Quality is not an act, it is a habit

We have come to the last instalment in our values blog series, and it is no mistake that we have ended with quality.

Albeit an important value in its own right, quality is ultimately a result of our other three values combined. When you demonstrate collaboration, a thirst for knowledge, and act with integrity, it’s hard not to deliver a quality service. In each of the blogs, we constantly make points around ‘career-enhancing opportunities’ or the ‘best outcomes for (them)’. And summarise it very acutely in the integrity blog with ‘Quality recruitment is about the long game and identifying placements that last’. When we work on our other values, quality recruitment is a very welcome side effect. 

However, looking at quality as a stand-alone value, we believe we do not achieve it by accident. (Well, maybe once or twice it can be by accident, but you can’t build a successful career, as our consultants are all doing, on one or two accidents!). We believe quality results from three clear steps:

  • Having a clear intention
  • Demonstrating a sincere effort
  • Providing an informed direction

Having a clear intention is about setting a plan for what you want to achieve. From as broad as the company working towards a five-year plan to individually on a day-by-day basis. Knowing what you want to do is the easiest way not to get distracted and drawn off course. For example, company-wide, we want to ‘further progress as one of the best-respected consultancies in the construction and civil engineering industries’. This intention helped to define our values and keeps us aligned with them. From a consultant’s perspective, they may set themselves a plan for the day to secure a construction professional some interviews for opportunities that will help them progress in their careers. This gives the consultant a focus for the day, a target to achieve, and a way to determine the best use of their time. 

Demonstrating a sincere effort is all about actually putting the work into achieving your target. This links back to how we act with integrity. Honestly working to your full potential to achieve your target. Be that securing interviews or sourcing talent. But there’s no point asserting effort in the wrong areas, so an informed direction is vital here. Using their detailed knowledge of their sectors of the industry, the consultant will know exactly what to do to achieve their target. Be that calling clients with relevant opportunities to secure interviews for a professional. Sourcing individuals that have the right skill sets that match a client’s wants and needs. Or putting together an advert with the right content and tone to attract the right calibre of applicants. The list goes on. 

When each of those three points is intertwined and habitual in the daily routine of a team, quality becomes habitual. And will be the natural result of all activity. This is true for our team. In fact, we have focused on this way of working for so long that a large proportion of the team doesn’t know any other way of working. These individuals came to us without having worked in recruitment before. Being taught this way from day one of their consultancy careers makes these practices stick. (In some cases, we may have gone a little too far where a consultant was so focused on quality it affected their commercial success!) 

A great way to demonstrate our quality – be that from an accumulation of our four values or from our habitual way of working – is the sheer number of our placements that have stayed with the same company for ten years or more. (This is something we can now effectively gauge having been in business for 13 years.) This is amazing for us to hear. We said at the start ‘quality recruitment… … identifying placements that last’. Ten years at the same company is a lasting placement. It also nicely links back to our main company ‘slogan’ – “Helping to enhance careers”. Everything we do is to help construction professionals find an opportunity and/or company that fits them and one that they can professionally grow and excel. Several of the professionals placed over ten years ago have now been promoted to more significant roles in their companies. (And it’s nice if the company excels because of the placement, too.) Admittedly, having ten-year-plus placements doesn’t provide a commercial gain. However, the pleasure of a good job well done far outweighs the commercial benefit of placing them in a new role. 

Similar to how we strive to enhance a professional’s career, we pride ourselves on enhancing a client’s team, too. We do that by finding them the right professional to fill their role. And looking at quality from a client perspective, our high client retention rates suggest that through our quality service, they believe we do enhance their teams. Once a client works with us once, they are happy to work with us again and trust us with their recruitment needs. We still have great relationships with clients we started working with over ten years ago. Internally, we also have a high staff retention rate. Our average employee has been here for nearly five years. This is high for a company only 13 years old, especially so in recruitment. Client or staff retention at these levels wouldn’t happen if there was a lesser focus on quality.  

Given the company values we have chosen and explored in this blog series, we believe we are making get steps in achieving our company vision: to further progress as one of the best-respected consultancies in the construction and civil engineering industries. We have reached a point where we feel we can confidently say we are delivering a recruitment consultancy service at a high level. Which we hope we have shown clearly. However, we know we cannot relax our stance and assume that the habit is set. A distraction here, a new member of staff there, and we could gradually see the quality levels lessen over time. (Not to mention stresses caused by how the market is and will adapt to the current 2022 financial and political climate.) We would know this from seeing an increase in unsuccessful placements, weaker client relationships, or a higher staff turnover. None of these factors are ones that we would be willing to accept! We are quite happy with the way we are for now.

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