With small business owners wearing more than a few hats, sometimes it’s worth looking at an external human resource company for support, employment law guidance and task delegation. HR operations are often not built into business models, yet play a critical role in areas such as reducing employee turnover, building strong workplace culture and helping businesses experience long-term success.
That’s where Woodard & Associates, LLC can help. They are an award-winning consulting firm based in Virginia Beach but serving all of Hampton Roads, VA and the Outer Banks, NC.
Julie Woodard, owner of Woodard & Associates, has worked in senior human resources leadership roles for over 18 years in both the public and private sectors.
“For years, friends would seek my advice regarding their employee issues, small business challenges and guidance in how to manage their workforces,” Julie said. “I saw there was a special niche in Hampton Roads that needed human resources support. Most business owners truly want to do the right thing and deeply care about their employees.”
As a young woman, Julie learned of her parents’ struggles as immigrants from Colombia, South America. Often times, the companies her parents worked for would not practice labor law compliance. Favorable working conditions such as receiving health benefits, fair wages and dignified treatment were rare amongst non-English speaking employees. Her parents worked hard, and often worked several jobs, to provide for her and her sister. When Julie learned of these injustices, it helped shape her decision at an early age to someday play an integral part in helping create ideal work environments for all employees. She now partners with business owners to provide them with the expert knowledge of labor laws, retention strategies and performance objectives.
The biggest challenge Julie encountered when starting her business was gaining exposure in the marketplace. She had to register and attend many different business and community networking groups. Having worked mostly for privately-owned businesses, it was a challenge to get the business name recognized. Julie also had to learn more in-depth social media skills and prioritize her schedule carefully. However, the actual process to start the company was not long. Within a few weeks of planning, the company welcomed its first clients.
“My husband, William, has also supported and assisted in my company endeavors,” Woodard stated. “His professional background lies greatly in compliance, and working with him on projects has been invaluable. It’s made us a stronger team. Go #TeamWoodard!”
“An ongoing challenge I face is to protect my time in order to provide remarkable customer service to my clients. This can be challenging, but certainly attainable. I work a strict schedule and pride myself in returning emails, telephone calls, texts and website inquiries by close of business, daily.”
Woodard & Associates is now a certified SWaM, Small Woman and Minority, based business with the state of Virginia. “It’s one of those things that I wish I had known about in the earlier parts of my firm’s inception,” she laments. “It is a wonderful resource for business owners and there are many tools and support programs in place.”
The firm’s greatest success thus far has been winning the CoVa’s (Coastal Virginia) Best in Business Gold place award as Best HR Firm in Hampton Roads in July 2017.
She went on to say, “The best part of owning my business is being able to share my talents with the greater business community.” This allows me to partner with many different companies and help them refine their people processes while safeguarding their businesses from potential risk and liability. I thoroughly enjoy seeing my clients thriving, streamlining their processes, and their employees having satisfaction not only in their work, but fostering meaningful work relationships with the company owners.”
Her advice to anyone wanting to start their own business is, “understand that it takes brains, bravery and countless hours of hard work. There are no short-cuts. Also, make sure the business you’re starting is one you truly enjoy. I’m often told I have so much passion for what I do. Yes. I do. I love helping business owners succeed. I love human resources management. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have invested 18 years in the field. So, love what you do!”
Woodard & Associates assists small to medium size businesses with HR compliance, non-compete and non-disclosure agreements, recruiting and retention strategies to minimize turnover, creation of customized employee handbooks, performance management, corrective actions/disciplines, employee and manager training and lawful guidance in terminations of employment, to name a few of their services. In addition, Woodard & Associates offers three different tiers of unique HR Retainer packages to help business owners save time and money. We serve as your very own HR department! For more information on the HR Retainer options, please visit http://woodard-associates.com/hr-on-retainer.
This member spotlight can also be read in our Q4 Retail Angles, view digital version here.