People Matters HR Team focus pieces – NIEL COPE February 2020

Niel Cope is the founder and MD of Bury-based People Matter HR. Top of the tree, the master of the house, the boss of all bosses he runs the business with wife Yvonne and a super talented team.

He’s a familiar face on the North West networking circuit – but what really makes him tick?

Years in the game

9 years – but it feels like just yesterday when I opened PMHR!

What does that mean in real terms?

I support our clients, lead the team and support them to be able to get the job done, pushing the boundaries into new areas to add value to both our customers and themselves.

Best bit of the job?

It’s cheesy but for me, the clue is in the title – I love people. I’m happiest meeting different folks from all walks of life and finding out what makes them tick. In terms of PMHR, I thrive on nurturing our team and watching them bloom, meeting people in all areas of business and learning what they do and watching our business and our clients businesses grow with our help.

The most memorable/amusing/crazy query you’ve ever had from a customer?

People are funny and there isn’t a day goes by without something amusing happening, especially when you have a weird sense of humour like mine! I’ve got some cracking stories – but the majority are unprintable!

How should employers handle millennials?

Millennials get a bad rap, but we can learn a lot from them. They want to work for organisations that engage with their staff and have strong values and a real sense of company culture. They’re attracted by flexibility and technology which is geared up to make the work life balance easier.

We encourage our clients to promote their strong social values and integrate in to the community, while being more open and honest with their staff, giving feedback about themselves and the company.

Millennials are already socially connected – they know what’s out there and thrive on it, and so they should be celebrated and above all, listened to.

What’s the way forward for HR in our digital age? Could the job ever be automated?

There are some areas which can and are being automated, saving a huge amount of time and money. We include ‘BreatheHR’ in all our packages to reduce HR admin, ‘Rotacloud’ to manage time and attendance and ‘We Thrive’ to support us when we are working to develop company culture, by seeking views and using feedback to help development.

However, we never loose sight that we deal with people who have real emotions, challenges, expectations, pressures, drivers and motivations and only people can really connect with them through knowledge, experience, assertiveness and empathy. A HR nightmare would be a world of “computer says no!”

A little-known fact about yourself?

I had a hip disease as a child and spent a year on a metal frame, and a further six months on callipers which meant I had to learn to walk 3 times – I do like a challenge!

What’s your super power?

Remaining calm in difficult situations (Keeping my shit together says Sam!). Believe me, in the world of HR that’s a real super power!