At Definitely HR we can provide you with at least 3 contacts at any time…
Nicola Taman – Company Director
Laura Hackett – HR Business Partner
Michelle Merchant - HR Business Partner
Our Associates – As a Definitely HR customer you will also have access to our team of associates at S4S Services4Schools at no extra cost. If none of your contacts at Definitely HR are available and you need urgent advice then you can contact the S4S schools consultancy team. Definitely HR work closely with S4S Services4Schools to ensure you have the best possible customer service. There will always be someone available to respond to your call or email at any time.
I’m Nicola Taman, Company Director at Definitely HR.
I studied at the University of Sheffield and qualified with a BA in Geography in 2001. My early careers were in retail management and sales before beginning my HR career at Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Trust in 2003. During my time there I gained my post graduate qualification in HR Management and became a member of the CIPD.
Once qualified as a HR professional I moved to Warwickshire County Council to my first senior HR advisory role in 2007. It was there I first started working with schools and head teachers. With a new found love and admiration for the education sector I became a team manager for the schools advisory team in 2010 before then moving to Birmingham City Council’s schools employee relations team in 2011. I quickly became the lead employee relations consultant for the south area of the city looking after over 100 schools and developing strong working relationships and a large customer base.
I left the city council in August 2017 and in September 2017 I launched my own business, Definitely HR, a company specialising in schools employee relations services. I wanted to build a business that had relationships at the heart of everything we do. I wanted to deliver customer service unlike any other and just 12 months after it started the company has quickly grown into one of the leading schools’ employee relations services in Birmingham.
Definitely HR are there any time you need us and we will listen and respond to your needs providing solution focused and practical advice. We will give you direction and advice you can trust. My strengths lie in relationships and providing clear advice on all school policies and processes. I have speciality knowledge in ER, education and employment law. I work daily with heads, governors, senior leaders, union reps, external agencies and our close partners S4S and bring them all together to provide the best service.
I am a school governor and as part of that role sit on two committees which has given me complete understanding in school strategy, operations and finance.
I am so proud of my achievements to date and so proud of Definitely HR, I hope you will be too.
I’m Laura Hackett, HR Business Partner at Definitely HR.
Having gained my post graduate diploma in Personnel Management in 2008, I began my HR career working in a HR advisory capacity in the NHS supporting several Acute Trusts across Birmingham. In 2014, I progressed to a HR Consultant role at Birmingham City Council, providing specialist Employee Relations advice and support to circa 350 schools and academies in Birmingham and the surrounding areas.
Over the years, I have enjoyed a breadth and depth of employee relations casework which has afforded me the ability to draw upon an extensive HR knowledge and skills base when providing advice and support to clients. I have demonstrable experience of advising on matters such as disciplinary, capability, grievance, sickness absence, restructure and redundancy and TUPE within heavily unionised sectors.
I have known and worked with Nicola for many years so I was really excited to join Definitely HR in April 2018. We are both customer service driven; we share a strong work ethic and adopt a professional and friendly approach.
Nicola and I are passionate about HR and, wherever possible, we really do aim to take the pain out of people management and help you to avoid those sleepless nights! Working with schools and academies, it’s great to know that what we do, albeit indirectly, can have a significant and positive impact on day to day school life. We look forward to helping you make the difference!
I’m Michelle Merchant, Business Partner at Definitely HR.
Having graduated with a BA (Hons) in Business Studies, I secured my first HR role with the NHS in 2003. Over a period of 5 years, I progressed in my career, providing advice and guidance on a range of HR matters to clinical and non-clinical based managers and staff across several Acute Trusts in Birmingham. During this time, I gained my Postgraduate CIPD qualification and subsequently became a Chartered Member of the CIPD.
The knowledge and experience gained through working in large unionised multifaceted organisations, provided a strong foundation for when I joined Birmingham City Council in 2008. I continued in my HR journey and gained an invaluable understanding of the complexities of Local Government.
In 2012, I moved to the Schools Employee Relations Team as a HR Consultant. Drawing on my established public sector HR experience and knowledge specific to the Education Sector, I have supported schools and academies on all matters relating to people management including disciplinary; grievance; absence management; capability; changes to terms and conditions of employment; restructuring; redundancy; and TUPE.
Having known Nicola since we started our first HR roles in 2003, her dedication and drive has been unwavering and this is at the very heart of Definitely HR. I remain as passionate about wanting to provide the best possible advice and guidance to clients on employment matters as I was when I first started my career and I share this ethos with both Nicola and Laura. Definitely HR is a company completely committed to ensuring our clients receive a service they can trust and rely on and I am proud to be part of the team.
‘Definitely HR are a great company to work with. I have found them very professional, they always take the time to understand the issue and the requirements we have as a school. They are extremely supportive and offer advice and guidance where necessary. Both Nicola and Laura are superb to work with they are both honest and transparent with their advice and manage the needs of the school alongside that of personnel. Their communication is always very timely. As a Headteacher juggling the demands that this role entails I trust their advice and judgements.’
Denise Fountain, Head Teacher, Dame Ellen Pinsent School, Birmingham
‘When we were reviewing our Employee Relations provider we identified the core areas essential to meet our needs. We needed our provider to have a breadth and depth of knowledge relevant to our type of school so that the advice we received was relevant, reliable and consistent. We needed speedy response times and effective communication to ensure issues were understood and therefore addressed correctly. When we met with Definitely HR, we were promised all of this – and they have been true to their word! We receive an excellent service – all advice and support has been above and beyond what we could have expected and all has been delivered in a calm and positive manner. The response times have been excellent and the procedures in place to ensure this is maintained during busy periods. They are extremely effective. When an ER problem arises, it is re-assuring to know that Definitely HR are there, at the end of the telephone or in person, to provide the support when it is most needed’.
Debbie James, Head Teacher, Swanshurst Girls School, Birmingham
‘We are extremely happy with the excellent service provided by Definitely HR. Nicola and Laura are very knowledgeable and their experience in not only HR, but also the Education Sector is highly evident. In a short space of time, we have developed a strong working relationship. Responses to queries are quick and considered and having a dedicated, experienced HR professional, always available to answer any query, provides continuity and saves valuable time. Definitely HR provide a professional but also personal service and I cannot recommend them highly enough.’
Sarah Shaw, Business Manager, Bartley Green School
‘I have been fortunate to work with Nicola and Laura for many years and they have always provided excellent service. They have held my hand through some very difficult and stressful HR issues and I don’t know what I would do without them, the process would have been much harder to deal with. Definitely recommended’.
Samantha Cosgrove, Executive Head Teacher, Barchelai Multi Academy Trust
Definitely HR are the most efficient, proactive and superb team. Their quality of their advice is always thorough, accurate and relevant and I have utter confidence in their guidance and support. They fully understand the difficult HR contexts within which we work at school and are able to give you the support you require to resolve often difficult and complex situations. We had been trying to resolve a competency issue for nearly a year and when we changed HR provider to work with Definitely HR , they had it resolved within one month. Not only was it resolved but it was expedited in an amicable and positive manner! I cannot praise Definitely HR highly enough - they save me stress, worry and money and always done in such a wonderfully professional and positive manner.Dr D E Casserly, Headteacher, St Paul's School for Girls, Birmingham