Esther O’Halloran FCIPD, MAPD

A confident, outgoing, HR & Business professional who is personally credible, with a wealth of savvy commercial skills and experience gained from working in a variety of entrepreneurial and corporate organisations within the retail and hospitality sectors.  Esther is a fully qualified Fellow Member of the CIPD, with a Masters in Personnel Development from Westminster University and a BA (Hons) degree in Fashion & Textiles. She is a proactive Volunteer Committee Member of 2 HR networking groups (HR Retail Circle and HR in Hospitality) promoting professional career development through learning events in both groups. She sits on the London Advisory Board for Springboard UK Charity as well as being a non-exec Director for the YWCA charity-trading arm ‘The Bridge’. She acts as a role model and mentor within the HR sector and actively mentors individuals through the Women 1st programme.

Esther is able to bring that unique hybrid blend of senior HR expertise coupled with solid business operational skills. She is able to draw on her extensive retail management and multi-site operational background and bring business savvy solutions to help your organisation grow. She is able to link in key business measures and financial performance to HR processes, strategy and organisational development and design. Strong organisational skills and ability to make tough business focused decisions to ensure the implementation of a range of policies and processes to benefit companies. Able to stimulate change and has the courage to challenge assumptions and ways of working to move a business forward through clear, consistent and transparent communication.

She is an experienced practical HR Consultant and a Business Development Coach and is able to bring good working practices to help you and your business grow, such as;

Business Savvy Skills and Commercial Acumen to grow organisations. Appointed as Managing Director at PAUL Bakery, a French family owned patisserie and boulangerie retailer after more than 5 years as HR Director at PAUL. I have a practical understanding of food manufacturing, production operations, logistics distribution processes and working towards recognised industry standards. I have experience of working with different performance measurements within the business context, data reporting, trends analysis, and customer feedback and understand the value of reporting on human capital.

Operational multi-site insights. Experience working in Area Operational roles in multi-site branded Brewers Fayre restaurants and Premier Travel Inn hotels within the hospitality industry for Whitbread’s, provided invaluable operational experience and insights to business control measures, stock control, waste and margin management as well as drivers of Profit and Loss and business reports. I also have high volume retail fashion management experience with brands such as Jigsaw, Wallis and H&M, driving and implementing sales and marketing plans to enable businesses to grow. Delivering customer service initiatives and maintaining high standards of merchandising to promote products.

Streamlining and creating award winning innovative HR Processes throughout the employee lifecycle. More than 14 years HR professional experience in specialist and generalist roles at senior level. Recruitment and Retention specialist experience with brands including Costa,
 TGI Fridays and Café Rouge, before joining Pret a Manger as Head of Recruitment during major expansion. I have a proven track record of developing award winning employer branding and engagement strategies. I have set up HR functions from scratch in 3 organisations, EAT sandwich retailer, SpaceNK luxury beauty brands retailer and PAUL. This involved initial diagnostics and analysis of current procedures, creating and implementing core practical HR policies, processes and guidelines in line with organisational culture, from staff handbooks to contracts, and delivering comprehensive management development training. Led award winning HR team to gain 10 recognised industry awards for successful achievements in two categories; Innovative Training and Recruitment; Employer Branding and CSR. These awards included CIPD, Personnel Today, National Training Awards, HR in Hospitality and Springboard.

Developing others through coaching and mentoring to help individuals and businesses grow. I am a registered Growth Coach with Growth Accelerator; I have an AoC Certificate in Personal Coaching and an AICF Foundation in Leadership Coaching. I act as a role model to develop people skills in HR professionals and leaders. I support individuals in their career development who have gone on to senior level roles and heads of functions in their organisations. I am pro-active in promoting skills and knowledge and sharing my experiences, either on a 1:1 basis, through coaching and mentoring, writing and delivering bite-size management development training workshops or supporting informal networking groups. I am a confident keynote guest speaker and presenter at a number of UK and International HR Conferences since 2001, including CIPD, HR Forum, Retail Summit and, so can help you develop your own presentation skills. I act as a ‘critical friend’ to senior leaders, inspiring others to grow themselves and their businesses. I can help bring out the best of people in work by building and sustaining an organisation where people are truly engaged.

Building strong cultures through Organisational design, development and change processes. I have supported businesses through periods of rapid growth and change, including TUPE and restructuring though redundancy. I have experience developing and facilitating strategic plans, ensuring there is a clear alignment with the people HR agenda linked with the overall business goals and communicating these to the wider business.  I am able to come into a business and provide a complete diagnostic and analysis of where you are and make recommendations on what you might need, as I am able to see things from a different perspective and not be bogged down by internal politics.

Here are some of the things I am proud to have achieved.

  • Being shortlisted for HR Director of the Year 2009 and 2011, Personnel Today Awards
  • Having made that unusual career progression step from HRD to MD in my last organisation, which gave me the confidence to set up my own business
  • Being a Visiting Lecturer on MAPD modules at Westminster University 2004- 05 (Managing the Employment Relationships & Trade Unions, The learning Process, CSR & Ethics and Evaluating HRM Contribution)
  • Being a key facilitator in progressing 2 businesses (PAUL and EAT) from their initial state of no HR functions or support, to successful IIP (Investors in People) assessment in less than 2 years, achieving Gold status in 2012 for PAUL
  • Having been a Community Governor at Westwood Language College for girls (Chair of Finance & Staffing Committee, Chair Pay Committee and sitting on the Strategy and Discipline Committees) for 4 years