Expansion for Swindon HR firm

By Anita Jaynes on December 5, 2014

National human resources company The HR Dept has set up its first office in the City of London, targeting SMEs in the professional services and finance sectors.

The HR Dept City of London, based in Tokenhouse Yard near Moorgate, will be owned and run by Peter Jones, an Essex-born former City worker who is also the Director of The HR Dept’s office in Swindon.

Mr Jones already has two City-based clients – clean energy investment fund Glennmont Partners, based in Old Broad Street, and Aldgate-based pharmaceutical data analysts Evaluate Ltd – which he has been serving from his North Wiltshire offices.

But he said he has been keen to move to London for many years and believes the time is now right to develop new business in the Square Mile.

“There’s a definite and strong market,” he said, “for companies which want frequent human resources advice but which are of the size – around 50 employees – where they don’t necessarily want to employ a department in-house.

“With the economy doing well, company structures changing and businesses looking to develop and grow, there’s a real need for what we offer.

“Picking up clients in the City has given me this appetite to work there again. I’ve always enjoyed working with interesting business and in particular professional services organisations.

“So far we have been supporting our London-based clients from Swindon but we recognise a market in the City and it makes sense to have an office there as well.”

Mr Jones said that the challenges of working with City-based businesses were unique: “Companies in the City have a different HR requirement to businesses elsewhere in the country, with complex governance structures, director agreements in high value businesses, TUPE transfers with investment banks looking to offload their funds to the people running them, and so on.

“Off the back of our relationship with Glennmont Partners we are working with a lot more FCA regulated business based in Swindon, which are Wiltshire-based but do trade in London and across Europe, in particular multi-national businesses.

“So we have plenty of expertise in the financial services sector and the prospect of developing more business among the City’s financial services SMEs is an extremely exciting one.”

The HR Dept offers access to qualified HR practitioners when companies need it, with regular on-site support but without the continuous overheads of employing an HR department in-house.

The company already covers six areas in London but Mr Jones said the venture into the Square Mile would eventually develop into a team of a similar size to the one based in Swindon.

“My focus and efforts going forward are going to be purely in The City of London,” he said. “All my time will be spent there. Ultimately we are going to build a team like the one I have in Wiltshire.”

Mr Jones, a keen runner who is aged 43 and lives in Swindon with his wife Pam and their 14-month-old daughter, set the business up five years ago.

He had previously run his own HR consultancy, set up in September 2008 – the same month that Lehman Brothers collapsed, heralding the start of the global financial crisis.

Now the North Wiltshire branch of The HR Dept currently retains more than 50 monthly clients, employing four staff full time.

Mr Jones said: “It’s been a great time for us despite the economic troubles and business is sufficiently established in Wiltshire that I can look forward to taking on my next challenge.

“It’s been great to pick up clients in London from being based in Wiltshire –many of the directors live here and commute in. So this move makes a lot of sense and I’m confident it will work.”

The HR Dept is a national company, with its central office in Bristol and a network of HR professionals covering over 60 territories all over the UK and Ireland offering practical HR advice for small and medium-sized businesses.

Sue Tumelty, Founder and Executive Director of The HR Dept, said:  “It’s great to have someone of Peter’s calibre heading up our new office in the City of London and I’m sure he will run his business there with great success.”