Freedom, agility and the personal touch: why I work as an Associate with LACE Partners

At LACE Partners we really pride ourselves on developing a culture that feels inclusive, whether you are an employee, or one of our associates. But it is easy to say it yourself! So we thought we’d ask one of the associates who works with LACE Partners – Carla Gibson – of her experience at working at LACE and why she has been with us on multiple projects over the last three years.

A little bit of background on Carla…

I started my HR life at PA Consulting and gained experience helping out with large graduate recruitment campaigns, interviewing and undertaking personality profiling. This led to a CIPD qualification that eventually took me into the realms of working on HR tech and specifically at the time on Peoplesoft, ESS and MSS as it was at the time. Thereafter I joined a business called WorldCom (which was later acquired by Verizon) to be HR Tech Project Manager. I’ve also worked for NorthgateArinso on SAP Payroll.

I spent a lot of time working on projects primarily focused on the people and process side of large HR and Payroll Outsourcing Programmes. My role was to understand the touchpoints between HR and Payroll and ensure that the HR and Payroll Teams understood the process, roles, responsibilities and ultimate accountabilities, including the role of HR Technology. During that time I assumed a large number of project management roles, but having established myself I decided that I’d like to be an independent and that is what led me initially to LACE Partners in 2016.

What attracted you to joining LACE Partners?

I was looking for boutique HR consultancies and I didn’t want to be part of a very large consultancy business because I wanted to feel closer to the business. I liked that the person at the other end of the phone I spoke to was Aaron the Co-Founder. It made me feel like I had a true insight into the company, the culture he and Cathy were building at the time, as well as the project that he specifically had in mind when we first spoke.

In addition – and this is something that has continued even as the company has grown – I have particularly enjoyed the freedom in terms of set methodologies that you must follow. There are guidelines, people, experts, but everything within the business is adapted to what the needs are of the clients you are working with. There are no pre-formed ideas as to what you are going to deliver; it is about listening to the challenges and working in partnership to provide the right deliverables based on the requirements of the client.

What was the first role you worked on?

The first project was almost immediate. It only lasted for six weeks, working with a global real estate business and was a payroll search and selection project across Europe. I felt part of the team straight away; everyone was very open about what was required but also how they ran the business and what type of culture that they were forming, and that transparency really appealed to me. But that also encouraged a more collaborative environment, which was what I wanted when I was looking for a consultancy to work with as an independent. It was about what was best for the client and how we could work together to deliver on that.

What was the process of joining LACE Partners?

Aaron and I spoke over the phone and then we met up. That face-to-face interaction was important and once again when you have a founder of the business wanting to meet you, you do feel as though this is a place you will be listened to, which is important. I met Aaron near the clients headquarters that he had in mind for the first job I worked on and we hit it off straight away. Of course there was internal vetting that took place on LACE Partners' side, but this was a quick and rapid process which as an associate you want, because you want to be working with clients straight away. Within a week of that first meeting I was also meeting the client which was great.

What has been a project that you have enjoyed the most at LACE Partners?

I like the beginning of a project. Learning about the people, the organisation, the challenges. Building those relationships is my favourite part of my role so in that sense it is difficult to pinpoint a specific project. However, if I was forced to pick one, I would probably pick the last project I worked on with a cloud computing company. The project was split in to three, three month segments, because that enabled us to set off with an idea on the nine months on what we were to deliver, but there were clear and manageable timeframes for the short term that we could deliver to the client that showed the progress that we were making. It also afforded us the ability to work closely with the client and ‘sense check’ at those three-month intervals. The approach also ensured that we could adapt deliverables based on what we found and what the core requirements were for the client. It meant being agile enough to change rather than press ahead on a nine-month project that could have out of date deliverables by the end of it.

Of course it had its challenges – lockdown during the process meant the first search and selection process for a payroll provider was conducted entirely online without meeting anybody – but the adaptability of all parties in the project gave us the end result we wanted; a happy client.

We are always looking for good people and especially now as demand begins to pick up! If you would like to find out more about working with LACE Partners then please reach out to danielle@lacepartners.co.uk and we’d be happy to have a chat.