We talked to Olga Crosse, founder of Crosse HR, about outsourced HR consultancy, and this is what she said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Olga Crosse: We are all doing fine thanks. All are a bit bored and looking forward to when we can meet again, so roll on the vaccine. I’m getting mine soon, so hopefully, there is an end in sight to all this madness.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Crosse HR.
Olga Crosse: I had been working in HR for many years as a consultant, and a few years ago startups and SME’s started to ask me to set up their HR functions, which I did, then both they and I worked out that they probably didn’t need a full time and expensive HR resource, but they could benefit from the expertise and knowledge of expensive HR resources i.e. ME, whenever they needed it and ONLY when they needed it.
So when I went back to the corporate world, I could not stop thinking about that concept. So, I saved enough money to go it alone and provide outsourced HR expertise to those companies who need it but can’t or don’t want to afford a full-time, clunky bureaucratic function. It’s been a tough old battle and despite the craziness of the last year, it is going well. I am delighted my clients have all persevered as well, which is a testament to the resilience and true grit of the entrepreneur’s world.
How does Crosse HR innovate?
Olga Crosse: I already had, as a concept anyway always provided where possible support remotely. I am so used to providing my service via (in those days) Skype and I was an early adopter of Zoom. In fact, everyone is so used to getting their business done like this, it has altered the landscape already.
I am currently working in partnership with a client on an HR system that remotely manages time and attendance and keeps all employee records in the cloud, so being an entrepreneur myself I am always looking at ways of doing things easier and quicker especially in the HR world. I listen to my clients and provide them what they want (as long as it is legal). Today, for instance, someone asked me to train their staff on employing staff with criminal convictions, which led to me recording the presentation on ZOOM, posting it online so everyone can benefit.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Olga Crosse: It looks like it has in monetary terms but thankfully not too much. However, I have gotten a lot more new clients conversely, so in the long run, I think this could well turn out to be a positive thing for the business. Companies realized they actually needed HR whereas before they thought it was a bit too fancy and airy-fairy and not worth the cost. I mean really, investing in people but not worth the cost but that’s what I was up against. I like being busy so I managed to get accepted into a business accelerator program here in London which was amazing and gave me plenty of ideas for the future.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Olga Crosse: I had to put expansion on hold, just in case. However, a lot of my clients had to make staff redundant, but them on furlough and short term working so that was in human terms very very difficult. There are a lot of people hurting out there. One of my clients had his investment pulled, right at the beginning of lockdown, so that had a knock-on effect on all of us.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Olga Crosse: I rely a lot more on Zoom (who doesn’t), Loom, Mural, and of course the system I am developing. My clients contact me when they have a problem, so it’s naturally a reactive business I am in, so always ready to adapt and react regardless of whether it’s face to face or not.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Olga Crosse: I didn’t get any government grants – I applied for two..so thanks government for NOT helping, but I did get a Bounce Back Loan which I used to purchase new equipment, invest in marketing, a new website which is still in development and a new office (I know I know I am bucking the trend but working from home was driving me nuts), so it did enable me to expand the business and invest in infrastructure to make that happen.
Your final thoughts?
Olga Crosse: If we can all get through this we will get through anything. If you have an idea, just go and do it. Working for yourself and starting something from nothing is one of the best if not the best feeling you will ever have, even though it consumes me every waking moment. I am so glad I did this.
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