Wow, what a year it’s been! I always take some time out at this time of year, firstly to reflect on what has worked and what didn’t in the previous year. Why we were successful in some areas and why we failed in others?
It’s often hard to remember what you’ve achieved in a year when you’re working hard to keep everyone happy. When you take some time to think about it however, you begin to realise just how much you have achieved and I’m very proud of the team I have around me who all make a huge contribution to our success. After all it takes a team to win and a team to lose.
We have lost some members of staff this year and I recognise that recruitment and the pace of our business is not for everyone but really appreciate those members of staff who have risen to the challenge and helped to fill the gaps ensuring a seamless service. We have also taken on some excellent new people namely Shane Whittaker, Jamie-Leigh, Claire Wilks and Richard Tidmarsh.
In doing this we have strengthened our offer and added a new Care division in September last year which is bearing some positive fruit. Although we are only half way through the financial year I’m pleased with the overall performance of each division but there’s still work to do before the end of our financial year in April. As well as strengthening relationships with our loyal existing clients we have also taken on 53 new clients this year across all divisions, so that’s more than one new client a week which is an excellent achievement.
Our operational performance is also improving through REC, ISO and FTA audits and we successfully survived the Drivers CPC deadline in September training over 1000 candidates as well as retaining 99% of our existing drivers. I was particularly proud of our FTA agency accreditation this year and pleased we are recognised as a leading light for our industry as a small independent recruitment business.
We try really hard to provide the right support for our staff through new investments which have included an advanced telephone system, new office seating plan, social media programme, new multi-functional website, new company brochures, an office refurbishment and a major radio campaign – all aimed at delivering a better service to you.
Personal development and experience within our team is growing through training and new experiences as well some staff taking professional qualifications for the REC and National CPC to help strengthen our team.
We’ve had some fun on the journey this year taking part in the local pancake races, dragon boats, zombie apocalypse, our annual strategic day tree top climbing exercise as well as doing our bit for charity with the Easter egg promotion and raised over £1200 for a local Christian charity The Rise Trust who support people back to work.
This year we celebrated our 10th anniversary as a company and I have learned so much since we started which I’m looking forward to putting into practice over the next 10 years. We may not have grown as quickly as some other recruitment businesses because we have been very selective on which contracts we service. I’m confident the path we’ve taken is the right one and will continue to grow the business based on the sound values that have got us where we are today. Honesty, loyalty, hard work and commitment to name but a few and it’s important to me that we continue to improve our systems striving for the very highest standards of compliance in everything we do, without cutting corners.
We can’t do this as the cheapest agency, so I accept there are some clients we may never work with and that’s fine. I only want to work with clients and colleagues who value the same things as me and these are the clients we want to attract.
My plans for 2015
When setting new goals for this year I can’t help but think about all the things in my life I am so very grateful for; whether that’s my health, my family or my business and achieving a good balance across these three things is really important to me. So my first objective was to select a word I will abide by this year and the word I have chosen is “balance”.
I will not announce all my personal goals publically in detail, but here are a few that I want to achieve.
- To be thankful for one new thing in my life each day.
- To be home by 6.30pm each evening.
- To drink no more than 2 cups of coffee every day.
- To cycle 100 miles and gym twice per week.
- To complete the Deliotte Land’s end to John O’Groats challenge.
- To drink no alcohol for 3 months of the year.
- To visit at least one new country this year.
- To teach my daughter how to ride a bicycle.
- To eat dinner with my family every evening.
- To go to bed by 11pm week nights.
- To complete the electrics in my campervan.
- To have one child free weekend away with my wife.
My main business goals for 2015
Goal #1 – Develop my team
I have some key objectives I want to achieve in the business; however after 10 years in business I realise the importance of developing my team to achieve these things and it gives me great pleasure to watch people grow in confidence. It takes time to build a strong and loyal team as well as copious amounts of coaching and training. This year I’ve made the decision to focus on key members of staff to help them develop to their full potential, hopefully gaining their loyalty along the way. Assessing key skills within the businesses and working on areas where people need specific training as well as recruiting new staff to help fill any gaps at the same time.
Goal #2 – Opening 3rd Office
I’m delighted to announce that we’ve secured an office in Amesbury which will be opening early this year and putting the strategic plan we have developed into action will be the key to ensuring the success of this new office. This area has traditionally suffered from a serious shortage of candidates but research from Wiltshire council’s core strategy on local development together with some key contracts has led us to this location. We’re looking really forward to the opening and will share more information on this with you soon!
Goal #3 - Equal Share
Some of our clients will remember that until 2011 we only supplied drivers in our recruitment business but the recession provided a great learning curve which led us to diversify into other areas of recruitment. After taking the plunge into industrial, commercial, engineering and more recently the care division, the business grew by 72% in one year. Driving is still the lion’s share of the services we provide but the new divisions are catching up and achieving an equal share for each division remains a firm goal.
Goal #4 – Customer is king
This year I really want to continue to working extra hard on listening to our clients and candidates delivering the highest standards of service possible. Sometimes things do go wrong in business, but I’m a great believer that even when things go wrong, stronger relationships can often be forged between the respective parties. Dealing with these things correctly, promptly and face to face is always best. So I’ll be encouraging my team to do this and want to personally complete customer care reviews face to face with as many clients as possible this year.
Goal #5 – Do it now
There are times when I find myself revisiting an email or piece of paper which has landed on my desk with a quick scan read, then a day or two later find myself looking at it again. This year I want to focus on a “do it now” philosophy, giving the appropriate attention or action the first time round. This is something I want to encourage all staff to do, rather than come back to things again and again taking up twice as much time to complete.
Goal #6 – Say no!
I’m a natural people pleaser and because my business forms an intrinsic part of my life I try hard to keep everyone happy from clients, to candidates and my staff. However, as any business owner will tell you, there are times when the interests of these things conflict with each other. Whether that’s the on call mobile, people’s holidays, how much we pay or charge or the systems we have in place. For this reason it’s impossible to please all the people all the time and there are times when I may have to “say no”. So if I have to say no to you this year, I’ll apologise now and I hope you’ll understand why.
Goal #7 – Cut out time stealers
I know I’m not alone when it comes to the battle against social media in the workplace and the lure of the internet or endless sales calls. So this year I’m putting new software in place to help keep everyone focussed and sticking to a specific time for dealing with enquiries which are not related to the work I’m doing that day. These time stealers have no place in my business, so taking control of them is paramount to improve productivity.
Goal #8 – Compliance commitment
Since the formation of the business back in 2004, compliance has always been important and keeping on top of the latest legislation is never ending. This gives us our competitive edge and I’m proud to say that I’m often told how we outshine other agencies in this area. We were the first agency to achieve the FTA Agency accreditation, a scheme which I helped to develop and now chair. We also employ someone dedicated to compliance within the company, which is unusual for a small independent agency. My commitment to compliance remains firm whether it’s connected to the transport industry, employment law, health and safety, tax or pay related legislation.
Goal #9 – Keeping it fresh
Maintaining a fresh approach to everything we do in the business keeps us moving forward and motivated. As creative person I really enjoy getting involved in new marketing ideas for the business and encourage my staff to put ideas forward too. For example our new strap line “perfectly placed people” was introduced by a member of staff last year. From marketing, sales, IT and finance there are always new things to try and changes to embrace.
I have numerous other goals both personal and work related which I’ll share with my family and work colleagues, but these are the ones I’m happy to share with you.
Thank you as always for all your support, I’m looking forward to an exciting 2015 with you!
All the best,