Katie Bancroft is the Founder and Managing Director of Talent HR – an HR, HR Tech, recruitment and training consultancy that delivers smart, blended solutions to SMEs and tech companies. Founded in 2010, the business now has over 50 clients in tech and beyond. Talent HR is fueled by new ideas and fresh thinking. Katie has recently become accredited to deliver Mental Health First Aid into the workplace, leading the way for the wider tech sector.
We sat down with Katie to hear her views on everything from catering to SMEs to building communities of like-minded women.
How did you become a tech leader?
I identified a gap in the market – tech companies needed a bespoke solution that blended HR, HR Tech and recruitment. The tech industry was growing fast and I realised that, by harnessing my expertise, I could fill that gap and make a difference. I understood the complex needs and wants of evolving SME tech companies and crafted a suite of solutions tailored to them.
What inspired you to set up Talent HR?
I was working in HR and recruitment, setting up internal departments. I soon noticed that the departments I was creating were saving big businesses huge amounts of money. I realised I could take ownership of my skills and use what I’d learnt to bring serious benefit to the growing SME sector. The space was crying out for HR compliance, recruitment savings and tech solutions.
What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
Tech should be effortless and useful, but behind the scenes it’s always complex. My biggest challenge has been aligning tech businesses, especially start-ups, with the most fitting and up-to-date HR Tech. Despite being full of tech geniuses, many of the businesses I work with still use old style paper-based HR systems. I help them digitise. It can be quite a journey, but it’s always so worth it.
What’s been your biggest achievement?
As MD of Talent HR, I loved seeing AppLearn, one of our very first clients, grow from just four employees to 50 in an extremely short space of time, and knowing 70% of those new employees were recruited by us. We even found the business its first HR Business Partner.
What advice would you give to a woman starting out in tech?
Make sure you really know your stuff, and be confident in what you know. At the same time, never pretend to understand something you don’t. It always shows. If you don’t understand a product or business, go away and do your research. And believe in the power of your expertise. Don’t ever think you can’t add value.
What do you think the future looks like for women in tech?
The future looks bright. Awareness is definitely on the rise. The issues and hurdles we women face are becoming more visible, and visibility makes a huge difference. Community is key, too. I hope to see more of us working together and sharing ideas, online and in real life.
For an introduction to LACE’s ‘Women in Tech’ series, please visit our ‘Women in Tech Series: Be brave!’ article. Or to read more interviews from LACE’s ‘Women in Tech’ series, visit our Insights page.