Five years after Hunter Adams opened it’s London office we speak to our Founder, Dean Hunter for his take on how things are going in the Big Smoke.
Five years in London – how has it been?
Having spent 15 years working globally in oil and gas, London has been a real eye-opener in terms of the sectors and range of businesses we are now working with. This has been one of the most exciting things about transitioning from an HR director to a consultant working across multiple sectors.
It’s a vibrant, buoyant market. And there are plenty of other HR interim firms in London – some very good ones.
To differentiate ourselves, we explain to prospective clients that we are HR directors offering HR consulting, HR interim and HR recruitment; so we have walked in the shoes of our clients and understand their challenges. We are there for them to help them scope the work and find the right consultant. We then manage that consultant and give them access to our back office, saving clients considerable time and money.
Our South region is pretty vast. Whilst we are headquartered in West London (Hammersmith) our clients here come from far and wide – from south of Manchester to the south coast of England. To put things in perspective, a client visit can be a five-hour round trip.
Before establishing a base in London you had bases in Aberdeen and Edinburgh. How is the Southern market different? Can you describe any challenges you’ve faced?
Our purpose is to redefine HR by helping our clients to grow and increase their bottom line profit. This takes many by surprise – it can be atypical for an HR consultancy to be concerned about margins and EBITDA. The work we have done in M&A, as well as our engagement and recruitment interim support are real proof of this. We are working hard to help our South region clients understand the link between values & culture and profitability. This will help us to ensure our purpose is lived UK-wide.
Every market we operate in is very different. In Aberdeen we have decades of relationships and long-term client relationships so many of our clients come to us exclusively for support. We have operated in Edinburgh and the Central Belt of Scotland for nearly seven years, so again, our team are very much embedded with key HR directors in the market and with many SME leaders.
London is vast so you naturally become a smaller fish in a huge pond. We never want to operate on a mass volume basis. We are a personalised HR partner to some fantastic London-based organisations across the Public, Third and Private Sectors.
In London you could shout from the rooftops who you are and what you do there for decades and still not even be close to reaching everyone in the market.
What types of businesses to you tend to find yourself working with in London?
The range is incredible, from charities, to major global corporations, to SMEs, to public authorities. Clients like our personal touch, we are fun to work with (apparently), commercial in our approach and totally flexible to their requirements. We also work at considerable pace.
Are there some Hunter Adams service lines you find yourself providing here more than others?
We mainly offer HR consulting and HR interim support in London. This includes supporting global PLCs and also SME firms. We have worked extensively in M&A activities, TUPE and restructuring; as well as in all aspects of start-up and scale-up. London has a huge tech scale-up community and we have been lucky to deliver some really interesting projects with some very smart business leaders.
What service lines are used less, and did this surprise you when starting out down there?
We tend to operate at the more senior levels in London – HR manager, director etc. Across the UK more widely we provide all levels of HR professional from graduate to director. Our UK pipeline has fantastic HR resources at all levels.
Our recruitment interim service has been really popular in the North. We place a recruiter in with a client on a day rate and they map the market and direct hire over 95% (on average) of all new hires, removing agency placement fees and saving our clients a fortune. This is a different sell in the market to traditional recruitment in London, so we are keen to help our clients understand this approach and to help them use it to increase bottom line profitability.
Describe some of your London success stories
We have recently completed our largest face-to-face employee engagement programme with a client across 11 UK locations (but headquartered in London) – over 330 employees took part.
And also, we have maintained relationships with many clients since day one in London and have provided them with a real HR partner. The level of referrals from our existing clients and networks is astonishing. Our clients in London suggest our flexibility, technical knowledge and speed of response is what sets us out from our competitors.
What would you say to London businesses who haven’t heard of Hunter Adams – how can they help you and why should they get in touch?
We’re different! Everyone says that, I know. But we are here to help you grow your business and increase your bottom line profit – not many HR people see that as their purpose. There are many services and ways in which we can change your current mode of operation to help you increase profit.
For more information on how Hunter Adams can help your business – in London or anywhere else in the UK – get in touch with us today.