Imagine starting your own recruitment business with zero experience in recruitment and only 10 days later the world comes to a standstill with 9/11.
This is how the story of Mark Brown, co-founder and director of Worldwide Recruitment Solutions (WRS) started. However, this wasn’t the last obstacle in his way. Their niche field was financial institutions with a specific focus on the mortgage market when the 2008 financial collapse took place. From there they transitioned their business into serving the oil and gas industry and 2014 came along, seeing the oil industry plummeting.
In this podcast, Mark expands on how they still managed to grow WRS to revenue of £56 million and EBITA of £1.7M with 4 international offices (UK, Singapore, Iraq & Uganda), becoming the 3rd fastest growing recruitment company in the UK.
Episode Outline and Highlights:
- [1:24] The journey from call centre manager to founding a recruitment business
- [4:51] 10 days after launching 9/11 rocked the world
- [6:15] The urgently search for a new niche and stumbling into the world of finance
- [9:50] A career of surviving and thriving the worst of downtimes
- [13:55] Expanding internationally
- [15:22] Sep 2008 – started World Recruitment Solutions (WRS)
- [16:27] The motto of “Cash is King” helped them weather the storms
- [20:42] The simple model that proved effective in following their vision
- [25:10] 2011 WRS entered the oil and gas industry, the cash cow they needed
- [27:50] How to grow your business from 5 – 30 people in 3 years
- [29:50] The secrets to enjoying a 90% staff retention
- [37:48] And then the oil industry plummeted – surviving another crisis
- [46:43] Solving infrastructure challenges with the right tech stack and automation
- [54:00] Winning the Sunday Times Award for Best Small Company to Work For
- [55:48] Why creating a respectful environment is so important at WRS
- [59:35] Where is WRS heading the future?
Cash Is King
“You talk about systems but there weren’t any systems. The reality was that this was a decision that I’d taken on the back of good advice. I think the advice I was given besides that cash is king is to make sure you’ve always got a minimum of 6 and ideally 9 months worth of working capital, business as usual working capital so that you can keep the lights on,” Mark explains how they managed to survive and thrive through 4 major global financial crises.
How to Scale Your Business to 30 People
In a matter of three years, WRS grew from 5 to 30 people. On top of that, they also have an employee retention rate of 90%. Mark compared their system to that of Jack and the Beanstalk where they had four department heads and added new team members underneath each one.
The following factors all influenced their success in hiring the right people to fall underneath these heads:
- An organizational structure that allowed them to bring in individuals to work underneath a certain line manager
- They employed trainees
- They looked for a certain DNA in these individuals
- WRS had an excellent training platform
- By appointing a learning and development manager
- Employing outside experts to fill knowledge gaps
However, what added more value to the business was the high retention rate that sometimes was above 90%. As WRS always gave their staff the perfect runway to grow within, staff would very seldom leave the business. Mark also pointed out that they created a clear path for everyone joining the firm and they offered a space without any glass ceilings and where the opinion of employees was respected.
Why Did WRS Win The Sunday Times Best Small Company to Work for Award?
Mark states that even though the company has grown tremendously since its early days, they’ve maintained the same kind of culture. The management team, the L&D team and the culture of the business never changed. “I refer back to respect, fair environment, an environment where people feel they belong, feel they have a voice, feel they have an input, they understand the purpose of the company and the direction of travel and that is through constant communication,” Mark shares why he believes they won the award for being the best small company to work for.
This podcast is proudly sponsored by i-intro®.
i-intro® is an end-to-end retained recruitment platform. Our technology and methodology allows recruiters to differentiate themselves from the competition, win more retained business, bigger fees and increase their billings. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter for a 25% discount. Book your free, no-obligation consultation here: www.recruitmentcoach.com/retained
Mark Brown Bio and Contact Info
Mark Brown is the co-founder of Worldwide Recruitments Solutions (WRS) and has 20 years experience as a recruitment business owner and CEO. Involved in the start up of two recruitment brands – KCMB (2001-08) & WRS (2008 to date).
WRS is a global recruitment consultancy and workforce solutions company serving the oil and gas, mining, marine and power industries. In 2021, WRS achieved revenue of £56M with an EBITDA of £1.7M. The brand has a global presence with offices in UK, Singapore, Iraq and Uganda. They currently have a headcount of 65 (peaked at 120 in 2015).
WRS was recently named by Recruiter Magazine as the 3rd fastest growing recruitment company in the UK. He and his team have a long list of awards that includes being the Sunday Times Best Small Company to Work for, WRS enjoys a place on the Version Fast Track List and they’ve received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise and International Trade.
Mark brings expertise in international trade and global expansion and is an advocate of technology innovation and digitisation to improve business process and efficiency. Married for 20 years, he has twin daughters (aged 22). A keen supporter of football (30 years a season ticket holder at Man United) and horse racing as a spectator sport.
- Mark Brown on LinkedIn
- Worldwide Recruitment Solutions website link
- Worldwide Recruitment Solutions on LinkedIn
- Worldwide Recruitment Solutions on Facebook
- Worldwide Recruitment Solutions on Youtube
People and Resources Mentioned
Connect with Mark Whitby
- Get your FREE 30-minute strategy call
- Mark on LinkedIn
- Mark on Twitter: @MarkWhitby
- Mark on Facebook
- Mark on Instagram: @RecruitmentCoach
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