It’s fair to say, a lot’s happened for me over the past year! 

In February 2020 I was leading the UK office of a French tech start-up. I’d grown the team to 25 people from scratch and things were looking great. We were projecting 2x growth, the team was happy and from a personal perspective I was in that nice position where I was seeing the results of four years hard work.

Then, like everyone else, we got blindsided by Covid. The sudden change in the market meant we needed to restructure the business and I decided it was the right time for me to step out and to take redundancy. But to be honest, I didn’t know what I was going to do next. My partner was pregnant – my daughter was born in July – and I hadn’t been planning for a job change. It was one of those moments when you’re really forced to reflect on what you want to do with your life!

John and family

Fortunately I was able to have some amazing conversations with Mona, which gave me the chance to reflect on what I was really passionate about and where I wanted to invest my time. 

I also had an itch about the potential for a new way of supporting recruitment in rapid growth businesses. I’m one of those people who just likes to get on with things, so I decided the best way to find out whether my idea had any legs would be to start a business and test the hypothesis. So I started Turtle Tech Talent with Darren and we got to work developing our Recruitment as a Service solution for scale-ups.

The premise of Recruitment as a Service is that if you’re hiring lots of people in a short space of time, you’ll get a better service and better results by having experienced recruiters embedded in your team, than you’ll get from working with recruitment agencies. It’s also cheaper. A lot cheaper!

After just a couple of months, it was pretty clear we were onto something. But it was also clear that there was a bigger opportunity that we weren’t going to be able to realise with Turtle Tech only. In my opinion, recruitment in rapid growth businesses works best when it fits seamlessly into the wider business. It’s pretty obvious that recruitment is a key driver of growth for scale-ups. If you can’t find the people you need, it doesn’t matter how much funding you have or how fast your customer growth is, you won’t be able to grow your company successfully or sustainably.

But I’ve seen firsthand the problems scale-ups encounter when they build an amazing talent acquisition team that churns out candidates, but the business doesn’t have the systems or management practices to be able to onboard those people in a way that reflects their culture and makes it easy for new hires to contribute to the business. 

Investing in recruitment doesn’t deliver growth if it’s just fueling churn, disengagement and chaos.

And that’s where The Pioneers come in. 

I’ve known Matt and Bee for a while and I just love the idea of a peopleOS.

So when The Pioneers approached me with an offer to acquire Turtle Tech Talent, it felt like a natural decision to merge the two offers.

For The Pioneers’ existing clients, Recruitment as a Service means we can take away the administrative burden of mass recruitment, giving the People team the headspace to focus on how they design and build their peopleOS. And for Turtle Tech’s clients, we can now maximise the return they get from recruitment by creating seamless people experiences and building the systems for sustained growth.

And finally on a personal level, there were three factors that really motivated me to make the move:

  1. I really believe in The Pioneers’ purpose of helping people to flourish at work. Like Matt says, you spend so much of your time at work… why would you want it to be a mediocre experience? Isn’t that a bit of a waste of everyone’s lives?! I’ve only been on the team for a couple of weeks, but I can tell you that this sense of why we’re in business and who we’re fighting for really infuses everything we do at The Pioneers.
  2. They’re really nice people! I met Bee at a networking event about 4 or 5 years ago and since then I’ve enjoyed having very open and deep chats about the future of work with her. When I was made redundant they offered to partner on some work and even offered a project to work on to help me, which was very generous. Bee also sold me on the claim that she makes the best carrot cake ever (although lockdown means I’m still waiting to test this famous cake 😉).  
  3. The team we’re building at The Pioneers is really special. We have this amazing breadth of expertise, experience and perspectives. And everyone’s genuine. It’s so nice to be part of a team where people care about each other and where you’re working with smart people who want to do amazing work and help others. I feel like I can really add something and I know that the team around me is going to stretch and lift me to be able to deliver amazing, pioneering stuff for clients.

If you’re as intrigued by the idea of a peopleOS as much as I was, check out our playbook for an introduction to our approach and how we see the challenges of people management in scale-ups.

A playbook for scale-ups

If you’re a scale-up interested in our Recruitment as a Service proposition, please get in touch or book a call with me.

And if you’re a pioneer who might be interested in joining our growing team, take a look at what we can offer.