FD People provide bespoke HR, Health & Safety, and Payroll services to clients across the UK. We pride ourselves on putting our clients first and getting to know them personally.
Our team of almost 15 client-facing experts (plus an additional 20+ staff in our Payroll team) work hard to establish and build on client relationships.
Tell us about yourself? What is your background? What made you get into this line of work?
I have worked in employment compliance for over 15 years now, largely in HR consultancy, working with small to medium businesses. I have been with French Duncan (FD People’s parent company) since 2014, where I have been leading and growing FD People.
Since then, we have grown into a successful HR and Health & Safety consultancy and have been shortlisted for awards based on our approach. The team works tirelessly to deliver high-quality solutions for our clients, and it’s been so rewarding watching the business grow over the years.
I have a law degree and Masters with distinction in HR Management, and I am also a Chartered Member of the CIPD and a trained ACAS mediator.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
COVID undoubtedly changed the world of work, arguably for the better, and employment compliance professionals in HR, Health & Safety, and Payroll was at the forefront of responding to and leading that change.
Overnight we became experts in whatever was thrown at us, from continually changing coronavirus rules, increasingly complex furlough calculations, and the concept of hybrid working, to name a few!
Had it not been for the pandemic, I don’t think I would have realised quite as acutely as I do now how integral people professionals are to a business in crisis handling and change management.
Given the challenges we have managed to overcome over the last few years, my advice to myself, if I could turn back the clock, would be never to underestimate the importance of what employment compliance can do for business and how adaptable and resilient people professionals can be.
What problem does your business solve?
We provide peace of mind, save clients time and reduce their risk – by supporting them with their HR, H&S, and Payroll activities.
But more than that, really, because people are actually the core of nearly every business, so making sure your staff is looked after, safe, and paid on time is pretty central to every success when you think about it.
But to be more specific, examples of problems we solve include ensuring clients don’t fall behind with compliance issues relating to employees, which can result in hefty penalties (or worse, if it’s failure to adhere to H&S regulations).
This can include providing support with contracts, policies, and disciplinary procedures from an HR perspective and full H&S services, from on-site risk assessments to providing IOSH-certified training.
During the lockdown, our Payroll team was inundated with clients looking for assistance with processing furlough payments and ensured their staff all got paid correctly and on time.
So as you can see, it’s a fairly long list!
What is the inspiration behind your business? What inspired your business? What problem are you trying to solve, and for whom?
When I first started working at French Duncan, I was responsible solely for the HR and people department for what was then a 200-person accountancy firm.
I loved it and found the company to be a great place to work, which I continued to contribute to. In time, however, I started to see that many of our client companies needed help and support, and so I wanted to be able to do that.
Initially, it was just a meeting here or there with our accountancy clients, but I wanted to expand out beyond ad hoc support, so I took the idea to our board of creating an employment compliance consultancy to sit alongside our more traditional accountancy services.
That’s what has evolved into FD People, but still at our heart is that desire to help small and medium-sized businesses do better and support their own staff however they can for mutual benefit.
What is your magic sauce? (an outline of your magic sauce. How do you differ from the competition?)
FD People operate in a marketplace full of large, impersonal service providers, the majority of which offer identikit, inflexible packages that often tie the client in for five to ten years at a time.
We do not do that! We know clients are frustrated by off-the-shelf packages of unwieldy compliance management systems.
Our bespoke approach is central to what we do – some clients work with us on a year-round retainer, some work with us on specialist projects, and other clients do a combination of both. We pride ourselves on building relationships with clients on a personal and professional level.
All of our consultants are hired not just for their expertise but also for their personality, and what unifies all of us is that we truly care about our clients and, indeed, the role that employment compliance plays within the business and within individual lives.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve? What is the vision?
We have grown into a successful employment compliance business delivering high-quality HR, Health & Safety, and Payroll solutions to a wide variety of clients, mainly to businesses that do not have an in-house HR function but do need support in handling people issues.
Over the next 5 years, we have ambitious growth plans. Building on our success to date, we want to grow our client base, our team, our service offering, and ultimately our turnover significantly.
However, whilst growth is important to us, we do not wish to lose our ethos, which is so fundamental to what we do – we will continue to offer a quality, tailored, and personable service to our clients, no matter what.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? What has made you have to change course? What issues have you run into?
Thankfully there haven’t been too many.
We are a young business, growing rapidly – but because we are also the sister company to a bigger accountancy firm with a history back to 1902, we have resources and support to call upon in a way other companies of our size don’t. This helps us, but it also helps our clients too and improves our entire client offering.
People compliance issues rarely occur in isolation from wider business issues, and we are able to work closely with our colleagues in accountancy and other business services within French Duncan to overcome whatever challenges we come across.
How do people get involved/buy into your vision? End with a description of who you want reaching out to you and how they can work with you? e.g., We want Amazon sellers to start collaborating with us. You can join our discord server here…
We are keen to speak to any small or medium size business that needs help with employment compliance.
Whether that be a business owner struggling with a specific employee issue, a senior manager who simply wants to get more from their team, or a CEO who needs to ensure they are complying with the latest sectoral H&S requirements or payroll legislation.
Myself and the rest of my team love speaking to business people, learning about their companies, and helping them improve all areas of their people management.
They can contact me directly or take a look at our FD People Hub –there is lots of free content there, such as downloadable templates, updates on the latest policy requirements, and our thoughts on hot topics in employment compliance. See: https://fdpeople.co.uk/fd-hub/