Opal People Solutions
Louise McGeady had dreams of becoming a speech and language therapist. However, her path took a different turn when she discovered her passion for Human Resources during her studies at Ulster University, where she pursued a BSc in Human Communication and a Postgraduate Diploma in HR management. She honed her skills over the years, gaining extensive HR experience in the food manufacturing, logistics, and supply chain industries. As a result of a management restructure, which devolved the people responsibility through the line manager, she found herself almost acting like an internal consultant to the business. The natural progression was to launch her own HR Consultancy, whilst retaining the security of a part time role. The demand for her services enabled her to leave the comfort of paid employment and dedicate herself to building her business!
Opal People Solutions is the culmination of Louise’s journey and expertise. As a Comprehensive Human Resource Agency, the business provides invaluable support and advice to businesses and organizations on the island of Ireland and Great Britain. Opal People Solutions offers a variety of HR services, however, the business is best known for their specialism in Employee Relations. Louise feels that she adds best value to her clients due to her expertise in dealing with issues such as disciplinary hearings, grievance investigations, performance and absence management and organisational restructure. Louise offers flexible options where clients can choose between pay-as-you-go services for one off issues or monthly retained HR support where the client requires on-going HR support. She also provides on-site support for more complex issues where she “hand holds” the client through the process.
What sets Opal People Solutions apart is the relationship Louise develops with her clients which is based on mutual trust and excellent service. With “too many years” of people management experience, she revels in providing solutions to clients who face complex challenges which often causes significant amounts of organisational pain. When approaching any issue, Louise draws on a combination of knowledge of employment law and natural intuition, however, her commitment to fairness and justice underpins her advice, thus ensuring that employees are treated with sensitivity and respect. Louise’s success in building strong relationships with her clients has led to a substantial portion of her business coming through referrals, a testament to her competence and trustworthiness.
“I am most proud that every day I am providing solutions which takes away a degree of pain for a client…. Very rarely does a friend become a client but there is great satisfaction when a client becomes a friend.”
Building a robust network has been vital for Louise’s business growth. Having no experience of sales, her initial challenge was in learning how to attract clients. Louise sought guidance from Antrim Enterprise Agency and participated in various networking opportunities. The greatest lightbulb moment came about as a result of attending Executive Coach, Lisa Strutt’s “Asentiv” Programme which taught her the importance of leveraging existing connections thus avoiding the need for the dreaded cold calls. This emphasis on personal connections and referrals has been the lifeblood of Opal People Solutions.
“Because my business relies so heavily on referrals, I would not be able to function without continuously building on the networks I have established over time working in my sector. It is a skill that is essential.”
Reflecting on the future, Louise’s vision for her business has evolved. All too often, business focuses on growth and can often lose the personal touch! She now values the hands-on approach that allows her to be deeply involved in her clients’ needs, providing the best service possible. Her focus is on maintaining a healthy work-life balance while continuing to take on new challenges and clients, relishing the dynamic and unpredictable nature of her work.
“If you were to ask me now where I would like to be in 10 years’ time, I would tell you to be doing exactly what I am doing now with new challenges and new clients. No two days are the same and I love that about what I do.”
Louise emphasizes the importance of managing health and well-being while running a business. Recognizing that work is never truly finished, she dedicates her weekends to relaxation and quality time, regularly retreating to Donegal for relaxing walks along the beach with her dog. A spa day at Ballyliffen Lodge is her idea of bliss!
When asked about the lesson’s she has learned and the advice she would give to anyone looking to start a business, Louse answered, “It’s ok to say no. The no is never about me… it’s about the client. I wouldn’t be acting in my client’s interest if I knew there was someone who could do it better.” My network is full of “competitors,” who regularly refer business to each other based on our respective skill sets.
Opal People Solutions is a shining example of how passion, expertise, and a personal touch can shape a successful business. Louise McGeady’s dedication to her clients and her relentless pursuit of solutions has allowed her to make a meaningful difference in the lives of businesses and their employees. With a bright future ahead, Louise continues to shine as a beacon of excellence in the world of Human Resources, setting a high standard for the industry.