Tom - Steve, thanks for taking to time to chat with me about your services. Tell me in a few words what it is you offer to businesses –
Steve – We offer a full suite of Temporary and Permanent staffing solutions to both the Public and Private sector. Our offering ranges from clients needing ad hoc contingency supply to cover short term requirements through to fully managed strategic on-site solutions designed to meet client specific requirements.
Tom - Excellent, what type of company generally use the services of your agencies?
Steve – As you would expect our client portfolio ranges from local SME’s through to large national and international companies as most businesses use the services of recruitment companies for either Temporary or Permanent staff at some time.
Tom – You have been in recruitment for a number of years and have been very successful over that time, you have also been through recessions before, explain what happened when Covid-19 first arrived.
Steve – It was certainly different from any other recession in the speed at which it impacted the business with a large number of clients shutting down immediately or reducing their requirements significantly due to social distancing, however some sectors particularly those in the online retail sector where actually booming. Similarly, in the permanent sector some businesses where fully closed and vacancies withdrawn with others still recruiting.
Tom – As the crisis deepened what was the impact on your clients, did a pattern develop?
Steve – With such a varied client base covering a number of sectors the effect was very different in both the temporary and permanent side from a total close down in the hospitality sector to some significant growth in some blue collar sectors such as food, drink and logistics. Probably the most significant pattern was that companies who were working from home did not appear to be recruiting in the private sector whereas those who were having to continue to open the workplace had significantly higher requirements, (no real surprise), although initially impacted by social distancing
We have now noticed with the threat of a further lockdown that the decision making process in the Permanent side is slowing down significantly.
Tom – What were your immediate thoughts about the impact on Margaret Hodge Recruitment and Team Support Staff Ltd?
Steve – Honestly “shit this is going to hurt” and it has! although the business has fought back well and our blue collar business is going well but our hospitality and office support side has obviously been seriously impacted.
Tom – Did you have to make any changes to how you operated?
Steve – I would say the most significant change was the reduced need for admin support staff and the need for all staff to be client facing to ensure that we were in the strongest position to both support our existing client base, but also to ensure that we were in the strongest position to take advantage of the opportunities that we could create which has meant that we have actually been recruiting 360 degree consultants to support this.
Tom – Do you think more could have been done for specific industry sectors?
Steve – I think that the UK government reacted very well and very quickly with CJRS scheme and the other schemes to support businesses, however the access to funds has not been easy for a lot of businesses and the path to these funds could have been smoother. Clearly some sectors have been much harder hit than others, (hospitality, aviation, travel etc) but difficult to say what else can be done as the money is going to have to be paid back somehow.
Tom – What lessons have you learned for the future?
Steve – Get out of recruitment and get into the PPE, face mask and hand sanitiser market LOL.
Tom – Any advice for businesses that are still struggling?
Steve – It is difficult as every business will have different challenges but some basics are always the same, try and align your cost base with your income, build your relationships even stronger with your client base and look for other opportunities both within your current sectors and potential opportunities outside of this to broaden your offering.
Tom – what is the best way for anyone interested to contact you?