Manchester-based First Install is a family run business that provides professional office installation solutions across the globe.
They have a longstanding client base and have delivered some of the biggest office refurbishments nationally and are approved installers of some of Europe’s highest profile manufacturers, including Herman Miller, Howe and Brunner.
The senior management team at First Install comprises Anne, Malcolm and Rick Hague.
The business had enjoyed a prolonged period of growth, but due to external economic factors, they found they needed to double their efforts to regain their pre-recession standing and performance.
Coupled with this, Anne and Malcolm Hague have a desire to gradually withdraw from the day-to-day operations as they approached retirement.
In addition to support the Hub’s workforce development specialists were giving First Install, Rick Hague enrolled onto the Hub’s Executive Development Programme which helps businesses identify leadership and management training opportunities.
A number of business challenges were identified, including the need to relocate premises and improvements around talent development and recruitment.
The Hub’s workforce and executive development advisor Janine Richardson explains: “The business was renting premises in an old warehouse in Cadishead, Salford, which provided a series of challenges in relation to storage, heating, accessibility and, not least, working conditions.
“Anne, Malcolm and Rick recognised the need to relocate or make improvements, but were apprehensive about their options and the level of commitment needed to implement such changes.”
The senior management team at First Install understand that a business is only as good as its employees. So always strived to cultivate that family identity by recruiting local people, but had struggled to attract the talent they needed.
In order to identify key reasons for this, Janine carried out a detailed diagnostic of recruitment, induction, development and management practices.
Furthermore a full organisational review of contracts, employment benefits and salary structure was undertaken.
“We identified a programme of development to rollout across the business, including moving employees from zero-hour contracts to guaranteed minimum hours,” Janine explains.
“In addition a new pay structure that was clearly mapped to roles and responsibilities was created, which we complemented by identifying key competencies and developing new job descriptions.”
Janine adds: “I have worked with First Install for a couple of years and over that time I have seen them grow and develop but one of the most noticeable changes is the uplift in atmosphere and overall positivity that greets you from the minute you walk through the door.
“Everyone from the management team down look and behave like they have a new spring in their step. This is obviously a great bonus in relation to work environment but importantly it is also impacting on employee retention and bottom line.”
First Install is now in the middle of a recruitment drive, to fill a number of operational roles across the business, and aims to employ 10 new employees from the local area.
Janine also referred the business to the Hub’s access to finance specialists and MIDAS, part of Manchester Growth Company, who carried out a full review of the business and researched the benefits any relocation would bring to the business’ operations.
As a result of this support, First Install successfully secured the lease of their new site on Trafford Park and made the move in December 2016.
Anne says: “The support from the Business Growth Hub has given us the direction and confidence we needed to invest and achieve further business growth which we doubted was possible.
“Since we reviewed our people and talent procedures and moved to new premises we have significantly improved our operating capacity, while we are exploring a new service offering that will further increase our turnover.
“Janine really helped us create a sense of positivity which encouraged us to drive the business forward.
“Her approach to identifying our skills gaps and structuring the areas we needed to develop has allowed us to raise our heads above day-to-day operations and focus on long-term strategy and structure.”
In addition the business has also been introduced to Hub’s digital specialist to review its digital marketing and develop its social media activity, which will help sustain growth.