Driven by Service
Tom Deane was working with another recruitment firm in 2015 when he caught word of how great Sigmar Recruitment was. After doing some research, he found the Dublin-based recruitment firm had built a stellar reputation and won numerous awards and recognition over the years for its business and its workplace culture, which many of its internal staff liken to being part of a family.
So Deane sent his CV and days later, in March 2015, he was brought on board as a recruitment consultant specialising in accountancy and finance professionals.
A key draw for Dean was the company’s “moral compass,” he says. “There were other firms that were probably more prominent on the Irish market, but Sigmar was one that just time and time again seemed to shine through,” says Deane, who now serves as team account manager, managed services. Its vast amount of training around diversity, inclusion, unconscious bias spoke volumes about the company. Another factor was the weight Sigmar places on candidate contact and feedback, with its stated goal of ensuring job applicants are informed of their status.
Sigmar’s solid reputation was also what attracted Business Consultant and Foreign Direct Investment Specialist Claire Kelly to the company. “When I was moving to Dublin, I was very cautious about what recruitment company I was working for or applying for,” Kelly says, explaining that she sought a company that was reputable as well as successful.
While doing her own research on Sigmar in 2015, recommendations and reviews on Google heavily influenced her decision to reach out to the firm. For Kelly, what separates Sigmar apart from other recruitment firms she’s worked for is that the staff “genuinely take pride in what they do.” She credits the company’s induction training that advises staff to treat everyone, including clients and candidates, as family.
And it’s easy to stay motivated at a company like Sigmar, Kelly says, citing the company’s flat communication structure, which makes everyone feel heard, as well as the fact that the company encourages staff to try new things and get out of their comfort zone.
The Long Haul
This is also a suitable way to describe Sigmar itself, which has grown since its founding in 2002 to become Ireland’s largest organically grown recruitment consultancy. The company completed its management buyout from Newcourt plc in August 2009, and more than 50% of the staff accepted the invitation to invest in the new enterprise. In 2018, Sigmar became part of French recruitment firm Groupé Adéquat. It now employs more than 150 industry specialists across its offices in Ireland.
According to Sigmar Director Malwina King, the company is in the business for the long haul, pointing to the fact that since its establishment, three-quarters of the consultants are still working at the firm.
“We are certainly the best place to work when it comes to recruitment agencies because we actually prepare,” King says. “We are driven by service to both clients and candidates but at the same time, we are not forgetting about ourselves, we are doing things that feel right rather than those that are the easiest thing to do.”
She also puts the company’s success in simpler terms: “happy staff makes happy customers.”
The company’s philosophy is quite simple, King says. While it hires a very diverse group of people, it looks for people who share the same attitude and same values. “I think that’s what it comes down to. If you look at everyone working in here you can be sure that the people are doing the right thing now, but also when nobody is looking.”
When asked if Sigmar takes any deliberate actions to make it a Best Staffing Firm to Work For, King says the company naturally operates in a manner that invests in the right people.
The company also invests heavily in those people with a robust learning and development program that helps its employees identify and get on a career path that is right for them. Take Deane, who was able to pursue a role within the company that turned out to be better suited to him than his original role. All it took was expressing an interest in a consultative role, and soon he was moved to the managed services department.
“They completely nurtured my desires and my abilities and I’ve been incredibly successful in my new department,” Deane says. Kelly, meanwhile, has pursued internal training programs as well as external training sessions run by industry experts.
The company encourages outside endeavours as well. For example, Sigmar supported Deane’s involvement as a sponsorship manager at Talent Summit, Ireland’s Largest HR conference run by Sigmar, where he got to work with some of the biggest names in the industry and built and maintained relationships with significant global brands.
Apart from the learning and development options and cultivating employees’ interests, the company also offers many other perks, from an uncapped commission structure to a strong health and well-being program. Staff and their families have access to a free health coach online. And prior to the pandemic, Sigmar hosted yoga and boxing classes; it now offers an assortment of activities online. The company offers flexible work hours as well, allowing staff to balance their workday however they want, as long as they get their work done. The company also has a reward system based on individual performance as well as group and team performance.
During a typical year, Sigmar would have a Christmas party abroad for staff. Amid Covid, the company is exploring different options to celebrate safely, such as smaller outdoor gatherings or events on Zoom.
This year has been challenging for the recruitment industry, but coming together like a family throughout the crisis and supporting the larger community during Covid-19 have been Sigmar’s proudest moments in 2020.
A few days after lockdown in March, Sigmar launched Covid Response Jobs, a not-for-profit initiative to connect displaced job seekers from lockdown closures with employers who needed frontline staff, due to increased demand in retail, healthcare and food production. The site also offered free career advisory services as well as free up-skilling opportunities for the restricted workforce, ultimately to support a more robust and effective recovery. About a sixth of Ireland’s Covid-related unemployed, or 100,000 job seekers, engaged with the initiative over its first three months.
When the Covid-19 crisis hit, Sigmar immediately pivoted from areas such as accountancy and banking to pharmacy, retail and healthcare — areas where they traditionally did not recruit for. Their priority was to recruit the staﬀ who support the infrastructure that supports society and keep Ireland’s supply chains operating. This helped them to sustain the business and keep hold of our staff during the last few months as well as hire.
Sigmar also created a Working from Home Hub for staff, candidate and clients with resources and support, such as videos and blogs on productivity, working at home with kids, mental health, wellness, upskilling and tips on managing remote workers.
King proudly notes that Sigmar is one of the few agencies in Ireland that has not furloughed any of its staff. While it has made “difficult decisions in terms of costs,” all of its internal employees are working five days a week.