The world has changed in the past year or so, and it is going to keep on changing, so having expertise, experience and ongoing support when it comes to recruitment is going to be more important than ever.
Impact Recruitment, which has well-established offices in Northampton and Wellingborough and is just about to open a third one, in Peterborough, is perfectly placed to work with clients facing the uncertainty of life outside the European Union, combined with the new workplaces and processes that are an inevitable consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.
Paul Hooper, who founded Impact Recruitment with two business partners in 2002, now heads up the business with his wife, Angela, and says his team of 31 are prepared for the new situations employers face in 2021.
Impact has always prided itself on its consultative approach and unrivalled service delivery. The firm’s five values are Teamwork, Trust, Respect, Integrity and Innovation, and they have been the foundation stones upon which Impact has built its reputation.
Specialising mainly in temporary and permanent recruitment for the industrial, warehousing, logistics and supply chain sector, Impact understands the needs of its clients, particularly online retailers, who have seen a massive increase in business, and therefore an increase in staffing levels, since lockdown first started in March 2020.
Paul Hooper said: “We were going great guns up to March last year and were very positive about the future. Lockdown saw something like 80% of clients shut down until June, but by July we were close to being back to normal and since then we have moved to around 20% up year on year.
“A lot of that is because online retail really took off and, because Northamptonshire is known as a logistics hub for the whole of the UK, a lot of our clients suddenly found that they were as busy as ever, if not more so. Because we have the experience in that sector, and are used to responding to busier times and quieter times, we could help them make things work.”
One of the issues facing Impact as the workload began to increase was interviewing candidates and completing registration details remotely. Video calls and socially distanced meetings replaced the face-to-face interviews that would have previously been carried out in the Impact offices.
Similarly, Angela was concerned about keeping the Impact team happy and motivated away from the interaction and camaraderie that only real comes from an office environment.
“The practical side of it, new laptops and office furniture so that everyone was able to work from home was one thing,” she said, “but making sure we continued to reward people when we couldn’t all go out for a drink, or send someone out for a nice dinner with their partner when they had a good month, that was difficult. Wellbeing is so important, and working remotely you don’t pick up on signs you might notice when you’re in an office with someone, so we had to be aware of that.
“For me, our main strength has been in the way the team has responded to incredibly challenging times. There’s nothing like a situation like this to get the measure of people, and our management team did an incredible job, maintaining one-to-one personal contact to coach and motivate their teams to work together even when working in separate locations. We are so proud of how every single member of the Impact team really owned that drive to keep delivering the best possible service to clients and candidates, regardless of the circumstances.”
As we enter 2021, employers in the logistics and warehouse sector face not only an increase in workload, but also new regulations now that we have left the EU, leaving Impact facing new challenges in helping clients adapt their approach to attracting new workers.
Northamptonshire offers a good level of employment opportunities, often seeing more vacancies than candidates, but Paul Hooper believes employers will have to improve their offering and make themselves more attractive.
“This area is often one or two per cent below the national unemployment figure because we have businesses that need a high volume of staff and vacancies are not hard to find,” said Paul. “The knock-on effect of COVID, however, and the changes to the workforce that will come with leaving the EU, will change the employment landscape and we need to be ready to advise and support our clients.
“Some of them will themselves have restructured during COVID and maybe reduced their HR or internal recruitment teams, leaving them struggling to process applications when there are twice or three times the number of applicants they might have had before.
“People will be able to pick and choose more, they will expect better pay and benefits, and employers need to rethink their strategy to make sure they have the level of workforce they need. I think the temporary market will be buoyant for a while until confidence returns, and the economy begins to pick up again.
“There are a lot of things to consider, and that’s where we can help.”
Contact Impact Recruitment on 01604 239555 or 01933 440285 or visit www.impactrecruitment.co.uk