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Business & Economy

Succession planning pays off for growing HR specialist

A family-owned HR consultancy is creating new jobs and increasing its presence in the region, as it begins a new chapter under its second generation of leadership.

Darlington-based We do HR was founded by City worker-turned entrepreneur Alasdair Ross in 2003, starting life as a one-man band operating from his family home.

As the business started to grow, Alasdair onboarded his first employee and in 2013 then offered his daughter Hannah, who had just left college, an opportunity to join the team.

Fast-forward eighteen years and the company – under Alasdair’s leadership – has grown to serve businesses across the UK, from sole traders to large businesses, employing a team of seven at its head office in the heart of Darlington town centre, where it has been based since 2017, and has developed its service offering to provide health and safety advice and training.

Now, as the company plans for the future, it is eyeing further growth as it rolls out its own succession plan and Hannah – who started her career providing admin support and has since risen up the ranks and completed a master’s degree in business management and leadership – takes up the mantle of Managing Director and the task of driving the business forward.

Hannah said: “I’ll never forget the day I joined. I’d just finished college and was unsure where to go from there and my dad offered me the chance to work with him.  His exact words were: “be willing to learn, work hard and be honest with the clients as this is what makes us successful.”

Hannah’s role as managing director will see her take a more strategic role in the day-to-day running of the business and also driving forward its health and safety division, which similar to the HR arm, grew rapidly during the pandemic and will see the company continue growing its headcount over the coming months.

“We’ve kind of found what I would consider a sweet spot in how we develop and grow, and that’s upskilling our staff and giving them the training they need to drive the business forward,” Hannah added.

“Over the next couple of months, we’ll be promoting staff who joined us in junior roles and as a result we’ll be taking on two new recruits who will hopefully go on to do the same.

“One of the reasons I believe we’ve been so successful so far and have achieved such growth is the fact that we pride ourselves on our core values of honesty and integrity, ensuring everyone is treated fairly, both the employers we work with and their employees, and this is why we’re so keen to develop our own careers, as well as those of our clients.”

The new recruits and expansion of We do HR’s service offering into food safety will also see the company move into new, larger premises at Business Central and Hannah is excited to see what the future holds.

She said: “Having set up the business in Darlington and being born and bred here, we always said we’d love to continue investing in the town and are delighted to be expanding our presence at Business Central.

“It’s a fantastic centre right on the East Coast mainline, with easy access to the A1 north and south and is home to a tight-knit community of businesses who all go out of their way to help one another, as well as granting us access to meeting rooms for when we need privacy for managing our client’s HR issues or delivering training programmes. It’s absolutely perfect for a company like us.”

Vanessa Wood, centre manager at Business Central, said: “To see We do HR grow from a small, family-owned HR consultancy to a fast-growing SME is fantastic and we’re delighted to have been able to support them on their journey.

“Their passion for their work, as well as for Darlington and the wider North East, really shines through when you speak to them and we would like to wish them all the best for the future.”

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