Interpersonnel HR

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Interpersonnel HR is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Founder Philippa Webster
Staff issues are always dealt with in a
professional, fair and transparent manner
Interpersonnel HR was established over 25 years ago, with
the initial aim of assisting small organisations with HR
issues. However, it soon became apparent that all sizes of
organisations require assistance with this often-complex area.
Founder Philippa Webster details how the company has been
helping organisations of varying sizes since.
Interpersonnel runs on an associate basis, with each associate having different
specialisms. Some needs may change over time with trends in the marketplace. For
example, at present the emphasis is on dealing with staff during the pandemic,
including working on site or from home. We also work with other consultancies,
and trust is always paramount from both sides. Our model works incredibly well.
An enquiry from a client may present a raft of problems or queries with differing
degrees of urgency and needs. Covid-19, to a point, has changed some queries,
but, in the main, it may be the need to check an employment contract, a concern
that the behaviour of staff may lead to a sexual harassment claim, a request for
training the senior team or, at the extreme, that a member of staff has threatened
to murder a colleague.
It’s personal
Our company’s culture is one of putting the client first, and specific solutions are at
the forefront of any learning and development. Staff issues are always dealt with in
a professional, fair and transparent manner, as it is paramount that any risk to the
client’s business is reduced through a fair, lawful practice.
»Founder: Philippa Webster
»Established in 1992
»Based in York
»Services: HR consultancy,
learning and development
»No. of employees: two directors
(including founder and lead
consultant) and one associate
Interpersonnel HR
Highlighting best practice
Our two values of honesty and
integrity are fundamental to the
work we do. Our mission is to enable
organisations to develop a workforce
that can contribute to their success
through policies that are law abiding,
procedures that encourage and
motivate staff, and learning and
development that gives people the
tools they need to perform.
We have a broad client base, in terms
of sector and size. The sectors we work
in include housing associations, private
farming estates, media, charities,
manufacturing and gaming. Our
smallest client has 20 employees, while
our largest has 4,500 worldwide. The
majority of work comes through word
of mouth and recommendations, a
great position to be in.
HR for you
Our offering covers the employee
life cycle from selecting staff to them
leaving. As well as one-off projects
such as HR audits, we cover four main
strands: employment law, independent
investigations for grievances and
disciplinary matters, staff issues, and
learning and development.
The first usually involves the review
of employment contracts, sometimes
working alongside employment
lawyers, reviewing and writing
staff handbooks that include
The second sees us acting as an
independent investigator as part of
the grievance or disciplinary process.
This may occur where a grievance has
been raised against a senior colleague
or against the CEO. With the latter,
due to the high level it is difficult for
someone in the organisation to carry
out the investigation. It may be the
case that the organisation simply
does not have the manpower or
in-house expertise to carry out this
The third can present us with some
interesting problems – the threat of
murder, as noted, has certainly been
our most extreme problem. Others
include allegations of underpayment
of the National Minimum Wage;
sexual harassment; bullying, including
swearing; and falling asleep on duty.
Mediation can form a part of the
solution in cases of bullying, and this is
part of ouroffering.
Finally, there are requests for learning
and development to fill a knowledge
or skills gap. This may include one-to-
one coaching for a senior manager,
organisation-wide programmes for
recruitment and retention, or our
hourly Pop-Up PowerHours to train
high volumes of staff in a short
period. Since Covid-19, the model has
been adapted to include all learning
programmes delivered virtually via
Zoom. This has solved the issue of
the locality of people: they can attend
from anywhere – the office orhome.
Associate Julie Marsden
Our company’s
culture is one
of putting the
client first, and
solutions are at
the forefront
of any learning
We’re here for the long haul
The expectation in terms of the
timescale of our work varies. Where
there is a staff issue requiring
investigatory work, this may take
several weeks to conclude. The
revision and redrafting of employment
documents can be a week. Virtual
learning might be conducted over a
half day or run in modules over a four-
month period. We have to be flexible;
each situation is different.
The challenges we face are varied and
Covid-19 has presented many. It has
changed the world of consulting, from
being buoyant at the start of 2020,
to taking a dip between March and
June while organisations scrambled to
either survive or change their business
model, before commencing a slow
recovery from around August. The
HR consultancy market has many
providers, and there may be more as
a result of Covid-19 and job losses
in the sector. Therefore, we need to
be nimble and keep an eye on trends
and, of course, the competition.
Another challenge is keeping up with
technology – not just the equipment,
but the solutions. A year ago, we
would not have envisaged running
learning programmes virtually; face to
face was the norm. But not anymore.
We have adapted. There has also
been growth in the use of apps as HR
solutions. We have to keep up to date
to be able to inform our clients.
Sometimes an income stream will
disappear. We used to write for the
HR press, but this disappeared almost
overnight with blogs, posts and articles
being freely available on the web.
The main events that affect us with
our offerings are events outside our
control, such as Covid-19 and keeping
up with new legislation, case law and
best practice, as well as trends such
as those mentioned above. We don’t
know what the future holds. Who
could predict the impact of Covid-19
on the business? There will always be
space in the consulting market for a
small consultancy such as ours, and we
will remain nimble in our approach.
Our smallest
client has 20
while our
largest has
We work in the beautiful
surroundings of the
Yorkshire countryside

This article was sponsored by Interpersonnel HR. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.