Reflections and Goals for 2022
It has been another year fettered with uncertainty due to the Coronavirus pandemic lingering on throughout 2021 and businesses navigating demand, furlough and ongoing change in their respective sectors.
A combination of the pandemic, Brexit, and a national skills shortage created an insatiable demand for staff across all sectors of the economy. As we predominantly supply across many key sectors, the demand from our clients has been strong. In response to this, we’ve invested in various new technical changes to our recruitment process to increase vacancy fill rates.
This included a fast, user friendly online registration portal and a multi-posting jobs platform to significantly increase our digital reach for advertising client vacancies. We’ve also supercharged our internal communication between the branches via Microsoft Teams and telephone video conferencing. A welcome bonus generated through remote working to keep our teams safe.
We have deliberately kept the team small, which has fostered close internal relationships and we’ve been delighted to support several staff through different qualifications this year, including four MREC passes and two ILM qualifications.
We have taken on three apprentices this year who are all working towards their MREC qualifications and two Kickstarters who are also supporting the team and gaining new skills. Our consultants work around the clock to provide a 24-hour service to our clients and candidates, doing their absolute best to make those perfect matches and keep things moving in our local businesses.
Our finance team has done another sterling job this year keeping a close eye on costs, credit control and reducing our debtor days to the lowest amount ever in the history of the business. I am pleased that together we have made additional significant savings on previous years’ overheads once again, keeping the business lean and agile.
It’s fair to say that we have had our fair share of sickness across the business this year as with many other organisations but, I’ve been incredibly proud of the way the team has pulled together to help cover everything between us.
A particular highlight this year has been the various fundraising efforts we undertook for my loyal and long-serving Compliance Manager’s son who was unexpectantly diagnosed with a rare form of teenage cancer. This included a treacherous team trip up Snowdon, and we were thrilled to hand over a cheque to him for £4000 just before Christmas. This situation has certainly put life into perspective for many of us and pulled the team closer together to help the family through this difficult time.
What will 2022 bring for us?
We are delighted to announce the appointment of a new Divisional Director for our Care and Commercial sectors who will be joining us in January and truely feel this is a great fit into our team. We have been looking for the right person to fill this role for a few years and we are looking forward to these sectors being boosted across all our branches with focused specialist support.
With two office moves on the horizon for our satellite branches, we are already carefully scoping the commercial market to find a new home for these teams that better fulfil our requirements. We’ll provide more details on this in the months ahead.
Supporting our team’s mental health and wellbeing through these challenging times is important to me and we are already making some changes to our head office to create a new chill-out room and have some health and wellbeing training lined up for the new year too.
We will be doing some more work on our internal onboarding and continuous professional staff development program together with the support of our excellent HR providers.
My Personal Goals
Like many people, my professional aspirations are driven by my personal goals, so I take some time out every year between Christmas and New Year to write my personal goals which help to inspire me, keep my mind focussed and hold me accountable.
If you have read my reflections and goals blog before you will know that I use a framework around key areas of my life and I’m happy to share some of these with you.
As I move swiftly towards my 50th Birthday in January, daily exercise and eating well remains a consistent goal for me. Creating a home gym through the pandemic has served me well and my alarm kicks me out of bed just before 6am most mornings to get the job done!
I am determined to keep the 29kgs I have lost over the last couple of years off. Staying off the alcohol has really helped my physical and mental health and although I have had the very occasional drink, it’s not something I see being a major part of my life again as the benefits of not drinking are just too good for me.
Luckily, I’m married to one of life’s planners and my wife loves adventure as much as I do. We already have most of our trips for 2022 booked and we always try to visit one new country or a new place at least every year. As a lifelong Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, I was delighted when they announced their world tour for 2022 and am taking full advantage of my half-century birthday celebrations by treating myself to a few gigs including a trip to Seville with friends, London with my boys and Las Vegas in the summer to see them. We’re combining this with a once in a lifetime trip to the Grand Canyon. Of course, as we know this all hangs in the balance with the pandemic, but I will remain optimistic!
Supporting my family with various goals is also important to me such as helping my youngest son through what continues to be a challenging time at university. My daughter enters her teen years in January, and I love watching her grow in confidence each year, especially on the hockey pitch and in her running. Evening walks with my wife after dinner have become part of our routine to hit 10,000 daily steps and give us time to catch up personally with each other’s day. I look forward to the occasional meal out or weekend away on our own for some quality time too. Learning to compromise well has been key to our marriage over the last 27 years as well as ensuring our personal time is protected, and I’m pleased that we still make each laugh!!
Every day is a learning day in business and being part of TEAM as a divisional director has been invaluable to me learning from experienced peers in the recruitment sector. As I look back over my career, I am thankful for so many people who have helped to shape me and very much enjoy being part of this journey for my staff now too.
I think one of the most important lessons of leadership is learning to lift your colleagues and shine a light on them for the work they do, because without a good team no business can survive. Part of my professional development is to keep inspiring others to do the best they can and help them when learn when they fall.
I love working with wood and was happy with the outdoor seating area I created a few years ago as well as a shed I built from scratch in the summer which I find really fulfilling as a creative person.
I can always find new woodworking projects and as many of you will know, keeping on top of the garden or general home wear and tear can sometimes feel like a full-time job, so I’ll just keep working my way through the list!
So, that’s it from me and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support as a client, candidate, supplier, colleague or friend over the last year and I wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2022!
Best wishes, Julian Thompson