Sandhya Iyer

HR Dept

“I have worked in HR for roughly 15 years now and started my HR consulting firm in 2017. Soon after completing my post graduate studies in HR from Bombay University, I moved to London. I continued my very engaging work with trade unions, across various sectors. I have never got my hands dirtier since then!

As luck would have it, I moved to Singapore – I based my further studies in HR on a local pre-school which was in need of some support. The project involved creating a HR framework whilst marrying two different diverse outlooks to education and child development. I was very pleased to see my work being taken on board to initiate change, a relatively quick turnaround, which I had never witnessed in Corporate before. Having invested a lot of time with Unions, I realised I didn’t want to go back to Corporate. I wanted to get more involved with small businesses within the local community. But I had no idea where to start! The HR Dept and their fantastic network of professionals, has been the best thing that I stumbled upon.

This was also the typical stage of mid life crisis and oh yes, I was contemplating divorce.

About a year later I got back to the UK, filed for divorce and started my business under the HR Dept brand! My girls, then 3 and 5, our dog and myself – we had a plain canvas before us. I always get asked the question whether I was scared when I started the business and filed for divorce in the same month. And my response is always the same – when your back is against the wall, you only have yourself to fear.

I was always told that there’s nothing in HR to be proud of because it’s a lot of dirty work. Today when I help a small business owner, and I see the sense of relief they feel in having a problem taken off their head and hands, it makes my efforts seem worthwhile. It makes me smile and motivates me! And I have forged new friendships within the local business community as a result, many of whom are my clients. This makes my job even more rewarding.

Running my own business has also meant I can harbour more support for a social cause which is important to me and my local community. I had to overcome a few very difficult situations before I started the business. I had to leave a marriage that had been a challenge for many years.

Ironically the same challenges fed my yearning to regain control of my professional and personal life – but that was also possible because of the help from amazing friends, family and local businesses. By just speaking about domestic abuse as a social issue within our local communities, we start to shirk away those taboos, show support and start addressing the matter at its bare roots level. Yet it is hardly ever discussed on the same level as mental health issues. The biggest enabler for DA is the awkward silence it is faced with. Some of the women grappling with the issue are very capable and talented but they could do better if they had the support of the local community. (I focus on women when I speak about domestic abuse because statistically they are the ones more affected by this issue).

I share my story of hope and happiness because it is also real for any individual out there who thinks they cannot get out of the difficult situation they may be in, with or without children – because they can’t see a future. The message is more powerful when it comes from a local business owner who has walked the talk. There may be other business owners who have walked this journey before me. But I hadn’t heard similar stories from a woman entrepreneur before I started my own business.

Also, children are resilient. Investing my time and resources in a new business not only provided me with the pivot to manage different demands of my new life, but it also fuelled the much needed, positive energy between all of us during times of change. Nobody tells you that it can be a lot of fun growing a business whilst raising a family. It is very possible to have fun despite the endless demands to multi-task. Today my girls understand and accept they will have to complain to the dog about each other if Mum is on the phone with her client..and Truffle will listen, because she is the best embodiment of patience!

My vision for my business is simple – to leave every client feeling it was worth their while engaging with me. I would like to continue my support within the local business community in addressing a social cause that I relate with. And spend quality time every day with my two lovely daughters and very soppy four-year old labradoodle! We love cycling in the countryside and Truffle will happily trot along, until she gets distracted by that stream.”

About the business

The HR Dept began in 2002, when Founder and Executive Director Sue Tumelty identified a gap in the market to offer personalised expert HR advice to local businesses. The company went from strength to strength, with new branches opening all over the UK, Ireland and Australia.

Each branch of The HR Dept is headed up by a highly qualified and experienced HR Director who is committed to serving their local business community.

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