Fruit and vegetable supplier Reynolds has taken part in a BBC Two show, called Who's The Boss?, which allowed staff to "hire their own manager". Set to air on 23 February, it encouraged a "collaborative hiring" approach. Hannah Thompson talks to managing director Tony Reynolds about why he took part, and about the importance of good recruitment strategy
Why take part in such a documentary? Isn't it risky for the brand to lay itself bare on TV? It wasn't a decision we took lightly, but I have confidence in our people and knew that they would showcase our company in a really positive light.
What benefits were you expecting from taking part? I wanted to share an insight into the culture at Reynolds and what a great company we are to work for. I also believed it would be a fun experience for our employees. Finally, I hoped that we might actually learn something from a recruitment perspective.
How did the filming actually go? What was the most challenging thing about taking part?
The filming was a very enjoyable experience and many of our employees were able to get involved. Ensuring that the filming did not interfere with the day to day running of the business was absolutely critical so planning ahead was important.
What was the outcome - has it been what you expected?
I was very happy with how the show turned out and we have a great new employee in our distribution team, who has already settled in well and is making a mark.
You said that taking part in this programme showed the company was "forward thinking". Could you explain a bit more about how this shows that? We believe that involving our employees in important decisions is fundamental to having a progressive company which can continue to provide great service to customers in the future. We are very much a family run business and, as we grow, I believe that our employees need to be even more engaged in all aspects of our business, so we can maintain our identity.
How would the company describe its usual management style?
Passionate, customer focused, dedicated and hands-on.
What do you think is the most important thing for companies to do when recruiting new staff? Recruitment is a two way process and it is really important that both the company and candidate are confident of the procedure. It is also an expensive process, both in terms of time and commitment, so getting it right first time is hugely important. We already use various mechanisms including ‘taster sessions', psychometrics, and a variety of interview formats in our recruitment.
What are the most important things you look for in interviewees?
We try to understand the cultural fit of candidates, as well as their technical and managerial competences, team working abilities and motivations. Skills and past achievements are important, but not always the most important indicator of how a prospective employee will work out.
Many businesses are starting to address work-life balance, with restaurants only open four days a week etc. What's your view on that?
This is a big challenge for our industry, because many of our customers require our service six days per week. We are working hard at Reynolds to improve employee rosters and shift patterns to ensure we get the right balance for all parties. We also continue to invest in employee facilities, and recently launched a health and wellbeing programme for staff.
What makes a great employee at Reynolds specifically? Ultimately, I expect all of my team to go that extra mile towards making sure our customers are happy. It is teamwork that ensures our business is able to deliver.
How is working at Reynolds different to working in a similar company or sector elsewhere? We are a family business, so our culture is quite distinctive. We have a can-do approach to working and a relatively flat management structure. We court opinions of our colleagues and all employees are encouraged to share their views openly. Of course, this does mean that at times we can get emotional, but good healthy debate is an important part of working at Reynolds.
Will the experience of taking part in the programme change your recruiting approach in future? We will look to incorporate some further aspects of collaborative hiring into our recruitment processes. The feedback from our employees has been fantastic, and capturing their views is an important part of our planning for the future.
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