Each year between Christmas and New Year I take some time to set my personal and business goals starting with reflection of the previous year. This gives me time to think about what went well, what didn’t go so well, what I can learn from and how I can improve things going forward. I haven’t achieved all my goals from 2016 for various reasons but I’m pleased with the ones I have.
As a recruitment business, it’s no exaggeration to say we change people’s lives through employment. We recognise the impact this has on their families and the wider community around us, which makes the job we do incredibly fulfilling. We provide an important service to the business and job-seeking community in which we work, and providing an excellent level of customer service to both our clients and our candidates is something I take very seriously.
2016 has been a busy year with some tough decisions and the business has changed immensely from where we started nearly 13 years ago, in 2004. Some of those changes have not been comfortable but I’m pleased to say that the results today reflect we made the right decisions.
To date this financial year, we have grown by 25%, taken on 35 new clients at an average of 2 new clients per week, compared to last year’s average of one per week; we have strengthened all divisions, in particular healthcare, which we launched just 18 months ago, and is now our fastest growing division, and are in the process of launching the Care Academy.
Other achievements this year include a new website; a new referral scheme, where candidates are given a ‘thank you’ shopping voucher to the value of £100 for referring new candidates to us; IT improvements, including new computers, a dedicated broadband line and a move to the Cloud; we’ve taken on six additional staff this year; passed our REC, FTA and ISO audits demonstrating our high standards of compliance; we have a new pool car and a juke box; our Salisbury branch has exceeded set targets, we have new signage for our Chippenham office and have significantly reduced our debtor days thanks to our excellent finance team. Our Christmas video campaign was hugely successful this year engaging with over 10,000 people and our social media reach has increased throughout the year.
We are an ethical business and we spent some time this year revising our values and mission statement, getting the management team’s input. These are displayed prominently on our website, and we live and breathe by them. They are: being crystal clear, offering five-star service, remaining compliant, having the right attitude, and investing in people. We have supported the work of Business Against Poverty as platinum members this year and raised additional funds towards the support of a family in poverty, as well as raised funds towards a trip for three members of staff to support their eco-farm in Romania in April 2017.
We work hard to take care of our staff. This year we have revised contracts, job descriptions, the staff handbook, established a career development plan and issued thank you letters to staff for 100% attendance - all of which helps our team feel more secure and confident in their roles. This year we’ve had more staff making use of our healthcare cashback scheme and corporate Bowood ticket to a family adventure park than ever before.
I have been especially pleased with the support I have received from my management team this year who are constantly developing new processes and systems to improve the way in which we operate. Anyone who has run a business will appreciate how isolated this can feel at times, so I was pleased to appoint an Associate Director this year to help share the load and have also joined TAB – The Alternative Board. Here I can confidentially share ideas with other CEO’s of similar sized businesses and use their experience to help make decisions so that together we can achieve shared goals.
Overall I have been delighted with the combined efforts of my team this year and looking forward to building on this throughout 2017.
I will not announce all my personal goals publicly in detail, but here are a few that I want to achieve:
2016 has been dubbed the worst year in history for some people, but on a personal note I can’t agree with this statement. When all the worries of the world are stripped away I am humbled to have a roof over my head, a supportive family and friends to love, laugh and to share life’s ups and downs with.
My Personal Goals for 2017
- Early morning RPM and evening gym sessions 3 times a week
- Cycle with friends at weekends covering 2,500 – 3000 miles for the year
- Complete my photography diploma… I hope to have a creative career in me before I’m done with this world!
- Help my daughter achieve one Mathletics certificate each week
- Help my youngest son pass his driving test – reverse taxi at last!
- Support my wife in her quest to climb mountains #happywifehappylife #possiblyMt.Toubkal
- No alcohol for two months of the year - keeps the pounds off and gives the liver a break too!
- Do not open my laptop before my daughter goes to bed on week nights
- See the Red Hot Chili Peppers in my van one more time before they complete their tour!
My Business Goals for 2017
# 1 – Revive and Thrive
We are planning to relocate our Yate office into a more central location in Bristol in spring 2017. We believe this location will help us to increase our share of the market in the Bristol area. We will be developing a team of existing staff and some new staff we have already recruited to run this branch. We’re currently recruiting for a dynamic Branch Manager to lead this team, so if you know someone who can take on this challenge please get in touch: https://www.24-7staffing.co.uk/jobs/branch-manager
# 2 – Train to Gain
Attracting the right staff to work for our business can be a challenge, so we have adopted a new approach, by looking outside the industry. We want high calibre people, with the right attitude, who we can train ourselves so have invested in an internal training programme. Every recruit must work their way through this bespoke training package, covering all aspects of the recruitment industry as well as internal company processes and systems. The introduction and delivery of this training programme has been a key development for our internal recruitment process over the last 12 months and will continue to be strongly linked to our future company growth. This new strategy also gives our staff a clear career path, where they can progress towards more senior roles from Resourcer to Recruitment Consultant, Senior Consultant, Team Leader and then Branch Manager. I’m happy to invest in staff training and in return, value their loyalty and commitment to the company, so that together we can achieve shared goals.
# 3 - New Sectors
Although I feel that we have a good spread of recruitment sectors across the business, I am looking at sector trends and exploring high yielding sectors to add to our portfolio. This presents some potentially exciting new opportunities for the business and I’m keen to hear from other recruitment professionals who have experienced high growth in a different sector to the ones we operate in.
# 4 - Motivation and Moral
Staff bonuses are directly linked to company performance so it’s understandable that moral and motivation are affected by this. We’ve invested in financial management information packs and now that we have historical data for all our sectors, I’m keen to focus on more accurate forecasting next year. We will continue to work on ways to maintain high moral and I enjoy rewarding my staff when they have reached goals or milestones.
# 5 - Care Academy
Training has always been an important area for our business – if we can train and upskill candidates we can offer better quality candidates to our clients, and at the same time help our candidates improve their employment prospects. To this end, we are in the process of setting up a Care Academy to build on the success of our healthcare division. We already offer training in healthcare, which we fund and all candidates we currently place will already have had some experience in the care sector. Our new Care Academy will take this a step further, by taking on people completely new to healthcare, offering them the training they need and the practical work experience in a residential care home setting, with the result that they come out with a care qualification, new career prospects and employment.
# 6 - Free Drivers CPC Training
Driving remains close to my heart and although I recognise that we’re not a training company, I am pleased that we have been able to partner with excellent specialist transport training companies to support our drivers. One of my major goals next year is delivering free Drivers CPC training to our valued heavy goods drivers through these skilled suppliers and I’m looking forward to unveiling more information about this scheme over the coming months.
# 7 - Increase the Numbers
I am pleased with the progress we’ve made this year and looking for similar growth next year. This will be achieved by recruiting and developing 7 new members of staff across the business to fulfil the growth plans we have for 2017. These numbers are directly linked to our five core standards which include the number of client visits made, candidates registered and phone calls we make each week.
# 8 - Focused Marketing
The marketing plan for 2017 will be increasingly candidate focused to include Costa coffee vouchers for candidates who deliver a five-star service to our clients and we hope to double the number of candidate referral vouchers next year. We will be producing an internal company video and investing in SEO for our website to improve rankings on Google. After a year of internal marketing we will be looking more outwardly next year with increased press releases on company performance including case studies and success stories as well as entering industry related awards; after all we’re proud of the excellent service our staff provide.
# 9 – Keep Moving
Technology moves at an incredible pace, so I always have my eyes and ears open to new ways we can improve the recruitment services we deliver. We’re constantly investing in new software and hardware, so I expect our suppliers to do the same if they want to retain us as clients. I’m happy to hear from recruitment suppliers who can demonstrate genuine value for money to our business and will also be carrying out a supplier review in 2017 to ensure we remain competitive.
Thank you for taking the time to read my reflections and goals for 2017 – I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all our clients, candidates and staff a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
All the best, Julian Thompson