Life @ LACE – Laura Calderbank

by | Dec 30, 2022

Life @ LACE
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Life @ LACE – Laura Calderbank

Laura Calderbank


What is it like to work at LACE Partners? We’ve got a regular series of blogs in which we talk to different LACErs to find out. Today we talk to Laura Calderbank, who joined LACE as a Consultant in 2021.

Talk to us about your experience joining LACE, how did you find coming aboard the LACE Partners ship?

It was a positive experience because I got my laptop before day one, which I know seems so small a detail, but I have seen several times – working in HR – where you just don’t have your tech for day one and it’s frustrating for an employee. Especially because when I started it was mostly working from home, and day one knowing you have your laptop, you’re set up and logged on, really does make a difference to the onboarding experience.

Also, what was good was the pre-onboarding, having the emails and conversations with the Operations Team. Knowing what I was going into on day one, having seen my induction plan, being informed of who I was meeting that initial week, all made such a difference. Its always very daunting day one, especially if you have been with your previous company for a long period of time and it’s a big change to come to somewhere new.

From day one, everyone is just so lovely, and I know everyone says this but its just so true! Everyone is just so welcoming and particularly when you join a job remotely and will be mainly home based its so nice to have all these conversations with people as you join, and you are made to feel like people really do care about you as an individual and your experiences. Also, LACE try and avoid putting you onto a project straight away, so you can have that week of breathing space to adjust, familiarise yourself and get to know all the projects and what’s going on. Overall, it was such a positive experience.

How did you find the transition from a larger HR space to working in a smaller boutique consultancy?

To come to LACE was quite an adjustment, but that just made the onboarding experience better because it’s tailored to you. Working for a smaller company doesn’t mean you aren’t still working with those big clients; you are still getting that exposure. You just feel a lot more like you are part of something. You can get a bit lost in larger companies and feel a little like a cog in a machine but at LACE its at that size where you still have those connections with the founders of the company and the executive team, everyone has time for you and there isn’t that hierarchy that you naturally get with larger companies.

Have you learned anything about yourself or the work that you do since joining LACE?

I come from an in-house HR team to consultancy and it did feel like change; you are going through your own personal change curve. When you are in an in-house role you know what you are responsible for, you know what’s coming, but in consulting you must be more open to being adaptable and flexible. You learn how to react and adapt to that different way of working. It’s a big change, but it’s been a good change – the learning is fantastic and you are constantly improving your knowledge and skills.

Learning to deal with that unknown is a skill that is so valuable and with the environment at LACE enables you to be flexible for clients; you also get that support networking across the business, as everyone is there to help you and it enables you to be yourself at work and have a laugh. From the outside looking into consultancy, I think everyone tends to think it’s all about work, work, work and you always have to put a face on, but actually here we are encouraged to build those relationships with clients and enjoy it at the same time. It’s why we have the values of passion innovation and care, but also that unofficial one we talk about at LACE – fun.

What made you want to join LACE?

I knew I was ready for a change; I had been at my previous job for five-and-a-half years and I knew it was time for something new. I applied for in-house roles and I hadn’t really considered consulting, but I had conversations with my friend already working at LACE and I think it was the variety of work/exposure and it opened my eyes to the breadth of what I could do if I tried something different. Whilst I have had experience across reward, operating model and HR operations, it was that opportunity to see how different industries operate that really attracted me, which you wouldn’t get with an inhouse role.

I didn’t want to go just anywhere to do it, what I liked about the sound of LACE was having that exposure to lots of clients, but then coming back to something that you really feel a part of. When you work in in-house at larger companies you have that feeling of working for their brand, with a sense of belonging, which is something I wanted to keep in my new role. With LACE you still get that because although you may be on a client you still have your weekly meetings, CSR or communities, so you still feel like part of an organisation, a sense of belonging. Without sounding stereotypical it does feel like you are part of a family.

If you were to speak to somebody considering a new role, what would your advice be?

If you are looking to go into consulting and you haven’t done it before you do need to come with your eyes open because it can feel like a very different way of working! But if you like variety, if your passionate about HR and you want to get that exposure to lots of different things, then I would say it’s definitely it.

What is your favourite thing about working with LACE?

Besides from the obvious answer – the people! Everyone is so different in terms of what they do and the skills that they bring but at the same time everyone is on the same page culture wise. We really do have a laugh and work hard.

I would say it’s having that autonomy to decide how best to work for you – I am mainly home based and LACE is so flexible with that. The business certainly champions the importance of a work/life balance.

Interested in becoming part of our family? Find out about our latest roles here.

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