Justine takes big leap to become own boss in world of HR

Torbay Weekly

A human resources expert has ambitious plans to develop business around Torbay and South Devon as the new owner of a franchise.

Based out of offices in The Crescent in Plymouth, Justine Focone has taken the step of setting up her own business after more than 20 years of working in corporate HR.

She has taken over The HR Dept in two territories of Torbay, Plymouth and and SW Devon, providing outsourced advice and practical support to small and medium-sized businesses

The HR Dept is an international company with a network of 75 franchisees providing services in 112 territories in the UK, Ireland and Australia.

“I decided a while ago that I wanted a change from corporate life,” said Justine. “So when the pandemic came along I started looking for new opportunities. I had been aware of The HR Dept for a while."

Justine’s new business starts at a challenging time for SME owners, who are facing a perfect storm of new employment legislation, a generational shift in workplace attitudes and, of course, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.


“It has been an incredibly difficult period for many business owners, keeping things afloat as well as retaining valued employees ,” she said.

“I’ve noticed a difference amongst senior management towards HR even over the past few years. There’s growing recognition that proper treatment of employees is not only compulsory but also makes good business sense. Investment in people brings significant rewards in terms of productivity, motivation and retention.”

She added: “Alongside my experience in big business, I’ve worked in the hospitality industry so I’ve got a range of people skills which are vital to the work I do - and to running a small business.

“So although life’s going to be very different because I’m working for myself, I’m looking forward to the variety that you get with a client base of many smaller businesses. Everyone’s been impacted by Covid and there’s a commonality of issues through HR practice but at the same time each business is unique, which is very exciting for me."!

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