Entirely South East


Woking-headquartered ESP HR receives royal appointment

The prestigious 213 year old Royal Horticultural Society has appointed Woking-headquartered ESP HR to provide integrated online Human Resources support and specialist employment law advice.

Woking-headquartered ESP HR receives royal appointment

The well-known brand – famous for its beautiful gardens across the country – is an expanding organisation with many strands to its business. With 920 employees and a network of volunteers, the RHS also organises inspirational flower shows, education, scientific research, retail and catering services, to name just a few.

The diverse business will therefore face increasingly varied HR requirements as it continues to grow. The search for comprehensive support brought RHS to ESP.

In one of the fastest consultation processes ESP has experienced for a client of this size, meetings were held and the decision made to switch from RHS’ incumbent supplier within the month.

"I was really impressed with the personalised approach of ESP and their value-driven culture that seems to echo our own."
Steve Chilcott

Commenting on ESP’s appointment, Steve Chilcott, Head of People Services at the RHS said: “We had been using our previous online HR advice subscription for over 10 years, but in that time, the market has evolved significantly. I found that complete A-Z advisory services were now available, rather than the more traditional A-M models whereby further costly legal support is required for matters of further complexity.

“I was really impressed with the personalised approach of ESP and their value-driven culture that seems to echo our own. Plus, given they have their own team of employment solicitors – who are already extremely familiar with our business and can really enhance the knowledge of our own experienced HR team – the move made far greater commercial sense.”

ESP Group’s founder Pete Byrne added: “Back in 2015, the Royal Horticultural Society announced a 10-year, £160m strategic investment plan to enrich everyone’s life through plants. It would be very difficult to achieve this landmark vision without the efforts of the organisation’s people, but Steve and his team seem to work tirelessly on the development of well-skilled, motivated and robust colleagues, throughout the business.”

With more than 250 clients on its books, ESP supports both SMEs and large household brands including Ladbrokes Coral, luxury luggage retailer Antler and global fashion giant PVH Holdings – owner of brands such as Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. The company announced the formation of a Leeds-based legal team in late spring, taking employee numbers to 15.

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