• Madeleine Bonser

Spotlight on James Taylor - Recruitment and Retention

Once again, we put the spotlight on James Taylor, CEO of award-winning recruitment company, Macildowie. This time, we talked about the evolution of Macildowie’s service offering. From recruitment, to recruitment and retention.

What is Macildowie Recruitment and Retention?

It is a truly unique offering in the UK. We have taken a market place-based approach to delivering on our customers wants and needs… and those wants and needs are broader than just recruitment.

Our recruitment services, which are our primary service offering, have been evolving since we first started out in 1993 and include Executive Search, temporary and interim recruitment, and most recently Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO).

Retention is something entirely new, aimed at helping businesses with a “cradle to cradle” approach to their broader people strategies.

We call it “cradle to cradle” as we hope to take employees through the entire People Strategy Process, until they get promoted and then start again themselves and choose to use Macildowie to recruit their own team.

Our Retention Consultancy offering includes helping CEO’s:

  • To align the top team utilising the world renowned “insights discovery” assessments.

  • To develop their Company Vision and Values.

  • To optimise their Organisational Structure and Design in order to create a framework for people to excel.

  • To develop and promote their Employee Value Proposition through innovative Employer Brand Marketing.

Once the solid infrastructure has been developed and is in place, Recruitment becomes more strategic rather than tactical in nature as the Line Manager knows and understands the short, medium and long term goals of the business and how hiring and recruitment can help these goals to be achieved.

Once we have placed a great candidate, we want to see that person progress and secure promotion/s. We have always gauged our success upon the levels of repeat business that we achieve and the easiest way for repeat recruitment to happen is when the person we have placed gets promoted and uses us to recruit their own “back fill”. With this in mind, we have been developing a software solution to help SME’s to:

  • Deliver a “rockstar” onboarding process for every new hire. A poor onboarding experience is one of the main reasons that new hire's are leaving a business within the first 100 days.

  • Create a consistent and engaging internal comms strategy to ensure that all members of staff are kept up to date with both critical and more social/team build type updates.

  • Develop and own their L&D programme. With the ability to record, edit and launch a video training module in minutes, not hours.

  • Keep all performance management and talent development information in one handy place.

Retention or rather a lack of retention costs UK businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. We are on a mission to help with that and we’re excited about the results that can be achieved by engaging with us.

What is the story behind it?

I have been recruiting in the Midlands since 1997. When I first started out there were only 4 of us here, and in my market, nobody had a clue who we were. So I have always had to rely on thinking outside of the box in order to be remembered and ultimately win new business. One of the ways to differentiate in a sector not renowned for innovation is to build the price of your service differently.

Where the industry norm is to price an Executive Search assignment in three stages, we’re not prescriptive and always keep at least one of the payment stages back for when the candidate has passed probation. We call it “having skin in the game”. Which roughly translates to believing that we should only be paid the full fee once you, the client, is confident that the candidate is going to be a success.

Secondly, since launching our Linkedin Workshops in the 2008 recession, we have also delivered EVP and Employer Brand Workshops to many businesses across the midlands to get them thinking more strategically about their hiring strategies.

These workshops were received wonderfully well BUT… I felt as if we were advising businesses on WHAT they needed to do without helping with the HOW.

Our new Retention Consultancy services address that and we are now able to partner with clients to help them to define their EVP, to make compelling videos about it, in order to promote and differentiate their employer brand.

Thirdly…For a few years now we have been running a CEO Mastermind group. Discussion within the group, more often than not, comes back to people's challenges. At the end of one of the sessions, a CEO I know well looked at the big logo on our Board Room wall and said… you should change “Outstanding Recruitment” to “Recruitment and Retention”. That was back in November 2019.

I then went to a networking event in December, bumped into Dan Lamoon, got chatting and comparing notes and stumbled upon someone with a different skill set to my own but who shared the same passion, the same vision. Through a combination of our networks and a meeting of minds, we have been able to develop the entire Retention Consultancy Offering by working our backsides off during lockdown.

It’s obviously not been easy. And without lockdown, we wouldn’t have been able to turn around and bring it to market in such a short space of time. But here we are, we have turned it around and we’re really proud of that.

What gave you the idea for Macildowie Recruitment and Retention?

I am a fan of “observe the masses, do the opposite”. Most people think that the ideal client for a recruitment business is one that struggles to retain its people… a revolving door means more fees etc.

I am the opposite.

The ideal client for me is one that people join, progress with, stay with, and end up then recruiting a new team for.

Because “Retention” is a word that most businesses don't expect their Recruitment Consultancy to advise on, I wanted to break new ground and given the way that our Executive Search pricing strategies were received I believed that “Recruitment and Retention” represented what the market needs and wants.

Time will tell if I am right.

Why are you passionate about Recruitment and Retention?

I am passionate about the people I place, that Macildowie places, being successful at the business’ that we have placed them at.

I have never been excited about making a one off placement and sailing off into the sunset. It’s all about repeat business for us, repeat business doesn't happen if the first person you place doesn't stay for long.

My career has been about building life long recruitment relationships, I am proud of my achievements, and I think that subliminally I have always had one eye on the retention element.

Why do you think now is the right time to launch a rebrand?

Because the biggest limiting factor to businesses coming back from lockdown and thriving in the future will be if they lose their best people.

We are living in unprecedented times. Businesses are having to change and change at pace.

Our retention offering is designed to help with that, starting with bringing a system to market that will enable businesses to create an amazing re-onboarding experience for their furloughees.

What is retention and why is it important to companies?

Retention is the ability possessed by an organisation to keep hold of its employees. Poor retention ordinarily goes hand in hand with disengagement and disengagement drives down productivity, profits and customer satisfaction.

It is important to businesses because it is expensive. Whilst unscientific, the cost of losing an employee includes:

  • The cost of hiring a new employee including the advertising, interviewing, screening, and hiring.

  • The cost of a recruitment fee if using an agency (typically 15-30% of the salary of the replacement candidate)

  • Cost of onboarding a new person, including training and management time.

  • Lost productivity - it may take a new employee one to two years to reach the productivity of an existing person.

  • Lost engagement - other employees who see high turnover tend to disengage and lose productivity.

  • Customer service and errors - for example, new employees take longer and are often less adept at solving problems.

  • Training cost - for example, over two to three years, a business likely invests 10 to 20 per cent of an employee's salary or more in training.

  • Cultural impact - whenever someone leaves, others take time to ask why.

What has changed for Macildowie?

We, like everyone else out there at the moment, are living in and navigating through unprecedented times. For some businesses, nothing will change. For others, everything will change.

For us, this evolution of our value proposition means that we are the only business in The UK to call ourselves “Recruitment and Retention Consultants”, who have a “cradle to cradle” offering for customers. The only other two business I have found, offering similar, are based in America.

Is recruitment as important as retention?

Yes, absolutely. But, it’s a bit like asking “what came first, the chicken or the egg”.

They are both as important as one another, but I believe that recruitment remains the most critical element in actually having great staff retention.

In order to retain staff, recruitment needs to be viewed strategically rather than tactically. You’ll never retain if you get your recruitment wrong in the first place. That said, retention begins before an employee has even joined a business.

Our Retention Offering has been built acknowledging that there is a New World, that there is a need for businesses to take action even if nothing has changed.

Retention starts with Leadership, it’s about people wanting to follow the leadership team and for that to be the case the top team must be aligned and must be able to articulate the Vision and they must live the values. In order to retain, businesses may need to take a close look at both of these urgently as we come out of lockdown. Your people will want to know that Leadership has a plan for getting through this pandemic.

What’s the process been like from start to finish?

I have honestly found it really tough. Developing something of this magnitude whilst working from home, collaborating over zoom isn't easy for me as a natural “sunshine yellow” personality type who craves collaboration and who bounces off of other people's energy.

That said, I have been working with amazing people. People who are incredibly passionate who share the same vision. We’ve had fun doing it and I think that comes across in the offering.

What did you/are you doing to convince people in the organisation you can achieve those bold ambitions?

Actions speak louder than words and results speak louder than actions. My dream, since becoming CEO, has been to build the best recruitment company to work for in “The Universe”. I believe that can be achieved by having an awesome culture, and by developing a value proposition whereby our customers want to use us exclusively.

I confidently expect that our retention offering will result in more businesses wanting to work with Macildowie on an exclusive basis.

What 3 words would you use to describe Macildowie Retention and Recruitment?

Rather than using my own words, I will use the words of the CEO network - “A. Game. Changer. ”

What does Macildowie Recruitment and Retention offer to your clients?

Recruitment and Retention is all about helping our clients to recruit and retain the very best. It is made up of ten elements. Ten elements that if you follow, will help your business to successfully scale, improve employee engagement, become more profitable and potentially win awards. That ten point plan is listed below:











Why would a company choose Macildowie over other competitors?

We have developed a “cradle to cradle” full talent lifecycle to help our customers to be the best that they can be “at” people.

Use us exclusively and you will be blown away, not only by the service, but also by the incredible value for money and the retention guarantee.

The Future of Work

I heard someone say the other day, after they had been to an actual physical Board Meeting, that face to face meetings are “the new zoom call”... it really made me smile.

To help to answer this question we actually hosted a series of 5 events in partnership with The Chamber of Commerce called “Back To The Future Of Work” which you can actually access and watch all of the videos here.

Here’s my top 6 predictions:

  • Business Leaders we will Re-Define their corporate Values – to account for increased flexible working

  • Business Leaders will need to Re-Define their Vision / Dream for their organisation = create purpose

  • There will be an investment in Leadership Development as many C-Suite take early retirement

  • There will be a need to upskill employees in order to retain them, so 2020 will see the rise and rise of the Learning Management System (LMS)

  • Internal Communications will own a seat at the top table.

  • HR Leaders will be crowned as superheroes

Rumour has it you run a CEO Forum on a Friday??? What is it and how do I get involved?

This is true… the secret is out.

It is more of a mastermind group though with c35 members and increasing by the week. It is chaired by Laurence Duncan who is a highly successful business coach.

To get involved, you just need to send me a WhatsApp and I will add you to our CEO Mastermind Whatsapp Group, the ZOOM joining instructions are the same every week and you come along whenever you want to. Some CEO’s attend every week, others only monthly. If you’re keen, my number is 07887754805.

Lastly, how are you feeling about the launch of Macildowie Recruitment and Retention?

I am genuinely excited.

I promised the team at Macs back in the middle of March when we sent them all home at the start of lockdown that we wouldn’t let this crisis go to waste and by adding the additional service offering we can categorically say that we have innovated and are bringing to market something that the members of the CEO Group believe is “groundbreaking”.

Time will tell. But I am very confident that customers will love it.

Thanks to JT for chatting to us again, visit the Macildowie website here to find out more. You can also check out his previous blog for Spotlight here!

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