Becoming a business that makes a profit and a difference

Since establishing Talent Gateway, I was clear that whilst I wanted to be a recruitment business with a healthy bottom line, I also wanted to have a social purpose and to measure our impact over and above profit. Since becoming an organisational member of Social Value UK, we have started to look into exactly this.  Who is affected by what we do and how? And critically, its changing the way we now work.

We started by looking at all of our stakeholders and what happens to them through our work.  This included candidates, clients, suppliers, employees and the local community.  For each stakeholder, we asked ourselves what changes for them?  We mapped the journey of each one through different scenarios.  For example following a candidate from how they first interact with us through to whether they are successful in the role or not.  Our focus was on outcomes – so what does this mean for them?

The process enabled us to take the time to think about how we impact our various stakeholders but also question how we can measure it.  By looking at our candidate and clients journeys in this way, we were able to identify opportunities to improve the process.  For example, we considered the negative outcomes for a candidate that is not successful and how we could support candidates following the interview process.  This can be stressful and challenging for those involved and we know that ensuring constructive feedback is provided and support during further interviews is important.  But we are now exploring whether we can do any more to provide support to these candidates to mitigate the negative outcomes.

We have revised our client and candidates surveys to better capture outcomes and created customised fields in our CRM system to record what candidates want to achieve when they first interact with us, whether it is a better work life balance or next step on their career leader, so we can map whether we support them to meet this.

In addition, we have completed a social return on investment analysis on our Returners Programme in partnership with Tandridge District Council.  We interviewed the women that had returned to work through the scheme together with the council to understand what changed for them and the impact.  The results were very interesting with the women reporting increased confidence and reconnecting with themselves after having children.

But I didn’t want us to stop there.  We challenged ourselves with the question: how can we have the biggest positive social impact?  We reached the conclusion that this could be achieved by using some of our profits to invest in supporting organisations (mainly charities and social enterprises) already focused on having measurable positive social impact.  With this as a focus, we are developing a proposition for charities and social enterprise to help them access executive search and recruitment services at exceptional value, thereby enabling them to recruit the best talent to increase the social impact of their business. We also volunteer for organisations such as the Shaw Trust, enabling individuals with mental health needs to build their CV writing and interview skills through workshops and mock interviews.

We now have an action plan in place to better measure our social value and ultimately enhance our service to the betterment of our stakeholders.  I am delighted to have achieved Level 1 Social Value Certification to demonstrate our commitment to this aim.  We are just at the start of our social value journey, but I for one, am already excited about the potential to truly be a recruitment business with a social purpose.  So the question is what’s next on our journey?