Robert Leggett, Chairman at Omni RMS reveals how excellent customer service was the key to Omni’s success and why technology will never replace people…
What were you doing before Omni, and what were the drivers for setting up Omni?
I left university after the first year of a hospitality and catering degree and then had various roles before joining an IT recruitment organisation specialising in contract recruitment.
Whilst working there as a consultant I began to realise there was a gap in the market – I saw just how poor customer service was, and client relationships were also largely insignificant.
I knew that something really needed changing in the industry. Neither customers nor agencies were happy with the relationships that were in place. I wanted to add value to the process and focus on service. I also saw that companies’ heavy reliance on recruitment agencies resulted not only in unnecessary overspend but also in a lack of visibility and control over their recruitment processes and inconsistency in candidate quality.
That’s how Omni was born – out of a need to change the industry.
What were the first five years at Omni like?
They were fun, exciting, and thoroughly enjoyable and involved a very steep learning curve. It was incredibly fast-paced, a rollercoaster ride – and we saw the business changing really dramatically within the first five years.
We went from £1m turnover in the first 12 months of trading to hitting £4.5m in three years and being ranked the 46th fastest-growing company in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 list.
I’d started Omni with my father, working from a back room with two desks, two chairs and two PCs. And from there we started recruiting people very quickly and we’ve been growing ever since!
The organisation and the services we provided changed dramatically over those first five years. We’d started as a vendor-neutral managed services provider, with no candidate contact as such, just managing relationships between clients and agencies.
What we set out to do, though, remains our vision today: we change the way companies recruit – for the better.
How did you source back then?
We didn’t actually source candidates in the early days, as we focused on managing relationships with clients and agencies. At the time, though, there were no such things as job boards – we picked up our emails once every three days and CVs were faxed. We had no software to de-crypt a CV, so we preferred to have CVs faxed over – so it was very much a case of good old-fashioned resourcing! We had a database of candidates, and we worked it.
How did you move from IT contractors to being an RPO provider?
We grew into an RPO as that’s what our clients were asking for – a more outsourced solution that could manage all their needs.
We also began to develop specialisms in different industry sectors to serve our growing client base and to grow our business. It’s what clients were asking of us, and in that sense we grew very organically.
What have been the major shifts in the recruitment industry?
Obviously technology is the biggest change, as well as being the one thing that’s had the biggest impact on the recruitment industry in general. And technology continues to change how we deal with people – whether that’s candidates, clients or agencies.
People are at the heart of our business, though, and personal service is still key for Omni – we’re all about relationships and partnerships. That personal touch is always going to be important in this sector, no matter how technology develops.
The technology is there to control and support our services, but effective communication and relationships with clients and candidates are absolutely vital – they always will be. Technology will never replace relationships!
What was the first role you ever recruited?
I remember it extremely well – it was an IT contractor role for a High Street bank. They were delighted with the person – and as it happens I’m still in touch with that same contractor now!
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