Peony & Magnolia ~ 1st Anniversary!

Gosh, where do I start, what an amazing 12 months it has been.  As I sit and reflect on some of the key milestones and achievements, I just feel an overwhelming sense of being grounded, very much happy with the here and now and in admiration that fate has taken me in exactly the right direction.

This time last year I was a bit of a muddle, the company I loved was no more, the sureness of being HRD with a wonderful team around me was gone and the future was so unknown. The rollercoaster of emotions followed by the release of immense stress that I had not recognised and had been functioning under, was slowly unravelled, and I was able to focus on creating my own, much more balanced work life.

What am I most proud of?

Being Brave. I went with what felt right for me; I created a brand that truly represents my personality which I echo through my professional values and I most importantly I translate this into everything I do for Peony & Magnolia and for my clients.

Surviving and thriving.  The last 6 months has required me to dig deep, hold my head up and continue to run Peony & Magnolia, my home and look after the children’s education and wellbeing. Oh, and before that I thought the biggest challenge was setting up a business, managing a major house refurb and committing to the small task of completing my self-imposed goal of the 100 days blog (!), oddly both halves of the year were challenging and rewarding and required a lot of juggling of deadlines and perseverance.

Recognising my worth. I mean this purely in the sense of the reputation I had built up, without me really seeing it. My client base has grown organically, all through recommendations from within my network, this makes me feel incredibly proud. If I were to reflect on this further, for me this is what drives me, good, strong partnerships and working to support others and one of the reasons I have really enjoyed working with every client I have had.

What has been the most challenging?

Maintaining balance. At times I have taken on projects which have over lapped as well as delivering my core retainer hours. Time was also intensified with all the other factors, meaning I just needed to be super organised and focus on specific tasks. Just as well I am good at this but I prefer not to be working in such an intense way.  Going forward I have already put some steps into place to keep the equilibrium of life a little more balanced and owning where and when I am more productive and in work mode.

Missing teammates. Simply acknowledging that one of the key missing pieces to my work puzzle was my team. I had worked for 6 years and built up a solid and loyal team and I missed them. Having said that, I was extremely fortunate to work with clients where I have been welcomed and included within some great HR teams and leadership groups. However, I recognised I needed to create a P&M team for the future and I have started to achieve this through networks, associates and reaching out to other HR professionals. I have a great HR assistant now who I am convinced will be a HR super star of the future.

Limiting belief in oneself. This does not happen often but every now and then I just have to stop, check and reassure myself. I then focus, crack on and forget* that I may have experienced a bit of imposter syndrome. I guess this just makes me human! * (I actually don’t forget I use the experience for a bit of self-reflection to see what triggered the wobble in the first place, I am a HR bod through and through!)

Professionally, I have achieved some key and varied projects for my clients. Advising on the nuances of employment law changes, IR35, average holiday pay, TUPE, settlements. I’ve led and developed teams and built new relationships with senior leaders.

Alongside, setting SME’s up with robust contracts of employment, policies and practices. I have managed appeals, advised on furlough, and supported business owners to make informed decisions in difficult times.  I have led redundancy consultations and supported as an independent offering support to all those impacted, the wellbeing of a person will always remain paramount.

I am about to implement and roll out to a growing client P&M’s vision for their people strategy, leading with collective and engaging communication. What an opportunity to take the already forward-thinking culture, putting the foundations of HR in place with a little extra twist. I’m excited to explore and develop with them as the company grows and working alongside the senior team to influence this.

I could not have asked for a more diverse 12 months (throw in a worldwide pandemic and crisis management employee communications you can see why P&M have been busy!)

So, what next, I have sat and invested time in planning for year 2, pushing myself into a few new unknowns and focusing on how I see the future of employing people to be heading.

The absolute core remains the same, investing and understanding what makes people tick, understanding the person as a ‘whole’ will create amazing working environments and there is so much potential now if you are a bold and brave leader to implement change.  Understanding and acknowledging that we have been riding one huge sea of change collectively, all bobbing along at different stages but learning and developing despite of this. I am looking forward to seeing how the world of work embraces some of these changes, as I am keen to see some flexibility and bespoke ways of working emerge.

Final reflection; to remain resilient, trust in myself and embrace the future.