Rachel Nouch

Where are you based for work and what do you do?
I’m home based and I have my own HR consultancy business. I provide a portfolio of HR services, originally to voluntary and charitable sectors but now to SME’s as well. People seek me out now which is a lovely position to be in. I worked for a charity in a senior role previously and it really changed my perspective on my working life when I worked there, as opposed to when I worked for a large corporate. I love the spectrum of the big customers to local voluntary groups. My specialties are organisational change, TUPE transfers and employee relations issues (conflict dispute and resolution). I’m a bit nerdy as I love payroll management systems.

Did you train for a specific job?
I fell into HR in my late 20’s. I stumbled across an interesting role and just thought ‘this is it’! My degree was a combined studies degree in social research. Now I am a chartered member of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development – bit of a mouthful!)

What are you doing now? A typical day
I am usually interacting with a new client via the phone, conference calls, agreeing programmes of work, agreeing specs, agreeing detail for the programme, reviewing reports and networking on Championing Women! I carry out appraisal groups which need planning – bit of everything really.

What are your aspirations for your career in the future?
I would like to build a greater number of larger financially viable corporate clients and then eventually set up a social enterprise that supports charities and social enterprises at very low costs as I think there is a real gap here – it’s a long term vision!

Can you tell me about a defining moment of your career
Becoming an HR director was a key moment. I actually didn’t ask for my promotions, they came to me, and although I didn’t stay in them in the long run due to family commitments, it really gave me a boost in confidence. I have always felt that I worked very hard but I never earnt the money I should have done as it was in the voluntary/charitable sector. However the opportunities were great and really gave me the courage to do something brave like set up this consultancy, which I would never have done before.

Who helped you along the way? Did you have formal or informal mentors
I have always had informal mentors. These have included HR senior people who have championed me and led the way. Sometimes they have conflicted with my own views, but I think this has been really helpful to me. I have also learnt a lot from my husband and his company Chair – they have helped me a lot over the years.

Have you changed direction in your career. Did you ever swerve off course?
I have known lots of people in HR to do something radically different, but I really love my purpose and vision in HR. It’s selfish and ambitious but I think we all need a bit of that – I think perhaps women aren’t so good at sharing their ambitions out loud.

What are the worst and best bits about your job?
It’s hard if you carry out local work and have to lay people off from their roles – it can be tricky if you bump into them when you are out with your kids. They can really hate me for what I have to do.
The best bit is when I have encouraged hard-nosed employers to consider other options, bring out the best of their employees and taking a different perspective.

Have you ever considered a Board/NED/trustee role?
I was Chair of Governors at a primary school for up to 10 years. I am thinking of an NED role and am keeping one eye open for something interesting!
I volunteer for quite a few individuals and organisations as well.

What helps you to stay interested/excited in what you do?
I read a lot of articles on my area of interest. It really helps my learning and I love it when someone asks me something off the radar and I have read about it. The people agenda is always moving and there is so much out there – I am such an HR nerd!

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