Our 10 year anniversary: The people behind the brand

On March 1st, Talent Works International turned 10 years old. At the time, we marked the occasion with an interview with our CEO and founder Neil Purcell. As we’re nearing the end of March, we’re getting ready to celebrate in style, and in person, with all our colleagues. So, we thought it was the ideal time to chat to our employees, both new and old, from Northampton, to Manchester and Boston.

The Talent Works experience connects us. Some longstanding employees have built friendships that extend right through to their children and families. As Global Senior Consultant, Tammy Davies says, “I’ve made friends here I will carry for life.”

Some newcomers are just integrating themselves into the fold and, as such, making their mark. In this blog we’re listening to them all and collating their experiences in one place to give our readers an insight into who the people behind the brand are.

When did TWI start?

Jody Russell, Business Support Manager, is TWI’s longest standing employee, having been with the business since the day of its inception. As she had worked with Neil previously, Jody was excited by his vision to build his own company, and she agreed to join him on the journey.

We started off in a converted barn, on a farm. The countryside was lovely, but it was freezing in the winter, baking in the summer. But we were all in it together. As a company, we still tend to feel like we are all in it together. It feels like family to me because it’s been such a massive part of my life, for the last 10 years. To me, it’s more than a business. I can’t ever see it not being exciting, different or challenging.

So, what happened then?

In the interim between then and now, TWI has both grown and evolved to meet the demands of the ever-changing recruitment climate. Simon Thomas, Brand & Strategy Director, said the business is unrecognisable from when he joined. He said, in terms of continuing development, he’s learned to expect the unexpected.

Talent Works started as pure Talent Mapping and Executive Search, before establishing a team dedicated to Brand & Insight to provide a more tailored solution to our clients. Just over 3 years ago, we established our RPO offering and have seen this strand of our business move from strength to strength ever since. What we’re now providing is a source of difference in the market, combining RPO with our Creative, Insight and Digital offerings to provide flexible strategies for our clients.

We opened our Boston branch over 5 years ago, at a similar time to our Manchester based Creative team, with our VP of North America Jody Robie at the helm. This move established us as an international force. Jody has worked in television journalism, producing and reporting, as well as in recruitment, so she bought a new strand of forward thinking and creativity to the leadership team.

Our services now cover everything sourcing and employer brand related. The diversity of the solutions we can provide has enabled our continual growth over the years and brought us all the way to our 10-year anniversary.

What adventures have we had along the way?

During these 10 years we have maintained a culture of celebration. We have always placed an emphasis on rewarding internal achievements and milestones. This value comes from an innate belief that we should practice what we preach, cultivating an employer brand that not only attracts the best talent, but makes the most of the talent we already have.

We have many examples of how we have chosen to encourage and value our staff over the years. For example, on Geoff Pedder’s (Lead Consultant, Brand & Insight) third day in the business he won a TV on an away day after winning a Go-Carting competition. He was a bit surprised, to say the least, but when we celebrate our staff we do it well.

Over the years we have organised holidays, from Marbella to Las Vegas. Hollie Stiff, Senior Client Partner, recalls business class flights, and VIP tables with bouncers. Tammy Davies remembers attending football games, and The Player of the Year Awards with Neil, who is a dedicated Manchester United fan.

Of course, it’s not all fun and games. We work hard, and we are committed to supporting the growth and development of our people in more personal ways as well. Hollie Stiff, TWI Senior Client Partner, cites her huge respect for Neil, and “what hes done for me in my career.” Sophia, Art Director, joined TWI in the Manchester office as a Junior Designer. After 3 months she was promoted to Art Director and has since taken part in pitches and won them. Alongside the fun and the successes, there have of course been difficult decisions but, as Simon Thomas says…

How has the new office changed TWI?

In 2018 we invested in an exciting office renovation in Northampton. It has resulted in a space we are remarkably proud of. This is not just because it is a beautiful place to spend each day, but because it is a sign of our investment in and respect for our employees. As Geoff Pedder says, the office in Northampton is a huge statement. It promotes collaboration, but also provides space to get away. Jody Russell says, we want our staff to have the best surroundings, to make their days better. You spend so much of your time at work, it’s important to be somewhere that has colour and warmth.

At Talent Works we are so excited for the next step in our adventure, but we are loving being able to reflect on our achievements as we celebrate reaching 10 years old. We have experienced both highs and lows over the last 10 years. However, throughout it all, we are proud to have grown the business and retained our identity throughout. We have ensured our focus remains on our core values, putting our people and our clients first.

Currently, it is an extraordinary time to be in recruitment. Curating a powerful employer brand is essential in a market which is so candidate rich. While we’re interested to see the future of AI and how it affects recruitment, we believe in the importance of human connection and interaction. As always, we remain committed to having the best talent on the job.