James Constable had grown his first recruitment business with great success, but in the process, it became clear that there was a major opportunity in Human Capital Consultancy – a sector which hadn’t changed much in decades and was ripe for reform and fresh thinking. But how to challenge the established big players, the likes of Deloitte, KPMG, PWC who had a stranglehold on the market? How do you convince big clients to hire a newcomer in a conservative sector, particularly where large investments are being made?
James enlisted Gary’s help and after some negotiation, Gary bought out his partner so that their interests were both financially and strategically aligned. They then set about brainstorming the path ahead, each sharing frank views and challenging each other’s vision until they came up with a robust plan to disrupt this lucrative market. They focused on shaking up and disrupting the traditional consultancy model of charging astronomical fees for senior people and a level of service which wasn’t always required for the job.
Additionally, many of the big players maintained costly ‘benches’, where banks of staff were waiting to be allocated to projects, and therefore spending periods of time not being utilised, which the client ultimately paid for.
Albany Beck devised a “just in time” strategy which eliminated the inefficient bench and the cost savings could be passed onto their customers. With the help of a sophisticated portal called Pioneerhub.com, they brought the human back into human capital.
First, Albany Beck set about investing heavily in junior talent, pouring thousands into learning and development, mentoring programmes, business coaches and professional qualifications for each new employee. Traditionally in the sector, new hires were tied to a £20k ‘bond’ to keep them in the company for a minimum of two years. Albany Beck threw this out of the water, making sure that training and investment was second to none, and that staff stayed because they wanted to, not because they were miserably chained to their desks
They also developed and attracted senior talent away from the traditional consultancies. These were advocates who saw how the Albany Beck model was working much better than the huge edifices who had stopped being agile and who were unable to respond quickly to changing trends.
Consequently, Albany Beck are able to offer a service where clients still get access to senior consultants with over 20 years’ experience, but delivery is handled by a team of brilliant, hungry and professional individuals who are trained and experienced. And at the end of eighteen months, clients get to keep them for free.
Drawing on experience from their earlier business experience, Gary and James aligned the pricing model to a traditional recruitment budget, making it far more cost-effective, while still delivering an excellent service.
“Everyone wins. Our clients get a brilliant team, led by top consultants for a fraction of the cost, and our staff benefit from unprecedented investment in them and their career,” James commented.
“Everyone talks about intellectual property – well don’t let your intellectual property leave! You can afford to let the senior guys move onto the next project, but we leave you with a sponge of young talent who have soaked up all that IP. They’re your future leaders.”
Throughout, Gary helped James to maintain a laser focus. He became a “mono-maniac with a mission” and it worked.
Albany Beck has seen exceptional growth in only eighteen months. In fact, the company is now the fourth highest recruiter in Ireland in terms of head count, after Paypal, Facebook and Cisco Systems.
But it’s not just about financial success. The story here is one of disrupting the sector to the advantage of people. Younger staff are trained and fast-tracked in a more advantageous way, and businesses benefit from streamlined costs.
The success of the company has also allowed them to implement an impressive D&I programme. Talent is drawn from a diverse background, not just top universities. Candidates from underprivileged and under-represented groups are encouraged and trained, which encourages diversity of thought.
“Once you’ve found what works, it’s time to put your foot on the pedal. Ultimately, for Albany Beck it’s all about people, pace and getting everyone working in the same direction,” James added.
The market has noticed too. This year Albany Beck was named as both the 30th best small company to work for and the 11th best consultancy to work for in the UK in 2021.