Outsource UK poised for further growth
Taking Outsource to the next level
Nick Dettmar and Paul Jameson, Outsource UK’s CEO and founder respectively, discuss their new roles in the company with Becky Wilson, and reveal how the business is poised for future growth.
In December 2017, Nick Dettmar became the CEO of Outsource UK, taking over from Paul Jameson, who founded the company in 1991. This process of ‘handing over the reigns’ began back in 2015, when Dettmar joined the company as its chief operations officer (COO), and during that two and a half year period, he learnt how to run the business with Jameson’s guidance. After 26 years at the forefront of Outsource, now an £80 million turnover business with 80 staff across five offices, Jameson was looking for someone to come on board and continue to grow and lead the company.
Dettmar began his recruitment career in 1996, joining Computer People, which would later become part of The Adecco Group, as a graduate. He remained with the organisation for 14 years, rising through the ranks from recruiter to managing director of professional staffing. In 2010, he joined Impellam as divisional managing director for science, engineering and technical, where he worked for five years. It was following his role at Impellam that Dettmar decided he wanted to use the skills learnt during his career in a new role. He explains, “I took the decision in 2015 that I wanted to go and find something that was a bit smaller where I could play a bigger role. At that time, I started talking to Paul and it coincided with his ambitions to look for someone to come and work with Outsource, to take them to the next level.” This began Dettmar’s journey with Outsource.
Taking over the role of CEO
During his time working as the company’s COO, Dettmar was able to learn the intricate workings of Outsource. This handover period also proved vital in enabling Jameson and the organisation to build trust in Dettmar and his plans for the business going forward. He reveals, “Paul gave me a great chance to learn the business and understand what it means to run an organisation like Outsource.” Whilst learning his role, Dettmar was also able to build his team, creating the company’s current leadership board, which is ready to support its growth.
The appointment of Dettmar has now enabled Jameson to take on the role of founder, which has three main elements. Jameson shares, “First and foremost, my role is to support Nick, to mentor him, to help him look at things in a different way or to be a sounding board.” He also reveals that his role is to remain visible to the Outsource team, as he has been a key part of its culture since its inception. The company has its sights set of further mergers and acquisitions (having completed six previously), and Jameson will play a key role in supporting this.
Discussing his new role, Dettmar reveals that this now comes with a great deal of added responsibility, not just for the success of the company, but for the employees and their families who rely on Outsource for a living. He shares, “It is my role to make sure that I fulfil my employees’ dreams and their security, and that is quite a heavy burden that I hadn’t actually considered before I took the role.” Despite this worry, Dettmar is enthusiastic about his future plans for the company, and reveals that there have already been changes.
Focussed development on new products and services
Outsource has just added a new range of products and services to its offering. This has included delivering relocation programmes, its first RPO, as well as benchmarking, vetting and onboarding services. They’ve also finalised a complete brand refresh that enables the business to tell its story better, highlighting its nurturing, family-feel culture. The company’s strapline, “Taking care of everything” involves not just supporting clients and candidates, but looking after other members of staff. This is something Dettmar is committed to, and the rebrand has provided him with the opportunity to promote his own staff internally. Dettmar stresses, “Because of the culture of the organisation, when we find good people, we want to keep them and the only way we’ll be able to do this is by showing them career advancement and growth.”
Growth at Outsource doesn’t have to be linear, and the company encourages its people to have a breadth of experience and specialise in something that’s of interest to them. While the business wants to expand its training and development offering, it is currently supporting employees by enabling them to complete CIPD courses. Dettmar adds, “We’ve also got people who are trying to change their skillset to things like being experts in diversity and inclusion. We’re investing in them so they can become subject matter experts in their chosen fields.”
Outsource has been on a journey over the past three years while Dettmar learnt from Jameson and they now feel the business is ready to achieve big things. “We’re on the precipice of some great stuff,” shares Dettmar, “Over quite a short period of time it’s all starting to come together, so I’m really looking forward to realising the value and return on all our hard work and effort.” As part of the company’s focus on growth, it has invested more money in fewer sectors and technical markets. This, it is hoped, will support its ambition to become one of the top five privately-invested recruitment companies within its sectors.
Legislation impact on business
Similarly to the wider recruitment market, there are external factors that threaten to have an impact on Outsource. Jameson shares that Brexit has had, and will continue to have, an impact on some of the company’s sectors, but he remains optimistic. He says, “We’re still a nation of around 65 million people and there’s going to be a lot of demand in that, so we’re not fearful of the Brexit connotations, we’re mindful of it. I think as much as anything it will bring opportunity.” He also adds that GDPR provides the company with the opportunity to ensure it’s operating to best practise and continually improving.
Discussing the impact of legislation on the sector, Dettmar feels that each new piece of legislation is making it harder for recruiters to do business. He shares, “The barriers to entry are going up and the costs of actually running a compliant business are becoming greater. Part of what we’re trying to do is position ourselves so that we are capable of reacting to these changes.” He also thinks new legislation, such as GDPR, provide the company with opportunities as it looks to support clients that can no longer rely on internal lists of prospective hires. The company has acknowledged that many clients no longer want the full recruitment offering, and has tailored its services to reflect that. Dettmar says, “We’ve adapted our portfolio to be able to offer a range of services, from onboarding to vetting, to our customers as a standalone service, rather than just being a recruitment partner.”
This flexibility in offering also relates back to flexibility in Outsource’s offices. Wherever possible, the company supports flexible working requests, and has several return-to-work mums working part-time or operating using a job share scheme. Dettmar and Jameson stress that there are certain roles in the business that need to be full-time roles, but with a head of diversity and inclusion for the company’s clients, they expect this to continue to reflect and impact on the business itself too.
As the world of work continues to change, artificial intelligence (AI) and the impact it will have is becoming a highly discussed topic. Jameson believes that AI will have some impact on the sectors it operates in, but stresses, “We are a people-led industry and I don’t see that changing. I think we will adopt tools to assist in our jobs, especially in volume areas, but it’s a people-led industry. That’s what we are, and that’s what our customers expect from us.” He highlights that there are areas where technology is being adopted slowly, for example video interviews, but sees AI as an opportunity to run a more efficient business, rather than replace the recruiter.
Dettmar considers the effect on their clients, and their changing expectations as AI begins to play a greater role. He highlights that technology will improve the CV to interview to placement ratio, but stresses that an important part of a recruiter’s role is assessing personalities, which AI can’t yet achieve. He shares, “If AI starts matching the cultural behavioural characteristics of people to an organisation’s culture then it will have a value, but I certainly see, in the immediate future, that it’s going to require some human interface.”
Supporting future growth
Now Dettmar is in charge of Outsource’s success, he is looking to the future of the organisation. He wants to build on the foundations laid by Jameson while also maintaining the company’s strong culture. Reflecting on Jameson’s mentoring during the take-over period, Dettmar reveals, “It is important, because this business has been operating for 26 years. There’s a lot of history that I don’t know, so having Paul there, someone I can bounce ideas off, that can help answer some of the questions I don’t have answers to, is vital.” He emphasises that Jameson will continue to have a key role going forward, supporting him and the business with the challenges and opportunities on the horizon.
Part of this support will be in relation to mergers and acquisitions (M&A), which Outsource is committed to. Jameson reveals that the company is looking for IT change and engineering contract businesses that will enable Outsource to continue its growth. He explains, “We’ve been growing at 23 per cent compound growth over the last three years. That’s great, but we want more, and in order to do that, if we can support each of our products then it’s going to speed things up.” In addition to M&A, the Outsource team is also focused on consolidating its position following the brand refresh and the introduction of new products. With Dettmar settled into his new role, and with Jameson’s support and guidance, Outsource UK looks set to achieve its targets of future growth.
For more information about Outsource UK, please call 01793 430021 to speak to one of the senior team, or email firstname.lastname@example.org