What sets Sewell Wallis apart from all the rest?

What sets Sewell Wallis apart from all the rest?

Kayley Haythornthwaite, Director of our Sheffield office, recently celebrated 11 years with the business. As well as leading from the front, she’s an accountancy & finance expert, keeping our team up to date on what’s new in the world of accounting, and all the jargon that goes along with it. Her finance knowledge is unrivalled as a recruiter, and she’s proven this time and time again during her time with Sewell Wallis. Kayley also recruits for the third sector and manages our executive search function within Sheffield.

In the time she’s been with the business, she’s worked alongside Sue and Lucy, co-owners, to build a business that works as hard as possible to foster the region’s recruitment talent and make Sewell Wallis as successful as possible. Now, over a decade down the line, we wanted to hear from her about why she’s stuck around so long. Recruitment agencies are a dime a dozen, so what really sets Sewell Wallis aside from the rest?

We collaborate to get the best out of everyone.

Everyone who works for Sewell Wallis has a similar attitude. We work as one, all driving towards the same goal of continually building a recruitment business that does things right. It’s not a hive mind; we all work in different ways and we absolutely embrace those differences, but we all strive for the same things.

You’ll regularly hear people calling out candidate names across the office because we don’t do candidate ownership at Sewell Wallis. If your colleague’s hiding the perfect match for one of your roles in a drawer like Gollum hiding his precious ring, everyone suffers, including the candidate and the client, and that’s, quite literally, the opposite of what we’re meant to do as recruiters. We support each other’s wins across the business, including our admin and marketing team; we’re all each other’s biggest cheerleaders. We take each other to meetings, not only if there’s a role there for someone, but to help them develop their network, see a business they’ve never worked with and experience how their colleague conducts meetings. By encouraging collaboration across the board, we get to share all of our best practice without it feeling like tons of effort.

We’re in it for the long run.

We’re people-focused before anything else - that goes for our candidates and clients as well as our staff. Our team pride themselves on getting to know the people they work with inside and out. If you partner with us as a client, we want to get into the nitty-gritty of what makes your business a great place to work, your growth plans, and what’s on the table for the candidates we send your way. If you work with us as a candidate, our team will take their time to understand your future goals and what you really want from your next role. We care about the things that make you a well-rounded person, as well as how many years of experience you’ve got in whatever we’re putting you forward for.

This approach works: 64% of the businesses we work with are repeat clients who come back to us time and time again, and our candidates regularly come back to Sewell Wallis when they’re ready for a change. We keep in touch with people, not just when we want something, or we think they can be of use to us – we genuinely want long-lasting relationships with the people we work with.

We trust each other.

The three of us wanted to set up a business where our staff could have a fulfilling career alongside their lives outside of work, and we’d established, following years of working in other agencies that mandated long hours and under overbearing managers, that the best way to do this was to build a team that you trust.

If you can rely on your staff to perform at their best, not because someone’s hitting them with a stick, but because that’s intrinsically who they are as people and what they want to do for themselves, the rest slots pretty nicely into place. Of course, people need support from time to time, extra training or help managing the load, but our staff having trust in us that they’ll be provided the support and training they need to succeed makes our jobs as managers and directors so much easier.  

We don’t monitor your every move.

Why would we? We liked you enough to hire you in the first place. We took the time to get to know you, we discussed your past achievements and future goals, and we both decided we were a good fit for each other.

We’ve all been in jobs where someone’s breathing down our necks, tracking what we’re doing at every minute of every day. Our team’s targets aren’t based on nebulous productivity stats, plucked from the air, they’re more focused on where you’re finding success, capitalising on that and then training the areas where you need improvement.

You want to work from home tomorrow? Go for it. You’ve got a doctor's appointment? No, you don’t need to take a holiday, just make sure everything’s done. You go to a gym class at 5pm? Okay, go to the gym, again, just make sure your work is sorted before you go. You typically do the school run, and don’t want that to change? It won’t. You get my drift. We’re all adults, we all operate in different ways. Some of our team come into the office almost every day, others do two or three out of the five. We do expect to see you weekly, as there’s value in seeing your colleagues in person, but we won’t mandate when that is, or expect you to tell us.

We care about your wellbeing.

This topic gets thrown around a lot these days, and we see a lot of businesses talking about how much they care about their team’s well-being and mental health, but it almost feels like it’s becoming a little bit of an empty promise. So, we wanted to put our money where our mouth was: we’ve got a pretty flat hierarchical structure going on here, and no barriers to talking to our directors– we sit in the same place as everyone else and are all approachable people. Nearly half of the business has mental health first aid training. We encourage people to be open about their lives outside of work, and we always ask twice whether people are really doing okay. Because of this, we get to know the signals that someone in the office might be having a tough time, and we can offer help if its wanted. If you don’t want to talk to us, you can reach the dedicated mental health service we use, who offer counselling support, advice a wellbeing app, and a virtual library of wellbeing information, among other things.

Our staff having a life outside of work is really important to us too. We don’t want people working ridiculously long hours – if your workload is unmanageable, we want you to talk to us. You’ll rarely see someone still sitting at their desk later than 5.30 pm – if they are, they’re normally just wrapping up a phone call and then they’ll be out of there. People with fulfilling, happy lives outside of the office make better employees, and this is exactly what we wanted to create with Sewell Wallis.

The reasons I’m still here.

I’ve stuck around at Sewell Wallis for most of my adult working life, and so much of that is because of Sue herself. When I first joined, she supported me, pushed me to learn and helped me value my own worth. She taught me how to manage people, helped me build an absolutely cracking team around me and has always been my champion. My life has changed a lot since I joined the business, including getting married and having two kids, and she’s always been there for me. I changed my schedule to fit around the kids rather than the other way around, and it means my life as both a parent and a business owner is much more fulfilling. My career with Sewell Wallis has been incredible, and I hope it continues in the same vein for years to come.

If you’re an experienced recruiter or resourcer, who’s looking to work in an established agency that prides itself on its individuality, drop us a line. We’d love to get to know you.

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