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HR Savvy has ambitious plans following Lancashire Forum support

Tracey Murphy HR Savvy

The powerful experience of participating in the Lancashire Forum enabled Preston-based company HR Savvy Ltd to learn from like-minded business owners and make a key senior-level appointment, says MD Tracey Murphy.

Tracey and her team supply strategic and operational HR, employment law and training services to SMEs in Lancashire. When she heard about Lancaster University Management School’s growth-oriented programme for senior decision makers in the county, she could see the great potential value of interacting with such a peer network.

“Our growth strategy was at the fore of my thinking,” she says. “But I was particularly interested in meeting and learning from others who had trodden the same path. And it completely exceeded my expectations!

The mixture of the quality of the guest speakers, the quality of the input from the lecturers – and the dynamics within the peer group – made it very powerful for me.” “It’s great because you get free consultancy from each other,” Tracey explains. “You put a problem forward and people bring ideas, a different way of thinking, and help you see things from a different perspective, which is really eye-opening and expansive.”

She describes how in one workshop session the delegates were encouraged to pair off and discuss the biggest challenges they faced in their businesses. “I said I was afraid I couldn’t afford to invest in the new personnel I wanted. My partner in the exercise said ‘how can you afford not to?’ and also helped me see that instead of two roles, it could be a single appointment.”

Equipped with the newfound confidence to make the decision, Tracey acted swiftly and introduced a key appointment before the six-month programme had finished. “I don’t think I would have done that without the Forum, certainly not in that timescale,” Tracey says.

Now, the company has firm plans to grow, both in terms of revenue and profit margin, primarily by increasing the range of products and services offered to existing clients and better cost management. These include a suite of training courses that have been developed in response to a big need that smaller businesses have for help with line management capabilities.

Identifying this need and rolling out the solution are actions that have come from Tracey’s experience on the Lancashire Forum. She highlights the benefits of being able to step out of the business for a day: “Just having the space to take the helicopter view – whether that’s part of your own thinking or prompted by something somebody says in the group, or one of the lecturers, or a guest speaker – is of immeasurable value, because there’s such minimal time to think about strategic growth in the day-to-day office, with so many demands on you.”

For Tracey, however, the true highlight will always be the peer group. “That’s the biggest takeaway, without a shadow of a doubt. The forum was a safe, trusted environment where we bared our souls and built really strong relationships.

I’m still in contact with the group – in fact just yesterday I had business meetings with two of them, one to discuss a strategic collaboration and the other about future work as referral partners.”

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