HR HOTSPOT: Interview with Rachel Wade HR HOTSPOT: Interview with Rachel Wade
Rachel Wade speaks to Culture about her journey from being an HR Director to founding Opt HR
Tell us about your current HR role?
I’m the founder and owner of Opt HR, and a Strategic HR Consultant and Executive Coach. Yes, of course I put the obvious HR basics in place but more often than not get drafted in when things have gone wrong, I understand the commercial and legal risks involved and the vulnerability placed on businesses. This can range from unmanaged performance issues and absent employees which impact on the success and profitability of the business. To more complex employee relations cases, such as exiting senior executives which are compounded with additional risk factors such as maternity and absence due to stress. When businesses feel they have nowhere to turn, I take a pragmatic approach and lead the way to a resolution to satisfy all parties.
My 25 years of wide and varied HR experience enables me to get to the heart of the issue, present the solutions and deal with the matter quickly; saving the company time and money, along with reducing the emotional impacts to those involved.
Describe the journey that led you from the permanent world of HR to Consultancy?
At the start of my HR career as a HR Administrator, I always knew I wanted to be HR Director of a Global Business and I wanted to have my own HR Consultancy. I didn’t know how or when – I just knew. Well I made it to HR Director, EMEA and a member of the Global HR Leadership Team of a Global NASDAQ trading business and absolutely loved the challenge this brought. Then through adversity an opportunity presented itself. A company restructure significantly affecting the global HR Team and so I grasped the opportunity to leave and a new chapter began.
What were the biggest challenges of breaking into self employment?
Well, I felt totally ill-prepared, in an ideal world I would have had a plan that would have lead up to me taking this next step in my career. I left the company on 30 September 2015 and registered Opt HR on 1 October 2015, it was a business with no business, just me a laptop and a phone. Of course sitting on senior management teams and executive teams I knew how businesses ran and important factors to consider from sales to cash-flow and operating models. But actually doing it alone and transitioning from the corporate world to the entrepreneurial business owner I needed to be was overwhelming. Just where do I start? I reached out to my network to seek out opportunities and the huge learning curve began, I had to become skilful and create a completely different mindset in how to operate and build a successful and profitable business. And the learning never stops, 4 years on and it’s continual investment in me and my business to drive my success and reach my life, career and business goals.
What would your advice be to your younger self?
Be open to a world of endless possibilities, learn from every situation, let stuff go, invest in yourself and be true to yourself.
And finally, tell us about you away from the office.
I love to travel and combine that with yoga on retreats in the UK and India, Sri Lanka and Bali. And when I’m home there’s nothing better than walks in nature with Romeo my french bulldog, spending time with my family or inviting friends round for my legendary home-cooked meals fuelled with fizz and gin.