Our CEO, Guy Moreton, was recently interviewed by Planteria about the history of MorePeople and how the future for professional recruitment looks in both the UK and Europe.
What was your own brief when you first launched MorePeople?
Back in 2000, Peter Hunt and I set out with a vision to build a recruitment business that was better than anything we had encountered as clients doing the hiring. We wanted to be the best at recruitment, the most passionate and the most knowledgeable about the sectors we operate in. I’m proud to say that we’ve stuck to this vision for 20 years now, building a strong brand and a great team who fully understand the sectors and the challenges that our clients face.
Which sector provided you with a platform to build your recruitment business in the early days?
For the first two years in business, we focused our expertise on the fresh produce and flower trades, predominately recruiting for commercial and technical roles in the £40k plus salary bracket. Then, in 2003, we made our first acquisition by purchasing The Peepul Bureau, which was the oldest established recruitment business in the garden centre and landscaping market. Since then, we have continued to expand into the wider food sector and cover all aspects of the retail supply chain.
We must ask what changes have you seen in the past 20 years with regard to the recruitment process?
Technology has enabled the biggest changes in the recruitment process. Times have moved on considerably since our first ever recruitment advert that was placed on page 2 of The Grocer’s 120-page jobs magazine! Most of our time in the early days was spent sifting through CVs that had arrived via either post or fax, whereas we now operate in a digital world with channels like LinkedIn that make it so much easier to connect with people. Having said that, there has pretty much always been a candidate shortage in our sectors and a general lack of awareness of the scale of opportunities that exist in it. We are constantly working to try to change this and act as advocates of the sectors.
Within your market profile, which sectors currently offer the greatest challenge?
2020 has obviously presented challenges for all industries but, in terms of our markets, the garden centre sector went through a difficult time when it was forced to close in the first lockdown and it is still recovering. The food service sector certainly felt the biggest impact, and it has been heart-breaking to see our clients continue to suffer in this area. Looking ahead, as most of our clients supply to retailers, I can foresee new challenges if retail price wars take over as the economy tries to recover. From a people perspective, this will bring increased pressure to demonstrate added value in your role.
What effect has Covid-19 had on your business and the markets you serve?
April and May were very uncertain times for lots of businesses, MorePeople included. For some of our clients, life was very busy and, for others, it ground to a halt, so a few of the team were furloughed during this time. I’m pleased to say that once consumer behaviours returned to some sort of normality, we were able to bring everyone back and have finished the year very strongly.
As I mentioned in the previous question, some clients are still feeling the impact of Covid-19, whereas others have had better years than ever before. I just hope that 2021 is a more positive year for everyone.
In terms of the Brexit and all the ramifications of this, does this provide you with new opportunities, and if so, in which sectors? Might your recruitment activities in Europe actually be increased?
Brexit will, of course, bring about challenges to all of our sectors in the short-term as new regulations and paperwork requirements are introduced, particularly in relation to importing live products. These sectors are, however, very adaptable and used to change, so I’m confident they will rise to the challenge and we’ll soon be wondering what all the fuss was about!
In terms of our recruitment activities, we already recruit internationally, but have no plans to make this more of a focus. The UK market is our priority.
Which core values have you installed in your company, to ensure your profile has continued to grow?
We have shared the same core values since day one, but recently sat down as a team to cement these and properly define them. Our values are:
P – Pride, we take pride in what we do
E – Empathy, we put our customers’ needs in front of our own
O – One team, we create a fun and supportive environment for our colleagues
P – Positive, we always aim to have a positive impact on others
L – Learning, we strive to continually improve
E – Expertise, we are advocates of our sectors.
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