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Press Release - HR Expert a champion for SME ventures

22 January 2024

A human resources expert has found that moving into a consultancy role has given her lots of opportunities to apply an entirely fresh skill set.

Changing to an HR consulting role isn't necessarily a traditional career move for individuals in the field of human resources, but it's proved hugely rewarding for Jess Nicol of Align People HR.

As a consultant, she now offers her expertise to business owners in a range of industries.

She believes being adaptable to these different sectors and having the ability to quickly build relationships upon entering various workplaces are two of the main skills required for anyone wishing to pursue consultancy work.

Jess said: “Being present for a client when needed and absorbing their culture is a key requirement. One of the most interesting elements of my role, however, is the commercial aspect.

"HR can sometimes be seen as a function which isn't a necessity to some small business owners but I demonstrate to clients that it needs to be taken seriously to set them apart from their competitors.

"It is vital that they create great places to work and invest in their people.

"Business development wouldn't be a key consideration in an in-house HR role but I get the chance to introduce new clients to Align People HR.

"I love having the opportunity to contribute to growing the business whether that's through growing our team, growing our clients, or growing our reputation."

When asked about the challenges of being a consultant, Jess mentioned the “emotional rollercoaster” of dealing with different company cultures but she added that the staff at Align People HR are a close team who are there to support their colleagues at their Aberdeenshire HQ.

Absorbing various company cultures certainly isn't all negative, she explained, as it consistently brings new learning opportunities.

Jess added: “In an in-house role working in a single sector, you tend to get similar challenges recurring, whereas when you are working with so many different sectors, you are presented with a huge variety of people issues, business challenges and different pressure points.

"Seeing clients really value the insights that I share with them and building relationships so that trust is developed, are the best parts of the job.”

Learning from the entrepreneurs she works with is something Jess values.

“In my opinion, entrepreneurs are so unique and I am grateful that I get to work so closely with them, seeing what makes them tick and their different leadership styles,” she said.

Providing a voice for SMEs is something Jess is passionate about and she believes they make great employers.

“A lot of graduates, or even people in the middle of their careers want to make that move to an SME because they are looking for a chance to make a larger impact in their career or fast- track to a senior role and have influence over the business.

"Those opportunities are attractive and I am proud to be able to represent those positives when recruiting and make a stand for how great working in an SME is, as it has been for me throughout my career to date.”

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