COVER FEATURE – Simon Kent talks to recruiters who have altered their business and asks how to make change work. 

Change is a constant for the recruitment industry. Poised as it is at the frontline of the employment relationship there is little that doesn’t affect the industry – economic circumstances, social change, government legislation and priorities, even the weather can impact on certain sectors. Add to this the changes experienced by every business which is seeking to grow and develop and it is clear that a business that doesn’t change will not be around for long. 

Acquired change

While some companies experience change with organic growth, others grow through acquisition – requiring a very conscious management of the change ahead. Interestingly, both types of expansion show a contrast between things that are changed and elements that are retained: on the one hand this means company culture (and staff) should be appreciated and held on to, but on the other growth and change can drive a company towards a ‘best of both worlds’ for the future.

In 2007 Acorn acquired Concept Staffing. At the time Acorn’s turnover was around £17 million and the purchase represented a great change for Acorn to grow across the region which they did initially by leveraging the existing brand and reputation of Concept.

"The acquisition process allowed us all to grow,” says Karen Sharpin, former Concept Staffing employee and now Acorn’s senior operations director for the South West. “Concept’s best practices were preserved – indeed some were to taken on board across the wider UK group – and Acorn’s strategies adopted and larger resources utilised to strengthen our service. Working with a Board that facilitated this is why I and other key members of the team have stayed with Acorn.’’

In January 2013 Concept completed their transition with a name change to Acorn. Despite this change, however, the business still retained its regional independence in how it was being managed and led.

"The essence of our success is that we are able to offer bespoke recruitment services to both SMEs and larger organisations right across the West Country,” explains Sharpin. “We have the corporate security and internal support of the wider Acorn Group, and our clients consider this as providing the best of both worlds – a recruitment service that is locally run and delivered, with the added support of superb in-house marketing, quality management, accounts and HR services – giving additional confidence to employers and jobseekers alike.”


Read the full story here at Global Recruiter.

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