At Square One we're embarking on an exciting period of growth; we have an ambitious strategy that will see a sustained development of the business over the next two years and beyond. Since becoming Managing Director last year, I have been identifying what it is that we need to achieve and the timescales this will entail.
I know that for our employees to feel fully engaged, they need to have a firm understanding of what the business is trying to achieve and ultimately what this means for them and their careers. In growing our contract book in the UK, expanding our perm offering significantly (plans to double in size over the next few years), reaching further into overseas markets such as North America and Europe as well as successfully developing relationships with the clients we already do business with, this will see Square One expand significantly in terms of revenue. This financial growth enables the up and coming Managers of tomorrow (and today) to realise the ambition they have of growing a team around them as the money is reinvested back into Square One. This also means we become more reliant on our back office support, as the company expands it affords a huge opportunity to those that are ambitious to offer value add.
To achieve these things, I have had to look at what our core values are as a business. We have moved away from the previous Firm, Fair, Friendly and Fun that we have adopted for the last few years to our recently rolled out values of being Relentless, Ambitious, Committed and Accountable. Why did we do this? In short, because we looked at the people that we have working for us here at Square One and recognised that this is the best way to describe them collectively and the way they conduct themselves. That’s not to say that we don’t think we are friendly by the way! I know we all like to have fun! But this rethink is more aligned to what they display by way of characteristics that have seen us push on as a business not just in terms of trying to grow numerically but also from a standpoint of being recognised as a Sunday Times Top 100 Places to Work in 2019.
At our annual Christmas Party, I talked about how our award winners for 2018 displayed these attributes. If truth be told if you want to succeed in an environment as tough as the IT recruitment sector, then you need to have a little bit of everything in your locker.
Relentless - This for me can be summarised in a number of ways; a relentless person is someone who keeps trying and never gives up. Think of this from a sales perspective, it is commonly known that if you don’t have any jobs to work, then you need to do one thing, and that is canvass until you have picked up a requirement. Those that canvass a couple of times and then give up because they haven’t had immediate success are not relentless in their pursuit of picking up new opportunities. Relentlessness is a trait that I believe we all look for in people that we aspire to be like; whether this be sports stars or business leaders it is a commonality that successful people all have in abundance.
Ambitious - ‘Having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed’. No matter what your goal in life is, a desire to fulfil your ambitions is what drives you each minute of each day. If you speak to every person in Square One, they will all be ambitious. Nearly everyone will have different ambitions to that of the person next to them, but harnessing your ambitions and working towards them is what motivates you to be relentless in their pursuit. If you really want something you have to focus on how you plan to achieve that and then put a plan in action. I believe that ambition is what drives Square One forward and we need employees who share our ambition to succeed.
Committed - Regardless of what you do in life, if you want to be good at it, you need to commit. Success is not achieved overnight, and as such you have to commit to the realisation that there will be knocks along the way. If you want to be truly good at something, then you have to practice and learn every single day. A commitment to excellence in customer service is something that we ask of both our front and back office. The way that we make money is by offering this as a service to all of our customers and clients, they in return choose to continue working with us. Of course, this wouldn’t work anywhere near as effectively if the front office wasn’t expertly supported by our back office and their commitment to ensuring everything works perfectly behind the scenes.
Accountable - To be accountable is to be responsible for your decisions and actions. Taking ownership when something has gone well is easy but putting your hand up when it hasn’t is something else. We want people to feel that they can try new things and have a go at ways of improving the business. If it doesn’t work, then being accountable is hugely important as it gives us all the chance to learn from our mistakes. We want individuals to take on responsibilities, and in doing so you, and the business, will thrive and continue to grow. Perhaps most importantly it will benefit from different opinions and viewpoints which is crucial to our evolution over the coming years.
This is what makes a true Square Oner.
Now having good people who display these characteristics is one thing, attracting and keeping them is another. I realise that a sense of purpose is required to maintain the engagement of everyone. For me, this meant having a look at our Mission Statement and trying to identify whether it describes what we are trying to do each and every day. I spoke to a wide range of different people in the business to ask them if they thought this covers what they believe we are doing and the feedback was a resounding yes! Which of course is encouraging as it demonstrates that everyone in the business is on the same page.
"Creating a high-performance culture, to promote an unrivalled recruitment service that ensures we establish and maintain long-term relationships in an ever-evolving, technology-driven world. This is the cornerstone of our business. This is Square One."
Through talking to the focus group, it quickly became clear that they all wanted to be associated with a business that was high performing; after all, who wants a career in sales for a company that is a low performing one! The company is striving to achieve an unrivalled service level, and that is done through the application of our core values. Relentlessly finding the best candidates in the market and accountability in our honest approach ensures customers don’t feel short-changed or let down, which means that we can maintain our long term relationships with both candidates and clients.
The next few years represent a significant change in the business and all of it good. We have an aptly named 2020 Vision to expand all of our core offerings, open new teams and markets, introduce new ways of supplying and along the way we are recruiting like-minded ambitious individuals to see us succeed.
We believe that this realignment of our Mission Statement and Values will only help us succeed in our goal.