Spotlight on... James Fleming, MD at Brave HCG

As founder and MD of Brave Human Capital Group, James Fleming has set his sights high when it comes to the success of his business, but one thing remains paramount above all else - supporting companies and their people to have a great experience at work.

With over 20 years of proven experience in organisational change, resourcing transformations and performance improvement across a variety of sectors, James is considered a highly respected HR leader with a track record of leading high performing HR and Project Teams ranging in size from 4 - 65.

In 2016, James re-focused his vast knowledge and experience in human resources to found Brave HCG. The company prides itself on being different and offering individualised, leading-edge HR and Resourcing practices which challenge the status quo and encourage entrepreneurship. Here we chat to James to find out more about him and his plans for Brave HCG…

What is it your company does, and what makes it special?

We work with our clients to make their businesses great places to work, where their employees can thrive and achieve excellent results. What makes us special? Well, our team is terrific and we all have a proactive can-do attitude. We have a unique blend of HR, recruitment, employment law, organisational change and marketing experience which combines to make our HR practices both industry-leading and innovative. We’ll help you think differently about HR and see all your challenges as your next opportunity.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words

100 words . . . I’ll try and do it in 30 . . . my role is to build a great team who delight our customers and provide a superb HR service. This is coupled with ensuring our business continues to provide industry leading, innovative HR solutions . . . 33 words . . . not too bad!

Give us a brief time line of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

I’ve always been driven by doing the right thing and fairness. Having studied HR and Industrial Relations at University, I joined a small financial services trade union as a graduate trainee. I quickly found myself representing people in grievances and disciplinaries and entering into programmes of consultation over restructures and business changes. I’ve always strived to ensure people in these situations are treated with respect and fairly and believe in redeployment.

Following my stint at the trade union, I joined Endsleigh concentrating on delivering great HR advice, change management and recruitment for the first time. I was proud to support the building of call centres in Cheltenham and Burnley. Since then I’ve grown my HR career and before setting up Brave, my most recent position was as Head of HR, Business Partnering and Resourcing at NFU Mutual, where I delivered significant organisational change and built a genuinely business focused department where our key achievements were achieving world class levels of employee engagement and a resourcing transformation that enabled great cost savings and reductions in time to hire.

What do you believe makes great HR?

Great question. Great HR focuses on doing the right thing, it’s about people not about process. It also isn’t about one size fits all. It’s about tailoring your advice, mindset and processes to meet the situation, not blindly doing the same thing regardless of the situation and context. At Brave we believe great HR people start with ‘yes’ and help you work out the right thing to do rather than feel stifled by red tape.

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

As MD of Brave HCG, my biggest challenge has been ensuring our products & services remain better than any other HR and recruitment service available and continue to push the boundaries of HR performance and practices, whilst maintaining our cutting edge.

What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?

Be patient. Things won’t happen overnight. It takes time to build a business, so plan for a bumpy ride (it’ll be worth it in the end).

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

My answer will be a little odd . . . I didn’t want to be anything really . . . I wanted to make a difference and be successful in whatever I did. I always wanted my own business and to be in control of my own future. I’m a bit of secret rebel and always look to do things differently. Independence from a young age was always my aim. I’m getting closer to it now!

Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?

Negativity. It brings me and others down and makes me feel stifled. I try to surround myself with positivity everyday and always make sure my team are focusing on their successes, strengths and what can be done, rather than what cannot.

Where do you see the company in five years time?

Being a success with some great long-term customers who trust and value what we do. It would be great if we could be making a positive difference to peoples’ experiences at work whilst being recognised as industry leading, innovative HR and Resourcing practitioners. I would also love to expand my already great team, but not too much . . . my aim is to have a small, cohesive and impactful team unit who our customers want to come back to again and again.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Be yourself and try and stand for something, don’t just chase the money.

If you'd like to find out more about Brave HCG, get in touch to arrange an informal chat with one of the team.

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