Effective HR without a Big Budget – Tips and Signposts from Lunch and Learn at Mallusk Enterprise Hub with Danske Bank



Supporting local businesses and social enterprises to start up and grow, a service our social enterprise with charitable status has been offering since 1992,  includes helping entrepreneurs learn how to navigate recruiting, developing and retaining employees. The Autumn 2023 Lunch and Learn session in Mallusk Enterprise Hub sponsored by Danske Bank covered ‘Effective HR without a Big Budget’ and featured the insights and expertise of HR professional Lauren Glencross.

Delegates attending the free event learned about the 8 factors that make up how engaged an employee is, ways to attract talent, how to go about retaining talent & the means to achieve equality, inclusion & diversity including tackling unconscious bias.

The training room at Mallusk Enterprise Hub was full & the attendees were actively engaged with useful discussion & questions.

Top signposts

  • Glass Door interview questions
  • ACAS website
  • Labour Relations Agency
  • Social Media including LinkedIn Jobs
  • Indeed
  • Apprenticeships
  • CIPD
  • Women in Business NI
  • Business in the Community 


Top Tips

* Attractiveness is about more than salary – other benefits are worth it too
* If using a recruitment agency, you can use more than one but remember to negotiate a rebate period should a new employee not make it past their probation
* Keep your social media active all year round – your prospective employees can & will check you out online
* Try to keep job descriptions to one page & include the salary & package if possible
* Competency questions work well in an interview but 5-6 questions in an interview is enough
* Be mindful that job applicants are a customer or potential customer or might be friendly with someone who could be a perfect hire down the line so try to get back to them
* Hire for potential – look at softer skills like innovation, adaptability & attitude
* Small things can make a big difference – like providing breakfast supplies at work
* Mentoring is a brilliant thing to avail of & to provide to others too
* Training opportunities & career pathways are useful to provide even if it’s just signposts to free courses on Coursera or Udemy
* Taking employee well-being initiatives on board can reduce absenteeism – apps like Balance offer a free trial, others include Calm to help with sleep hygiene & stress reduction
* It is rarely one size fits all so talk to your employees to see what is important to them
* Be mindful of unconscious bias
* If in doubt always seek advice
* Communication is key


Top TakeAways from Mallusk Enterprise Park CEO, Emma Garrett

This was both an informative and interactive lunch and learn workshop and some of my key takeaways included;

  • Recruit for attitude and train for skill (Believe me; this an important one!)
  • Consider alternative recruitment methods; i.e. utilise existing employees to source new team members and reward accordingly. They know your business and culture better than anybody else.
  • Rewards don’t always have to be monetary; what motivates your employees? Salary is simply a “hygiene factor.”
  • What can you do to improve employee wellbeing? Lots of suggestions were given by both Lauren and attendees. I’ve noted quite a few down so watch this space!!


The next Lunch & Learn is in January 2024 – topic ideas welcomed – if you have a specific learning need then please get in touch with our business advice and support team today.

With thanks to our speaker HR professional Lauren Glencross & Ryan Mawhinney – head of small business banking at Danske Bank for sponsoring the 2023 & 2024 Lunch & Learn Sessions at Mallusk. To be the first to know about future events at Mallusk Enterprise Park follow us on eventbrite, sign up to our email newsletter and/or follow us on social media, where you can also find lots more photos from the Lunch and Learn event.


Danske Bank at Lunch and Learn in Mallusk Enterprise Hub venue at Malluskj Enterprise Park


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About the Lunch and Learn series at Mallusk Enterprise Park sponsored by Danske Bank


The educational lunches aim to bring local entrepreneurs together to benefit from quick lessons and tips in managing threats to business as well as enablers for growth such as cyber security, fraud, sustainability and people.
The sessions delivered by experts from across Danske bank are part of the leadership team commitment to supporting Northern Ireland business owners and encouraging them to take proactive steps to reduce or alleviate risks and to understand the things that they can proactively put in place to improve their sustainability score.
Ryan Mawhinney, Head of small business banking at Danske Bank said:
“Small and emerging businesses are at the heart of the Northern Ireland economy. They provide a key role in innovation and the development of new ways of working. We in Danske Bank are proud to be able to support this sector in conjunction with Mallusk Enterprise Park in sponsoring a number of Lunch and learn events in the coming months, specifically looking at topics that will be beneficial to smaller businesses, with sustainability, fraud protection, accessing finance, HR and being the best place to work amongst the range of topics.”
The business events will be hosted in Mallusk Enterprise Park’s new enterprise hub space.


About Mallusk Enterprise Park



Established in 1992 Mallusk Enterprise Park is a local enterprise agency located in Newtownabbey. Operating as a social enterprise Mallusk Enterprise Park is committed to supporting individuals and businesses in the Newtownabbey area, throughout each and every stage of their entrepreneurial journey. Through various programmes, events, initiatives and available spaces, the experienced business advisory team at Mallusk Enterprise Park provide advice, guidance and resources to help entrepreneurs realise their business goals.

Mallusk Enterprise Park operates from a purpose built business park offering 50,000 square feet of workspace, office accommodation, meeting and conference spaces including private huddle rooms, co-working desks and a professional mailing address service to more than 60 local businesses and their 250+ employees.

CEO of Mallusk Enterprise Park, Emma Garrett is available for interview and for viewings of the workspaces available across Mallusk Enterprise Park and within Mallusk Enterprise Hub and  tenant businesses located within the business park.


About Mallusk Enterprise Hub


The Mallusk Enterprise Hub in Mallusk Enterprise Park business park comprises five individual huddle rooms/private 2-3 person meeting pods, a co-working area, a breakout space and a conference room, with state of the art equipment including a Donview interactive scree and  a meeting owl for hybrid events, which can accommodate up to 40 delegates.


Photo credits: Christine Watson, Watson & Co. Chartered Marketing