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A first 'bud' of HR support for micro businesses

About Us

Karen Skillman (Assoc CIPD) - Founder

Having worked in global law firms for more than 25 years, as a people and operations manager, an opportunity to do something different presented itself.  With a passion for people and operational efficiency, I wanted to use my skills and experience to help local businesses.

I created HR Buds to provide that first 'bud' of HR support to small businesses, meeting their unique needs, however small these may be. 


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Are you ready for your first 'bud' of HR?

Whether you’re a start-up, micro or small business you may not have considered getting the people stuff sorted!

Maybe you have the HR paperwork but it’s probably out of date and possibly even cobbled together using free templates off the internet - does it protect you and your business?

Having effective contracts of employment in place can save you time and money down the line – its important to get these right.

What does the first bud of HR look like?

It is having an HR expert at your finger tips to advise and guide you through all the responsibilities of having employees. It provides all the essentials such as contracts, policies and procedures to ensure that you are compliant on a day to day basis. Your 'bud' will be bespoke to your needs - whether it is a one-off piece of advice or support, or something more ongoing - we can tailored our service provision accordingly.

Why do I need a bud of HR?

As an absolute minimum, every business needs a robust contract of employment, the basic statutory policies required by law and a system to capture attendance such as holidays and sickness absence. 

It is a legal requirement for employees to be provided with a contract of employment from the first day of their employment that sets out the contractual relationship you have with the employee. There are many statutory components to a contract of employment which must be adhered to.

A staff handbook will assist you with the smooth running of your business and should include both contractual and non-contractual policies, procedures and associated forms.

Having all the relevant policies and procedures in place ensures your staff know what is expected of them and allows you to manage them in line with current legislation and best practice. A good handbook should also provide you with a level of defence in the event of any potential Employment Tribunal claim.

Logging your employee’s hours, holidays and sickness absence is important and necessary to keep you compliant but it doesn’t have to be labour intensive. I can implement a cloud based system which will save you time and keep you compliant with data protection rules.


Our Services

Policies & Processes

Employee Relations

Employee Relations


Policies and procedures provide a framework in which decisions can be made; they also provide an essential point of reference in times of uncertainty.

Your people are your biggest asset - a huge part of making your business a success. Having policies and processes in place will provide a solid foundation on which to grow your business.

We can create (or review existing) policies and processes to ensure they’re up to date and that your data storage is compliant with GDPR. 

Employee Relations

Employee Relations

Employee Relations


Effective employee relations ensures that employees are treated fairly and consistently, fostering commitment to their jobs and loyalty to the company.

You will be faced with complex and time-consuming issues - from welfare issues, capability or conduct disciplinary processes and investigations, to tricky grievances that need to be handled with sensitivity and care. 

Whether it’s providing advice and guidance, or running the process itself, we will ensure fairness, consistency, resulting in the best possible outcome.

Performance Management

Employee Relations

Performance Management


Effective performance management is essential for people to perform at their best. Sometimes this could mean having difficult conversations about performance – a necessary evil.

We can create (or review) a performance management process that ensures your people are managed effectively. Also provided will be guidance on how you can work with them, helping them improve (where necessary), develop and grow. Where resources are low, we can also oversee the process completely.

Change Management

Operational Efficiency

Performance Management


As your business grows, you will need to implement changes to accommodate your increased turnover, your expanding customer base or the introduction of new software to enhance the service you provide.

All changes that impact on your people must be dealt with sensitively, in order for the change to be accepted.  We will support you in the positioning of the change with your people by creating a vision for the change, effective communication of the vision, anticipation of any obstacles, identifying short-term wins and then helping you to anchor the change into your culture.

Operational Efficiency

Operational Efficiency

Operational Efficiency


Your structure may have evolved over time but now your business is growing (or has grown) your current structure may not suit the business going forward; perhaps now could be the right time to consider whether a re-design might be beneficial.

We will work with you to identify the areas for improvement and support a phased (if appropriate) restructure of your business. We will ensure you make the most of your top talent and promote accountability, ensuring the new structure is fit for purpose and you continue to build on the strengths of your business that has led to your growth.

Benefits & Engagement

Operational Efficiency

Operational Efficiency


Is recruitment, retention or engagement an issue for your business? Employees are no longer motivated by salary alone, but by benefits too.

Are you getting the best deal with your current pension and insurance providers? Is managing your pension scheme causing you a headache?  If so, we can help on all finance-related benefits, including: Auto-Enrolment Pensions, Defined Contribution Pensions, Pension Trustee Support, Group Life Insurance, Income Protection, Critical Illness Cover, Death-in-Service Benefit, Private Health Insurance, Key-Person Insurance and Shareholder Protection



Breathe – an easy to use Employee Management system designed for small businesses

Centralise Records - a central location for all HR information with employee self-service to keep everything up to date. 

Organise Documents - keep all employee documents safe and publish policies online. 

Book Holidays - manage holiday booking and absences with a simple online approval process. 

Manage Sickness - take control with every absence logged, approved and analysed. 

Improve Performance - standardise the way you manage performance and keep track of objectives. 

Streamline Reporting - keep track of what’s happening. Report Library and one-click Data Export makes Management & HR reporting a breeze. 

Expenses Management – approve, monitor and manage employee expense claims online. 

API - streamline your favourite systems with Breathe’s API to save even more time. 

Taking control of your employee data with Breathe lets you focus on your company goals, not the admin. 

Request a Demo now?

Price Plans



We want to provide maximum flexibility in the provision of our services and therefore have a variety of payment options to suit all needs. We would be happy to discuss these options with you, to identify which approach would be the best for your business.

Hourly or Daily Rate

A pay-as-you-go option for business owners who need instant and/or occasional support.

Weekly Rates

For when you need short-term resource such as a one-off (or intermittent) project.

Monthly Retainer

Affordable annual retainer contracts provide customers with advice and support (on-site or remotely) from someone who is familiar with your business, its vision and culture.  

HR Audit

Provides small businesses (up to 50 employees) with advice on actions that should be taken for compliance OR enhancements that could be implemented to avoid risk and improve efficiency.

What will you get?

We will carry out an audit of your existing HR provision which will include a review of the following:

  • Perception and reputation of existing HR provision
  • Adherence to Employee Legislation
  • Policies & Procedures
  • Recruitment & Terminations
  • Contract Documentation
  • Absence Management
  • Performance Management
  • Record Management (GDPR compliance)

Following completion of the audit, you will receive a detailed report identifying any areas of concern and our recommendations for improvement. Each recommendation will have a priority classification: 

Urgent – requires immediate action (due to employment legislation)

Priority – requires action as soon as reasonably possible (potential exposure to risk)

Advised – recommended for action (time and cost saving) 

What will it cost?

The price for a full audit and report is £149. 


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Examples of our work


An example of our work:

Client A - Charity (11-20 employees)

The client needed occasional support to help with ongoing general support for one or two days a week. Most of the support is carried out remotely with visits to site when required.

Client B - Recruitment Agency (11-20 employees)

The client had seen a sudden downturn in business and needed to make seven redundancies in a difficult climate. I provided the documentation and support to ensure due process was followed to avoid risk.

Client C - Charity (100-200 employees)

The client's HR team needed additional support two days a week for a couple of months to implement a contract variation. I was able to assist with the co-ordination of the project to ensure timely communication and documentation was processed in line with legislation.

Client D - Cleaning Services (5-10 employees)

The client needed their employment contracts updated in line with changes in new legislation. I reviewed and updated the contract in accordance with the Good Work Plan changes.

Client E - IT Support Services (0-5 employees)

Client needed help with an employee relations issue. Client has retained my services on a minimum (4 hours a month) contract to support plans for growth and ISO accreditation.

Contact Us



Your requirements will be unique to you and your business.  Therefore please do get in touch so that we can discuss your specific needs and whether we will be a good fit for your business.  You can drop us a Whatsapp message, give us a call, send an email or use the Get In Touch button below

Let's chat

HR Buds Limited

42 Neal Road, West Kingsdown, Sevenoaks, TN15 6DF, United Kingdom

Mobile: (+44) 07879 998413 Email : Registered in England & Wales (Company No. 12357482)

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