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By Terry Murphy: Director & Head of Executive Search

In January this year the UK’s employment rate reached the highest point ever recorded since records began in 1971.  Excellent news…………..unless you are trying to find, attract and retain talent.  The “active” candidate pool is diminishing, talented individuals have their choice of opportunities, the shelf life of an active candidate is circa 2 to 3 weeks, counter offers are frequent and average salaries are rising.   

So, how do you overcome these challenges? Being more competitive with remuneration forms only a small part of the solution, you need a powerful employer brand to get noticed, your culture needs to be correctly calibrated to the skills/people that you employ, you need to both engage AND be engaged by your employees plus above all, employee commitment and achievement needs to be recognised and rewarded on a notable scale.

Now, we don't pretend to be experts in employee engagement but we do seem to be getting it right!  Our leadership team have been with us for over 12 years on average and they are all still responsible for service delivery in one form or another.  It doesn’t end there, in addition, until the start of our growth strategy our combined company wide average length of service was 9 years.  Naturally, this has already and will continue to drop as we grow in the coming months. 

Whilst many of our clients have frequently celebrate 20/30 years’ service from employees,  in what is largely a sales orientated, (frequently aggressive) recruitment industry, that is plagued a high staff turnover, I’m proud to say that these numbers are enviable.

How have we achieved this? Firstly, it’s not a high pressure, sales orientated, volume KPI driven business.  Influenced by some of our customers own lean/C.I methodologies, we have a unique structure and a set of quality driven KPIs tailored to the strengths of each function/department.  This allows individuals to take a (slightly) slower, more controlled approach to personal development, stress levels are controlled, focus is kept high and R.O.I naturally follows.

The reward and recognition of dedication, resilience, accountability and ownership.  In a significant move to recognise these qualities, we have made our leadership team stakeholders as part of an ongoing strategy.  The decision was easy and represents an exciting milestone in our history.  It will give us an unrivalled platform of stability that will allow us to move to the next phase in our growth plan.  It will also give the rest of our associates, plus future recruits the support infrastructure needed to also be successful.  Perhaps even be future leaders themselves.     

We recruit raw talent with no prior recruitment experience and put them through a challenging, “in at the deep end” training process that is very rewarding in many ways.  This also includes our leadership who from day one, their journey has been completely different to anything they have done previously, it’s kept them engaged and today, along with every other individual, are an integral part of the business.  The numbers speak for themselves.

We are keen to engage and explore ideas, innovation and change.  The shape Morgan Ryder today has been heavily influenced by our employees including the processes we follow, the systems and technologies we use, the evolution of our corporate brand, even how our newly acquired offices are designed and furnished - we have recently invested in ultra-modern electro-mechanical workstations that allow users to stand while working (I am at this very moment).  Not my idea but I have to say, I like it!  The suggestion actually came from a relatively new member of the team and putting it in place across the business didn't come cheap.