Engineering positive change
November 3, 2022
From designing energy sector infrastructure products to founding a recruitment company dedicated to supporting firms’ growth, engineering positive change is ingrained in Richard Hogg’s psyche. And now, with Jackson Hogg, the specialist recruitment and outsourced people services partner he set up a decade ago, having recently expanded into new offices and switched to a four-day working week, he’s ready to mark its tenth anniversary with further advances. Here, Steven Hugill speaks to chief executive Richard and chief operating officer Anthony Broadhead to find out more.
“A lot of my colleagues had their headphones in all day – but if you love people, that isn’t the right place for you.”
Richard Hogg leans back in his chair, the collar of his blue shirt open as his mind spools back more than a decade.
It stops in an office, its four walls housing meticulous designs and Richard himself, sat at a desk fathoming complicated sums.
Mathematical answers, though, weren’t the only thing he was working out.
For while he enjoyed the pragmatism of engineering strategy, another passion burned brighter still; one that focused on building a great business, while having the freedom to solve problems and impact many people.
He says: “It took me a little bit of time to understand myself.
“I worked on things like a new oil pipeline insulation system, which was backed by the large operators, but as much as I enjoyed it, my real passion was people and business.
“I think I always had an entrepreneurial flair – it just took me a good few years of doing hard calculations in design offices to fully realise it.”
The upshot was a switch into the world of recruitment, swapping energy sector connectivity for linking companies to compatible individuals, which led to the launch of Jackson Hogg.
Today, the firm, which employs around 130 staff, is growing rapidly, both domestically and internationally, thanks to its expert sourcing and delivery of candidates for professional entry to board level roles across the science, technology, engineering and manufacturing sectors.
Such is its pace of expansion, the business – which this year chalked up record profitability and turnover – recently moved to larger offices in Wallsend’s Cobalt Business Exchange, from where staff work a newly-introduced four-day week, all while retaining full pay.
It wasn’t always this way, though.
When Richard founded Jackson Hogg as a home-based operation a decade ago, the venture had to provide much-needed functionality as his young family grew.
He says: “My little boy had been born, and my wife Gina was working up and down the country in pharmaceutical sales, so it made sense to have as much flexibility as possible.”
“It was hard work for the first couple of years, but I built the business organically, identifying companies on a growth trajectory and working with, and speaking to, friends from my engineering days,” adds Richard, who studied mechanical engineering at Newcastle University across the turn of the millennium.
Such was the strength of the foundations he’d dug, Richard was able, in mid-2015, to press ahead with an ambitious growth strategy, which began with the opening of a Newcastle Quayside office in early 2016.
Now flanked by director Anthony Broadhead – who has since become chief operating officer – Richard rolled out a blueprint to go far beyond standard recruitment services and operate as a strategic talent partner.
The firm’s Talent Partnership – introduced in 2017 – created a platform for clients to hit headcount plans, increase the speed of recruitment and control costs, with its executive search and employer branding services following soon after.
In 2019, Jackson Hogg’s HR Partnership team entered the marketplace, providing clients with everything from day-to-day assistance to fully outsourced services, while in the same year, the firm expanded into the US tech recruitment sphere from the North East.
It is now making an increasing play in the ever-growing life science sector, doubling down on investment to ensure operators have access to highly-skilled staff.
All of the above – and more – help provide a high-quality service to clients – ensuring they achieve talent objectives – while living out Jackson Hogg’s values, with their influence having enabled the business to grow largely through referrals, rarely losing a client over its years of trading.
And everything is underpinned by the three people-focused pillars Richard has carried with him from his early days: care, trust and respect.
He says: “We want to be there for our community.
“We have a serving mindset; our whole focus is to help clients grow, to help people progress their careers.
“I talk a lot about loving people, and some laugh because they think I’m talking romantically.
“But I always say, ‘what does it mean to love people, and care for them like they were family members?’”
Another key element in Jackson Hogg’s success is the relationship between Richard and Anthony, which, they say in unison, is built on “honest and vulnerable trust”.
Richard says: “When you have the confidence of working together like we do, it allows you to make decisions that are right for the business, its culture and its values.”
Anthony is equally effusive, pointing to the positive impact their approach continues to have on the company’s team, which was emphasised recently in an internal assessment that recorded an Employee Net Promoter Score of 97 out of 100.
He says: “Richard once said to me, ‘imagine if we could create an organisation where people love coming to work, where our clients and candidates love us, and where the whole marketplace would see a huge black hole if we were ever removed’.
“We’re still working to get there, but on the way we’re delivering great service that is helping solve clients’ headaches, all while creating a great, flexible working environment, wealth and employment for the region, and collaborations with some fantastic external partners.
“And we’re proud to have reached this point without external investment.”
Richard says: “I live in the future, and we have an incredibly strong platform to deliver some amazing ventures down the line.
“It’s now all about further bringing out the depth of our support and our network, to extend our service to our community.”
Anthony adds: “We’re really only just getting started; we’ve got endless ambition.
“We are delighted with where we’ve got to – but there’s still so much we want to do.”