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Investment and return. Neither are exclusively financial.
If anybody knows the importance of people to a business, it has to be Norfolk Chambers Member Katrina Massingham.
Katrina is the owner of Technique Recruitment Solutions, a niche recruitment agency specialising in the engineering, manufacturing, packaging, oil and gas, and pharmaceutical sectors.
As a recruiter she sees the complete picture, because her business has two vital sets of customers. She has to find the right people for employers looking for staff; and she has to find the right jobs for people who are looking for work.
It’s a tall order and it’s helped Katrina frame her views on some important issues.
Recruitment is a legendarily competitive market sector. ‘It’s a little publicised fact that there are almost 30,000 recruitment agencies in the UK and growing every year’ says Katrina, who readily acknowledges, in those circumstances, that every recruitment business has to ‘up their game’.
‘Without doubt’ she says,‘for our business, and most other businesses, this year the key challenge is two-fold: boost retention of staff and recruit for talent’.
That’s where investment becomes important. Yes, there is financial investment in hiring new, and retaining and motivating existing, staff but there’s more to it than that. In Katrina’s view it means internal promotions and further training. It also means introducing bespoke employee benefits such as flexible hours, innovative holiday entitlements and childcare; all things that put the smaller independent business on a par with larger organisations.
These, often intangible investments are what brings out the best in people. When they feel valued, supported and engaged they deliver commitment. And it’s a high level of commitment that creates the essential point of difference, which in Katrina’s world of recruitment, is outstanding customer service.
‘Small independents have the advantage of being closer to their customers enabling them to meet their needs more accurately and to offer a more individualised and bespoke service’ is what Katrina says. Creating the atmosphere in which those levels of service can be attained only happens when the team has been invested in; when the people feel like they matter.
A financial investment will, wisely made, bring a return. So too will an investment of trust, motivation and the promise of career development and a future. It brings a return of loyalty, purposefulness and focus.
‘So yes’, says Katrina, ‘we are in challenging times but it’s all about focussing on any opportunities that the changes in the recruitment landscape brings. Technology develops constantly, there will certainly be changes coming out of Brexit. It’s about analysing and maximising on those opportunities’ and using a recruitment agency can greatly enhance finding the right people, at the right time, particularly during a process of change.
The same values apply to all of the businesses in the sectors in which Katrina’s team operates. We all, now more than ever, have to be positive, see the opportunities and grasp them. That can’t be achieved by any business unless you’ve recruited and retained the right team. You won’t do that unless you’ve invested in them. And perhaps the biggest investment, giving the biggest return, is not the financial one.
It’s all those other things that let them know, that you know, they matter. As people.
We’d love to hear your views on the issues facing business today. If you want your thoughts expressed in this news column let us know.
This article can also be found on page 5, in Wednesday 24 July, 2019 EDP The Business section.