Human Resource Partners
Interview with: Delise West
Office Locations: Dover and Concord, NH
We had an opportunity to talk with Delise West, president of Human Resource Partners (HR Partners), one of ournewest members. Founded in 2003, HR Partners will be celebrating 15 years in 2018. Delise explains that she started the company for a couple of reasons— family being first and foremost. Her position as U.S. Human Resources Director for an international biotechnology company required too much travel and as a new mother this position was no longer a fit. At the time Delise had been working with her sister-in-law, a small business owner, on some HR issues. It was through this work that gave her the insight that small and medium-sized businesses have HR needs but are not at a size that warrants hiring an HR professional on staff. Delise reached out to the former Women’s Business Center in Portsmouth and tapped into their resources to get started. New Hampshire’s business foundation is primarily comprised of companies with under 100 employees, many with fewer than 50 employees. HR Partners’ focus is to be the HR department for businesses of this size. She shares that at the time she started the business, clients didn’t understand the full breadth of HR. She quickly learned that she had a lot of education to provide to prospective clients in order for them to understand that what HR does isn’t just benefits and payroll or hiring and firing. Where Delise and her team really add value is by bringing a more strategic look at HR to support a client’s business goals and objectives while also focusing on workplace culture and employee productivity. The team often works with managers and their teams to help navigate some of the issues that come up. Workplace culture is a topic that more and more companies are focusing on as employees and potential employees look to culture as a deciding factor when determining the company for which they will work.
In 2008, HR Partners faced a pivotal moment, when its biggest client cut their workforce in half and this client exited. It was at this time Delise knew that in order to scale the business it was essential she hire her first employee and spend more of her time focused on marketing and business development. Tonya Rochette, VP HR Solutions based at the firm’s Concord office, was hired and is now Delise’s business partner. The staff now totals 7, with plans for future growth. Over time they’ve found the service delivery model that works best for their clients is an ongoing monthly retainer where her team becomes an extension of the client’s team which includes a regular onsite presence at the client’s location. Using HR Partners as their outsourced “HR Department” afford a client’s leadership to stay focused on their core strengths so they can be less distracted and grow in turn their business.
Tonya and Pubali Chakravorty-Campbell, VP Operations and Organizational Development, went through Leadership NH together—and made a wonderful new connection. Two years ago Pubali, a former business owner herself, joined the team, bringing her extensive talents including business operations, executive coaching, organizational development and training. Pubali’s skillset has been a great addition and many of HR Partners’ clients have already benefited from her talents.
When Delise talks about sustainability, she looks at their model for the work they do, focusing on hiring people on a part-time basis, which gives employees the flexibility they are looking for in their life. Many work from home or work at a client’s location, offering a great deal of flexibility with schedules.
We asked Delise what gets her excited about her work and she answered that having an impact on a client’s business so they are more successful is very meaningful. To help a client retain employees longer, communicate better, improve the success of a new employee or supervisor transition into their role, are all aspects of this fulfilling work. Educating and reminding people about the importance of effective communication remains a critical piece of their work.
Delise shares that she’s always been socially conscious, so she was excited to learn about NHBSR and it made sense to join as a member. She and her team as excited to learn more about what other organizations are doing and how they are making an impact.
Please help us welcome Delise and her team. Many of you may have met Pubali, who was a speaker at the Spring Conference in May.