The latest thinking, news and events from the world of Recruitment

Business Health Checks for Recruitment Organisations


Let’s start with 3 very simple questions:

  • Is your business doing well?
  • How do you know?
  • What does “well” actually mean?

Over the past few years I have sat through and/or facilitated a number of recruitment company board meetings, quarterly review meetings and AGMs where the agenda is typically sandwiched by two key areas – the review of past performance and the setting (or re-adjustment) of future goals.

In between, those present at the meeting will tend to review, debate and discuss all the components of the business that impact both past performance and future goals, centred typically three key business drivers: data, growth engines and enablers.


Prior to most of these meetings, a set of data is collated that has been extracted from within the vaults of that particular recruitment business, which of course provides an excellent analysis of the key performance metrics and targets that the business has either achieved or, in some cases, failed to achieve.

The data obviously gives a clear insight into how that business is tracking against those pre-agreed targets and metrics, but what it can often fail to do is to measure how that business is tracking against current market trends and industry best practice (ie. what is going on outside of the four walls of that business) which potentially limits just how useful that data really is when it comes to helping owners and managers of recruitment organisations to make appropriate tactical and strategic decisions.

The REC continuously produce meaningful data for their members, representing over 80% market share of the UK recruitment sector by turnover – to compare the data pulled from your business with that level of data produced by the REC, to benchmark your business against what is the equivalent of more than three quarters of the entire UK recruitment market, will give you a far more insightful analysis of how well you are doing in relation to the market potential than just comparing yourselves to what you achieved the month prior.

Growth Engines and Enablers

Furthermore, those tactical decisions that tend to form the basis of the post monthly meeting “action plans” can often tend to sway towards fairly significant overhauls of key business areas (we refer to these as “Growth Engines”) when actually all that is needed in many cases are some delicate tweaks to some of the more subtle components of your strategy (referred to “Enablers”).

Generally, at the start of a financial year, a recruitment organisation should look at no more than 3 to 5 Growth engines, the key areas that the business needs to get absolutely right to drive sustainable and significant growth that year (aligned to the overarching business vision).  When it comes to the quarterly board meetings and monthly reviews, the focus should turn to the Enablers, those activities, actions and key performance metrics that in essence enable those Growth Engines to be fired up and driven forward.

Every recruitment business will of course have different perspectives on what their Enablers should be, and this will often be very much aligned to where that business is going and has been on their strategic journey.

However, through our analysis of the market and working with some of the industry’s more prominent thought leaders, we have been able to identify a clear set of 18 common Enablers that, when laid out alongside the RECs industry data, create a unique blueprint for growth for recruitment owners and managers looking to outperform the market.

Over the next few months we are embarking on a national road show, alongside the REC, to give recruitment organisations the opportunity to complete one of our unique Business Health Checks and assess their businesses against these 18 Enablers and industry best practice standards and to empower them to be able to answer that all important question, “is our business actually doing well?”

To find out more about completing a free business health check contact me.

To find out more about the REC visit