Getting To Know You: Claire Ward, Founder, theHRhub

What do you currently do?

I run theHRhub, an online HR platform and subscription service which gives start-ups and small businesses access to advice, support and software on an on-demand basis. It’s HR for those who don’t ‘do’ HR: making employee compliance, success and growth easier for businesses with up to 100 people.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

Having helped many fast growth businesses set up and scale over the last 10 years and changed the perceptions of HR within those companies in the process, I wanted to show other SMEs that HR can help their business thrive (in a way that doesn’t break the bank). Achieving HR and employee success is just as relevant to a business when they’re five people as it is when they are 50 or 500 but is often seen as something only ‘big’ companies have.

Who do you admire?

Honestly, I think anyone who’s stuck at running their own business for a decent length of time deserves a massive high five and I have several personal friends who have inspired me. I don’t have a business ‘idol’ as such, but greatly admire both Justine Roberts and James Dyson.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

Probably loads of little things along the way: we’re changing things all the time as we learn from our customers what they want and need, so if I could have guessed which bits of the service would be the hits from the beginning that would’ve certainly saved a lot of time!

What defines your way of business?

Our style is very fresh: no-nonsense, responsive and often injected with a bit of humour. Basically how we are in real life. We’re not all about compliance and box ticking – that’s just the starting point. We help businesses understand about how much more they can get from their teams by focusing on the positive ways they can engage their teams and get what we term as ’employee magic’.

We do this through advice and also by connecting them with other businesses to share knowledge. None of our customers want us to spout legal jargon at them taken from a handbook that they could probably google themselves. How we communicate our service online replicates how most people act in every other part of their lives.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Don’t wait until you’ve compiled the perfect business plan before you take the leap, because that day will never come…. They’re iterative. Learn from your failures quickly. Be resilient. Surround yourself with people you respect. Take advice from others but it’s your business, so be prepared to make the calls yourself. And be nice to yourself and others: it’s an underrated word!