1 Year In – A Reflection by Phil Sharp
Last week, I celebrated an exciting professional milestone – my 1 year anniversary at Sphere Solutions. I’ve been reflecting on these past 12 months, what I’ve learned about Sphere and the people that make it what it is, and wanted to share some of what I feel are the best bits about this organisation.
My immediate thought was how warmly I was welcomed by everyone. As a first impression in the first couple of weeks, this was very encouraging, and as the months ticked on it became clear that being open and inclusive was just a natural part of the company culture. I’ve slotted into things and feel like I’ve actually been here a lot longer!
I’ve made a real effort to get to know everyone across the business, as meeting people is one of my favourite things to do! I’ve spent time with every department, from sales to payroll to business support, making sure I understand not just the processes and structure, but the people that make it all happen. What I’ve loved on this part of my journey is not just their eagerness to share their expertise and contribution to the business, but more so their open-minded approach which has allowed me to put forward some of my own experience and insight (as a fresh pair of eyes) to help evolve and adapt the way we work.
Another fantastic thing I quickly realised was that, after nearly 19 years of trading, Sphere has built up an impressive and robust client base, many of whom have been customers of Sphere from the very beginning. There’s a sharp focus on building lasting relationships based on delivering quality service, rather than a high churn rate of short sharp transactions. This attitude to client relationships aligns well with my own personal way of working with my own network, so it was great to be able to continue interacting with clients in a way that felt very natural to me.
What’s very interesting about the business mix at Sphere is that it’s extremely balanced across the 3 key recruitment divisions – trades & labour, professional & technical freelance, and permanent. The people within these teams have such a brilliant mix of talent and capability, and getting to be part of that has proven quite inspirational for someone as long in the tooth as me. Much of my initial role has been to help solidify the relationships we have with each other, across divisions and offices. In doing so, it’s been easy to see why one of our company values is Unity.
Our Social Value offering has been particularly motivational for me and continues to evolve and grow at a rapid pace. Robyn Marshall – our Social Value Manager – and I joined at around the same time, and it’s been great to work with her and engage with our clients and candidates on what is fast becoming a critical aspect of the human element in construction. Social Value is a bit of a passion of mine, which again aligns well with our overall business vision, so 2024 is bound to bring some even more innovative, impactful and meaningful social value activities to benefit the community.
Underpinning everything at Sphere is the fact this is an Employee-Owned company. One of the first recruitment agencies to transition to EO, it’s so interesting to see how it benefits the way we operate day to day. To paraphrase a quote from Alexander Dumas, there’s a real sense of “all for one and one for all” in the way everyone works. It also gives voice to each person in the business, the opportunity to influence and have a say in ways that don’t always exist in a traditional business structure. The overall impact means we have a motivated, forward-thinking workforce which really is fundamental to all success.
To conclude, my first year at Sphere has been enlightening in only the most positive ways and has felt like a very natural step forward in my career. I have received phenomenal support from my fellow Directors in our Senior Leadership Team, and furthermore have been particularly impressed by the way the founders of the business, James Hughes and James Parsons, continue to be active and present in the day-to-day operation of the business.
With all of this in mind, I get the feeling the Sphere isn’t ready to rest on its laurels quite yet. Our combination of experience, talent, adaptability, collaboration and desire to succeed means that we have some serious opportunities to grow in whichever way we choose. And that is very, very exciting indeed! Roll on 2024.