Future 50: Five new recruits for fast-growing HR consultancy 

Pauline Lifton (centre), Victoria Smith (second right) and Carole Burman (left) with the rest of the MAD-HR team

New recruits Pauline Lifton (centre) and Victoria Smith (second right) with managing director Carole Burman (left) and the rest of the MAD-HR team - Credit: MAD-HR

MAD-HR, an HR consultancy with offices in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, has doubled the size of its team as it celebrates its eighth anniversary.  

The company was founded in May 2014 by Carole Burman and has since expanded from Suffolk into neighbouring counties. “Suffolk is our heartland; it's where the business started,” said Carole. “However, what we have discovered is that our brand of HR – which goes beyond just compliance – is something that's been really welcomed throughout the east of England.”  

To meet growing demand for its services, MAD-HR has recruited four new HR consultants: Jo Button and Dawn Bloom in Suffolk, Pauline Lifton in Essex and Victoria Smith in Norfolk. It has also appointed Shelley Measures as client engagement manager, taking its team from five to 10.  

“We've had a surge in enquiries coming our way, and part of the reason for increasing our headcount was to be able to satisfy those,” said Carole. “But we're also recognising that we've got existing clients that we could do so much more with to help amplify what they're already doing.” 

MAD-HR assists businesses with all aspects of HR – many of which often go unrecognised, said Carole. “People tend to think that HR is only involved when you join or leave a business – or when you have been on the naughty step,” she explained. “But there is so much more that HR does. It’s about how you make the most of the people resource within your business. 

“That covers everything from how you reward and incentivise people, to how you communicate with them. How do you get people to feel committed and motivated to show up every single day? How do you promote your employer brand to attract and retain the best talent in your sector? Those are the things we work on with clients to help make their businesses the best they possibly can be.”  

Jo Button, HR consultant at MAD-HR

Jo Button joined MAD-HR as an HR consultant in April - Credit: MAD-HR


Regardless of how MAD-HR works with a client, Carole said spending time within their business is essential. “To do our best work, we effectively become a business partner,” she explained. “We work with the leadership team to really get under the skin of what goes on in that business, what success look likes and what its ambitions are for the next 12 months to three years.  

“We then make sure that whatever plan we put in place runs parallel to that, so that we can work really proactively with the business. There’s no point just being a reactive service – that's not how we make a difference.”   

Most Read

While businesses had little choice but to be reactive at the start of the pandemic, Carole explained that many of MAD-HR's clients are starting to plan for the long-term again.  

“At the beginning of the pandemic, some of the big, more strategic projects probably got put to one side because it was all about survival,” she said. “But I would say in the last 12 to 18 months, we've certainly seen a transition back into businesses thinking more about what they need to do for the future. 

“As a result of the pandemic, people have had their eyes opened to the potential marketplace that is out there for talent, whereby they can now start thinking more nationally, or in some cases internationally.”  

Having expanded into Norfolk and Essex, MAD-HR is planning to grow its client base in those counties, while looking at further growth in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire.   

“In order to do that, we've got to make sure we've got the right team, the right infrastructure and the right systems,” said Carole. “For me, it's just a joy to see people coming into the business who share that passion for wanting to make a difference to clients and to our profession.”  

For more information, visit www.mad-hr.co.uk