Two working mums from Ringwood with two decades of human resources experience have set up a company offering their considerable HR expertise to local businesses in their area of Melbourne.
Having given up corporate life and pursue the dream of running their own business, Tegan Rose and Lee-Anne Hunt decided to join forces and launch The HR Dept Ringwood.
Passionate for success and confident in juggling the demands of working and family life, the two mums, formerly colleagues at an international affordable housing provider, now plan to become trusted advisors in partnership with their thriving local business community.
Currently working from home bases in Heathmont and Nunawading respectively, Tegan and Lee-Anne are looking to establish then grow The HR Dept Ringwood by taking on staff.
In providing the full range of human resources advice and support, their territory of operation will cover from Blackburn out to Healesville and the Yarra Valley, along the Maroondah highway corridor.
“We’re aiming for the stars,” said Lee-Anne, who has two teenage children Lachlan and Zoe and is accredited in learning, change and project management alongside her AHRI qualifications.
“We’d both always dreamed of having our own HR business, but the timing never felt quite right with family commitments. We were putting it off until we could focus on the marketing, IT and accounting – all extra things you need to understand to set up a business from scratch – in more depth.”
The crucial point on the journey was when the pair came across an advert in the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) magazine. The HR Dept is an international franchise business, recently launched in Australia but established in 2002, which provides outsourced HR advice and support in more than 100 territories and serves well over 6,000 SMEs across the UK, Ireland and Australia.
“When we saw that advert we both got really excited,” said Tegan, who as well as being mum to Willow, Bailey and Harper has a Bachelor of Business in Human Resource Management as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. . “It gave us the chance to do what we loved, with the support and backing of a network of professionals and an established brand. Before we knew it we were attending a discovery day and the rest is history.
“It felt right, the people were fantastic and the thought of getting in early in the Australian market was very attractive to us.
“The combination of being able to chase our own dreams, help out business people in our local area and contribute to our community, all blended with our family commitments, was too good an opportunity to walk away from.”
The HR Dept is launching simultaneously in three territories in Melbourne, with other businesswomen Jenna Paulin launching in Docklands and Jo Gazzola setting up in Essendon.
“What’s really exciting is that there’s nothing else like this in the marketplace,” said Tegan. “There are off-the-shelf HR options for small businesses but nothing which compares to The HR Dept’s offering of highly expert outsourced advice and support, at a price which even a start-up can afford.
“We want to help businesses grow and thrive through good people practices, in turn helping our community be productive and successful.
“Without good people, businesses don’t survive, but it’s hard to keep on top of the complex employment relations environment and ever-changing compliance requirements, so if that’s one less thing a business owner needs to worry about, then that’s more effort they can spend on their business. That’s where we can step in and help out.”
Lee-Anne said: “Many SMEs are still trying to get their head around the implications of the modern awards in terms of pay and entitlements. There have been several Fair Work cases in the limelight recently where companies have been ordered to repay staff and fined due to underpayment.
“SMEs maybe unaware of recent changes to legislation in some modern awards whereby employees are able to dictate when they will take excessive annual leave if they can’t reach agreement with their employer. In Victoria, the introduction of the Brodie’s Law anti-bullying legislation has changed the employee relations landscape for small businesses. Ignorance is not a defence and businesses need to be vigilant to ensure their staff are trained and they have policies in place that are acted on. This is where we can help.”
Gemma Tumelty is managing director of The HR Dept. She said: “We are delighted that two women with the expertise and experience of Tegan and Lee-Anne are helping us launch The HR Dept in Melbourne. It’s great news for SMEs in the area and I am confident that The HR Dept Ringwood will be a great success.