Get to know Kathryn Hathaway, HR Consultant at Reality HR.

Can you tell us about what you do?

Yes of course. So, I work for Reality HR in the role of HR Consultant. As a Consultant I am assigned a portfolio of clients to support; at any one time this would usually be around 10 clients. Each client is different, both in terms of the number of employees they employ but also in the breadth and complexity of support they are looking for. Each day is different and it depends on the pertinent issues a client is facing to what I am working on each day. But in general terms I provide managers and business owners with advice on how to get the most out of their employees and help them manage their teams to maximise productivity and morale. Sometimes I might be involved in providing tactical advice on day to day people issues but mostly I work on strategic projects; perhaps supporting managers during a merger or TUPE situation or planning a development programme to improve leadership skills or designing and implementing a mentoring programme.

Tell us about your background:

I studied Psychology at University and after graduation I joined the NatWest bank on their Management Development Programme. I quickly specialised in HR which was always my ambition and spent 5 years with the NatWest initially recruiting staff for their retail branches and subsequently providing HR support to their retail branches in Southampton, Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight and Jersey and Guernsey. I loved this early foray into HR and when I subsequently moved to ICL, which was a fascinating IT services company to work for, I was able to build upon these solid foundations. After ICL, a brief move to Avis was followed by the decision to work on a freelance basis which I did for 10 years. Then I took the decision to move back into permanent employment and joined Reality HR two years ago.

How does consultancy differ to working in house at a large organisation and what do you enjoy most about HR consultancy?

The great thing about HR consultancy is the sheer variety of work which I get involved in. As a Consultant I have to know about everything HR ! There’s very little time to learn so you have to be up and running very quickly. And you need to be agile because you could deal with 5 or 6 different client initiatives each day. You need a good memory and a heightened attention to detail which luckily, I think I have! I love working with so many different people; everyone brings a different idea to the table and you must be adaptable and flexible to manage so many different personalities and issues. Through working with different companies in so many different sectors I have learnt a lot about what makes people tick and what is important to business owners. The challenge is keeping on top of what all my clients are doing, staying up to date with HR innovations, managing my time effectively and making sure I am always meeting my clients business priorities.

What benefits can HR consultancy bring to a business?

HR consultancy brings high level professional support when a company needs it, it provides access to people who have a wide range of experience, ideas and a real understanding of best practice.

At Reality HR we sometimes work with in house HR teams and bring a fresh perspective and range of ideas to a project or initiative.

When you’re not HR consulting, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I generally enjoy keeping fit, I enjoy cycling and go skiing as often as possible. Horses have always been a big part of my life and supporting my daughter at horse shows has been a focus for many years. As my children are growing up quickly and need less of my time I am considering undertaking some voluntary work.