Questions for BeecherMadden and Nicoll Curtin
Why did Nicoll Curtin and BeecherMadden decide to join forces last year?
Nicoll Curtin have a clear acquisition and business start-up strategy that will enable us to be a global leader in technology recruitment. Acquiring the best leaders within the recruitment industry is key to this. For BeecherMadden, the acquisition was to enable us to accelerate our growth plans, servicing clients in Singapore and Zurich, as well as our existing strongholds of London and New York.
What has the company been up to since the acquisition last year?
Since last year, all the things we wanted to do have happened. BeecherMadden has grown and increased our US footprint dramatically. We have also increased the amount of cyber contract work we do. As a group, we have been able to cross-sell clients effectively, improving our delivery to our key clients globally. Nicoll Curtin also has a new addition to the group in District4, who focus on the growing area of DevOps recruitment. We are well on track to hit our financial goals for 2018.
How has the acquisition helped BeecherMadden?
There have been some fundamental things that have helped such as the support from the business services team and the ability to scale quicker than we could have done independently. James’ background is in business strategy and growth rather than recruitment. This is quite unique within the industry and it’s enabled to us to implement some strong business practices, rather than just focussing on the recruitment strategy. After a certain amount of time running a recruitment business, you don’t need extra support on how to do recruitment, but how to be a better business leader is something everyone can benefit from.
How have the company’s two cultures come together? Has the culture changed since the acquisition?
Slowly, our cultures have merged, taking the positive elements of both. We now run the same incentives so the teams across the group are working for the same rewards, such as our High Fliers annual trip, or our quarterly lunch club. Nicoll Curtin have adapted some of the elements of the BeecherMadden culture that were more sales focussed and competitive, resulting in an increased client base. Crucially, our leadership values were aligned from the start and this has meant that while the words might have changed, the fundamentals that are core to our businesses, have remained the same.
Were there any challenges during the period following the acquisition?
In the immediate period things went smoothly but there were a few minor issues between 3-6 months afterwards. A couple of employees struggled to adapt to being part of a larger company and left. It is easy to say with hindsight, but it was the right decision for all involved. Process changes are always complained about but these were minor. There are always risks in an acquisition, however much you plan. I think by making sure our values and long-term goals were the same, we were able to make this process smoother than we could have hoped for!
What are the opportunities for the markets the companies operate in?
We still have so many opportunities to realise! We are using the combined power of the group, to enable better cross-selling. We want to help our clients, by enabling them to work with fewer suppliers, without losing the expertise that they get from working with a real specialist. We are in growth sectors so we are enabling our teams to grow at a pace that keeps up with the growth of our markets.
What about any possible challenges?
We are in candidate led markets so keeping focussed on candidate sourcing is important and always challenging. We are countering that with events that we arrange, sponsor or attend so that we are totally embedded within the communities that we operate in. High growth markets always attract competition. We are staying focussed on delivering to a high standard for our candidates and clients, so that we can stay ahead of the new players in the market. With BeecherMadden in cyber security and for District4 in DevOps, our business leaders are recognised as industry figures and this really helps.
With the company operating in cyber security, has GDPR had any impact on your business?
We started planning for GDPR very early as we were keen to be a market leader. We took on board a lot of industry advice and feedback. The benefit of being part of a group, means we both have the support from compliance to make sure we comply but without detracting from our recruitment activities.
How is the company managing current skills and talent shortages?
We have an internal recruitment team who are always searching for the best recruiters and potential recruiters out there. We are a great business, in great markets and there are lots of recruiters who recognise that. We hire based on shared values, and we have an outstanding training programme that has helped us develop our own talent too.
How do you go about ensuring you’re attracting and retaining the best talent within your own business?
It’s simple. We make every effort to provide the best environment we can and surround them with like-minded ambitious people
The combined company now has offices in London, New York, Singapore and Switzerland. Where are the current opportunities for growth for the business?
We see opportunities for growth throughout Europe and Asia but there is still a huge amount of growth within our current markets. BeecherMadden is expanding rapidly throughout the US, which is particularly exciting. Both Singapore and Switzerland are having record years and we are actively growing in both of those locations. What has been really exciting is how we can move talent internally across locations. We’ve had staff move from the UK and we are also planning some moves to the US for later this year. For recruiters with international ambitions, we can really help them fulfil them.
Does the company have any plans to expand anywhere else internationally?
Overall we’re planning for at least 1 new country per year. Germany is next on the list but at present, we are looking at growth within our current markets. We have not maxed out our potential in our current countries just yet. What is more interesting to us, is the same locations but new areas and that is where we are focussing for acquisition and start-up targets.
What are your plans for the business going forwards?
We are still looking at acquisition targets and start-up organisations to add to the group. We want to be an international leader in recruitment, so we are looking at the best individuals to join us, to make sure we get there.