Planning for the New World: A Q&A with Mark Atkinson
3rd April 2018 8 minutes read
With its continued focus on diversity, Green Park spoke to four of its female leaders to discover the key to having a successful and diverse workforce.
We often talk about the role and responsibility the recruitment industry plays in improving diversity and inclusion within the wider talent pool of the UK. Less so, do we turn the spotlight and talk about diversity within the recruitment industry itself.
In a largely male dominated environment, it is often harder for women to feel empowered, valued and included, or to excel their careers at the same rate as their male counterparts. But, this isn’t the case for the women of Green Park.
Since Green Park’s inception in 2006, the firm has been advocating for greater diversity because they understand the power of collective difference through lived experiences. Knowing that diversity of thought drives entrepreneurial spirit and competitive advantage, Green Park’s commitment to diversity has always been as important a factor in their internal hires as it is for their client mandates.
Maintaining gender parity throughout the firm’s journey, Green Park has grown from a hungry challenger brand to become one of Europe’s fastest growing suppliers of interim management, executive search and board and diversity advisory solutions across the private and public sectors.
In our continuing series with the Women of Green Park, we asked a few of their leading ladies what life is like at the company and why to them, Green Park is a great place to work.
Jo Sweetland, Managing Partner
“As one of Green Park’s first hires 10 years ago, it has been a pleasure to watch and be part of an organisation that has transformed the way that people view interim and executive search businesses.”
Of the seven original employees to embark on Green Park’s journey ten years ago, five are still with the firm – and I am one of them. Throughout this period of growth, we have never lost sight of our vision: We exist to change the face of work by helping people think differently about talent attraction and management.
At the heart of this vision are our core company values, influencing every point of contact we have with clients, candidates, suppliers, and colleagues alike. These values, which have been integral in enabling us to grow into a £61m company over the past eleven years, are centred around openness, honesty, clear communications and a stated commitment to delivering what we do best; greater diversity through exceptional candidates.
As an executive search and interim firm but also as an employer, Green Park is highly committed to increasing diversity and influencing greater inclusion for all. This is demonstrated in the varying mix of our staff which now is over 50 per cent gender diverse and 22 per cent ethnically diverse, vastly outperforming the industry and the marketplace, holistically.
Internally, Green Park is a living example of the way an organisation that encourages diversity of thought will always outperform monocultures in today’s turbulent international markets. We live and breathe our diversity values and believe this is our greatest competitive advantage as an organisation. Unlike our competitors, we know that doing the same thing will not produce different results and, just as we do for our clients, our internal hiring searches include both the usual and unusual suspects. Through the power of collective difference, and an inclusive culture that encourages collaboration, contribution and original thinking, we have created an organisation that is innovative, agile and compelling.
We judge our own performance on the value we deliver to our clients, our candidates but also our employees. We are never afraid to ask what we could do better and continually assess our processes and the services we offer based on the feedback and requirements of our customers.
With over 17 years of executive recruitment experience, Sweetland is widely recognised as a leading recruiter across all HR functions. Through her years of experience and functional innovation, she has established herself as the ‘go-to’market expert for businesses wanting to excel their people agenda.
Leading the private sector business at Green Park, Sweetland and her team focus on executive search and interim roles across multiple industries and the full HR functional skill set.
Cordelia Osewa-Ediae, Senior Diversity Consultant
“Green Park truly understands how inclusive organisations that celebrate diversity are better positioned to achieve the competitive advantage needed to excel. I am proud to support clients to embed inclusive practices in a seamless manner, so their businesses are strengthened.”
I’m a firm believer in the power of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and Green Park gives me an authentic platform to pursue projects that I am especially passionate about. For 10 years, Green Park have been moving the dial on diversity because they believe in the power of collective difference and view it as a source of competitive advantage. Green Park act as advisors to The Parker and The McGregor-Smith Reviews and our most recent report, The Green Park Leadership 10,000, featured in over 50 publications, on Sky News, BBC and London Live.
Most importantly, Green Park practices what it preaches – equality, inclusion and diversity through and through. Our company values are the cultural glue that connects our teams as they articulate those things that our organisation genuinely believes in. We live and breathe our diversity values. They have been built into our foundation, and is woven through every part of our organisation, extending outward to everyone that we touch.
And by employing a diverse range of talent, it’s a vision that we’re trying to bring to life every day. Out of 59 employees: 30 are female (51 per cent), 14 are black and ethnic minority (BAME) (24 per cent). Of the 15 of those at director level: Six are female (40 per cent) and three are BAME (20 per cent) showcasing that Green Park is a living example of an organisation that encourages diversity of thought in their leadership team.
Osewa-Ediae is a senior consultant for Green Park’s diversity and inclusion practice. Her work with several high-profile organisations – across various sectors – has involved designing and delivering bespoke leadership programmes, leading strategy review projects, facilitating cross-sector social mobility initiatives and supporting leaders to nurture inclusive organisations that value diversity.
She has designed and led the delivery of leadership development programmes aimed at supporting talent from diverse backgrounds for the London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), the National Grid and the University of Greenwich. The pilot she developed for the MPS saw 80 per cent of attendees achieving promotion upon programme completion. At the UK’s largest children’s charity, the NSPCC, Osewa-Ediae successfully led a nationwide strategic review project and delivered a bespoke impact assessment framework. She is a Clore Social Fellow and experienced strategy consultant.
Andrea Trainer, Partner
“I’m very proud to be working for the clients and with the candidates, who impact the lives of all of us every day.”
As a partner, I feel that Green Park’s employee compensation policies are focused on encouraging cooperative, collegial behaviour that fosters an extraordinary team ethos. Too many firms today solely encourage behaviour designed to reward the individual for their own efforts, unconnected to the overall purpose and strategy of the organisation.
Green Park is very different in that respect, as employee benefits and perks are a top consideration and feature as an integral business component. This has helped to keep our business poised to acquire true professionals that are in it for the long haul, inevitably creating a stable workforce and positioning Green Park for sustained success. Internally, this has fostered loyalty and cohesiveness, ensuring that we deliver the best integrated and coordinated services to our candidates and clients.
Most notable is the mutual support and consistent spirit of lending a hand and paying it forward throughout the organisation at all levels and in all offices. Our lattice structure removes the red tape prevalent in many hierarchical companies making every leader truly accessible. In today’s marketplace, this is very unusual and truly special. Linked to this observation is a genuine sense of individual respect for all our colleagues and a commitment to drive organisational success.
Green Park empowers its employees to be at the helm of their career. We are determined our workforce have a fair and positive work experience, where they are able to contribute their talents and develop personally and professionally. It’s not just about the bottom line but making a meaningful mark upon the world to make it a better place to work and live.
Trainer leads Green Park’s public-sector search practice, which she has built over the last four years. Her executive search career spans nearly two decades, during which time she has developed an outstanding track record in the successful delivery of appointments at the most senior levels of government.
She is responsible for the development of key client relationships across a range of public sector organisations. She is lead consultant for a number of Green Park’s strategic accounts, including HS2 and TfL. Trainer works across local, regional and central government in the appointment of a broad range of board level executive and non-executive roles including ministerial, prime ministerial and royal appointments.
Sunita Mann, Delivery Consultant
“Green Park feels different to other search firms I’ve worked within and the second I met the team, I knew I’d made the right choice working here. I have always enjoyed the intricacy of executive search and am passionate about improving and empowering diverse candidates, so being able to manifest that every day for my clients is a great opportunity and one I’m very grateful for.”
I’m extremely proud to work for a business that stands for something beyond simply increasing profits. Green Park is a purpose-driven organisation backed by an entrepreneurial leadership team who have turned their vision into a successful and sustainable business. When you add a team of employees comprising the perfect mix of individuals whose collaboration creates something special, you know you are delivering a meaningful difference.
While the organisation’s overall strategy is set by the founders, the strategy per practice is set ultimately by the practice leader with input from their teams, providing consultants with a unique level of strategic involvement. This builds a healthy, winning workplace culture that breeds quality and productivity, it also fosters a collaborative work environment that supports ideation and continuous improvement.
However, my most distinguishing factor is the added support, care and direction awarded on an individual basis. The Green Park leadership team invest heavily in growing and developing their people, who they believe are their most valuable asset. With regular conversations focussed on performance, career direction, personal strengths and alignment with the wider business, I’m able to maximise my contribution and supercharge our team performance.
It is great to work for a company that inspires great team spirit, where you can bring game-changing ideas to the table (and actually make them happen!), engage in purposeful work, and most importantly, where you truly believe you are adding something good into the world each day.
Over the course of almost 15 years in executive search, Mann has worked across all industry sectors at Board to CEO -1.-2 level, both domestically and Internationally. Notably, she specialises in recruiting board-level positions across a number of corporate functions, including HR, finance and commercial & strategy.
Mann also has a keen interest in female leadership and is a professional coach for women within the banking & finance sector, helping them progress their careers to leadership.
This article was published by Recruitment International on Monday the 3rd of April, 2018. For the full Recruitment International April Magazine, click here.