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Building for the future

Amid the ever-changing employment landscape, worker empowerment and cultural inclusivity have never been more paramount. For firms, it means a rewriting of operational blueprints, not least a bolstering of HR frameworks. And helping organisations do such is specialist recruitment and outsourced talent services partner Jackson Hogg, with its flagship HR Partnership service supporting businesses to invest in their staff for the long-term. Here, Steven Hugill speaks to Lauren Bathan, Jackson Hogg’s head of HR Partnership, to find out more. 


A market-leading product. Tick.

A skilled employee base. Tick.

A robust balance sheet. Tick.

In the manual of building a successful business, each and all are crucial foundation stones.

Equally significant, though, is a strong HR function, which provides not just a fourth stabilising base but a platform that catalyses technological development and nurtures the business leaders of tomorrow.

And ensuring organisations have such is specialist recruitment and outsourced talent services partner Jackson Hogg, which works with myriad organisations, such as Newcastle clean energy business GeoPura, to provide expert HR support that evolves as it continues to grow. 

Through its flagship HR Partnership service, the firm provides companies – many of which span the science, technology, engineering and manufacturing (STEM) sectors – with bespoke support that catalyses sustainability and scalability, cultivates talent pipelines and inspires cultural advances.

Providing a portfolio of flexible options, Jackson Hogg accelerates the roll out of numerous HR-based initiatives, from transactional and administrative to transformational and strategic.

“By cultivating and investing in HR strategy, a company is developing its staff to progress the business over the long-term,” says Lauren Bathan, Jackson Hogg’s head of HR Partnership.

“And engaging our services is a very powerful symbol of where people feature and their importance in an organisation’s mind.

“There is a compound effect of Jackson Hogg’s specialities and experience across recruitment, employer branding and research, and as HR specialists we bring this together to add value.

“By using the breadth of our cross-sector expertise – which includes many relationships in the STEM sector – we are able to give clients the benefit of knowing what is happening in the market, what talented candidates are looking for and potential changes to their value proposition, so they don’t run the risk of missing out on those looking for a new organisation to join, or forget how important the people who’ve already made that decision – and are in the business – are.”

Central to Jackson Hogg’s approach is its nuanced support model.

Acting as an extension of a firm’s leadership group, the Newcastle and Teesside-based organisation becomes part of a company’s fabric, with the associated insights allowing Lauren and the team of HR specialists to partner in a way which is aligned to company culture and goals.

Lauren says: “Organisations want different things from their HR function, and we acknowledge that by taking a flexible approach to the ‘what’ and ‘how’ as we work with those businesses. 

“They see where our chartered profession has impact for the business more generally and the difference we can make.

“Getting an insight into where the company has been and where it wants to be is crucial, because to develop meaningful HR interventions, we must understand that journey.”

A good example of such, says Lauren, is GeoPura, which is working with Jackson Hogg to support its rapid scaling up.

GeoPura is replacing fossil fuels with zero-emission alternatives, like hydrogen, in power generation applications such as construction, infrastructure, outdoor events, electric vehicle charging and back-up power. 

And Lauren says the firm – which has worked in collaboration with Siemens Energy since its 2019 inception, and delivers power to big names such as the BBC, Netflix, Balfour Beatty, HS2 and National Grid – is a poster organisation for the harnessing of technological advances with people-focused priorities.

She says: “GeoPura has such an exciting business proposition and a dynamic, agile culture, and though the two things often feed one another, it recognised too that people are key to its growth.”

And in a world where firms are increasingly challenged to meet rapidly-evolving employee and investor sentiment, attitudes like those of GeoPura, says Lauren, have never been more important.

With remote working and environmental and social governance just two of the areas now fundamental to jobseekers’ searches in the post-COVID-19 world, Lauren says it is imperative HR strategy recognises how the operating landscape is continuing to change.

She says: “Businesses need to be deliberate; they cannot afford to let shifts pass them by.

“Culture is on everyone’s lips, and it is imperative companies think about their employer value proposition, for both existing and new staff.

“More and more people want to work for responsible, sustainable businesses – and HR is critical to that because it helps organisations articulate the psychological, as well as the physical, contract between staff and company.

“HR is also crucial when it comes to the dynamics of stakeholder management.

“We all understand the cost of advertising a job or working with a recruitment business, but there are so many intangible costs to that process, and the people-approach can make or break that investment.

“And that is important, because investors want to see a business using money sustainably and understand how it creates resilience and continuity in how it operates.”

Lauren adds: “Managers and business leaders understand these concepts, along with compliance, and sustainability from an operational point of view, but they must continue applying such thinking to their people.

“Manufacturing assets have maintenance contracts, are covered by insurance and are regularly topped with oil to ensure their smooth running.

“They are looked after – and it should be no different when it comes to people.

“Change is happening all the time, and businesses must be proactive and look ahead.

“By ensuring strong HR frameworks are in place now, firms can set themselves up to be successful in the future, rather than looking back in a few years’ time and rueing not sowing the seeds when they had the chance.”