South West-based chartered accountants, tax consultants and financial planners Albert Goodman appointed Sarah Bowden as the company’s new Head of Human Resources back in May to provide greater focus on planning, training and development for its 300 employees.
As a result of the pandemic, Sarah’s initial brief changed course to navigate the firm through an uncertain period, but with recruitment still very much at the forefront of the firm’s strategy.
Sarah started her career as a HR business placement studying business studies at Debenhams head office in London. This initial role led to a 21-year career with the retail giant where Sarah covered HR, training and recruitment for both head office and retail. Most recently she enjoyed a HR role at the Met Office in Exeter leading the recruitment team to challenge, champion and develop individual talent.
In her new role at Albert Goodman, Sarah manages five team members at the firms new head office premises in Taunton to deliver a full range of HR duties that will build on the company’s engaged, inclusive and high-performing culture.
Due to Covid-19, recruitment went on hold initially, allowing the firm to take stock of the ever-changing government guidelines. However, Sarah and the team have continued to fill senior management positions as this fitted with the company’s long-term plans to maintain and grow the business, recognising that even during the pandemic, business development is key.
In addition, nine new trainees were recruited back in August to embark on a three-year training programme, gaining on-the-job training, whilst studying towards their professional qualifications.
Commenting on her new Head of HR appointment at Albert Goodman, Sarah Bowden explains: “Whilst Covid-19 has brought many challenges around recruiting, it’s reassuring to be part of a well-established and professional regional organisation that recognises and rewards hard work and supports their employees to reach their full potential.
“During the pandemic, we’ve found that generally applicants are more cautious to move from their current employer, which means there is less talent available with the skillset we are looking for.
“Added with the uncertainty around universities and the future of learning for many students, this will no doubt impact the recruitment of trainees and reduce the talent pool going forward. However, the cohort of trainees we recruited back in August provides us with the confidence that, as a large employer, we will continue to attract and encourage a high-calibre of talent, and grow them as individuals to enjoy a successful career with us.”
Richard Bugler, Managing Partner at Albert Goodman, commented: “Sarah joined us at an unprecedented time, but nonetheless she has made a positive impression so far and shown great resilience throughout the pandemic. We are excited about her working more closely with the management team to deliver HR solutions that will support the company’s ongoing strategy as we continue to adapt to the ‘new normal’.”