The lunchtime lockdown with… Pete Byrne

21 Sep 21 by Peter Byrne
Pete Byrne sailing in The Clipper Race

As a firm which places Employee Relations (ER) at our heart, we are proud of the amazing team here at esphr. That is why our current employee Q&A seeks to share a little more about each one of our colleagues.

Up next, is Pete Byrne, our esphr CEO and founder, who discusses his passion for the sea and why the late, brilliant comic Sean Lock – and former school pal – would be the perfect dinner guest…

1. What’s the one thing which marks esphr out as an employer of choice?

We genuinely care about our customers and our team. We see ourselves as a true extension of our customers’ HR/ER teams and really listen to them to continuously improve the overall experience – it is a passion!

2. What would you say if you were to explain what esphr does to an alien?

We help HR and ER teams genuinely transform their in-house ER capabilities and help them become better, and more independent, in their roles.

3. If you could give anyone an internal award, who would it be and what would it be for?

Sam Davies, our head of commercial operations. I just don’t know what the business would do without her.

4. What is your funniest memory of someone in the team?

I have so many fond memories of our team ‘away days’ and holidays together that I could not possibly pick one experience out.

5. What keeps the job interesting for you?

The variety of work that is continuously offered up by the business and our customers. Every day is a privilege, with a mix of interesting, strategic and tactical issues to address.

6. If you hadn’t chosen/gone into the career you’re in, what other profession would you be in?

Dropping off yachts around the world as a professional delivery skipper.

7. Where do you see esphr in five years’ time?

As the UK’s leading law firm disruptor for employment law and ER support to the mid and large enterprise business sectors.

8. A little-known fact about you?

I once sailed across the southern Indian Ocean in a yacht race from Durban to Perth.

9. If we went into lockdown again, who would you like to be locked down with and why?

My wife Clare and our two dogs Peppa and Bella. It worked last time, so why change a winning formula?

10. Which five celebrities (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party?

Michelle Obama – I also think she would be an interesting next presidential candidate. Sean Lock – an old school friend who sadly died of lung cancer recently. He was someone who was so funny, he made your tummy hurt!

There’s also Sir Richard Branson to learn a business trick or two from; the ex-England cricket captain Sir Andrew Strauss who could talk through leadership at an elite level, and the fantastic Ruth Strauss Foundation – in memory of his wife – and Liam Gallagher as I think he would make for an interesting dynamic!


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It’s our mission to advise and develop the employment law capability of HR professionals wherever we can, helping HR teams make a real commercial difference to their organisations. That way, you spend less time solving operational issues and more time actioning projects that drive far-reaching change in your company.

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Post by Peter Byrne

Founder, esphr

Pete set up esphr in March 2003, after running an HR resource management business for three years.