How did you get into your career?

I started working at McDonald’s flipping burgers after I dropped out of college- making money was much more important to me than learning at the time! Whilst at McDonalds, I joined an agency as I was on the hunt for a permanent admin role and after smashing the typing test record on number of words typed per minute, I secured a job at a company called TDG in the Learning and Development Department. Fast forward a few years, I joined the Fire Service in Manchester and they embarked on a mission to implement its first ever HR & Payroll System which happened to be iTrent. I worked on the L&D team to implement the solution for the Fire Service and took a major interest in the configuration and process side of the implementation. I gradually transitioned into System Specialist at the Fire Service, looking after and maintaining the whole of iTrent. I became really passionate and through this I started my own website and blog on all things iTrent. It was from sharing my work on Linkedin that I was noticed by Assad Ahmed, Founding Director of Phase 3.

Assad reached out to me and asked if I wanted a new challenge as an Implementation Consultant with his company. This role was a massive change for me, from being tucked away in an office sat at the computer screen answering queries to going out on site and meeting new faces and having to speak and present in front of some big cheeses- it wasn’t easy. I nearly gave up as the pressure was too much.

I remember driving home from a client one day in Bristol about to throw in the towel when Assad called me and convinced me that being out of your comfort zone is good and it will help me grow. I’m thankful for those words as I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.

Fast forward a few years and I’m still at Phase 3 ever since, working in the AccessPeople (CoreHR) side of the business.

What are the key responsibilities in your role?

My key responsibilities are:

  1. Management of the CoreHR Team
  2. Managing all client projects holistically
  3. Management of department KPIS
  4. Management of CoreHR payrolls

Describe a typical day

My day is pretty jammed packed, it is filled with customer meetings be that training or general updates. My team and I manage multiple bite-sized consultancy clients so it is important to be in contact with these customers on a regular basis. Prioritising responding to CoreHR payroll queries following payroll running is another major part of my role as Lead Consultant. We are such a busy team so it is also really important to me that my team prioritise time to speak to each other, catch up and learn from each other.

What skills are needed for his role?

Everyone thinks you need to be super technical to be a consultant but I disagree. I think as long as you have an interest in systems, are methodical and process minded with the ability to speak to customers on their level, you will go far. Half the battle is being able to relay the technical jargon to non-technical people, if you can do that then the system knowledge comes secondary.

What challenges do you face in this role?

Challenges in this role are more project based challenges, things come up in projects that weren’t planned for but you just need to work as a team to find a solution and get through them.

What keeps you motivated to go into work every day?

People come to Phase 3 because they have an issue with their current system, what motivates me is helping our customers get the best they can out of the system they have purchased. Customers come to us with a list as long as their arm with issues, having the ability to fix those issues ourselves gives me great pride in the work my team do on a daily basis.

What advice would you give someone considering a career in HR Tech Consulting?

I never in a million years thought I would be working as a consultant on a HR System but I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing. The advice I would give is make sure you learn the product in and out, strive to be the best and learn everything you can across all the interlinking modules on a typical HR system. Think Cristiano Ronaldo of the HR Tech space!!

Mike Westwood is our Lead Consultant for CoreHR at Phase 3

Our team of HR tech experts cover all aspects of HR & Payroll systems consultancy. If you’d like to learn more about our team or more about our business and what we can offer, you can contact one of our specialists today.