mistakes and has the potential to have negative repercussions.”
Mr Adams is a new market entry specialist with an extensive background in business management and transformation and an MBA from Macquarie Graduate School of Management.
The decision to set up The HR Dept in Australia was taken after taking time out to support his wife Suzanne through her successful treatment for breast cancer, during which time he realised that his professional future lay outside corporate life.
He said: “Going through something like that makes you revaluate your priorities and I came to realise that corporate life didn’t appeal to me any more. I found this opportunity to work with The HR Dept and from initial contact it was clear that there was an alignment of values and culture between us.
“It made the decision process pretty straightforward for both parties and we had established our partnership within six weeks.
“It’s really refreshing to find a successful business which also recognises the value of a work-life balance – many of the franchisees in the UK business are former corporate HR directors who have decided, for a variety of reasons, to get out of big business and run their own operations.
“So it’s an exciting time – not only for offering The HR Dept’s services to SMEs in Lower North Shore but also because of the opportunity to find like-mind HR professionals around Australia and roll out the model across our nation.
“Over the next few years we see the franchise network supporting anywhere between 3,000 and 4,000 small businesses in Australia.”
Mr Adams has already appointed his first franchisee, after Pia Engstrom set up The HR Dept in Perth. He is now on the hunt for other HR professionals who are looking to set up on their own and want the marketing support and brand identity of an established business combined with the flexibility that self-employment brings.
He said: “The HR Dept is a highly successful UK business and I am confident that the need from SMEs to deal with complex employment legislation in Australia is just as great as the need in the UK. I am confident that the business will see similar success here also.”
Gemma Tumelty, managing director of The HR Dept in the UK, said: “Australia was an obvious new market for us as, despite the distance the language, shared business culture and legislative crossover means the model was readily adaptable.
“It’s an exciting time for us and it’s great to be working with Brad in promoting our brand in a significant new marketplace.”