The MacGuffin Project founder, Claire Timbrell, announced as Directors’ Lunch speaker for June

Jobshop UK and Engage Executive Jobs has announced Claire Timbrell, founder of The MacGuffin Project, as its speaker for the Directors’ Lunch on June 7th at Harbour Heights Hotel, Poole.

Claire, a graduate of Bournemouth University’s media school, started her first business aged 17, and after spending several years running her management consultancy in London and Cardiff, has now returned to Dorset to focus on The MacGuffin Project; a new concept in leisure and entertainment that is set to change how groups of people socialize.

After a successful pre-turnover pitch by Claire and her team, The MacGuffin Project secured the investment required for its first escape room attraction, which kicks off an ambitious roll-out for the derelict carnival inspired attraction, with three venues planned over the next 18 months.

Sally Bennett, Engage executive recruitment director, said: “Claire will be joining us to talk about her entrepreneurial journey so far, and the lessons she has learnt to date.  The Harbour Heights Hotel is a fantastic venue for our highly successful directors’ lunches and we urge booking early to avoid disappointment as previous lunches have sold out quickly.”


For more information and to book your place for the Directors’ Lunch at the Harbour Heights Hotel on Wednesday June 7th contact 01202 674488 or

The Engage HR Forum Interview: Lynn Barker, HR manager of Poole Housing Partnership

Lynn Barker is HR Manager at Poole Housing Partnership (PHP). Since joining in 2008, originally to look after recruitment and training, her previous experience and skills enabled her to quickly develop a comprehensive generalist service and she now supports the business right across the HR spectrum.


How did you initially get into HR, and what aspects of the job do you particularly enjoy?

“I started my HR career at United Advertising Publications in Poole. Having worked in a couple of other roles within the company, including managing the IT Training Department, I moved to HR in late 2004. At that time there were only 2 HR Advisors for 800 employees at offices all over the country, so you could certainly say I was thrown in at the deep end, but I loved the role and the variety of work I was involved in.

“It didn’t take long before I knew that HR was the career for me and I think I took to it naturally.  I particularly enjoyed organisational development and employee engagement, which became two areas of particular interest for me.

“As part of the leadership team at PHP I’m involved at a strategic level and I have a great relationship with the senior management team who are always open to new ideas. I certainly feel I have ensured that HR is seen as a vital function within the business.”


Do you hold any professional qualifications and if so, do you feel that has helped you advance in your career?

“I really enjoyed studying for my Masters part time at Bournemouth University’s Business School, which I started in 2009, followed by two years of hard work while also working full time (I’m sure a lot of people know the feeling!). On the back of that I became a Chartered Member of the CIPD. The qualification and CIPD accreditation is valued within our industry and I gained skills and knowledge that have certainly helped me to develop my career, but I also know some fantastic HR people who are not professionally qualified, so it’s not the ‘be-all and end-all’. I took on the Masters as a personal challenge as much as anything and I also gained some great friends.”



What do you find particularly useful and inspiring when it comes to networking?

“Being a standalone HR manager can leave you a little isolated if you’re not careful, and although you can do the job without networking, why would you?  When attending The Engage Forum I always come away with something really useful, such as a good contact, some valuable information or a great idea that I can pinch (giving credit where it’s due of course!).  It’s also really nice to be able to share experiences, problems and questions with others in your field at events. As well as networking, I also attend as many employment forums and seminars as I can fit in, as these are a terrific way of staying current.”


What makes the Engage HR Forum stand out from others, in your opinion?

“I think it’s fantastic.  It stands out as it’s very different to other forums in that it is not like a training session and instead very much focuses on inspiring people.  I’ve found that at the Engage Forum, everything is relevant and I never fail to come away buzzing with ideas!  You can tell from the atmosphere in the room that everyone is engaged and inspired.  I thoroughly recommend it.”


Has there been a particular Forum which stands out for you?

“The presentation by Niall Cluley, global HR director of Fitness First, was immensely interesting and entertaining and I could really relate to what he had to say, particularly about looking at organisational and personal values and how they align.  Although his organisation is much larger than mine, his ideas were scalable and I’ve already been able to implement similar initiatives at Poole Housing Partnership. For example, we have involved the entire company in redeveloping our values and we are promoting our new model, designed by our employees, even displaying it on the back of the toilet doors!”


Niall Cluley’s presentation at the HR Forum was of particular interest to Lynn.



Are there any challenges you think HR will face in 2017?

 “Absolutely.  Recruitment is becoming increasingly challenging and the effects of Brexit may start to come in to play in the not-too-distant future, if they’re not already. Not so long ago we were inundated with applicants but currently we are seeing far fewer high calibre candidates. We are an organisation that has always valued clever people, but for us that doesn’t necessarily mean academic achievement. We love motivation, enthusiasm, innovation and passion for the work we do. We can support people to gain qualifications and skills, as long as they have the PHP attitude. So, we try to open up our candidate pool by being as inclusive as possible, and perhaps attracting people who might not necessary have specific role or sector experience, but who have transferrable skills, and importantly, the right attitude.



“Another challenge is the ‘multi-generational’ workforce with many organisations having a mix of Generation X/Y and Millennials, with Generation Z hot on their heels. We need to attract good employees, keep them engaged, motivated, performing well and communicating effectively, bearing in mind that they may be motivated by different things and so want and need different things from their careers and their employers.

“Looking further ahead, as Gen Z comes to realise that these days a degree, previously seen as so important, doesn’t guarantee a job, it’s possible that graduate schemes may increasingly be replaced with apprenticeship-type schemes.”


Can you tell us a bit about your working relationship with Sally at Engage?

 “Sally really took her time to find out what Poole Housing Partnership was really about and built up a lot of loyalty, trust and respect by listening to our expectations and taking them seriously.  Above all, Sally and Engage were able to come up with the goods!  Every single candidate that Sally found for us was appointable, which is very rare.  Through Sally, we found our new FD who, as well as being excellent at her job, is an extremely good fit for the company.  Sally is both professional and personable, which makes the working relationship we have with Engage a very pleasant and productive one.”


AFC Bournemouth kick-off a new season of Engage and Jobshop UK director’s lunches

Engage Executive Jobs and Jobshop UK, has kicked-off the first director’s lunch of 2017 by welcoming AFC Bournemouth chairman, Jeff Mostyn, and commercial director, Rob Mitchell as its guest speakers.

The highly acclaimed lunch, attended by over 60 company directors and held at The Harbour Heights Hotel, Poole, saw Jeff candidly discuss his journey with the Premier League team, from when he first purchased the club in 2007 during what he described as, ‘a Victor Kiam moment.’

With an undeniable passion for football, Jeff has been an integral part of the behind the scenes improvements at the Vitality Stadium over the past 10 years, as well as proving himself to be an immensely well-respected figure both locally and within the game on a national level, due to his unparalleled football knowledge and commitment to the local community.

Talking about the club’s rise to the premier division, Jeff revealed that the town has benefitted from an estimated £100 million being spent as a direct result of AFC Bournemouth’s success.

Commercial director of AFC Bournemouth, Rob Mitchell, joined Jeff to talk about the club’s charitable interests and vision for success.  The club is dedicated to investing in projects and facilities for the area, has a vision to engage 4,500 people a week in sport and educational initiatives, and is passionate about inspiring diversity in sport, and preparing young people for work.

Launched in 2016, The Cherries Community Fund supports a number of projects for young people and vulnerable groups, as well as being involved in supporting community groups and charities.  Financed from the proceeds of the popular Matchday Draw and any other donations the club receives, the fund has so far donated over £21,000 to 33 projects ranging from football kits for schools, to sensory gardens for care homes.

Sally Bennett, executive recruitment director at Engage said: “The first director’s lunch of the year was a phenomenal success.  Jeff and Rob really engaged our guests who had lots of questions for them.  It was fascinating to hear about Jeff’s personal story with the club, as well as its involvement with the community and its charitable and social causes.  I often feel when people think of football they don’t realise what a club is putting back into the community or how having a successful club really does benefit the local area.  The next Engage and Jobshop lunch will be on June 7th with further details available shortly.”


Meet Emily – our newest recruit at Engage.

Engage is delighted to welcome Emily as our new executive recruitment resourcer.


Emily’s past experience working within social media, corporate training, recruitment and people management in London, means that she will be bringing a huge amount of experience with her to Engage.  In particular, having previously integrated the use of social media into the recruitment process, using innovative and highly successful techniques, Emily will be using this expertise in order to grow Engage’s presence on its social media platforms; Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Emily attended her first HR Forum this month when Dave Hall from Ideas Centre Group presented a lively and thought provoking introduction into what his company is about and the ethos behind it.


Emily said: “My first HR Forum was a really great experience. I’ve been to a lot of networking events over the years, and I found the Engage HR Forum to be one of the friendliest groups yet.  It was nice to meet new people as well as seeing some friendly faces.  I’m really looking forward to helping Sally organise and host the forums in the future. I’ll be the one taking lots of pictures and live-tweeting snapshots of the event!

“Dave Hall’s session on creativity was fascinating, especially having worked in creative industries myself, and I look forward to attending one of his full workshops soon.”


If you would like to find out more about the HR Forums, please contact or call 01202 674488


The Engage HR Forum Interview: Maria Seabright, Greendale Construction Limited


Maria Seabright is Finance & HR Director at Greendale Construction Limited; the Poole based chartered building company established in 1990 by Rob Hooker and Chris Kane, specialising in a wide spectrum of construction projects from luxury private houses, NHS, schools and colleges, to internal office refurbishments and commercial builds.  Amongst the company’s many acclaimed achievements is holding a Gold IIP award, and winning the FMB Chartered Builder of Year 2012 for its work renovating Durlston Castle in Swanage.


Maria is a regular at the Engage HR Forums and has found the supportive and relaxed format something which makes the breakfast meetings highly enjoyable and something to look forward to.

“The speakers are always really inspiring and their presentations are consistently relevant to situations I have to manage on a regular basis.  I love the interaction and being able to candidly discuss HR topics in an open and friendly way with people at my table, and there’s always lots of laughs as well which is a bonus!”


Maria joined Greendale on 1st October 1997 as an office administrator/receptionist, having previously left Poole High School in 1985 with, by her own admission, ‘a handful of very low grade CSEs.’  Over the next 19 years, Maria worked her way up within the Company, eventually being appointed to the Board of Directors on 1st January 2013.  Greendale now employs around 58 people and last year turned over £15 million.

As a successful woman in a very male dominated industry, and one who didn’t take a typically academic route in her career, I was fascinated to hear Maria’s story, and how her experiences have shaped the person she is today – in and out of the business environment.


Maria, you’ve achieved so much, but, if you had your time again, what, if anything, would you do differently? And, with hindsight, is there anything you think you could have done better?

 “I went through some personal tragedy in my life when I lost my son, George in 2004, who was born prematurely.  Looking back, I felt that I couldn’t really be with him in hospital over the 6 months and 1 day he was in special care.  As much as I wanted to be with him during the end of his life, I felt guilty being away from work, and in such a male dominated company, I felt other people wouldn’t understand how I was feeling from a ‘mother’s point of view.’  When I look back I wonder how I did it; balancing work with visiting George in hospital and then going home to be a mum to my then 10 year old son, Jordan.

“I know I can’t change this now, but as I try to focus on the positive in life, I can see the experience made me grow as a person and has made me a better employer, as now, I always try and see personal issues any of my staff has from their point of view, and be sympathetic and understanding from that position.”


Being a Finance/HR Director holds a lot of responsibility.   You’re responsible for keeping the Company financially fluid and also, the welfare of your employees and the smooth running of the company on a ‘people’ level. How do you deal with stress and have you achieved the all too often elusive work/life balance?


 “I go to the gym twice a week before work where I have a personal trainer, Marvin, who is amazing at keeping me motivated, which focuses my mind and in turn sets me up for the day.

“I also really enjoy spending time in my garden and renovating my home – a cottage we moved to in the countryside near Wareham in 2013.  I love to take our dog – a border collie called Lacey – for long walks in the countryside with my husband, Andrew.  I also enjoy cooking using vegetables we’ve grown in the garden, and I love to bake.  I think living in a house I love, surrounded by beautiful countryside really helps with the work/life balance, although inevitably, a stressful week at work still manages to creep home with me more often than not, so like most people, I’m still working on it!


Only 1 in 10 Executive Directors in the UK are women and not only have you achieved a Board position, but you have done so in a male dominated industry.  What is your advice to women who are hoping to achieve the same?


 “You need to be prepared to stand your ground.  From a personal point of view, when I was appointed Director at Greendale, it was a massive step up from being a manager – in both responsibility and workload. I am the only female Director on a Board of 4 and the only senior ranking female in the company.  I think that women given executive and board positions have to prove themselves more than  men given the same role – particularly with the older male generation who might take exception to being answerable to a lady boss.

“I’d tell other women that it’s not going to be an easy ride, but you have a voice and you have to make sure that it’s heard above the other male directors.  I think a woman always looks at things differently and this has gone in my favour when dealing with delicate/tricky issues in the business.  Never exploit your sexuality as it just degrades you.  Get to where you want to get to on your own merits – through sheer hard work and determination.  Every problem has a solution – look outside the box and take time to make decisions, don’t fire from the hip.  Plan ahead.”


As a South Coast employer, what are you concerns for the future talent/ employment/training/apprenticeships for the region?


“I am passionate about training for the future of the construction industry and this is something as a company we are very pro-active with. However, I have concerns that not all employers in this industry feel the same as Greendale, or are as committed to investing in training, as we are.

“At Greendale we actively encourage apprenticeships and work very closely with the local college and schools.  The construction industry is a place where, as long as you have passion and drive, you can have a successful career regardless of your academic ability.  Many years ago it was seen as the choice for those who were less academic, but the truth is, it’s an industry which needs those with talent and ability across a wide spectrum.  We have employees who have taken the career route through university to become QS/Contract Managers, and we have young people who have come to us straight out of school on an apprenticeship or training scheme and proved themselves to be highly talented and in demand within their chosen trade.

“I think that because I disliked school so much I like to really help students that are struggling and I want to encourage them and give them a chance.  I attend various events at schools and do lots of talks about the construction industry and the careers that are available within it.

“When I left school I was told by teachers and also by my parents that I would never make anything of my life.  These words have stayed with me throughout my whole career, and been the driving force pushing me on. Today, I can say I am exceptionally proud of what I have achieved.  I know that I am very lucky in the fact that I joined a great local company that has grown over the 19 years that I have worked for them – enabling me to grow in terms of my career.  I know that I wouldn’t have got to where I am today if I wasn’t at Greendale’s.  Although I have been able to forge a successful career without great academic qualifications, when talking to students I try to get across the importance of working hard at school and striving to get the best you can achieve as it’s a different world today than it was 20 years’ ago.

“All in all, I love what I do and I love the company I work for…..99% of the time!”











Candidate management and the art of the balancing act


When I am recruiting candidates into specific roles for my clients, although focused on the brief in hand, I am also highly mindful of the bigger picture; that is, candidate management.


Being a great recruiter is like spinning plates.  During the recruitment process you may meet exceptionally skilled and talented people who are not quite right for the role you are currently recruiting for, but, who you know will be highly sought after for another role which could open up in the future.


Building good relationships with these candidates is key to strengthening my relationships with my clients, and in turn, is essential to enhancing the success of the recruitment process.


Any candidate can look great on paper, but not all personalities lend themselves well to all jobs.  Understanding the ethos and culture of the company I am recruiting for is another essential element in sourcing the best candidate for the role.  Effective candidate management means considering not just a person’s academic and professional achievements, and work experience, but also how well he or she is likely to get along with co-workers, and their ability to excel in that company’s work environment, as well as satisfy the job’s overall requirements.


Candidate management, at its core, is relationship management; evaluating people based on that sixth sense; that instinct that this person is not just a good fit, but a perfect fit, for a position.


In a candidate led market, keeping in touch with those high calibre professionals, not letting your ‘data’ on them go stale, and being aware of any new developments in their professional lives is essential to being a great recruitment partner to your clients.


Another factor of candidate management which makes the difference in a great recruitment partner, involves being able to see potential talent and how it will benefit a business in the future, and not just based on present business needs and trends.  In a candidate driven market, it is no longer simply about hiring talent; a business must be able to see the potential for high calibre candidates it meets within its organisation even without a current specific role, hire them, and then retain that talent by making them feel a valued part of the organisation.  The candidate needs to be nurtured or a company risks losing a valuable employee to a rival company.


At its core, candidate management is about balancing patience with due diligence, and technology with an appreciation for talent; using data alongside human instinct.  Ultimately, it’s about keeping those plates spinning until the right time…



HR Forum: Jo Kane discusses resilience


I’m always thrilled by the feedback we get from our HR Forums, and I can honestly say it’s been a delight to welcome each and every one of our speakers, who have all brought with them their own unique and inspiring perspective, and knowledge, to our breakfast gatherings.  With that in mind, it was fantastic to see so many of you joining us again to hear Jo Kane of Trailblazers return to the Forum to talk about resilience, last month.

I think it’s fair to say, by the level of interaction from everyone listening to Jo whilst enjoying coffee, croissants and bacon rolls, her presentation hit just the right note with everyone at the forum.  There was lots of discussion, nodding heads and laughs as Jo discussed the topic, highlighting the fact that often, we simply do not give as much care, attention and thought to ourselves as we do to our friends and colleagues.  In short; don’t be so hard on yourself!

My thanks also to Malcolm Scott Walby for taking the time to add his professional thoughts and welcomingly unique and candid insight into employment law issues affecting our businesses. 

Here, Jo has generously written a post forum blog for us, which I am sure you will take a lot from.  As always, I would love to get your feedback, thoughts and suggestions on topics and speakers you would like to see at our HR Forums.

– Sally


It’s well known that the great inventor, Thomas Edison, made many thousands of unsuccessful attempts before he finally came up with the lightbulb and subsequently many other inventions. He wasn’t deterred by his apparent failures but chose to see them leading him towards his desired outcome.

Resilience was clearly one of his attributes; that ability to keep going, to bounce back and not to let failures deter you or get in the way.

Why is resilience increasingly important for us in our lives and not just in the corporate world?

Life can bring many challenges and, in fact, it would appear to be part of the journey that everyone has to deal with. If we fall over at the first hurdle and let that define us then we wouldn’t get very far. Resilience is important as it helps navigate our way through the challenges and grow from those experiences. It’s a trait that many of us would like to develop within ourselves and can be closely linked to our levels of self-esteem and confidence.


Cultivating a strong sense of resilience gives us an inner strength and a trust in ourselves that we can recover and reconnect with a part of ourselves that is strong, adaptable and resourceful. Often people think that it’s something you were born with, and it’s true that there are some individuals who do seem to be naturally more resilient. However, it’s not just a question of nature over nurture, as we know that resilience is a trait that we can build and cultivate. It’s not set in stone and with a bit of focus and conscious awareness we can all become more resilient. For those of us who are parents, surely it must be one of the key attributes we would like to see our children showing up with. Therefore, role modelling that to our offspring as well as to those around us in business makes a lot of sense.

Tips for Building Resilience

Make sure you are getting enough sleep. It sounds so obvious but sleep deprivation can really impair your mental and cognitive processes. Given that resilience has a lot to do with how you look at situations then you can start to see how not getting enough sleep could really skew your perspective.

Are you actually moving around enough during the day? We weren’t designed to be sedentary all day sitting in front of a computer. Our bodies were designed for movement and we thrive when we can move about and the blood is pumping round. Even if you can’t fit in the time for exercise which really is the ideal then at least get up and walk around regularly.  It’s said that even moderate walking can help your brain’s memory centre maintain its health and vitality.

Being able to manage the voice of your inner critic is also key to building resilience. Often when we are about to step outside of our comfort zone and take a risk, the voice of our inner critic usually has something to say. It might be along the lines of ‘who do you think you are?’ ‘`It will never work and you ‘ll end up looking stupid,’ or ‘What’s the point, no-one will listen.’ You get the picture! That voice is designed to keep us small, and if we want to build our resilience and feel confident on the inside then we need to learn how to manage that voice. A simple Clock It, Stop It and Swap It approach can help.


First you have to notice what’s happening as without that awareness the voice will run you. You then have to remember to Stop It – You have a choice and you can let go of listening to the limiting beliefs and negative self-talk. The final part is shifting to a more expansive perspective and swapping the destructive self-talk for something that’s more empowering. How would you speak to your best friend? Often, we are so harsh with ourselves and wouldn’t dream of speaking to our friends in the same way. Think about how compassionate, encouraging and supportive you would be with a friend. Adopt a bit of that for yourself.

The key thing to remember with resilience is that it’s not what happens to us but it’s how we choose to deal with it. A resilient person will make the most of their situation and look for the learning, and perhaps even look to how they can use what they have learned in service of others. It’s been said that a miracle is a shift in perspective. What perspectives may you need to shift in your own life?


Focusing on the Future Post Brexit


I think it would be fair to say that whichever way you voted in the EU referendum, most of us were taken by surprise by the events that unfolded following the results.

But, no matter what your opinion on Brexit, we can’t avoid the fact that at some point article 51 will be triggered, and without a doubt, there will be consequences to the UK job market and employment laws.


Kevin GreenThe official statement from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s Chief Executive, Kevin Green, was as follows: “The vote to leave the EU is likely to usher in a challenging period for British business and for the UK labour market in particular. Our data has shown a slowdown in hiring as we approached the referendum. We expect to see this period of uncertainty continue. We need to ensure that British businesses continue to be able to get the people they need to fill the jobs available. Access to talent is absolutely vital to sustainable economic growth and prosperity. In sectors such as healthcare, education, hospitality, construction and manufacturing, workers from the EU are vital and any change to our immigration system needs to recognise that.”


Although there will of course be a period of uncertainly, at Engage, and our sister company, Jobshop UK, we have actually seen a rise in demand for permanent roles post June 23rd, and this is of course hugely encouraging.  I put this down to most of us – whether we are business owners, company directors or HR leaders – having that good old British resolve and just getting on with it!


Being part of the EU meant there were laws we had to adhere to which many in recruitment and HR found officious, frustrating and irrelevant to the UK employment market.  But there is one subject on most people’s minds concerning recruitment and employment, and that’s the law dealing with freedom of movement and immigration post Brexit.


Personally, I’m hopeful that opportunities for hiring talent from a global market will strengthen our economy.  Once article 51 has been triggered, we’re unlikely to see any immediate or major employment law policy change in the UK and many EU laws would possibly be retained – either as part of the Brexit negotiation deal, or simply because many of those laws are now ingrained within the UK workplace, and have become the norm.


Freedom of movement would have to be a huge part of any Brexit deal given the sheer numbers of EU workers in Britain and the number of UK expats living in EU countries. Brussels would likely demand some form of free movement of people in return for the UK enjoying free movement of goods.  So again, no major changes suddenly coming into play there.


As we know, most businesses are run in a global market, not just a European market, and at times the EU market labour movement rules have restricted a company’s ability to think and act globally.  As part of the EU, frustrations arose when employers were not able to easily hire people they knew to be perfect for a job – often after meeting them at networking events or business trips outside the EU.  Often, a particular population can provide the UK job market with highly skilled workers, or workers with a specific cultural and geographical knowledge, but it was not easy to hire these people as they resided outside the EU.  Potentially, post Brexit, we could see a change in the laws which make it easier to hire talent from the global market.


With so much negativity immediately surrounding the EU referendum result, it is our duty as business owners, employers, recruiters, and most importantly, as UK citizens, to be as positive and pro-active as we can in turning this result into something that will work for us in making our country and economy one to be respected, admired and looked up to as a strong model for the future.



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.


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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.

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