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TGT Meets...Polly Rathbone-Ward, Founder of Rathbone HR Solutions
Meet our latest TGT Meets, Polly Rathbone-Ward, Founder & HR Consultant at Rathbone HR Solutions - a friendly, knowledgeable HR Consultancy based in Bath.
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I am the founder of Rathbone HR Solutions which I founded in 2018 after 20+ years working as a HR professional. Having worked across various industries, my aim is to provide employment and HR advice to businesses and support them to get things right for both their people and for their commercial results.
Tell us a bit about the company you work for you and your job role…
Rathbone HR Solutions Ltd is a HR consultancy based in Bath, and works with organisations all along the M4 corridor. We support businesses with ad hoc or longer term HR requirements. I enjoy working with business leaders that employ people but they may not possess the time or expertise in HR to deal with employment issues, so they choose to outsource this function to help to save time and to give them peace of mind.
What inspired you to pursue a career in this industry?
Initially I wasn’t too sure what career path I wanted to folIow, however, I knew I wanted to go into business in some way and was interested in combining this with working with people and making a difference to peoples experience of work.
Growing up, my mother managed a team as part of her role within a law firm, it was her who inspired me to explore a career in HR. I researched which qualifications I would need, undertook my Masters in HR and CIPD qualification and the rest is history!
I love the relationship between people and the commercial success of a business and over time, I have developed innovative ways to inspire leaders to create high-performing teams by putting people first. I have found working in HR has given me a hugely valuable and worthwhile career and I’m fascinated to see the developments in employment trends, people management, working culture and organisational performance.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
I love sharing knowledge and industry insights by speaking at events. Most recently, I have had the pleasure of speaking at the Bath Business Festival, the Bath Digital Festival and have given numerous careers talks to local schools and colleges. One particular speaking highlight for me, was speaking at Google HQ in London, shortly before lockdown, as part of a panel event discussing new ways of working.
I also love being able to make a difference and help businesses to get things right for their people. I find it hugely satisfying to support businesses and to give business leaders peace of mind and time to focus on their business, rather than spending their time worrying about people issues.
Describe Bath in 3 words…
What do you enjoy doing when you are not busy at work?
When not busy with work, I am often found spending time with my husband and 3 children in Bath or socialising with friends. Eating out at some of our brilliant venues in Bath is something I particularly enjoy doing in my spare time.
I also sing in a gospel choir, which fills me with joy and gives me a creative outlet, it’s also something very different to the day job!
I love keeping fit and especially running. I believe that keeping fit is important for mental as well as physical fitness so running and activity such as walks or running around the tennis court with the children are very important to us as a family.
What has been the hardest challenge you have had to face since working in this industry?
I have to say that the unprecedented changes to the world of work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has presented significant challenge to the HR profession.
Being able to support businesses during this very difficult time has been a pleasure, although challenging at times. Staying informed of the ever-changing Government guidance and translating this for organisations so that they can make pragmatic and commercial decisions quickly during difficult times that impact their business and their people.
Individuals and businesses have had very different experiences throughout COVID and the imposed lockdowns. I have supported businesses that transitioned overnight to remote working, some that had large amounts of people on furlough leave and some that had employees still working from a designated workplace, sometimes all three! Communicating with, supporting and engaging employees when they were experiencing such individual personal circumstances during such uncertain times has been a challenge for so many businesses.
Employers and the UK Government have worked hard to protect jobs, however, some organisations have had to consider how to reduce their workforce costs in order to future-proof their business meaning I’ve been called in to support and advise on restructuring and sadly in some cases, redundancies.
The impact of COVID on the world of work has been wide-reaching and I hope that businesses will take the opportunity to make long-lasting change as some really positive changes to work have been accelerated throughout this time, for example, flexible and remote working, mental health awareness, employee wellbeing and performance management through output rather than time spent at a desk.
Anything else you would like to say/mention or promote?
I frequently deliver webinars, online courses, create e-books on relevant industry hot topics and send out informative monthly newsletters to our database of contacts.
To stay up to date and aware of the latest news, events and offers from Rathbone HR, you can sign up to our newsletter by visiting https://www.rathbonehrsolutions.co.uk/