A HUMAN resources expert with more than 20 years of corporate experience has set up her own business, offering advice and support to small and medium-sized firms throughout the Highlands.
Kim Hunter is relocating from Aberdeenshire to business premises in Inverness to set up The HR Dept Highlands, offering her outsourced expertise to help local companies navigate through this challenging business environment and thrive and succeed moving forward.
Her new business will be the fourth in Scotland of the UK-wide network of The HR Dept franchisees. And, at almost 10,000 square miles, the Highlands region is by far the largest geographically, stretching from the northern tip of the Scottish mainland to Inverness and Fort William.
One benefit of the coronavirus pandemic is that, with remote working now more widely accepted as the norm, Kim has a viable alternative to long drives to meet clients of The HR Dept Highlands.
However despite the growth of platforms such as Zoom and MS Teams, the personal nature of human resources, particularly with smaller businesses where the impacts can be so tangible, means Kim is looking forward to getting face-to-face with her new growing customer base.
“There’s no substitute for sitting down together over a coffee and a conversation about where the business is going and what the appropriate people strategy should be,” she said. “It’s something I’m really looking forward to.
“Working for large global corporate organisations definitely has its challenges and it’s very rewarding to make large scale change and experience positive improvement. This opportunity is a new type of challenge.
“I’m looking forward to getting out there to meet clients in the small business community; SME business owners who care passionately about their organisations.
“I’m looking forward to supporting businesses make the right people decisions which will allow them to successfully impact on their growth and development…I can’t wait.
“The Highlands is such an exciting business environment, with so many growth areas like energy and its associated supply chains, engineering, technology, food and drink and life sciences.
“I’m acutely aware of all the investment going into Scotland, and with 90 per cent of businesses here falling into the SME bracket there’s real potential to help them develop their human resources strategies to attract and retain the right people and deliver customer excellence.”
Kim’s career has seen her working with energy consulting giant Wood PLC, as well as Tesco Bank and Danish emergency services and healthcare firm Falck.
She is currently a non-executive director with Montrose Port Authority, a role which she plans to continue alongside growing her new business.
“It’s great to be focusing on my own doorstep,” she said. “My partner has been working in the region for seven years, so we’ve got some good knowledge and experience of the area. He’s a winchman paramedic, on the search and rescue helicopter operating out of Inverness, so he’s delighted he won’t have to commute any more.”
“We’ll be living in Moray, so I’ll be spending lots of time getting to know the business landscape and helping business owners navigate current and future challenges.
“Clearly with the pandemic going on there are some difficult scenarios going on. But at the same time there are industries which are really thriving, like construction, housebuilding and development, which is always a good indicator of future growth and prosperity.
“So those businesses who are planning now will be the ones which can take advantage of all the opportunities that will come once the pandemic eases. All SMEs will have to acknowledge the long term changes they will have to make because of Covid, especially when it comes to their people. People are the greatest asset of any business so it’s vital to get those strategies right.”
Sue Tumelty, founder and executive director of The HR Dept, said: “It’s great to see someone of Kim’s calibre and experience offering HR services to SMEs in the Highlands region and we are pleased to develop our presence in Scotland, alongside our existing territories of Edinburgh and the Lothians, Dundee and West Fife, and Perth and St Andrews. We wish Kim all the best operating the licence and are sure she will make it a great success.”