Congratulations to Hannah Smith on her promotion to Senior Manager of our Midlands Local Government team.
We talked to Hannah about her successful career with us.
Working for success
Moving teams to set up the Midlands Local Government business unit was a big decision for me. I had been on the Midlands legal team for five years, it was the highest billing team in the company and I had worked hard to develop my file and enjoyed working with the close-knit team. However, the opportunity to take on greater responsibility and a challenge made up my mind.
When I started, I just had Bella and Natalie with me as consultants; both of them were very new at that time, so it’s been a pleasure watching them become such accomplished consultants in their own right, with Bella stepping up as a Manager and Natalie seeing great success as a Principal Consultant. Some years we’ve almost doubled our billing and I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved together.
The number one thing I look for in consultants is that they are hard working. You have different challenges thrown at you every day, so you need to be able to make your own success and build your own business. Some consultants will join us and demonstrate a lot of natural ability, but if they’re not willing to put in the work, they struggle to reach those next steps. Resilience is also key, because while you will have days where everything goes great, you’ll also have days where bad news comes in threes, so you need to be resilient to get through the harder times and turn them into good times through hard work.
Covid presented one of the biggest challenges we faced. We had grown the team to a good point and then the pandemic meant a lot of the projects we were working on were brought to an abrupt end and we found ourselves back where we started. It felt like we had to start again from scratch. We decided to use that time as effectively as possible, building up our market knowledge and registering a number of excellent candidates. It ended up being a positive thing for us, because when everything started to recover we were in a better position than when we started. Since then we’ve had so much success and I put it down in large part to how we were able to make the most of a challenging time.
Learning new ways
I would advise new managers to be open to different ideas. If anyone has an opinion about how something should be done, no matter how long they’ve been on the job, it’s worth taking on board; it’s important to make sure everyone is empowered to have input into the team’s progress. If you don’t agree with it, it’s an opportunity to explain why, because they can learn from you. Likewise, if their way of doing things works, then you’ve also learned something!
When I was a new manager, I used to stamp my feet about the way I wanted to do things, but everyone has a different approach and I’ve since realised that as long as you reach the right business decision, there are different paths that can get you there.
A privilege to partner
I really enjoy the variety that you get within the Local Government sector, and my favourite area to work in is Transformation and executive-level strategic positions, which have become my team’s forte. At that level, the candidates’ knowledge of local government is exceptional and we have a lot to learn from them.
Transparency is a core part of building a successful client partnership. I always make sure to be clear about our process along with the timings and expectations involved. We’re also very knowledgeable and up-to-date about the areas we recruit for, so that, for example, if we believe the budget we’ve been given is not in line with the current market, we discuss these trends and possible solutions with the client. I prefer to think of our service as more of a consultancy than a sales pitch, as we’re offering our knowledge and service to ensure everyone’s objectives are successfully met.
Clients will repeatedly return to us to support them with their interim recruitment requirements and we have built a number of great professional relationships over the years. This is a clear indicator that we are delivering a great service to our clients. It’s a great motivator to see that what we’re doing is working, but rather than sitting comfortably where we are, it also inspires us to push for bigger and better things.
As a business unit we want to keep on growing and to continue refining our knowledge as consultants. My hope is that over the next few years we will be able to build on what we have already established and reach even greater success.
We also heard from Hannah’s management team who have supported her over her career:
‘I’m delighted to see Hannah achieve her promotion to Senior Manager within our Midlands Office. Our Local Government Division has gone from strength to strength through Hannah’s leadership. Her teams have become valued suppliers to local authorities throughout the Midlands region, providing specialist interim staff. Hannah has built an excellent team of people around her who are all specialists within their field. Hannah works incredibly hard, she is dedicated to her team, her clients and her candidates. I’m very proud of Hannah’s achievements and I look forward to seeing her continued success over the years to come.’
Emma Walker, Director
‘We are thrilled to announce the promotion of Hannah to Senior Manager. Hannah joined the company over 8 years ago and has been an invaluable member of our team and has continually exceeded our expectations. She has made a significant contribution in the development of Local Government and Legal teams in the Birmingham office. Hannah brings a wealth of experience to the Senior Management team, and we are excited about her new role at the company. We know she will perform admirably in her new position and wish her all the best in growing her business unit over the years to come.’
Avtar Singh, Executive Director