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Harrogate-based HR Expert becomes Amazon Best Seller after launching fundraising resource to support managers in 2022

Sally Bendtson, The Planager Creator

This week a local business owner whose livelihood could have crumbled in lockdown, like many others in her industry did, is celebrating a significant achievement and contribution to her profession, as her new guide for managers who are juggling it all; ‘ The Planager’ sits right next to The infamous ‘The E-Myth’, by Michael Gerber, in the Amazon Bestseller list for Human Resources books, putting 44 year old Sally Bendtson from North Yorkshire in good company.

Sally, founder of Limelight HR is also creating a further impact by donating £1 from every sale of The Planager to Mind, via Work for Good, as part of her commitment to contribute to create better mental health and wellbeing at work, something the Planager is hugely focused on.

With over 15 years HR experience spanning working within organisations such as BBC, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and The Guardian, Sally, now self employed, is a busy working mum who has struggled to juggle it all. One who knows from experience that staying on top of things can be a challenge for managers in today’s working world, The Planager is Sally’s latest asset to help other managers keep on top of life, their teams and their businesses. Fuelled by a desire to help small businesses grow and achieve their goals by creating teams who are motivated, productive, engaged, happy and are having fun, Sally has taken the top three areas of concern as the basis of her bespoke planning tool. Concerns involving how to lead a team, how to have fun with a team and how to look after their people’s health and wellbeing are all addressed through Month and Week views using awareness days to spark ideas.

A local actress and performer Sally is known for her fun loving character and tapping into her creativity in lockdown she combatted her own mental wellbeing and need for balance by having fun on TikTok – with her most popular post amassing 2.7 million views being shared globally. In the Planager she brings her unique lighthearted fun approach to what can sometimes feel like heavy subject areas.

Sally said:“I’m not a naturally organised person, being a creative type myself I’m a bit of a magpie, I love shiny new objects and get easily distracted so I have implemented a number of methods over the years to keep me focussed and on track.

“As a business owner, and especially now I manage my own team, I know how difficult it is staying on top of all your client work, projects, admin and planning as well as being the best boss you can be. But I also know that my team is more important than anything else and that with them on board we can achieve amazing things – but only if we’re all on the same page, enjoying our work and working together towards our shared goals, in a way that is fun for all.”

“I’ve bought various diaries and planners and love having the structure of something to fill in and follow through so I signed up to a ‘create your own planner’ challenge on Facebook and by the end of the first day my head was overflowing with ideas for an HR Planner. It became so clear that so many of the day-to-day challenges faced by managers could be helped by having a people planner to work through. All the great stuff about managing a team can be easy if you have a framework to work within and a way to track and organise your time. Good management is about clarity, communication and consistency and how better to ensure you can provide your team with that than writing it all down and following it through?”

“I set up the business essentially to take my experience from working with big brands and make a positive, lasting impact on small businesses with big ambitions. My aim is to help build creative, family-feel organisations that are fast, fun and full of motivated people.”
“I wanted to pull all these resources together in one easy-to-use place,” says Sally. “It takes the hard graft out of research so that busy managers can more effectively spend their time on implementation. Not only have we included all the awareness days but we’ve included a QR code with a link to a webpage full of ideas and suggestions as to what you can do on those days, making it super easy to put a quick and simple plan in place.”

“There are leadership sections focussing on strategic goal setting and team communication because being a great manager is about managing the joys and the challenges of your staff. If you struggle with having difficult conversations we’ve included a full page of tips, do’s and don’t as well as some suggestions of how to start the conversation.”

“We also appreciate that being a manager is a massive learning curve so each month we have included a bite size management, leadership or performance model or theory and diagram to give you an overview of it. There is space for you to try it out yourself and take notes and it gives you a real opportunity to reflect on how you manage the team and situations that arise and whether they are things you can do to improve personally or as a team.”

“My aim is to find simple, straight forward and fun solutions for ambitious businesses who want to build creative organisations that still have a family-feel and for me The Planager is a perfect way to achieve that. I want to create happy workplaces where people come first, bringing life and laughter to every workplace. My mission is to help small businesses grow and achieve their goals by creating a team of people who are motivated, productive, engaged, happy and having fun.”

Sally has brought the breadth of her client experience to bear within the planning tool which is designed with her own clients in mind.
“By creating The Planager I want to give both my clients and other business owners and managers that support and guidance on a daily basis to give them the confidence to be the type of manager they want to be and to help them feel in control and motivated so in turn they can motivate their teams.”

With over 15 years media HR experience working In-house at the likes of BBC, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and The Guardian, Sally launched her own HR company, Limelight HR 5 years ago and she’s bringing all her learning to current clients including Reel Film, Savvy Marketing, Lily Comms, Edinburgh Television Festival, Plank PR, Toffee Hammer Productions