Niall Cluley: Global HR Director at Fitness First discusses triumphs and challenges


I was absolutely delighted to welcome Niall Cluley, Global HR Director, to the latest Engage HR Forum, which, with over 30 had the highest attendance yet. Word is getting out!  I’ve had some fantastic feedback from everyone, so we know we’re doing this right and our attendees are really getting something very special out of our forums.


Whilst our guests enjoyed fresh fruit, croissants, coffee – and a cheeky bacon bap or two, Niall talked candidly about how he first joined Fitness First 5 years ago as global head of talent, after initially approaching the CEO as a member, when he became frustrated with the group who he saw as focusing more on sales than service.  Niall led the development of the organisation’s people strategy through its global rebrand and transformation programme; becoming Global HRD 2 years ago.


During his presentation, which was peppered with impromptu questions and discussions from our guests, Niall talked about how the rise of the low-cost gym, and ‘wearable’ technology – such as the fitbit and other fitness apps – has affected the way gyms have had to think about how they procure and retain members.


Not afraid to open up about all aspects and challenges faced in his role, Niall discussed the frustrations involved in spearheading a global re-brand across different countries with extreme geographical and cultural diversities; all of which affected decisions on the brand logo, aspirational slogans, and uniform.


Rounding up the forum, our resident solicitor, Malcolm Scott Walby, briefly discussed the importance of the human aspect in being a good boss, and how getting to know your employees on a personal level can help you understand and iron out any issues in the workplace well before legal action is required.


As I said previously, I continue to have the most fantastic feedback after our HR Forums, and so I’ll leave you with some of those quotes and a reminder that, these forums are about you, the HR leaders that make your company or business run smoothly from behind the scenes, and so please do not hesitate to get in touch and discuss any subjects which you feel we could be covering which will help you in your job.


Resize_Niall Cluley“Informal, informative, open debate and genuine interest in learning and sharing experiences.  Well organised, a lovely group of people, topped off by a great choice of breakfast snacks.” Niall Cluley, Global HR Director, Fitness First.

“The most recent meeting presenting by Niall Cluley, Gloval HR Diurector of Fitness first, was a great example of how HR can successfully drive and enable change in an organisation. The talk was informal and participative, and as always from these events, I walked away feeling inspired to consider how some of these work practices could be translated into my own HR processes in the future.” – Andrea Finnagin, Data Harvesting.

“Great HR forum run by Engage at The Cliff in Canford Cliffs.  One of the best networking events for HR professionals, or those responsible for HR in their business, in the area.  The last event saw Niall Cluley from Fitness First talk us through the change program undertaken over the last 18 months – the highs and lows and how they got engagement from the team.” – Sue Kerr, Reality HR.


Date for your diary

Our next HR Forum is on 22nd September, where our guest speaker, Jo Kane from Trailblazers will be presenting on resilience, mind-sets and stress management.  As this is a vast subject, we are keen to hear from you what you would like Jo to concentrate on, so please do get in touch.


niall3 niall4 niall6 rsRoom rsFood Seaberryprmiall2




That’s a rap! Jimmy’s Iced Coffee creator gets guests rocking at Directors’ Lunch

RS_Jim Cregan of Jimmy's Iced CoffeeKicking off his presentation with his rap, “Keep Your Chin Up;” penned to accompany the online ad for the coffee sensation sweeping the nation, Jim Cregan, the Dorset born brainchild behind Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, proved himself to be a quirky and entertaining speaker at the Engage Executive Jobs, Directors’ Lunch hosted alongside Jobshop UK on 15th June.

As well as talking about his company’s growing success – which now includes a range of funky products as well as his parody rap video, Jim discussed his future plans, including shooting another music video to market the 3 iced coffee drinks.  The first music video, ‘Keep Your Chin Up,’ which can be seen on the website and YouTube channel, echoes the Jimmy’s Iced Coffee ethos which is also used to brand a growing line of merchandise with the hashtag #KYCU.

Jim Cregan is the second speaker of four lined up to present at the Engage Executive Jobs Directors’ Lunches for 2016.  The year kicked off with The Twins FX who brought along a dalek to the venue at The Bournemouth Hilton Hotel.  On 7th October, Kevin Green, CEO of the REC, a regular contributor to TV and radio, and the man credited with turning Royal Mail around from losing £1 million a day in 2003, to making over £600 million profit in 2007, will take to the stand.  On 23rd November, Lush founder and entrepreneur, Mark Constantine will wrap up the 2016 Directors’ Lunches, with what never fails to be a candid and insightful presentation.

The Directors’ Lunches are exclusive, invite only events which include lunch and wine.  For more information contact Engage on 01202 674488 or

To find out about how you can get involved in the next Jimmy’s Iced Coffee music video, check out

Jobshop43 a Jobshop01 Jobshop03 Jobshop05 Jobshop07 Jobshop08   Jobshop21 Jobshop33 Jobshop34  Jobshop55 Jobshop56 Jobshop58  Sally

Engage: The story so far…..


When I’m out and about meeting new people and clients, I’m often asked what makes Engage different from other executive recruitment companies, and what value we can bring to a company who chooses to use our services.  So, I thought it might be a good idea to use this month’s blog post to address those queries, as well as talk a little bit about the story so far…

At Engage, we work in partnership with our clients to provide a full search process. We provide our services on a retainer basis, which means our time is dedicated to working exclusively for you, to ensure the best candidates available are approached on your behalf, and in turn, provide you with a candidate shortlist of the highest calibre suiting your precise requirements.

We also offer a great value package that enables our client partners to receive additional recruitment tools; motivational mapping, the latest job surveys, skills testing, and online computer training, as well as exclusive invites to our directors’ lunches, which feature innovative and inspirational speakers, whose presentation detailing their own experiences in business is something our lunch guests find both hugely beneficial, and often highly entertaining.  Most recently we enjoyed being entertained by the creative brains behind many of the Doctor Who creatures and Hollywood movie and theatre special effects, Paul and Gary Hardy-Brown aka the Twin FX, who brought in a life-size dalek to greet our guests upon arrival at the Bournemouth Hilton Hotel.

The Engage HR Forums have become a very popular and respected breakfast forum over a very short space of time.  Attended by HR directors and leaders, the Engage HR Forums stand out from its contemporaries by its interactive nature and relaxed approach, whereby like-minded executives are able to discuss their issues and triumphs, boost their contacts and make high calibre connections with other HR executives.  I’m exceptionally proud of the feedback we receive following every forum, so please do browse the HR Forum blog posts on here to see why they are so popular and always fully subscribed.

Through the trust and respect of the Engage/client partnership, we develop the additional benefits of creation of talent pools to ensure and seal relationships with future potential.   This has proved a key area of success; not only recognising talent and culture fit, but managing a relationship with the candidate.

The ‘war on talent’ currently affecting the employment market means time is the priority.  Candidates are more self-confident, knowing that their skills and talents are in high demand. The cost of unfilled vacancies is at an all-time high.  Over 50% of candidates will have attended an interview within two weeks of stepping into the job hunting market, and therefore with Engage as your dedicated executive recruitment partner, you can be sure that we have our fingers on the pulse, waiting to acquisition that talent for you, before it moves onto a role with your competitor.


One of Engage’s specialist areas is the marketing sector, and we are fortunate to have worked with some notably progressive brands.

Our networks have steadily developed to include Strategy Directors, Producers, Client Services and e-commerce, as well as technical functions such as experienced UX, web development, social media and paid social specialists.  Concentrating on the middle to senior management sector, we have been successful in securing both freelance/contract and permanent positions.

As you can see, Engage offers an exceptional and unique product, with packages carefully tailored to meet the individual needs of our clients, and with additional ‘perks’ exclusive to our clients and partners, which all add value to the Engage Executive Recruitment experience.

So, don’t wait until you meet me at a networking event or business lunch. If you are interested in understanding more about our partnership packages or  would like more details on how Engage can help your business – and I’ve only touched upon the tip of the iceberg to give you an insight into what we offer here – then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01202 674488 or and we will be delighted to meet you for an informal, no obligation chat.

Engage 066


Jim Cregan, creator of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, announced as guest speaker at Engage Directors’ Lunch

Jimmys logo

Jim Cregan, the Dorset born brainchild behind Jimmy’s Iced Coffee; the chilled caffeine kick pick-me-up sweeping supermarket shelves across the country, has been announced as guest speaker at the Engage Executive Jobs Directors’ Lunch on June 15th.

RS_Jim Cregan of Jimmy's Iced Coffee

Having grown tired of the cold English winters, Jim and his partner, Sophie, upped sticks to travel around Australia for a year, and it was here they developed their penchant for the Australian craze of iced coffee. The iced coffee is now sold in supermarkets and convenience stores across the country, and Jim continues to grow and develop the brand with clever marketing and innovative products based around the eye-catching branding.

Engage Executive Jobs recruitment director, Sally Bennett, said: “We are thrilled to have Jim Cregan speaking about his experience of growing a brand like Jimmy’s Iced Coffee and all that has involved – from initial idea to the product we now see on supermarket shelves.  The Jimmy’s Iced Coffee brand is particularly pertinent to us as a business community as Jim is a local chap who has created and marketed a national brand with great success.”

The Engage Executive Jobs Directors’ Lunch will be held at the Hilton Hotel, Bournemouth on 15th June.  For more information on this exclusive invite only event, contact 01202 674488 or