Meet our MD, Rebecca Woolmington – otherwise jokingly known as ‘Hatchet’ to some of her long-term clients. Rebecca has had a colourful career in HR spanning over 25 years.
Rebecca is considered by many as an HR expert, using digital platforms to provide SME’s with large corporate style HR processes and systems to showcase her (and the team’s) HR expertise. Combining HR Consultancy and pragmatic advice about all manner of HR issues from hiring your first employee through to managing the performance management, complex restructuring projects, grievance and disciplinary situations.
Rebecca is often asked to help her numerous clients that span high street hairdressers to high tech companies that manufacture components for the space industry, with a variety of technical and often challenging HR issues.
We were interested in how Rebecca has built a business where she is the ‘go-to’ for so many small business owners, and SME decision-makers. We asked our tenacious hard-working MD about her career to date. And her long-term relationships with clients and suppliers…
Let’s talk about job history first, because you have quite a colourful career to date…
I started my HR career working in the Oil and Gas Industry in Aberdeen. I travelled offshore regularly and recruited most of the piping and plating engineering personnel for the Saltire and Piper Bravo platforms; amongst other North Sea installations in operation at that time.
Back in the day, the bars along the docks in Aberdeen were a good source of great applicants, we didn’t have job boards or applicant tracking systems. I hunted through the pubs looking for kit bags that didn’t belong to my ‘gang of workers’ chatted to and handed out business cards to their owners.
We had blackboards in many pubs in Newcastle, where I would phone the requirements through to landlords and they would write the listing of welding codings required – the engineers with relevant qualifications would then travel, often overnight to Aberdeen for the first helicopter check in time.
I learnt to weld and to bend pipes to drawings, so that I could be credible with the Engineering candidates. I was very proud of my Jalette boots and hard hat.
So many funny stories to tell about polar bears that apparently circled the spider decks (lower decks of the oilrig) and who kept in touch with me via postcard long after I had left the platform, to confiscating contraband oranges and citrus fruit that had been injected with vodka. Coffee and tough love were often administered to employees following trips to the local pubs, these ‘discussions’ usually following missed check-ins.
Such fun – hard work and broken hearts when helicopters failed to return home from the dangerous, harsh environment of the North Sea.
I moved to the Industrial relations department and loved every minute of the negotiations, logistics and legal discussions, coupled with HR and performance management discussions.
I made friends for life, ‘Uncle’ Mel from Gravesend, called me ‘Treacle’ and sent A4 slabs of Milka chocolate back with the timesheets each week, in return for me holding onto the keys for his secret party house in Peterhead!
I graduated from Aberdeen with a degree in life and a couple of years of CIPD study under my belt, that I finally completed when I moved back South. The offshore industry taught me life lessons about loyalty, working hard and gave me a strong and unwavering work ethic.
I landed in a more gentrified HR role, albeit still in Engineering when I worked for Foster Wheeler Limited in Reading. Recruitment, Generalist HR Manager and operational roles combined with the Head of Learning and Development job title. I gathered roles and didn’t let any aspect go, my empire built and I learnt lots from some awesome people. My boss, mentor and friend during that time told me I was unmanageable, told me to set up on my own if I didn’t like the internal politics of having to wait for decisions and promotion. So I took his advice.
In 2006 I set up HRCentral to utilise the skills I have gained over a period of 10 years in fast-paced Human Resources departments. And haven’t looked back.
What advice would you give to someone who is a bit lost and hasn’t found their niche yet?
Say a resounding ‘Yes’ to any opportunity and learn as you go along. Grab every opportunity with both hands. Work hard and have fun. We spend so much time at work, it is best to make your time count. I love what I do. We service the needs of SME across a variety of industries, I love nothing better than learning about a new industry, meeting and becoming part of a new management team and helping them to resolve their HR issues.
So, what’s next for HRCentral Limited?
More of the same, I employ people with a fantastic work ethic and a can-do attitude. I love to work collaboratively with our clients, nothing gives me more job satisfaction than finding my clients the right hires to take them to the next level, or resolving their industrial relations issues, performance management issues, developing policies and procedures to keep them legally compliant…
HRCentral partner with some fabulous organisations, such as BreatheHR, IMPROVE, Hireful and WeThrive who provide platforms for me and my team to showcase our HR skills and experience. Together we ensure our clients are able to hire the best people, retain their teams, store their information in a GDPR compliant way and fully train their best and most valuable resource, their people, using technology to do so via an online platform.
The future for HRCentral looks amazing, with new clients signing up weekly I am hoping to grow in number so HRCentral can carry on offering the same level of excellent customer service and expert HR advice…
Watch this space…
If you are interested in joining HRCentral Limited keep an eye out for vacant roles on our career page: https://hrcentral.livevacancies.co.uk/#/