An attempted management buyout of a Brighton recruitment consultancy with around 30 staff went sour in the Spring of 2016 and the ensuing, simultaneous resignation of three Directors, left the company traumatised. The CEO, who had been concentrating his efforts on successfully building a sister company, had to abandon that and leap into action. Within a very short time, he succeeded in bringing stability and balance to the company during what was to become a challenging but ultimately positive period in its history.
The immediate concern was to keep the company functioning as normally as possible, to dispel the inevitable rumours and maintain morale. Trust had been broken – it was going to take a little time to rebuild.
An initial diagnostic exercise by MDHUB Consultant, Helen Guinness, revealed that what people wanted was a clear sense of direction, strong leadership, clearly defined goals and a revised company structure that would include role definition and accountabilities.
Early on, Helen delivered a series of workshops comprising personal and leadership development and some team building. These were intended to be relationship and trust building events; the goal was achieved.
The Harrison Assessment (HATS) profiling tool was introduced to support the development process. Every staff member completed a profile. Each profile provided the basis for one to one coaching, role clarification and personal development plans for future development. For the CEO, his profile validated his strengths as a leader and confirmed the need for employing an operations manager.
A two-day workshop with the senior management team produced a powerfully stated purpose, key company values and a strategy for the coming year. By the end of 2016 most of the issues raised during the diagnostic process had been addressed.
The focus was on strengthening the business and improving business performance. By the end of the first quarter of 2017, a good deal of restructuring had taken place including the employment of an HR and operations manager.
One to one coaching for senior management team members continued and included leadership development. A HATS team profile provided the basis for a team development workshop where team strengths and weaknesses were clearly evidenced and addressed. The use of HATS in this context allowed for open and honest feedback between team members and wholehearted participation.
Once HATS had successfully been tried and tested internally, the company began using it in its own recruitment process. There was a small amount of staff turnover – a reflection of the changing culture of the business and the increased focus on future direction.
One to one coaching with the CEO continued throughout the entire change process.
- The culture has changed from a relatively loose, informal and fun one to a more committed, professional one. Employees take pride in themselves, their environment and their organisation.
- The company has a strong brand, a powerfully stated purpose, three key values and a clearly articulated future.
- There have been changes for the better in staffing, both on the recruitment floor and in management.
- Improvements have been made to the structure of the company, there are clearer reporting lines and more efficient processes; roles and responsibilities are better defined.
- The coaching and development has paid off: people are coming forward and proving themselves to be promising leaders.
- The CEO has built trust and commitment. He is now able to focus on the growth of the company knowing that it is stable and prospering.
- An Executive Management Team was created which is accountable for the running of organization as a whole.
- HATS is used extensively throughout the organisation as a recruiting and development tool. (It is shortly to be integrated into the sales process as a value added element.)
“The HATS tool was pivotal in understanding my team’s strengths, challenges and motivators in the quickest time possible. It allowed me to gain a quick understanding of how my team worked and facilitated a smooth transition, allowing our team to thrive in the toughest of situations. Helen’s support was invaluable, without her it would never have worked. I highly recommend Helen and the HATS profiling tool.” Group CEO, Global Recruitment Consultancy