When you’re a fast-growing business, it’s easy to push training to one side, says Paul McQue, managing director at MPA Recruitment. But just think about what you can achieve when your staff are firing on all cylinders.
Tell me a little bit about MPA Recruitment…
We’re one of the largest recruitment agencies in Northern Ireland, the largest healthcare provider, and we also have a large number of contracts with the private sector, as well as the National Trust and the Giants Causeway – which employs 200 temps at any one time.
In February we were listed in Recruiter’s Fast 50 as the fastest growing multi-sector agency in the UK – and came 10th overall. We’re going through an extremely aggressive growth spurt – we’ve trebled turnover in the past three years. I’m extremely proud of our teams throughout our six offices in Northern Ireland.
What’s behind your growth?
I put it down to an outstanding team and the loyalty of our clients. But this is where the importance of training comes in.
The founder, Mary Pat O’Kane, and I reshaped the business three years ago when they asked me to join as managing director. Over my career, I grew up through the likes of ManPower Group and Hays. I believe these organisations have some of the best recruitment training there is. And when you’re growing as we are here at MPA, you need to introduce new systems, and there’s also a requirement for high-level performance and world-class recruitment behaviours.
You’ve just put five of your recruiters through the Level 3 Certificate of Recruitment Practice (CertRP). Why choose this route?
The breadth of recruitment expertise is so important. I’m talking real in-depth, front-to-back, 360-degree recruitment training. And there’s no better place to start than with the IRP and the training you can get through them.
With 44 members of staff, we decided to take 10% of them – some of our rising stars who just needed that industry-wide understanding that’s not always easy to come by on the job. They’re all showing signs early doors that they can go on and do great things.
These five recruits are the first to go through this course, which covers everything from sales and relationship management to operational, legal and ethical requirements. They are studying for it remotely, but I would certainly sacrifice the time if they want to go on and do something else.
Because this is the start of a journey that will see all members of staff doing some sort of training every year – whether that’s the CertRP, leadership training, accountancy, app and website development, and so on.
We’ve seen incredible growth, but I want to keep it going – I’m always thinking, how do we double it or treble it again? Training is one of the fundamentals to change.
You’ve also invested in setting up training for your clients…
Yes, we developed the MPA Training Academy in partnership with the National Trust, to provide a digital training platform that’s all part of the service. It means temps arrive for a job already fully trained and ready to go. We are rolling that out to other clients, but it’s been a game-changer for them.
What’s been the reaction among staff to the focus on training?
They’re glad to see the company is investing in their future and the continued success of the business. In a business that’s growing as quickly as ours is, it’s important to maintain control over the growth, to ensure that it’s sustainable, so ongoing professional development, via training, is essential for us to ensure that our teams and our business are always prepped for the next level.
When a business stands behind its people, fostering relentless positive behaviours, people can grow careers. I believe that there’s no limit to their potential.
And has it been easy to find the time for training?
Training is a no brainer. It’s easy to push it to one side as your business grows. You think you’re growing, so you don’t need to worry about it. But there are always pockets in your business that needs refining, skills that need brushing up and knowledge that needs expanding. We want the business to continue to grow. We don’t want to settle. So training is at the top of our agenda as we try to take MPA into the next phase in our growth journey.
Originally published on Recruitment Matters Magazine