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Introducing ‘The Hub’…Meet’s back office team have rebranded! COO Hannah Donaldson tells us why she thought it was so important to reposition Meet’s “engine room”.
Where did it all start?
The first hire into what was known as ‘Operations’ was Charlotte. Before then, I’d taken the lead on back office responsibilities. But, with a growing headcount we got to a point where Paul, Ali and I were spending the majority of our time dealing with the day-to-day running of a business rather than driving growth - we needed support.
Back then Charlotte’s role involved everything from office management and HR to contractor finances. However, as we grew, managing all of this wasn’t sustainable. Before we knew it, the business had doubled if not tripled in revenue and we started to realise we needed expertise in other functions too - that meant diversifying ‘Operations’. We hired Ben to develop the brand and focus on digital marketing; brought our Finance function in-house which gave us a lot more control; and transitioned Blaze from sales into a hybrid role covering internal recruitment, welfare and training.
“Diversifying the back-office function gave the growing business the support it needed.”
What was the need to rebrand?
Over the last couple of years, the team has evolved really quickly. We’ve now got Graham leading the global IR function, supported by Ryan and James. Learning & Development has expanded now that Blaze is managing Technical Trainer Jon. Equally, Marketing has grown with the addition of Georgie, as has Operations with Roya and Katie joining the team too.
From the financial side we’ve got more support through our Finance Manager Alina and Finance Associate Ryan, who looks after our contract book. More recently we’ve also appointed Steve at Director level. Paul and I are not accountancy qualified, so having someone with Steve’s knowledge and experience joining the board will allow us to fulfil the growth plans we have.
As the team grew and took on a different shape the term ‘Operations’ became redundant. It wasn’t fit for purpose to describe the diversity of a function that is fundamentally the engine room of the business. So, I wanted to re-brand the back office to encompass all that they do.
For me, the phrase “back office” doesn’t give enough gravitas to the importance of the function. After a brainstorm with key members we felt ‘The Hub’ was a good way to reposition the team; it’s creative, on brand and reflects their ethos.
What is ‘The Hub’?
At the moment, everyone in the business is stretching themselves in a really positive way, myself included. Meet’s sales teams are obviously so important to the growth of the business, but they could not do their jobs without the support of ‘The Hub’. Their success hinges on ‘The Hub’ staying ahead of industry trends and at the forefront of innovation.
"The simplest way of describing ‘The Hub’ is a critical function that aligns the fast growing, global business with our core values and vision to be a brilliant Life Sciences Recruitment company."
They are there to ensure we reach our growth potential through being success driven, creative in their approach and constantly developing new ways to best support the revenue generating part of the business. So that we remain leaders in the industry.
Everyone in ‘The Hub’, but especially our Head of Departments, have shaped their functions. They’ve had an awful lot of autonomy, bringing new ideas and stretching themselves in terms of their capabilities. The Head of Departments, Ben, Blaze, Charlotte and Graham, have had to evolve really quickly, taking on greater responsibility such as line management and remaining experts in their fields.
Using Charlotte, our first hire, as an example: she’s gone from running the day-to-day operations of the business to controlling all new processes and procedures we use – that’s a huge transformation of her role.
It’s given me a huge amount of personal satisfaction to see them develop into leaders of complex, global functions and in doing so creating career growth for the people that work for them.
How important is ‘The Hub’ function to the growth of a global recruitment company?
In 2015, when we made the decision to launch the brand in the US, I knew the support needed from the back office would change entirely. One of the biggest challenges for any global business is how to connect a leadership team who are working in different environments. ‘The Hub’ play an essential role in keeping the global business connected, particularly in ensuring best practice across all of our offices. By that I mean looking at elements of the business that, for example, are working really well in the US and thinking about how we can translate these practices to other parts of the business.
Since launching in the US everyone in ‘The Hub’ has had a global focus. But, as we’ve continued to grow internationally we’ve found that this has only become more significant in connecting the business.
From an industry point of view, recruitment has a bit of a reputation for corner cutting. The myth is, if you’re doing deals then that’s good enough. But that’s absolutely not the case; for instance, as you grow compliance becomes a huge consideration and the sheer volume of budget attributed to a department like Marketing becomes a board level decision.
I’m a very operations minded business owner, which I think is quite unusual. My belief is that at the size we are now, ‘The Hub’ is THE thing we have to get right. We are working in such a variety of markets, in different tax locations and with so many high profile, expensive vendors, ‘The Hub’ can really impact the profitability of our business.
Nevertheless, when you’re scaling a business at the pace we did, making the decision when to grow the back office is challenging. As a small organisation you can get away with being lean and many companies make the mistake of doing that for far too long, us included. To take that step you need to have the vision to be better and want to maximise every aspect of the business.
We now know how mission critical it is to have expertise in the different functions that encompass ‘The Hub’ and we’ve become much better at making the necessary hires sooner rather than later. It’s always been part of our strategy to hire people that can add real value to the business.