The recruitment sector is renowned for its fast paced working environment, which is why it has been slower than other sectors in adopting a more flexible approach to working, fearing reduced productivity and impacts to service levels to clients and candidates.
Travel recruitment specialist TMS Talent is challenging those views, with a modern approach to flexible working that sees 38% of the business working part-time, including several senior female leaders.
“We’re really championing change within our industry and embracing a truly flexible working culture for our staff.” Says Group Managing Director John Terry
It’s a strategy that is clearly paying off in the race to attract top talent into the business and retain existing staff with TMS Talent’s business growing rapidly, increasing staff numbers by 45% across six offices in the past 12 months.
“We have been through a period of exceptional growth and change, with a number of business acquisitions under our belt, as well as organic growth across many of our regions. Our aim is to be the number 1 in our markets globally by 2020 and to achieve this level of growth we need to be adaptable and flexible in our approach to attract and retain the right people.” Says John
Flexibility leads to a more motivated team
TMS Talent believes that their employees deliver their best when they are happy and engaged at work. A culture of flexibility and inclusiveness (for all employees, not just those that are part-time) is driven from the top down, making employees feel more motivated, valued and appreciated. This has resulted in enhanced productivity and overall engagement with the brand, clients and candidates.
Kay Eriksson, Group Head of Operations joined TMS Talent in 2018, sharing the view that a flexible approach to working has its benefits in driving growth through a more motivated workforce. “At TMS Talent we truly stand by making our workplace flexible and inclusive for our team. I myself, choose to work part time. For me as a senior female leader, I set that example for the rest of the business.” says Kay.
Kay comments “The reasons our team members may choose flexible working options are varied. We have some team members with caring responsibilities for their family, returning to work from maternity/paternity leave, some with other business interests and even those just pursuing hobbies that don’t fit within your standard 9 to 5 hour day, or 5 day a week working schedule.”
“We appreciate that our staff have lives outside of the office and we want to attract and retain the best people and help them to perform productively in their roles. Keeping them engaged with the business is our top priority and by facilitating flexibility where it’s needed, we have managed to do just that, quite successfully!”
“In the travel sector, people realise there is more to life than just work, if you engage people on that level and authentically, it sends a powerful message.” Says John Terry”
The key to flexible working? Reward based on outcomes and trust.
We reward our team based on outcomes, not necessarily hours worked. We have a mature team that thrives on a culture of trust. Everyone puts in their best efforts and a rewarding and ambitious culture is what ensues.
“You have to put trust in your team. If you don’t or cant, you haven’t surrounded yourself with the right people.” Says John
“A growth mindset requires you to hire the best people so you as the business leader can let go of those tasks that can be delegated to others. It’s imperative to grow to free up more of your time to spend on business development and strategic direction. Building that level of trust in your team with a flexible approach is a win / win for all parties, and something more businesses in our sector should embrace”.
Does it work in a sales environment?
“Some of our top performing sales consultants are part time employees.” says Kay. So it can definitely be achieved in a sales environment. But ultimately, it requires the right type of self-motivated and mature individuals to make it work.”
Other benefits of a flexible approach
Embracing flexible working is also one of the key reasons the TMS Talent offices are situated within WeWork hubs. “It’s shifting that old mentality that to be productive you must be in the office with your bum on a seat. Productivity across our business is exceptional.” John remarks.
While the benefits of flexible working in recruitment remain elusive to some, for those recruitment agencies like TMS Talent brave enough to embrace new ways of working there is a competitive advantage to be had, not to mention a more rewarding and inclusive work environment for employees.