Justine Watkinson

Human Resources

justine watkinson human resources profile

Justine has been Head of the Employment Law team at Hillyer Mckeown for 15 years working with many clients across the UK and has been listed in the Legal 500 for the last 5 years as a HR and Employment Law solicitor of choice.

Clients regularly provide feedback that she extremely client focused and provides easy to understand and practical advice to their HR and Employment law matters. She can implement and deliver focussed support and strategic advice in the employment and HR space for SME’s across a wide range of sectors including professional services, food and drink, manufacturing, retail, logistics, recruitment and advanced engineering.

She works with a large number of SME businesses supporting, developing and implementing their employment law and HR policies and procedures and overarching HR strategies to ensure that they have solid foundations upon which to grow and develop their businesses and their people to help them meet their broader business objectives.

Current clients include

  • a Technology Group that provides faster internet, proactive IT managed and telephony services for hard to reach rural and urban businesses, communities and regions; and Justine has been its principle advisor working directly with the senior management team to develop HR and Employment law policies to ensure this fast growing business has the right building blocks in place to support its continued rapid growt
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  • the oldest Jam making business in England. Her consistent HR and Employment Law support has assisted the continued growth of the business year on year. The business was very proud to announce this year that it had won a Manchester Evening News Business of the Year award in the £50-100 million category! It gas low staff turnover, excellent retention rates and runs an engaged and productive work force.
  • a 100 year old industrial painting company to stream-line its operations to ensure that all the employees following a number of TUPE transfers are in the correct parts of the business, working to clear and well drafted terms and conditions with a good understanding of the strategic goals of the company.

Justine has been a sessional lecturer in Employment Law and Business at MMU, and is presently a visiting law lecturer at the University of Law.

Areas of Professional Expertise

  • Strategic HR
  • Employment Law
  • HR and Management Training
  • Employee Engagement, Management Development and Culture Change

Entrepreneurial track record

I have been responsible for the growth of the Employment Law Team at Hillyer Mckeown from scratch. In 2006 there were no commercial employment clients, I have driven in over 100 clients to purchase our fixed fee HR and Employment Law fixed fee services with revenues in excess of £250k. The department as a whole now turns over in excess of £450k per annum with a team of 6 employment and HR experts. We have a proven track record of delivery over the past 10 years.

I am now also responsible for building the training arm from scratch to add to Hillyer McKeown’s diversified service offerings wiith the aim of generating revenues in excess of 30k by the end of Year 2.

Mini case studies demonstrating impact from recent assignments

Hillyer McKeown LLP: I was responsible for development of a fixed fee HR and Employment Law service for the company including concept, how and what levels the advice would be delivered at, the branding and marketing and sales. This included creating a service that differentiates itself from others in the market by ensuring the quality of the advice that the team provides is both commercial aswell as protecting the business with the goal of giving swift practical solutions to often very tricky and emotional people problems and issues, that can disable a business, and stunt its growth.

We have seen a steady growth in this fixed fee service year on year with circa 30 per cent growth, with retention rates of circa 90 per cent across all industries.

Food manufacturer – North Wales; I have recently supported a food manufacturer in North Wales to implement the recommendations made by a management consultant’s report to re organise the business and senior management team to create a management team that could drive the business forward. This involved a lot of hands on support to exit longstanding employees from the business and to start to engage with new managers and support their integration into the business. The founder of the company described our employment law services as “ridiculously awesome” and the changes we have supported them with are leading to increased productivity and sales. The company has won 85 Great Taste Awards over the years and is well known nationally.

I am passionate about HR and Employment Law. I have a very collegiate attitude and can take people with me. I understand the law and so can properly develop, advise and drive a companies strategic people plans with the minimum of risk and exposure. I can add real value at the highest levels of the business.