What brings AB HR Solutions to Cornwall?

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What brings AB HR Solutions to Cornwall?

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What brings AB HR Solutions to Cornwall? For Adrian Berwick, who runs AB HR Solutions, this is a case of returning to his roots.

Born in Exeter and going to school in Plymouth and Saltash, Adrian spent his childhood in a village between Liskeard and Looe before heading off to Bristol Polytechnic, now the University of the West of England. His first ”proper job” was in Totnes, from there he embarked on a successful career in Human Resources (Personnel Management in the early days) which took him to Gloucester, then Cheltenham before moving to Hook in Hampshire and then Market Harborough in Leicestershire.

After starting out with Graham Builders Merchants, he held senior HR roles for an international Lift manufacturer, a Water Bottling and Water Cooler business before spending over 10 years as HR Director for a leading Property and Facilities Management business, leaving in 2015.

He then established AB Commercial HR Solutions, based in Leicestershire with a national network of clients but AB HR Solutions is a new venture based in Liskeard, primarily covering clients in Cornwall and Devon.

AB HR Solutions comes to Cornwall


What brings AB HR Solutions to Cornwall and what does AB HR Solutions do?

AB HR Solutions will provide HR support, mainly to small and medium sized businesses, sometimes called SMEs and works on the basis that any business that employs people will have people problems and issues but only the larger businesses will have an HR Department. So, SMEs need access to HR support and AB HR Solutions provides support to many clients on a “pay as you go” basis.

What type of business requires HR Support?

Any business with employees – even 2 or 3 – will need occasional HR support and clients include car dealerships and garages, landscaping companies, pubs, restaurants, bistros, cafes, shops, hair and beauty salons, builders, contractors, facilities management and maintenance, manufacturing and engineering, independent schools, professional services consultancies, golf and social clubs, sports clubs and academies……

What about Charities and the Not for Profit (NFP) Sector?

Charities also need HR support because although they have countless volunteers and their governance is often managed by a team of trustees, charities also employ people and AB HR Solutions has provided HR support to children’s hospices, educational charities for children with disabilities and special educational needs including autism, counselling and helpline charities……

Some of these charities only have a few employees but they still require HR support from time to time and the trustees are always keen to resolve issues quickly especially concerning bullying, harassment and discrimination for fear of any adverse publicity that may impact on central funding revenue or volunteer fund raising.

Do AB HR Solutions help General Practice – GP – Doctor surgeries?

Adrian has considerable experience supporting partners in GP Doctor surgeries with HR issues because most practices are a partnership and cannot access HR services through the NHS. Often GP Doctor surgeries are multi-site operations and some larger surgeries employ over 50 people both clinical and non-clinical including nurses, therapists, receptionists, admin assistants and secretaries, practice managers, finance staff as well as salaried and partners GPs.

GP Doctor surgeries have a wide range of HR issues including disciplinary and grievance, redundancies, variation of hours for receptionists, TUPE, long term ill health and absence management.

Adrian has also worked with many GP Doctor surgeries where practices have merged creating a larger operation and often this involves a re-structure of the non-clinical team and occasionally, closure of small, rural practices.  Adrian brings AB HR Solutions to Cornwall, to help practices in this location with their HR challenges.

Likewise Adrian has supported dental practices and independently owned opticians. Please see the dedicated GP Page.

Do AB HR Solutions help clients with contracts of employment?

Many clients come to AB HR Solutions for help and support with contracts of employment. It is a legal requirement that an employee is given a contract of employment – or statement of terms and conditions of employment – but many small companies simply do not bother to issue employees with a contract. Similarly, many businesses want support with zero hours contracts.

Aside from the fact that it is an employee’s right to have a contract of employment, the document  sets out the arrangements for pay and pay arrangements, overtime, pensions, holiday entitlement, sickness, place of work, notice periods, company car etc.

It will also have important information about disciplinary and grievance procedures, company property, confidentiality, GDPR (previously Data protection).

Many SMEs, especially businesses with only a few employees are quite complacent about contracts of employment but suddenly realise how important they are when there is a dispute with the employee which may result in a disciplinary hearing or even a dismissal.

Similarly, an employee may raise a grievance about bullying, unfair treatment, sexual harassment etc and a company is expected to have a procedure and mechanism in place for managing these issues. Again, many SMEs argue that they never have issues like this because “it’s only a bit of banter” but when a situation arises, it can become very complex and can have a significant impact on morale in the business. At worst, it might end up with a dismissal, an Employment Tribunal and compensation for the employee if the employer didn’t manage the issue correctly.

So contracts of employment are essential and must be provided to employees. AB HR Solutions has worked with clients in all types of business and sectors to develop template contracts of employment to suit the business needs.

Also, the issues around Corona Virus and employees being put on furlough has highlighted many situations where businesses have realised that either they do not have contracts or that their contracts need to be reviewed. The Contracts of employment page can be found here.

Can AB HR Solutions support clients with Redundancy issues?

AB HR Solutions has considerable experience of supporting businesses of all sizes with redundancy issues – it might just be a one off redundancy where one employee is made redundant or it may be a bigger project involving the closure of a business or a site, business merger or downturn in business etc.

Again, many SMEs don’t seek advice when dealing with a redundancy issues and can find themselves in all sorts of bother because they haven’t managed a proper consultation process, haven’t done a selection criteria or failed to consider alternative employment opportunities.

By advising businesses to follow a process and manage the issue professionally, AB HR Solutions will save you time and money in the long term.

Adrian also has extensive experience of managing large scale redundancy projects and closures often involving Trade Unions. For redundancy information, visit this page.

How else can AB HR Solutions support SMEs?

Bringing AB HR Solutions to Cornwall will provide generalist support and advice on a wide variety of HR issues including HR policy process and procedure, HR strategy, disciplinary and grievance issues including workplace investigations, TUPE, development of bonus and commission plans, senior management terminations, long term ill health and absence management, HR skills training etc

In many Companies, there is already an HR person or HR may be looked after by an Office Manager or even the MD’s PA – how can AB HR Solutions help in these cases?

As a business grows, it will often give someone specific responsibility for dealing with HR and this may be an Office Manager, Finance Manager or the MD’s PA or they may externally recruit someone at HR Administrator, Advisor or Manager level with the intention of supporting their development and training.

Often in these situations, the individual will have limited experience and they will need to source external support for more complex issues or to manage peaks in workload.

AB HR Solutions supports a number of clients who have HR Managers and they require further assistance from time to time and will often benefit from further coaching and mentoring in managing difficult situations.

Just giving someone the job title HR Manager doesn’t mean that they will know everything and they will need further support. Also, if they are new to an HR roles, they will have limited experience.

Also, in small companies, it can be very familiar often with strong family connections and relationships can be quite close, so occasionally the MD will want an independent third party and want a “sounding board” or a trusted mentor on business and people issues.

What makes AB HR Solutions different?

Many HR Support businesses are entirely helpline or call centre based and this can lead to an impersonal service. It also means that you could speak to different people every time you call with a query so there is no consistency.

It is important for AB HR Solutions to get to know their clients, understand what they do, how their business works and also, importantly understand the business culture. Many SMEs are family businesses and as the business passes through the generations, the culture of the business can change and it’s important to understand the dynamics. Also, having a commercial background, Adrian understands the wider business issues and can develop solutions to HR issues by assessing the risk and implications of various course of actions. Business owners don’t want answers out of a text book – they want pragmatic solutions with a commercial edge.

How does AB HR Solutions work with clients?

Different clients require different services so one solution doesn’t fit all. For some work, a specification will be agreed and a fixed price quoted whilst other clients prefer to work on a “pay as you go” basis which might be either on an hourly or day rate basis. This is what brings AB HR Solutions to Cornwall.

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