St Albans husband and wife team at heart of HR business

St Albans-based couple Chris Burgess and his wife Judy Crickmer, celebrate 10 years at the HR Dept

St Albans-based couple Chris Burgess and his wife Judy Crickmer, celebrate 10 years at the HR Dept - Credit: Photo supplied

Despite being made redundant in a previous corporate role Chris Burgess, along with his wife Judy Crickmer, has gone from strength to strength as the St Albans couple have chalked up 10 years as human resources specialists.

Chris set up a local branch of the HR Dept in November 2005, offering advice and support for small and medium-sized firms in South Beds and West Herts.

Following redundancy from a previous job Chris, who has been in human resources for over three decades, spent two years building up the local branch, which is based in Porters Wood.

Meanwhile, Judy continued in her role as HR business partner for an outsourcing company.

After two years Chris had established the business sufficiently to be able to ask Judy to give up the commute into the capital and join him locally.

Judy said: “We are the only husband and wife team who are licensees of the HR Dept. It’s fine working together. We have our own clients and our own areas which we cover but of course we are ready to support each other if needed.

“We try to keep work to office hours and HR is a banned topic of conversation at the dinner table!”

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The HR Dept is a national company with a network of 60 licensees operating independent businesses in 80 territories around the UK and Ireland.

Chris said: “It’s all worked out quite well. Setting up the business was a lifestyle choice initially to fit in with childcare, with Judy working in London. But in many ways we were quite lucky because you look at the high failure rate of business start-ups, and Judy was able to carry on supporting us while I was setting things up.

“Something we’re very proud of is that our clients have never lost a tribunal case. In fact, very few of them have ever ended up at a tribunal.

“Business is really good now, with most new business coming from client referrals.”

During the past three years, the branch has seen profits rise by 80 per cent as small and medium-sized enterprises in the area have increasingly looked to outsource their human resources support.