Being people-centric is at the heart of Sigmar’s approach
When Adrian McGennis started Sigmar Recruitment 20 years ago in Dublin, Ireland, he knew that he wanted to make sure that his employees always came first, no matter what the world threw their way. And the world certainly has been throwing a lot of curveballs over the last couple of years, with the Covid-19 pandemic shutting down businesses, schools and more all over the globe. With McGennis’ planning and attention to company culture, however, Sigmar didn’t even slow down. In fact, the company grew and currently employs around 145 people in house.
Sigmar, which is celebrating its second time as a grand prize winner of SIA’s Best Staffing Firms to Work For, prides itself on being one of the best staffing firms in Ireland, if not the world. “It’s an excellent company, very well run,” says Alan Daly, who started at Sigmar in September 2020 as a recruitment consultant. Two promotions later, he is an executive consultant overseeing a team of four. “The directors are very friendly and approachable. If you have any new ideas, you’re welcome to share them and the leadership is very open to listening to the employees. It’s a very open company.”
McGennis’ goal is to make sure that the employees know their worth and their importance to him and the company. “I think if we create environments where people know that you care, people know this is something you take seriously, people know you’re willing to take risks and try new innovations, then it will make for a great culture,” he shares.
It’s that environment that has kept Naomi Coleman on board for 10 years now. She had just moved back to Ireland from Australia and was working with Sigmar to get a temporary job elsewhere, when a Sigmar manager told her that they were hiring recruiters. Coleman hadn’t worked in recruiting before, but thought she would give it a try. Now a public sector manager, Coleman says there are a lot of things that keep her at Sigmar, but the people and the culture are obviously a huge part of that. “My colleagues are great and I do like my job… But what makes the difference is the people and the culture,” she says.
One thing about being a midsize company is that leadership can make decisions quickly, which McGennis believes has helped set Sigmar apart from its competitors. The ownership structure also plays a part. “We can make pretty quick people-centric decisions,” he says.
Coleman seconds that sentiment. “If someone says, ‘Look, I’d like to do this,’ or ‘I’d like to expand this role,’ or ‘I think I could make a really good go at a new market,’ they’re empowered to do that. And that’s at every level, not just management,” she says.
While the pandemic forced some changes for Sigmar, it already had a very flexible work-from-home policy in place, so making that change wasn’t as difficult for Sigmar as it was for other companies. Ensuring that their employees felt connected during quarantines and isolation, however, was another thing, especially since during the initial isolation, citizens were not allowed to travel more than five kilometers from their homes.
To help keep camaraderie up during those times, Sigmar held Zoom events such as yoga, book club and Bingo. They also sent baskets to their employees during the holidays and made sure that they felt appreciated. “We got really nice hampers from local Irish businesses,” Cole explains. For example, the company sent baskets with Easter egg decorating kits, cocktails for St. Patrick’s Day, and food and wine for Christmas. “It was so nice for somebody to knock on the door with a surprise delivery and just kind of gave everyone a bit of a buzz for the day,” she adds.
Its commitment to a unified team culture and communication remains strong even with many of its employees remote. This year, Sigmar will be taking its employees to San Sebastian in Spain for a late holiday getaway and to show its appreciation for the hard work that everyone has put in over the last few years when in-person perks and traveling had to be put on hold.
While such excursions are welcome perks, Daly says Sigmar also provides first-class training and an excellent compensation package. Another appreciated perk is that all employees get a day off for their birthday as a paid holiday, even if it falls on a weekend.
Being named a Best Staffing Firm to Work For is meaningful to Sigmar in many ways, but it speaks volumes to clients and talent alike, providing confidence they are working with a great and respectable company. Daly says clients know they are working with a company that looks after their staff and that their staff is the best in their field. McGennis adds that the designation carries weight internationally as well. “A lot of our clients are in the United States, and this gives us credibility.”
McGennis is excited about the future and what it holds for Sigmar. The market has literally never been better in the world, certainly in Ireland,” he says.
The company is looking to double in size over the next three to five years. It’s a zealous goal, but McGennis is confident that Sigmar can do it. “ “We’re still ambitious as an organization. I mean, based on that strong platform of being people-centric, and also having the air to breathe — we’re really excited about the future.”