Louisa Thomas: Farrens HR Associate
1. What’s your story?
I have worked in human resources (HR) for twenty years in a wide range of roles both operationally and strategically, up to Director level and I am a Fellow Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. I became a HR Consultant eight years ago after a mentor inspired me to take the step to work for myself and I have not looked back. It has given me the opportunity to experience working with lots of different organisations in a variety of roles and on a variety of projects.
During my early HR career I was predominantly based in Cardiff. However, I also spent a number of years working in London, Glasgow and Saudi Arabia before returning to Wales in 2016. I love being back home close to family and friends and living near great beaches, great parks and a great city.
2. Ah, there’s no place like home, hey? So, what is it you like about working in HR, specifically?
No one day is ever the same, the work is so varied and I learn something new every day. I truly believe that people are organisations’ greatest resource and HR can create value and impact on business strategy and success. There is no doubt about it, HR is complex particularly when dealing with ever-changing employment legislation. However, HR is more than just a process or compliance function, organisations are made better by their own people and HR is critical in making this happen.
3. You seem to understand people very well. What is your ideal client?
I don’t have an ideal client. No one client or their needs are the same. I genuinely enjoy the variety that working with different clients brings.
4. Great. OK, what HR services do you provide via Farrens?
Farrens provides a wide range of HR services including:
• Strategic HR services: developing a people strategy, working on change projects and working with Leadership Teams.
• Recruitment support.
• Employment contract, HR policy & procedure reviews.
• HR administration services.
• Workplace mediation services, i.e. resolving conflict in the workplace.
• People management training.
• Ad hoc HR support, e.g. disciplinary and grievance support, staff absence etc.
• Telephone line support – sometimes clients just need to talk things through or get a quick piece of advice.
This list is by no means exhaustive. All our clients have unique needs and we meet with them to determine what their specific needs are.
5. That’s great that you have face to face contact with your clients. What about new clients? Are you social? How can people contact you?
Absolutely, I really enjoy speaking with people and helping wherever I can. You can call me (07826 899792), email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or connect with me on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisathomashr
6. Fantastic. So, for the benefit of potential new clients, what is your working style?
Due to the nature of my work it is critical that I am confidential in my work and I take this very seriously. As such, confidentiality and sensitivity is inherent in my working style. I am able to work both strategically and operationally; I am approachable, flexible and a great listener. These skills are essential to allow me to understand a client’s particular needs to provide practical tailored solutions, whilst ensuring legal compliance.
7. It sounds like you have the perfect balance. What’s the best thing about being a HR Consultant?
People are at the heart of business and I really enjoy working with different organisations to create workplaces that recognise how people contribute, engage and achieve business success. I enjoy helping businesses get the best out of their people and in turn the best out of their business.
8. What kind of partnership do you expect to have with your clients?
It’s not so much what partnership I expect, but rather what I invest in my clients to achieve great partnerships. I invest a lot of time getting to know my clients and their business to quickly establish a rapport creating trusted and honest professional relationships. It is so important that I can have an open and honest dialogue with my clients to achieve positive outcomes.
9. That’s great, but what if you’ve never worked in your clients’ field of expertise how will you be able to provide support?
I have worked in a variety of sectors and even within a sector no one organisation is the same. I dedicate my time to get to know the sector and understand a client’s vision, mission, values and objectives as well as the challenges they are facing. We are certainly working in challenging times with political and social change, economic instability and rapid changes in technology, all of which has an impact on business. This change means that we are all constantly learning and thinking about how this impacts the work we do as well as what we need to do to respond to this change. It is imperative that I learn about my clients and the issues facing their business to enable me to provide bespoke ways of working that ensure I add value to the business.
10. OK down to the nitty gritty, what are your working hours?
I work flexibly dependent on the client’s needs. That’s the benefit of being freelance; my time is my own to choose to spend in whatever way I feel is most productive and most beneficial for my clients.
11. I think you’ve just made every potential new clients’ day! Where are your clients based?
Our clients predominately span the M4 from Llanelli to Newport, and up to Mid Wales. However, we are not restricted to these locations.
12. Keeping it local is important, but it’s great that you’re willing to look further afield if necessary. Do, how do you manage your work/life balance?
I have a cockapoo, Lola who keeps my husband and I on our toes with lots of walks. I am lucky enough to live near the beach and some great parks, which means we get lots of fresh air. I also go to West Wales when I can to escape the hustle and bustle of normal life. I am a member of an outdoor exercise group, which sees me training outdoors two mornings a week – yes it is tiring but also very rewarding. Family and friends are very important to me so I spend as much time with them as I can.
13. Wow, can I have your life, it sounds idyllic! Who is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspirations are my mum and dad. As a child they provided me with the opportunity to travel extensively and meet lots of different people from different cultures. I have learnt how important it is to be kind, respectful, fair and open to new ideas. My life is richer for it. They also instilled in me a strong work ethic which has served me well.
14. Last question: tell us two things you would like your client to know about you.
When I am with my clients they are my sole focus. I am passionate about HR as a true business partner to get businesses where they want to be together.
I like to have fun. My colleagues, family and friends will tell you I have a very positive outlook on life which means laughter is essential!