Julie Towers Month in Words


07 Jul 2017

Julie Towers Month in Words

Well, where did June go? I was on holiday for two weeks - so that’s probably why the month has gone even quicker. Or perhaps it’s because it’s been an unprecedented month. We had the outcome of the General Election, the terrible tragedies in Manchester and London, and the devastating Grenfell Tower fire.

When ‘unprecedented’ things happen, the world stops for a little while and reflects.  Then, perhaps as is right thing to do, it moves forward and gets on with doing what it does. The brilliance and resilience of our public and emergency services are, in my view, to be commended at all times. But when they’re asked to step up, they’re simply breath taking. The humility and humanity shown in Manchester, London and throughout the nation made me proud to be British. And while we don’t deliver public services, I’m proud that - through Penna’s resourcing of major public service organisations - we do our bit, finding and securing some of the fantastic people who went above and beyond when needed.  

June has been a busy month for asking questions about the future, the economy, Brexit, public service reform, and much more. Clients and candidates alike have been filled with a sense of uncertainty about the future. And while uncertainty doesn’t help, it’s becoming the norm for the UK. However, I’m seeing great resilience in our public and private sector clients, as well as the leaders who recognise progress is unstoppable, and that we have to take calculated risks and drive forward our organisations through people.

There’s been a lot of focus on developing employer brands and establishing value propositions. Our clients know that, to remain competitive, they need to find, secure and excite the very best talent. And they know also that’s what Penna does best. It’s heartening to see our clients take such care when considering how their brand, culture and values matter in their attraction, assessment and on-boarding. As a result, our creative and solutions teams have developed some great new initiatives.

We’re also very excited by the prospect of developing our creative attraction solutions business in North America. The team have been over in the USA with our Adecco colleagues and clients, reviewing the opportunities to export Penna, and identifying people who can start our family in the States. More of this in July blog.

It’s also been a busy month for our Interim team who - post IR35 - are thriving and working hard to create new, flexible resourcing solutions for our clients and interims. We led a great campaign that helped the industry work through the changes, and we hope to support our interims and clients prepare for the major changes to securing flexible talent. Validation of our work came this week, as we were voted 2nd best provider in the IIM survey of Interim Providers. Improving our position from 3rd to 2nd is a well-deserved accolade, as it demonstrates we’ve continued to support our interims into and through their assignments - whilst also changing internally to get ready for IR35. Voted for by interims, and based on their experiences, this feedback and positioning means a lot to the team at Penna. So I’d like to say a big thank you everyone who took the time to complete the survey. We hope you give us the votes to become No1 next time!

In June, we also had our first open house summer event. Nearly 100 candidates and clients joined us at our home in Fleet Place for an evening of learning, insight and networking. The opportunity to learn more about Penna, as well as undertake some continuing professional development around our new consultancy, new legislation and virtual reality in recruitment, seemed to be highly welcomed. Although, the cocktail bar and canapés were a real attraction too. Lord Gary Porter, Chair of the LGA, gave us a highly entertaining and informative opening welcome, and set the scene on the political issues of the day. Norman Pickervance, Partner at Grant Thornton, complemented this by reflecting on the changing nature of leadership, and the importance of building organisational confidence and sustainability. Thanks to both Gary and Norman. We all had a great time.

There’s been high demand for new leadership across public and private sector organisations. We’re proud to be working on a number of senior leadership roles, including chief executive’s for a number of local and combined authorities. We’ve also supported on a high number of senior interim and search appointments.  And through our new HR/OD consultancy support, we’re now helping a number of organisations resource and deliver change in their workforce.

In the midst of all that, we’ve relocated our Midlands team to a new Birmingham premises, allowing us to grow our regional business further. We’ve also migrated the IT, and changed the payroll system – and I’d like to say all went smoothly. You wouldn’t believe me, but we did do it, and kept smiling.

Julie Towers
Managing Director, Penna


Thanks Penna team. Just like the weather, you were hot and sunny throughout.