The importance of highlighting HR talent

Senior HR Recruitment Consultant Sean Thomas discusses how the recent CIPD awards served as a reminder of why businesses of all sizes need great HR talent and management.

A few weeks ago, the Excel Recruitment HR team enjoyed its first outing to the CIPD HR Awards in the iconic Mansion House, to recognise the success of great HR managers and teams across the country.

Attending these awards with some of the best HR teams and talent in Ireland, we saw first-hand the positive impact a HR team can have with the right people in place. Many great companies and organisation were recognised for excellent work in their fields, such as Gillian Collins of the Irish Defence Forces, who was highly commended for her work in Diversity & Inclusion. Other companies such as Applegreen and Musgrave were also very successful on the day.

It was a fascinating learning experience to see how modern HR departments are helping businesses and organisations face modern challenges and move forward successfully. One of the awards that particularly stuck with me, went to DPD Ireland for Excellence in HR leadership. The HR talent put a huge emphasis on recognising and thanking their employees for their extra contribution and hard work during the hectic Black Friday to Christmas period. The HR team led a creative & fun-filled 10 day initiative in the lead up to Christmas. They were able to show their appreciation to the team for their extra efforts and commitment while still ensuring the needs of the business were met. Having worked in retail for over 12 years, I know first-hand the extra demand on staff and management during the lead up to Christmas.

As many will be aware last year due to Excel’s expansion as well as a rise in demand from our clients, Excel’s CEO Barry Whelan and I consolidated all of Excel’s HR recruitment capabilities into a dedicated HR recruitment division. This has been a huge success, allowing us to further support our many clients in retail, hospitality and across other sectors. Throughout my career in retail and recruitment, I have seen the importance of a strong HR function in a business, across any sector. This sparked a fascination with the area and prompted me to complete my HRM qualification in order to learn more about the sector and better understand my client’s requirements.

Overall, the afternoon was a great reminder of the value of great HR team or person and the need to recognise them and to support them, within the wider industry, yes, but perhaps more crucial internally within their own organisation. The job of the HR Manager, Generalist and so on, is wide-ranging and far-reaching and the impact is felt across the business not only short term but for the long term organisations objectives.
A very well done to all finalist and organisations that are constantly evolving and always looking at ways to improve employee working experiences.

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Why Retail Needs Great HR Managers

Excel Recruitment has established a dedicated HR recruitment department to further support our client’s needs. Head of HR Recruitment Sean Thomas breaks down just some of the reasons why great HR talent is a necessity not a bonus for retail businesses.

only 4 months left in 2019, we’re continuing to see excellent growth in the
economy and the market shift towards full-employment. We are seeing people
prosper, building sites all over with new homes being built, banks’ lending again
and young couples finally becoming homeowners. Excellent right? While retailers
across the country have reaped the benefits from all of this positive growth,
such a buoyant employment market is causing headaches for retailers of all
sizes when it comes to recruitment.  An
experienced HR Manager can support owners and organisations in all industries
but below are just a few reasons why retail in particular should make HR a priority.

The customer is key

state the obvious, exceptional customer service is at the centre of any
successful retail business. The key to this is the front-line employees, the
people who are in direct contact with customers both instore and online. They
are the public face of the company and often, what customers remember most
about their experience of a brand. They are essentially ambassadors of the
brand and key to achieving customer service goals. This means making sure that
the workforce is properly trained in the appropriate skills and happy and
motivated to deliver exemplary service. This is where a solid HR team can
shine, not only in devising, co-ordinating and implementing complete 360
training for in-store teams but also in terms of ensuring employee engagement
and motivation, devising incentives for rewarding and recognising key staff or
planning team bonding exercises.


can have a high rate of employee turnover due to seasonal demand, employing
high numbers of students who work part-time and then move on or people working
their way up the business quickly. High staff turnover can be time consuming
and expensive for businesses and can impact customer loyalty if customers keep
seeing a new face every time they enter your store. A solid HR management team
can keep turnover to a minimum by managing the interviewing process, asking the
right questions to ascertain how a potential hire will fit in with the existing
team and communicating the role and its responsibilities and requirements fully
to candidates being interviewed.  This way, there’s no surprises when the
candidate starts a job, for either them or the employer.

Seasonal Demand

often experience fluctuations in staff numbers, such as needing to add
temporary staff in the run up to Christmas or summer to cope with increased
footfall. This can be stressful for businesses without sufficient HR support
trying to recruit large volumes of people quickly and for full-time workers who
may have to assist new colleagues thrown into the thick of it. Again, a
specialist and dedicated HR manager is the best person to manage this process,
highlighting to permanent staff what’s expected of them and onboarding
temporary workers successfully.

both head office roles and on the floor in the stores, we are seeing exactly
how important it is having a strong HR manager with expertise in reward,
L&D and recruitment.

A strong
L&D leader can develop talented members of the team, giving them the
confidence to take the reins in the business or take up specific support roles
in other areas of the business. They can also assist a business in motivating
and retaining their top performers, leading to internal promotions and
increasing harmony within the store.

If you have any HR recruitment requirements or are an HR
professional on the lookout for a new move, get in touch with Sean today
at or call 01-8148747


Excel Recruitment launch specialist HR recruitment division

Excel Recruitment are delighted to announce the opening of our new specialised HR recruitment division.

With the ‘war for talent’ in full swing in Ireland, our new HR recruitment division has come in direct response to our client’s requirements, as the market sees an increasing focus on building a strong HR function and the positive impact HR has on businesses’ success.

The view of HR has changed drastically in recent years, shifting dramatically from the traditional compliance/ service provider to a much broader responsibility of both company and employee champion; designing, driving and continuously improving the entire employee and candidate experience. More and more, we are seeing companies carve out roles such as “Chief Culture Officer’ or ‘Head of People and Culture’ to reflect HR’s new mandate, of driving quality candidate experience and employee engagement, well-being and retention.

Excel Recruitment has successfully recruited HR roles of all levels for our clients since 2002 and has successfully filled HR roles for some of the biggest retail and hospitality brands in Ireland. CEO Barry Whelan says “The move to a defined specialist division will allow our HR team to concentrate specifically on HR roles across any industry with greater focus and improved search and selection capabilities, recruit permanent roles along with providing contract and even temporary personnel solutions.”

Heading up the division is Sean Thomas, Senior Consultant. Sean began his career with Excel Recruitment first as a candidate before joining our successful retail recruitment team over 5 years ago. In 2018, Sean was promoted to Senior Consultant and wanting to understand more about his client’s needs and explore his passion for HR, completed his CIPD HR qualification.

If you have any HR recruitment requirements or are an HR professional on the lookout for a new move, get in touch with Sean today at or call 01-8148747