What is a Management Consultant?

So after a very busy week of very enjoyable networking; I found myself consistently trying to explain what is a "Management Consultant" and what services I offer my clients .

So I decided to do a little research (one of my skills) and came across this very good description:

Being a management consultant is all about having a "Swiss Army knife of solutions you can use to work with a client".

Others included:

  • Fulfilling business needs that cannot be undertaken successfully by the client due to lack of time or other resources
  • Using their independence to manage difficult or political situations on behalf of their client, often using change management expertise and human resource knowledge
  • Gaining an independent and innovative overview of businesses in order to identify areas of improvement or development, stimulating the client to change or adopt desired practices.

So, if you are a busy manager or business owner who does not have time to keep up with changes to Irish Legislation or have staffing issues please give me a call. I work across sectors and can offer simple solutions that can give employers confidence and reassurance.

Maighréad Kelly is a management consultant and offers a range of supports to employers in the area of HR and Operations. Maighréad is an experienced interviewer and is available to sit on interview panels as an external and impartial interviewer and advisor. She also works as an external investigator and is available to carry out investigations into complaints which can arise within an organisation from time to time. For more information on the services that Maighréad provides go to www.maighreadkelly.com or check out Maighréad’s experience on https://www.linkedin.com/in/maighreadkelly/ 

How to reduce the risks associated with workplace investigation practices?

When faced with a complaint in an organisation, employers will often try and resolve the complaint themselves or will delegate the task to a junior manager. Resolving the matter can take many forms but if not handled correctly it can have significant financial, legal and reputational implications. Some of the most common mistakes that employers often make during the course of an internal workplace investigation can include:

  1. The forgoing of the pre-investigation planning stage and moving straight into investigation.
  2. The investigator chooses to morph the investigation and disciplinary steps into the same process.
  3. The investigator chooses to rely on "untested" information and therefore unduly favours one version of events and ignores discrepancies.
  4. Due to the fact that this is an internal investigation they are unable to establish a process that is perceived as independent and free of bias.
  5. Internal investigations can often be delayed, due to a number of reasons however, this "delay" can often fuel speculation and gossip therefore jeopardising appropriate disciplinary action.

Mistakes in investigations can end up being very costly for the employer and employee. The employer needs to consider what is the best approach and always take into account the needs of the business. One of the most significant considerations for employers is whether to engage an external investigator.

It may not always be appropriate or beneficial for the employer to engage an external investigator however a good investigator will induce confidence for both parties as the findings will be unbiased and independent.

Maighréad Kelly Management Consultant offers a range of supports for employers in the area of HR and Workplace Investigations. Maighréad is an experienced external investigator and is available to carry out investigations into complaints which can arise within an organisation from time to time. For more information on the services that Maighréad offers provide go to www.maighreadkelly.com or check out Maighréad’s experience on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/maighreadkelly/

Common pitfalls that employers experience when undertaking interviews…..

One of the biggest challenges facing employers in today’s employment market is the ability to be able to hire and retain good and loyal workers who are willing to take on the responsibilities of the role. Most Senior Managers within the health and caring sector state that a significant amount of their time involves sitting on interview boards trying to hire employees for the same positions over and over again. It must be acknowledged that demand for services within the health and care sector is growing year on year therefore a high level of turnover is to be expected. But the first thing I like to ask is: What information did you give the prospective employee at interview and how skilled was the person who carried out the interview?

A good interview is essential and it cannot be a one-sided. Every interviewer likes it when they interview people who are clear about their experience, can answer every question effectively and demonstrates the competence to undertake the role. Great job done, person leaves the room and everyone is happy. Twelve months later the employee resigns or the employer observes that the answers that they gave at interview does not match their work performance. What went wrong?

Well in my experience it can often be at the interview stage where it went wrong. The interview is the most important step towards hiring good employees as this is where both the employer and prospective employee establish their future working relationship. In the past I have been accused of being too direct in interviews and some of my fellow interviewers have expressed concerns that “I might put the person off…” In some cases it did but in most cases it did not. It is always important to remember that both the employee and the employer sign the contract therefore it is important that both sides on clear from day one what they are agreeing to. Good and Loyal employees know their role, their responsibilities and who they are accountable to.

Here are some tips for employers when carrying out interviews:

  1. Members of the Interview Panel are not skilled in effective interviewing: There is a common assumption that interviews are easy and once you use the correct paperwork and ask the questions on the form you will be fine. Some managers within the health and care sector are very skilled in their area but will often only have received cursory interview training and don’t know the pitfalls that can lead to bad interviewing and hiring results. Also there is an assumption that the more interviews you do the better you will get at them. However a bit like learning to drive, if you pick up bad habits in the beginning it is very hard to change them later down the line. Also it is very difficult for HR managers to know who is effective and who requires more support as they are often not on the interview panels and therefore have no way of knowing what might be happening during an individual manager’s interviews.
  2. Contrasting Candidates when interviewing large numbers in a row: Due to time constraints it is often necessary for managers to schedule one to two days of interviews in a row. Whilst this is often unavoidable the interviewer needs to be careful not to contrast one candidate over another. If an interviewer has several bad interviews in a row, the next person who performs much better may be inaccurately rated as outstanding, simply because they are so much better than the recent poor performers. Interviewers will often notice this at the end of the day when it comes to the scoring. The first couple of candidates might score lower in the morning for certain competencies compared to the candidate who comes in after two or three candidates who performed badly or who comes in straight after lunch. The reverse effect is also possible.
  3. Don’t get fooled by the enthusiasm of the Candidate: If the interviewers have had a long run of candidates who don’t perform well they can often get smitten with candidates who demonstrate enthusiasm and passion. This can result in the interviewer failing to accurately assess other important competencies and job requirements.
  4. One-way conversation: Something I have been guilty of in the past as an interviewer – is spending more time talking during the interview rather than listening. Most interviewers don’t leave equal time for the candidate to ask questions and to present information that they want to present, which can frustrate them, and then limited information is used to make the decision.
  5. Focusing too much on past experience: Interviews are mostly based on the past but whoever you hire will be working in the present and future. Most interviewers fail to ask candidates to forecast the future and to provide an outline of the plans that they will use to identify and solve upcoming problems.

Maighréad Kelly is a management consultant and offers a range of supports to employers in the area of HR and Operations. Maighréad is an experienced interviewer and is available to sit on interview panels as an external and impartial interviewer and advisor. She also works as an external investigator and is available to carry out investigations into complaints which can arise within an organisation from time to time. For more information on the services that Maighréad provides go to www.maighreadkelly.com or check out Maighréad’s experience on https://www.linkedin.com/in/maighreadkelly/ 

How do we set boundaries for ourselves so that we don't end up working long hours and weekends......

According to Beth Crocker's article in Thrive Global "It is incumbent on you to determine the root cause of the long hours, and work toward diminishing them to drive better productivity, higher morale, and improved quality". Beth has put together a list of tips to Set Boundaries in the Age of Burn-out and gets us to question if answering that email or working long hours is Really “Weekend Worthy?”

Check it out https://lnkd.in/e98FKqi

#morale #societyandculture #workinghours

Are you constantly checking or sending work emails outside of office hours? As an employer, you may need to reconsider....

With the introduction of smart phones and our ability to easily access our emails outside of the office; we have all become far more accessible to both our employer and our employees. But is this a good thing?

A recent case in Ireland brought home to me the need for employers to bring in policies around the use of smart phones outside of office hours in their organisation. The Irish Times reported on the 2nd August 2018 that an executive for Kepak was awarded €7,500 for having to deal with late night emails. The employee reported that she worked close to 60 hours a week and was handling emails after midnight. According to the Labour Court "The law is very clear. Employees are entitled to an uninterrupted 11 hour break between finishing work and starting work the following day". They also pointed out that checking emails is considered to be working time. Therefore, if you were to add up all of the hours that employees spend outside of office time, sending and responding to emails could bring their working hours in excess of 48 hours. This is the maximum number of hours that Irish employees should be working on a regular basis.

We are all guilty of checking our emails outside of the office as it is often easier to respond there and then rather than wait until the next day. There is also a European-wide push to have the work place more flexible. Therefore employees may choose to send and respond to emails outside of office as long as the employer allows them some flexibility to be able to undertake some personal tasks during office hours. If employers do decide to go down this road they should have clear policies and procedures for employees, which clearly outlines how it is going to work for both the employer and the employee. They should also ensure that any agreement between both parties does not breach the Working Time Act.

Employers should never assume that the employee will be okay with being contacted outside of office hours. In my experience being given a mobile phone by your employer implies that you are accessible 24 hours a day. This is no longer the case. Some European Countries have started to individually address this issue and as of the 1st January 2017 the French brought in new employment laws which obliges organisations with more than 50 workers to start negotiations to define the rights of employees to ignore smartphones and guarantee employees "the right to disconnect".

All employers should consider that every employee has the "right to disconnect". If the role requires the post holder to be contactable outside of office hours regardless of the employees preference then the employer needs to pay the employee an "on call allowance".

What does GDPR mean for your Sports or Recreational Club?

Some might think data protection is for large organisations and doesn’t apply to small organisations and clubs. But if your club holds names, addresses and contact details, next of kin details, disability data, financial information including bank account details, means that you must adhere to the Data Protection Act 1988 (DPA).

From the 25th May 2018 new EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) have placed certain obligations on sports clubs who process individual’s personal data. It regulates how personal information should be used and protects people from misuse of their personal details. So, you now need to not only know what your obligations are, but club committees need to understand how the DPA affects your club going forward. It is the law and non-compliance can lead to complaints being made to the Data Protection Commissioners Office. If data is misused there could be a fine levied against your club.


Personal data will be:

  1. Processed fairly and lawfully

Have a legitimate reason for collecting and using the data and tell the individual what you will be doing with their data.

  1. Processed for specified, lawful and compatible purposes

Open about the reasons for obtaining personal data.

  1. Adequate, relevant and not excessive

Hold sufficient personal data about an individual to do the job and not hold more information than is needed.

  1. Accurate and up to date

Take reasonable steps to ensure the information is accurate and up to date.

  1. Not kept for longer than necessary

Consider the purpose for why you hold the information and regularly review how long you keep the data.

  1. Processed in accordance with the rights of the individual

The DPA gives certain rights to individuals. The main ones to note are – any individual has the right to view certain information that is held about them, the right to prevent the processing of their personal information and the right to say no to marketing information.

  1. Processed with appropriate security

Be aware of how personal data and sensitive personal data is protected - lock filing cabinets, change passwords regularly on computers, password protect documents.

  1. Not transferred outside the European Economic Area without adequate protection

Do not transfer outside of the EEA unless that country has adequate protection for personal and sensitive personal date.


  • Adopt a data protection statement for your club
  • Ensure any forms that collect Personal Data (i.e. club membership form) include a data protection statement and consent from each club member
  • Ensure all records are kept securely and up to date – i.e. locked away, password protected documents on computers.
  • Old data about past members should be deleted
  • Ensure that only nominated (ideally no more than three) club officials have access to Personal Data and understand how to comply with the Act
  • Do not disclose – written or verbal – any Personal Data for any member to anyone
  • Ensure that for any emails that are sent to more than one individual, email addresses are BCC’d (blind copied).
  • Consider the adoption of a Data Protection Policy and place it on your club website