Be the reason for your own success

The last 3 weeks have been brilliant. Tiring, stressful, hard work but brilliant. Nobody works you harder than yourself when you’re your own boss!

At the start of the year I knew what I wanted things to be like when I started Sparkle but back at the beginning I wasn’t sure if that was possible, if it was a dream that others had but that I couldn’t. Well, it seems it is possible. It’s out there for the taking.

I’ve been really clear in my mind about getting a good balance back in my life, doing things I love and working with clients that match my own values. All year I have been working to try and ensure that when I was ready to launch the business and start trading I could do so confidently with the structure already in place.

I’ve done lots to get to that place, boring admin type things, researching, planning, chatting to people more expert than I, doing things I find hard or scary, reading, networking, focussing on my own personal and professional development and stressing. Lots of stressing and worrying! However, I recently also started to meditate, I’m trying to master yoga (badly!), practice visualising my success and reading positive affirmations. I’m the first to say I was sceptical of some of the more recent things as I wasn’t sure if I could do them or if I even believed in them. Like anything though, I’ve committed to them 100% and my goodness I’ve enjoyed doing them. I’m still enjoying doing them.

So why has the last 3 weeks been so positive?

  • I’ve had a wonderful mix of catching up with friends, lovely lunches, coffee dates and I’ve not felt guilty for it once.
  • I have had time to find a routine that works for me, trying new things and focussing on my well being.
  • I have had a hugely rewarding week supporting graduate assessment simulations with Smart Resourcing Solutions.
  • I have started working with my first few coaching clients, really loving this.
  • I have secured a new client with an amazing charity who are outsourcing their HR. An organisation I believe in and an opportunity that makes me feel all kinds of excitement and passion. If I could have written my story at the start of the year. This would have been it.

It isn’t luck that is making this stuff happen, I can see that the hard work is paying off and for the first time in 11 months I feel truly content with the direction I’m going and can see that life outside your comfort zone can be pretty amazing. I’m still happy to say, it feels uncomfortable at times but nothing can replace the feeling of leaping the first few hurdles and hitting the floor with both feet firmly running.

I’m prepared for future challenges and I’m more motivated than ever before to believe in my business and my current choices in life.

To anybody thinking of making a similar leap of faith, you can do it! If you would like to have coaching with me, I’m currently offering 2 free 45 minute sessions. I would love to hear from you.

You did not wake up today to be mediocre

Love Laura x


How to avoid an employment tribunal

I went to a mock employment tribunal today at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors. It was a fantastic learning experience and a great refresh on lots of things.  Something that I think would be useful for so many line managers. 

It was actually really timely given the fact that in July this year tribunal fees were abolished. Some reports already show that claims in the last 2 months have doubled, other reports say claims are five times higher! Wow, those are alarming but not really surprising figures.

It got me thinking actually, there’s so much to know and do that can mitigate being in that situation. Inevitably though there will be occasions when a tribunal has not been able to be avoided. If that is the case everything you have done or not done that has lead to that point will be scrutinised. Put yourself in a strong position by following these pointers. 

Ensure you have the basics in place

  • Are your contracts fit for purpose? Do you have clear policies and procedures? Is your handbook up to date?  Equally as important, do your employees know these exist?  Have you any record that they have seen/had a copy of your handbook?  Can you be sure your employees know what is expected of them? All of these things may help tighten your case should you need to rely on them and most of them can help reduce risk in the first place. 

Are your policies and procedures followed consistently? 

  • It is so important that your own policies and procedures are followed consistently in the organisation.
  • Do you have clear processes to follow and simple ways to record facts? If not, you may want to consider how you make this as simple as possible for the people using them. Usually your line managers. 
  • Ensure your line managers are trained to effectively carry out disciplinaries and grievances and it does no harm to run refresher sessions to ensure skills are kept up to date, well used and relevant. 


  • Those confidential emails, those “off the record” conversations. Guess what? They are all disclosable. Don’t fall in to the trap of writing or saying things you don’t think will be used later. It could be and it can be really unhelpful at times.

Be the employer you say you are

  • It sounds simple but do the right thing, even when nobody is watching!  Be the kind of employer you say you are/want to be. If you treat people in a way that is fair and reasonable you are heading in the right direction. 

If you have any issues the most important thing I can advise is to deal with these swiftly and professionally. This can be daunting and we understand this can be complex. If you require any advice we will be willing to advise and support you with any of the points mentioned. 

You can call me on 07894435423 or email

It is always the right time to do the right thing – Martin Luther King JR

Love Laura x

A week of absolute highs and emotional lows!

I started the day with an exciting parcel…..I got out of bed feeing a little bit flat but then this super thoughtful gift and card from my coach came through.  I couldn’t have got to the point I am today without her, it was the best decision I made at the start of this year.  Thanks Lisa.  So, mood suitablly lifted and back on track.


I have wanged on about why I am setting up Sparkle HR all year.  The main catalyst was finding out I was being made redundant.  At that point I decided that I was going to take control, set up my business and focus on making a difference in other organisations.  I didn’t want to work for another employer, I dreamed of being self employed and working with lots of companies that excite me and that feel the right fit for me.  After all I have had the perfect fit for 17 years so I definitely don’t want that to end.  Making the decision at the start of the year was liberating and scary as hell.  What I would say right now is that I have had one hell of a year.  I have loved learning so much about being a business owner, the highs the lows the expense!  The endless late nights and inability to switch off as you just can’t stop thinking as you feel so fired up.

So here we are, that day has arrived.  I am officially self employed and my next chapter starts here.   I am writing my blog today from Costa, listening to annoyingly early festive music and reflecting on what has been quite frankly a week I will never forget and for the all the right reasons.

On Monday I worked with Smart resourcing solutions at the Etihad stadium.  I was assessing MMU fashion students as part of a large scale assessment simulation.  What am awesome day that was, it was run like clockwork by Sophie and the Smart resourcing team and the students were buzzing.  I love supporting people to be the best that they can be and working with enthusiastic, engaged, driven students was the ideal day.  It started at 4:15am when I got out of bed and ended when I arrived home at 7:30pm.  I evaluated the day as inspirational, fulfilling and eye opening.  These fashion students have some talent and my goodness I need style tips – what a capable, well dressed bunch they are!

Tuesday was my final day in a JL branch – there is not much to say that I have not already said about this.  It was the biggest emotional wrench I have felt – It hasn’t just been a job to me, it has been my life, a huge part of who I am.  Safe to say there were lots of tears!  Tuesday evening though I met with Emma from In the works PR as the are currently working on my website – this was the positive end to the day that I needed!  So excited to see the finished version!

Wednesday I went to a workshop that was being run by Business Sheffield – Marketing fundamentals.  I then drove to maidenhead to meet my fabulous retail business partner team for our farewell dinner and to hand in my JL kit.  Another emotional evening but so special to celebrate what a team we have been and to say the final goodbyes.

The next day I was up at 5:30am and on the road to Manchester from Leighton Buzzard.  I was working wth Smart resourcing solutions again but this time on a different project.  I was delivering coaching to candidates to ensure they are fully prepared for their upcoming assessments.  The client is an award winning graduate employer and It is so good to be part of such an important cog in both theirs and the candidates journey.  I left this day feeling tired (!) but above all else I felt inspired, motivated and I had a huge sense of self worth and satisfaction knowing it was a great use of a day.

That brings me to today, I was supposed to be switching off and resting – however I had this overwhelming positive feeling following my lovely parcel this morning and so here I am – still sat in Costa 3 hours later!

As hard as leaving employment that I have loved has been, as many tears as I have cried, I am now just simply filled with determination, positivity and excitement for the months and years ahead.

Thank you to all of my friends and family for your unwavering support this far and to Jay….you are my rock!

“Every end is a new beginning”

Love Laura x

Things I wish I had known before facing redundancy 

In one week’s time I leave my employment due to my role being made redundant.  I decided that the roles that were left were not right for me (location issues) and subsequently I am leaving a fantastic 17 year career with a great employer.  I decided now would be the right time to share my top tips based on what I’ve experienced and learnt throughout the process.   

It really isn’t you. It’s them. 

Its that age old splitting up scenario. The boy/girl decides to dump you and you’re told it’s not you, it’s them. None of us ever believe that. However, in the case of redundancy you must believe that. It’s not you being made redundant. It’s the role. The decision wasn’t made to make you personally redundant, you happen to be in that position and subsequently are at risk but don’t let that knock your confidence. You were great, you still are great and you will continue to be great elsewhere. You have a lot to give any employer, you have been successful at least once and you will be again.

Don’t panic

You don’t need to panic. It’s the most natural thing to do but try not to. Be clear what you are good at, similarly be clear where you might like to develop. Take action to fill any gaps but don’t panic. You will find another job, a new career, whatever it is you want to do. Taking advice from this blog should help you to reduce the panic. Take control. You don’t need to make snap decisions. 

Speak out/ask questions

When you’re going through this period of uncertainty speak out and ask questions. Your employer has legal responsibilities to consult with you correctly and a good employer will go above and beyond this. Regardless of who you work for, if you’re not happy, uncomfortable or unsure about anything don’t let it fester. Get it out in the open. This will allow you to move on quicker.  Don’t spend valuable time being bitter or worrying. Take action and control. This is your life, you’re responsible for it. 

Get a coach 

Invest in yourself. Consider working with a coach. At a period of change and uncertainty a coach can help you find clarity, set goals, support you in being accountable for your actions, be a fabulous listening ear and encourage you in finding the positive momentum to keep moving forward each day.  Don’t make excuses about time and money, it’s an investment in yourself….can you really put a price on that? 

Take time to think about what you want

Just because you currently do one thing it doesn’t mean that’s it for life. Now is the time to think, “hang on, what do I want to do. What would I love to do?  How do I turn that in to a reality?”  It’s so easy to become conditioned into thinking how your employer does so when you get the opportunity to think differently make sure you give yourself time to do so. Don’t let fear stifle you either. Dream big, think creatively, take calculated risks and make your heart happy!  If you want to stay on the same path of course that’s equally ok but just give yourself time to think.  Have an open mind about the possibilities. They become endless if you can do this. 

Be positive 

Believe me, I know at times that this is easier said than done. It’s ok to have a shit moment. A moment of fear and negativity. Don’t allow it to be more than that though, a moment. Whatever it takes to find your positive place again make sure you do. For me, things that have worked have been my coach, motivational books, surrounding myself with positive people, writing my blog, motivational quotes and taking control in any way I can. Yours may be different, that’s ok. Try different things and see what works for you. 

Upskill yourself

You can do this in many ways.  Read books, articles, blogs, networking, social media, webinars, conferences, qualifications. The list really is endless. Make now the time for you and your continued development. Even if you’ve been good at this in the past, now is the time to take it to that next level. It’s good for your self confidence and motivation as much as it is in bagging that dream job. 


Different people have different views on this. I look at it very simply, expanding your contacts is no bad thing. Especially at a time when contacts most likely will bring you to that next opportunity. Pick up with connections you already have, make new ones. You can do this via social media or in person but for me a mixture of both has been good. As for formal networking events, again it’s a personal thing. Some have worked really well for me, others not so much but until you give it a try you will never know.  Don’t approach a contact or potential contact with the sole purpose of wanting something from them. Enjoy the chat, understand what they do and offer your help where you can. It’s not all about you 😉

Value yourself 

You are good enough.  Go out there and sell yourself. It’s not a crime! 

Good luck for the future

Just because the past didn’t turn out how you wanted it to it doesn’t mean the future can’t be better than you ever imagined. 

Love Laura x

It’s all about me this week! 

I’ve said before that writing my blog is at times as much about therapy for myself as it is anything else. The core purpose of my blog is to engage and connect with others on a personal and professional level. How I do that I’m not too fussy about, sometimes I write about business topics other times I write about my own experiences and sometimes I just wang on about how I’m feeling.  Today’s blog is one of those just how I’m feeling right now blogs. I have been writing it all week as a way to get my feelings down. On Wednesday I wrote this…
I’ve just cried. Had a melt down and now I’m back in the positivity zone after taking an hour to read the book I’m currently loving.  The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod is so motivating.  I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to be productive, motivated and fired up. In the book there is a 30 day challenge. I’m about to try that soon with a couple of friends. I will let you know how I get on. I will save that for another blog. 

So why did I cry, well, I finally had it confirmed that I leave my employer of 17 years on the 4 November. I asked to leave earlier than the original planned date of 31 January and it’s been agreed so this is great news. It did however hurt. The thing that’s been coming all year is finally here.  It feels like the most bizarre thing ever.  This absolutely is going to be a pivotal moment in my career that’s for sure, Oh hey, hi new beginnings and all things Sparkle!  If there is one thing I’m proud of (now bear with me because speaking positively about myself is not easy, but I’m getting better…..seriously, I’ve said this before, get a coach!) anyway, one thing I’m proud of is how I’ve kept going this year through a really tough time. Getting up, doing the day job and showing up for my dreams. If I want to continue to be successful it’s only going to happen with determination, resilience and bloody hard work.  If I hadn’t done that I would be utterly petrified right now about the future but as it stands I’m not. I’m sad to leave a job I love but so excited to head in to my new chapter. I’m ready. 

This week alone I’ve been told by 5 different people that my blog is inspirational to them or that it helps with their own challenges and I’m pleased it serves in that way. It is good to know that I am connecting with others as I had hoped. Like anything, my blog is progressing and I’m enjoying that.  

A few positives to end on, my website will be live from the end of November, I’ve now become a member of the Women in Business network and have taken the HR spot at Chesterfield, I’m cracking on with my coaching diploma and all in all I’m excited about being able to focus on one thing from the 5 November and that is Sparkle HR. People keep asking how I’m finding clients, the best way is through recommendations or connections so please do keep me at the front of your mind if you or anyone you know needs HR support. 

I have some exciting potential clients in the pipeline and some brilliant work lined up already. Hold on, here we go! 

Thanks for listening, I feel better already. 

Cheers to Friday! 

Whatever it is that you write, putting words on the page is a form of therapy that doesn’t cost a dime – Diana Raab

Love Laura x

Life is busy at Sparkle HQ

What’s been going on guys?! I feel like the days are rolling in to one and the weeks are just whizzing by. 
The world of Sparkle HR is super exciting right now.  We have some potentially new and exciting clients to work with in the coming months and that means long days making sure things are right. 

I’m a planner, a structured worker. There’s nothing wrong with that in fact there is lots that is positive about that. However, at times that can feel like a lot of pressure. This last 2 weeks I’ve learnt that having to turn something around super quick and it being off the work plan can produce equally as great results. 

My leaflet has generated lots of Interest, especially with the 2 offers available right now.  Lots of you have been asking what it is I do exactly. Well, now you know. Feel free to make any recommendations should you wish 😉. I’m also in the process of mailing the PDF version of this out to some of you. If you would like one to share with your contacts please let me know. 

Along with the business planning I have also been focussing on the personal development stuff. I went to a GDPR update, important for my business but also for my clients.  It may seem like a dull subject to many and to be fair, it is. But, it’s coming and all businesses need to know about it and be ready.  So I figured I should be too!   I’m also reading a book right now called the miracle morning by Hal Elrod, it focuses on supporting you to transform your life. I find a positive mindset has been key this year. Without it I wouldn’t have achieved what I have so far. Loving this book I have to say.    It’s motivating me no end. I’ve also been to a new WIBN networking group in Chesterfield. Again, a hugely positive couple of hours and I’m signed up now for the year. There are some truly amazing people out there achieving amazing things. It’s great to connect with some of them. 

Oooo also exciting news, my website is now in the stages of being built. I can not wait for this to go live. I will let you know when it is, of course! 

My to do list is now longer than I care to think about, I have so much to do. You know what, I am loving that. I am learning so much each day, I feel fulfilled and energised. 

Right now, this rollercoaster I speak about so often is constantly doing loop the loop, a mix of utter excitement and deep anxiety! It’s a good thing, I’m enjoying that feeling. I also happen to love a good rollercoaster! 

I get to choose the woman I want to be today – Cara Alwill Leyba

Love Laura x

8 Tips for a successful seasonal recruitment campaign

How exciting, this week I was asked by my friends over at Smart Resourcing Solutions to write a guest blog for their clients.  So here is what I said….

Well, can you believe that it is the time of year again when lots of businesses are recruiting for Christmas seasonal staff?  I know I can’t!   Speaking from my own experience I can say that recruiting in the retail industry at this time of year is becoming more and more challenging.  Christmas is coming later, and by that I mean that shoppers are not starting to spend in stores as early as they once did.  The impact for recruitment means that contracts required are typically shorter than they used to be and that can be a huge factor to an applicant accepting an offer or not.  Competition for the best candidates is tough.  Of course this is not just applicable in the retail industry.  Candidates are making decisions based on practical things such as the pay, length of contract, the number of hours available, the flexibility provided and the chance of securing something more permanently after.  However, they also will make decisions based on the candidate experience, the application process, the assessment/interview process and the reputation of the business.  In reality, if you fall down on any of these things you will most likely miss that fabulous applicant to another business that did better than you!  So presuming you get all of that right here are my top tips for you as an employer to ensure you are compliant in your processes.

  1. My first top tip for recruiting any role is to think about the wording in your advert.  You should advertise without discriminating in any way.  The same goes for selecting who you offer to of course.  Both of these things should be done without discrimination.  It is always sensible (and best practice) to ensure the line managers completing recruitment are aware of unconscious bias and how to ensure this does not influence decisions being made.
  2. A fixed term contract is one that will terminate on a specified date or on the completion of a particular task.  When recruiting someone on a fixed term contract you have the responsibility for ensuring they are not treated less favourably than a permanent employee, unless you can show there is good business reason to do so.
  3. This includes offering the same pay and conditions, the same or equivalent benefits package, information about permanent vacancies in the organisiation and protection against redundancy or dismissal.
  4. If you have people in your organisation on fixed term contracts that last over a year they have added rights and it is important that you aware of these in advance.
  5. If you have any permanent positions in the organisation all employees both fixed term and permanent should have the ability to know about these, apply should they wish and be considered for the role without discrimination.
  6. Fixed term contracts will usually end automatically on the the agreed end date, the employer does not have to give any notice.
  7. If you would like to end a fixed term contract early you should check if anything is mentioned in the terms of the contract offered, if not you could be in breach of your contract.  It can be ended early if you have given proper notice and there is reference to this in the terms of offer.  If a fixed term employee has worked for you continuously for 1 month or more they have the right to a minimum of 1 weeks notice period.
  8. If an employee works longer than the contract end date without this being formally reviewed there is an implied agreement by the employer that the end date has changed and the employer still needs to give proper notice to close the contract.

It can all seem daunting and process heavy but if you follow these guidelines you will not go wrong.  As a credible employer you will want to treat people fairly and that is all an employee is looking for too.  If you are unsure of anything you can get advice from GOV.UK or ACAS.  Both of which are useful resources for employers and employees alike.

Have a great Christmas when you get there, I hope you find the best employees to suit your needs and they contribute to delivering success for you at a critical time.

Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers – Stephen R Covey

Laura x