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Niamh Kelly

Níamh Kelly is the director and owner of The HR Dept Shropshire which provides employment law and human resources support to SMEs across the county.

HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY HAD TO RESPOND TO THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS? As the Covid-19 crisis developed, our challenge was to quickly process the information provided by the Government, so we could provide the clarity which SMEs needed. We had an influx of queries ranging from statutory sick pay to how to manage staff during lockdown. These came from clients, non-clients, and employees.

HAS THE LOCKDOWN PRESENTED ANY OPPORTUNITIES AS WELL AS CHALLENGES? Some people might find this surprising.. but for every redundancy consultation which we’ve supported due to the impact of the pandemic, we taken on an equal number of ‘start up’ businesses. Proof that Shropshire Business is resilient even in the most challenging of situations.

WHAT DO THINK THE CURRENT CRISIS WILL MEAN FOR YOUR INDUSTRY IN THE MONTHS AND YEARS TO COME? With the changes in employment law in 2020 and the expected changes in regulations due to Brexit, we expect to see a greater need for specialist HR services.

HOW DO YOU GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR STAFF? Communication and Trust! They’re experienced HR Professionals and we work together as a team to support each other.

HOW MANY EMAILS DO YOU TEND TO GET IN A DAY, AND HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO READ THEM? Because we continue to be in lockdown, emails have increased to almost 50 a day .. together with phone and video calls.


HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? Starting The HR Dept Wrexham & Chester as a sister company in September of this year and bringing staff on board.

ANY PARTICULAR AWKWARD OR EMBARRASSING MOMENTS IN YOUR CAREER YOU WOULD PREFER TO FORGET? I was working in HR at the University of Birmingham in 2012 in the run up to the Olympic Games. One day I was walking through the campus with some colleagues when someone stopped me to ask for directions. I thought I ‘recognised’ him so chatted to him for five minutes asking how he was finding the place, was he enjoying being at Birmingham and telling him he could call HR if there was anything he needed.  When I turned back to my colleagues they were open mouthed asking how I knew Usain Bolt!  I had forgotten the Jamaican team were based on site and thought he was a new work colleague at the University!  I was mortified!

PET HATES? Rudeness on social media!


HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK? Travel and researching the family tree.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE SHROPSHIRE BUSINESS COMMUNITY? In my experience, businesses in Shropshire are really keen to support other local businesses; and want to see them succeed. We don’t think of other businesses as being ‘competitors’ but as partners in supporting our clients.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE PROBABLY WOULDN’T KNOW. I was the Lord Chancellor's Lay Representative for the appointment of magistrates in Shropshire for 10 years until 2017.

YOUR FIVE DREAM DINNER PARTY GUESTS, DEAD OR ALIVE? Dolly Parton, Michelle Obama, Adele, my Mum, and Mary Beard – all strong women.. we’d end up singing all night!

WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO EAT FOR YOUR LAST SUPPER? Well, being Irish, it would have to be West of Ireland Roast Lamb with Irish potatoes.


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