Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Getting the best from your team

It’s not easy developing people.   It’s even more difficult if you have to run a desk yourself as well or have other key tasks other than simply managing a team. So what can you do?  The first place to start is put yourself in their shoes . What would they want from you? The five stages or pointers in this process are as follows:
  1. Let me know what is expected of me
  2. Give me an opportunity to perform
  3. Let me know how I am getting on
  4. Give me guidance when I need it
  5. Recognise and reward my contribution

Now let us look at each point in turn and the methods available to help the manager in that process.
  1. ‘Let me know what is expected of me’ deals with clarifying objectives and priorities, agreeing performance standards and, if applicable, detailing performance improvement plans.
  2. ‘Give me opportunity to perform’ covers things such as organisational planning, defining authority levels and the resources available.
  3. ‘Let me know how I am getting on.’ The manager should in this process provide information on the progress made, ongoing informal reviews and, of course, formal performance reviews. Also, he should supply company and team information that backs up the observations made.
  4. ‘Give me guidance when I need it’ entails coaching, counselling and training. Remember though, when coaching, avoid giving opinions, offering assistance and sympathising as these are not part of effective coaching.
  5. ‘Recognise and reward my contribution.’ We should complete a review of individual potential; we should detail succession planning; of course, we should have a salary structure defined and we should have development plans in place. We should always give positive reinforcement and pats on the back where applicable and always say ‘thanks’ when appropriate.
Whatever the occasion or the environment, only a consistency of style and openness will promote development and encourage discussion. Too often, the opportunities to give and receive feedback are lost through poor preparation, lack of consideration and an uncertainty about the desired result. Clarity and consistency of thought and purpose are essential to develop an atmosphere of respect and willingness to listen and learn. Use the five stages in this model to open up all of your personnel feedback sessions and to enable your teams’ viewpoints to be identified and noted.

Warren Kemp is CEO and lead trainer with Recruitment Matters International. For more tips, advice and information on Recruitment Matters visit, telephone 0800 0749 289/ +44 (0)1529 410586 or email Follow Warren on Twitter at .Check out our blog

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Opportunity knocks – get ready to open the door

Contributor: Ben Wardleworth, Business Development Manager, Outsauce UK

With the UK recruitment industry said to be worth almost £31.5 billion annually, a rise of 9.7% from 2014, there are increasing numbers of new agencies, creating huge competition in the UK.
Whilst it’s important to have some differentiators, there are a number of things that both new businesses and seasoned SME’s can do to grow your recruitment business and take it beyond a lifestyle business to achieve your entrepreneurial dream. Here I touch on a few of them.
Choose Your Niche(s)
In 2015, a whopping 5,000+ UK recruitment businesses were founded in the UK, a 144% increase from 2,092 in 2010. The vast majority of them were started by highly-experienced and motivated individuals. However, it’s not just down to attitude and drive; a lot depends on the sector you’re in. The biggest recruitment growth areas of 2015 were IT, construction, engineering, financial services, marketing and healthcare, so having experience in any of these sectors means the time is ripe for you to capitalise on your knowledge.
Spread Your Risks
The uncertainty of Brexit may bring with it some potential risks, but there will undoubtedly be opportunity too. It’s equally sensible to look at spreading your expertise and offering as it is to spread risk across clients (debtors). Niche is good, but more than one niche is better. Think about how to diversify your offering with a spread of complimentary specialisms. This offers clients greater value, as well as offering you the increased opportunity to profit and ride any potential storm ahead, should a specific sector start to suffer. In addition, having the ability to offer both Perms and Temp (including Interim/Contract) roles will also allow you to capitalise on opportunities, maximise your return and go some way to ‘future-proof’ your business.
Marketing Matters
The internet is your friend and one of your most powerful allies in the effort to gain clients and recruit the best people for them. Over three-quarters of the population of the UK now have a smartphone – data shows us that AB households, aged 25-34, have a take up of 95%. Your website should be optimised for iPhone, Android and Blackberry, as well as tablets, in addition to PCs and Macs. Make sure your SEO is spot on and really engage with platforms such as Twitter and Facebook as well as LinkedIn - not simply posting job opportunities, but formulating discussions, displaying your industry knowledge and connecting with your followers. Remember, potential clients as well as candidates will check out your social media output so be clear about your objectives and remain professional at all times.
You Can’t Do Everything
Managing growth is tricky, whatever stage of your business plan you are at. You’ll be time-pressed, stressed and under a great deal of internal pressure. It’s important to realise, that you simply cannot do everything yourself. In order to concentrate on what you’re best at, it makes sense to outsource some functions of your business to those who specialise in those areas and offer value added services. Back office support will be vital if you are to maximise your time performing recruitment functions rather than paperwork; areas such as payroll, timesheets, invoicing and credit control can be outsourced. Understanding the potential risks and rewards of providing interim/contract/temps is vital. It’s important that you have transparency through your supply chain and business partnerships built on honesty, clarity and compliancy.

For support with getting started, to financing growth and keeping your business safe, you can contact Ben Wardleworth direct on 07887 499 862 or email

Monday, 4 July 2016

THE BILLING MANAGER - managing people and motivating teams

The Billing Manager - Managing People and Motivating Teams

“It’s amazing how much you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit”
Harry Truman, US President (1945-53)

"Very enjoyable and informative, gave lots of food for thought and I have provided positive feedback to our company directors."

"I went into the course with management experience, and whilst a lot of the content I had heard/read previously, there were several ‘light bulb’ moments for me thanks to the way that the training was delivered."

One of the most difficult management challenges there is in recruitment is to run a billing desk and find time to look after others at the same time. Getting the balance right isn't easy. Yet, by consistently following some simple rules, and having the knowledge of when and how to get involved with those reporting to you, it is something that can be relatively straightforward. With all of us facing some challenging times ahead, it isn’t simply good management but great motivational skills, too, that will help make the difference.

Who should attend?
This one day introduction to managing & motivating people and teams is ideal for recruiters who are new to management and for the more experienced manager who has perhaps been self taught or had no formal training.

Course Outline
  • Qualities of great motivators & managers
  • Self evaluation & action plan for self development
  • Evaluation of your people/team
  • Time management, prioritisation & delegation
  • Managing & mentoring by coaching 
  • Active listening
  • Motivating teams and individuals in difficult circumstances
  • Giving feedback on a poor performance
  • Getting an individual to buy into an idea
  • Conducting appraisals 
  • Running an effective meeting

The TrainerStewart Stone specialises in management training and leadership development within the recruitment sector. He is also an expert in how to recruit recruiters at all levels, and retain and motivate employees. For more information on Stewart, please visit our Meet The Team page.
Jul 11th - London
Sept 13th - London
9:30am - 5:00pm
Investment Cost

£349 + VAT
NOTE. All delegates get a FREE 90 days full access subscription for our online training platform ku.dos worth £89.
In order to optimise your learning experience, this course is purposely run with small delegate numbers and is generally capped at 12. Book now to avoid disappointment!
How do I book? Please complete the booking form and email, post or fax it to or fax number +44 (0)1529 309801. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call 0800 0749289/+44 (0)1529 410586 and ask for Julie or Ken.
Call us for an in-house quotation.
Worth reading 

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Data protection and confidential information

Contributor: Simon Bloch, Partner, Knights Professional Services

 Companies should be wary when taking on a new employee from a competitor as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have recently prosecuted and fined a former employee who left his job, taking with him information relating to previous clients of his employer. In addition to this, there have been indications that the ICO could also take action against any new employer who is encouraging the new employee to bring with them and use such information to their advantage. It highlights the need for new employers to think carefully before encouraging employees to bring with them client information as they too could be at risk of breaching data protection. This has potential far reaching consequences for the recruitment sector. 

 Mark Lloyd, who worked for Acorn Waste Management Ltd in Shropshire, emailed to his own personal email address the contact details and purchase histories of 957 clients as he was leaving to start at a rival company. This was found to be in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 as it is unlawful to obtain or access personal data. It is a criminal offence under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the ICO can take action against individuals or organisations that collect, use and keep personal information. He was fined £300, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and £405.98 costs.

 The head of enforcement at the (ICO) said that “employees need to be aware that documents containing personal data they have produced or worked on belong to their employer and are not theirs to take with them when they leave. Don’t risk a day in court by being ignorant of the law.” And the same can be said for employer’s thinking about using the information that is brought to them. That information is confidential, and holding and using it will amount to a breach of data protection. The company could face prosecution and a fine from the ICO, not to mention the reputational damage arising from media coverage. This is a stark warning for recruitment businesses who are in possession of a large amount of personal data.

 In addition, where a member of staff is in a position to hold such valuable client information to the Company, the Company would be well advised to have well drafted post termination restrictions in their employment contract to cover established relationships with important key contacts. Employers must be wary however, as not all restrictions can be imposed and a restriction cannot amount to a restraint of trade. It is important therefore that legal advice is sought to protect the Company’s valuable information.

 If there is no provision for confidentiality in an employee’s contract at all, there may be protection, although there are certain criteria that needs to be met in order for it to be established. The information must amount to a trade secret and be improperly used in order for it to be covered. The implied obligations of good faith will obviously be breached if copies are made of valuable client information. For the avoidance of doubt, a well drafted confidentiality provision in an employment contract is always advised.

This article was prepared by Simon Bloch, who is a Partner at Knights and specialises in advising recruitment agencies. To contact Simon, please email or call 0161 667 9205 to discuss any matter in this article or any recruitment issue at further length.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

How can I make it happen?

Always ask yourself “How can I make this happen?” Too many people look at why things might NOT happen. If you want to bill 400k and you are currently billing 120k, then ask yourself “What do I have to do to make that happen?” If you succeed two times out of ten when trying to get past a gatekeeper then ask yourself “How can I increase my hit rate?” Focus on the how to make it happen and not on the things that might hinder it happening.

If you feel that some tip-top recruitment training would help you “make it happen” more often, then do have a look at what we have to offer.

Details of all our open course dates can be found here. And, if you can’t come to us, we can come to you to deliver an in-house version of any of our courses and can tailor to meet your specific objectives. Contact for more information or call 0800 0749289 or, if you’re overseas, 0044 1529 410586.

If there is anything that we can do to help, please let us know.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

The 'Marketing Mentor' - Marketing Advice for Recruitment Companies

Contributor: Alastair Campbell, The Ideal Marketing Company
Marketers meet ad blockers
The UK now has over 12 million active users of ad blockers. This number is growing at an alarming rate and marketers need to think how to use media to ensure that their message reaches the right audience.

The number of ad blocker users grew 82% in 2015 and it has resulted in marketers becoming apprehensive about how they should allocate their advertising spend. Consumers have always been blocking adverts whether it be by turning the magazine or newspaper page or using the TV remote.

This is the first time, however, that the ad blocking trend has transferred itself on to digital devices.
The importance of TV
TV has been the cornerstone of advertising in the UK for over 60 years and there is no sign of any change in the near future. The total weekly reach of TV for adults was over 90% in 2015 with commercial telly’s share of linear viewing at 66.3%. With the reach of TVs so wide, the platform targets a range of segments.

Advertising needs to be smarter when producing content online or offline. This means higher investment to reach receptive consumers – increased use of video content and strong images helps brand with storytelling.
Targeted email marketing
Targeted email marketing is set to increase. Data-led approaches to email marketing enables the brand to segment its audience and ensure content is relevant and engaging for the receiver.

Relevancy, a respect for privacy and a better understanding of each brand’s target audience will create trust for advertisers. This will ensure consumers remain receptive to a brand’s message, wherever they see it.
Social media messaging apps
Brands will continue to increase personalisation and make better use of social media messaging apps. Products such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp will be used to send relevant offers to consumers to avoid the ad blockers.
Combat digital fatigue
Direct mail is likely to rise further in popularity because it evades the digital fatigue that many people feel.

Consumers only want to block ads if they perceive the messaging as irrelevant. Marketers must therefore ensure they do not put too much emphasis on technology at the expense of the creative. Getting back to simpler forms of marketing can ensure a greater impact, uniqueness and a higher degree of personalisation.

Brands demand for a quick financial return has resulted in the current clutter of adverts which is encouraging consumers to use ad blocking. All of the above provide a short term answer to ad blocking however a more long-term approach is needed to solve the problem.
Alastair Campbell’s book ‘52 Ways To Grow Your Business’ is available on Amazon.  He is MD of The Ideal Marketing Company and offers readers of this newsletter a free one hour marketing consultation.  See for more information or call 01858 445543.


A Good Day In The Office

Contributor: Rebecca Peck, Partner, Knights Professional Services

On a Monday morning, I get up, get dressed and go to work. I ensure that I arrive at work on time. Whilst at work, I like to think that I do what I am paid to do and what my employer expects of me. I sometimes take a lunchbreak, sometimes I do not. Sometimes I have to attend off-site meetings and I will let my colleagues know where I am and how I can be contacted. Sometimes I work from home - and so on.

The same is true, you would expect, of many employees working in the UK and across Europe. But not in the case of Sr. Garcia, a Spanish civil servant.

Sr. Garcia began working for the local authority in the south-western city of Cadiz in 1990. In 1996, he was posted to the municipal water board and was tasked with supervising a waste water treatment plant. In 2010, Sr. Garcia was due to collect his long service award, but at this point the man who had hired him (the deputy mayor) started to ask questions. The employee whose office was opposite Sr. Garcia’s, informed the deputy mayor that he had not seen him for years….. and it transpired that Sr. Garcia had not occupied his office for at least 6 years, having done no work at all for the 3 years prior to 2010!

Despite Sr. Garcia complaining of being the victim of workplace bullying and of being sidelined, the Spanish court fined him £21,000. Sr. Garcia is now retired…from what, I am not so sure!

This case does not represent a major development in UK employment law - perhaps it is nothing more than an amusing (and bemusing) situation.

However, whilst Sr. Garcia’s situation seems fairly extreme, I have regularly advised on related issues ….. employees whose whereabouts are largely unknown; employees who no-one really knows what they do; employees who have gone AWOL; employees working in isolation who feel left out and excluded; and employees who have simply been forgotten about! And what I almost always find is that these problems become challenging to deal with because they have simply not been addressed at an early stage. A case in point I dealt with a number of years ago involved a senior executive supposedly “working from home”. Her colleagues found it increasingly difficult to get hold of her when she was working from home and it transpired that she was actually walking the dog; going to the shops; etc, etc. However, although there had been suspicions regarding her behaviour for many months, no formal action had been taken and no-one had even raised concern with her (whether regarding her performance, her whereabouts or otherwise). When her employer eventually had enough, it decided to take disciplinary action against her, hoping to be able to dismiss her for gross misconduct. But it simply wasn’t that straightforward - and then lawyers had to become involved.
Employers will inevitably continue to face challenges when keeping track of employees and being at your desk is no longer the only sign that you are “at work”. Employers need to be flexible in their approach and there will be an ongoing balance between placing trust in your staff and being prescriptive about what is expected. So what should employers consider?

• Is it clear to your staff what is expected of them when they are not at their usual place of work?

• Are there employees within your business whose contribution is unknown?

• Do you have a “Working From Home” policy?

• Do your IT systems support transparent diary management?

• Is your approach consistent?

• Do senior staff lead by example?

• Are you clear about what activity is / is not being monitored?

• Are your employees being provided with work that is commensurate of their role and status?

• Are you keeping in touch with employees working in isolation / in small team units?

• How do you measure employee input / output?

Perhaps most importantly, if an issue is identified and you have concerns about the activity (or non-activity) of an employee, act promptly in seeking to resolve the situation - and certainly before 6 years have passed by!

This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for any other purpose.
This article was prepared by Rebecca Peck, a partner at Knights Professional Services Limited, specialising in recruitment agencies. To contact Rebecca, please email or call 01782 349 592.