Recruitment agency The Sterling Choice have gone from strength to strength in a relatively short amount of time. It began with co-founders Lukas Vanterpool and Gareth Whyatt working from the kitchen table at Lukas’s parents’ house in 2013 and utilising the free WiFi in the local Tesco’s café; they quickly expanded to their first-floor office before taking the ground floor too as the team grew to 12 members.
With sales increasing year on year and plans to expand into new countries, The Sterling Choice provide their insights on how making employee engagement a priority has helped to grow their business.
“It’s about the Induction”
Put simply – we don’t believe in crash course inductions. It’s unrealistic and unfair to expect our consultants to manage people’s career choices after a brief induction. Our inductions are lengthy and comprehensive, lasting six months – learning and development is something that drives our business. Whether the individual is a trainee or a director, we expect them to continue, learning, improving and progressing.
“Our apprentice receives a higher rate of pay than any other apprenticeship in the region”
We work closely with the local college, and our current apprentice has been with us for almost 12 months. Along with his higher rate of pay, he is treated no differently to any other consultant within the business. In line with all of our employees, he is provided with a competitive rate of commission – meaning his earning potential is huge.
“Staff are provided with development in all areas of their working lives”
And perhaps sometimes more importantly – life in general. Once our consultants are established, they have access to an executive coach to support them with their personal development.
We have invested in excess of £12,000 in a training manual for the business. This manual is available for all members of staff; we consider it to be a recruitment ‘bible’ that supports them in becoming superstar recruiters. It covers the a-z of recruitment – it’s not exclusive to the sector that we work in (food manufacturing); the do’s and don’ts and the fundamental principles. It’s accessed almost every day to support various conversations. It cost us a lot, but it’s definitely provided an ROI, all of our team perform, adding value and profit to the business.
The industry standard in recruitment is a churn of recruiters. This is something that we wanted to fundamentally move away from, and therefore keeping our staff engaged is extremely important to us. We strive to take a comprehensive approach to keeping our staff engaged, not only through financial reward, but through learning, development and career prospects.
“Staff need to be fully informed”
This ties in with keeping staff engaged. Paramount to the business growing, is the ability to understand each other. We keep our staff fully informed of all plans of the business and provide them with regular opportunities to contribute their own ideas, opinions and feedback.
In order to aid the understanding within the team, we have invested money into a team communication report provided by a 3rd party. The report has given those at management level in the business tools to lead their team effectively. It has also educated individuals on how to best work with their peers and encouraged all parties to heighten their emotional intelligence levels across the business.
No hiring decision is made without the involvement of at least 3 of our consultants; it is massively important for us that they are fully ‘bought in’ to any hiring decision.
“We welcome challenge from our employees”
They run their desks as their own business.
We don’t believe in micro-management, it doesn’t aid either party to become productive. We aim to provide our consultants with the opportunity to grow their own desks and in essence, take a lead role in growing the business.
We pride ourselves on having a very open and honest style when it comes to the management of our team – minimal conversations go on behind closed doors -and it serves us well. Allowing our team the freedom to run their own desks gives them the ownership to drive their own performance; the more work they put in, the more opportunity they have to make money. They become experts in their businesses because they are working in vertical markets, we find we get the buy-in from employees and in turn, clients.
“One size DOESN’T fit all”
We believe this whole heartedly. We always look to utilise the natural skill sets ad interests within the team; such as identifying the individuals that are best to lead social media campaigns. The executive coach that we have partnered with works with the team to enhance their professional performance and manage any challenges associated with the role, or with life commitments.
We appreciate that in order to improve skills, we need to provide our consultants with coaching and support in all areas of life.