Grapevine: 3Sixty in expansion mode as Irish SMEs prepare for life after Brexit

Grapevine: 3Sixty in expansion mode as Irish SMEs prepare for life after Brexit
Aidan Magner, head of process excellence; Brian Cremin, managing partner; Juliet Murphy, leadership development specialist, and Brian O’Brien, head of growth strategies and coffee conversations, at Cork’s City Quarter, where 3Sixty helps businesses evolve and improve their performance. Pic: Michael O’Sullivan.

Brexit has created some unexpected positives for Irish companies who have been inspired to review efficiencies, corporate structures and even staff retention strategies, say the directors of one thriving change-management firm.

Headquartered in the NSC Campus, Mahon, Cork, 3Sixty has begun a drive to find 40 extra people for nationwide roles. The new recruits will bring a wide range of business experience, most likely tech-savvy people with leadership experience who can help client companies implement systems efficiently.

They will join 3Sixty’s hugely experienced core executive team working with businesses, ranging in size from 50 to 500 staff, to bring them to the next level. The leaders currently listed on Your3sixtypartner.com bring significant experience across leadership roles such as process, sales, HR, training and coaching.

“Sometimes it can take an external threat such as Brexit to focus the minds of business leaders,” said Brian Cremin, managing partner at 3Sixty.

“Brexit has certainly represented an opportunity for companies like ours, giving an impetus for people to look at their businesses in a way they would probably have liked to do in any case.

We have been getting calls about Brexit, but it’s also clear that Brexit has just been a way of helping people to review their efficiencies. People who will continue selling into the UK will need to be more competitive due to currency and other challenges.

“We help people examine their systems to see if they’re robust. There will continue to be a lot of uncertainty around Brexit, but we have been helping companies to talk with their customers in the UK, retaining the strong relations they have developed.

“Their clients may be nervous about future supply. We help position companies from a confidence point of view so that their customers know that they are still the best people to work with.

“We also build their own confidence in their products and services. If they are good enough to have people in the UK buying from them, they can also look to new markets with confidence.”

3Sixty has clients in Dublin, Cork and Kerry, and it is getting calls from across the country. The bulk of its growth has come from word-of-mouth referrals, from clients who have seen major gains in performance, cost savings staff satisfaction and new strategic thinking to open up new ambitions.

“People have said to us that we take their performance more personally than they do themselves,” said Brian Cremin.

“We don’t want 500 clients. We want to get in deep with our clients, which is why we’re really only going after companies with 50 to 500 employees.

Aidan Magner, Head of Process Excellence; Brian O'Brien, Head of Growth Strategies & Coffee Conversations; Juliet Murphy, Leadership Development Specialist, and Brian Cremin, Managing Partner; pictured at Cork's City Quarter. Picture: Michael O'Sullivan /OSM PHOTO.
Aidan Magner, Head of Process Excellence; Brian O'Brien, Head of Growth Strategies & Coffee Conversations; Juliet Murphy, Leadership Development Specialist, and Brian Cremin, Managing Partner; pictured at Cork's City Quarter. Picture: Michael O'Sullivan /OSM PHOTO.

“We work with practitioners to put Lean practices in place. We work on employee engagement, because nobody is more of an expert than the people themselves when it comes to knowing a company’s pain points.”

When 3Sixty conducts a pulse audit, the customers may sometimes need to brace themselves for the honesty of the feedback from their staff. Not always top-level strategy concerns, the comments can cover flaws in communications, views on a lack of engagement, poor office hygiene or the quality of the canteen food.

The challenge for companies is that part of their ambition to move forward means bringing their staff on the journey with them. The company needs to attract new talent, while also ensuring it engages with, motivates and retains existing staff.

“You can’t just play the money card to solve everything,” said Brian Cremin. “It’s not just about salaries. I read one recent US survey which found that over 50% of employees would actually prefer to get a better boss in preference to a pay rise.

“That’s about leadership development. The challenge is to create an environment where people feel part of the company,” he said. “Simple changes — such as better trained people managers, flexible working or social policies — can dramatically reduce costly churn as companies seek to hold onto existing talent.

“When jobseekers look at a job advert now, the first thing they do is go on social media to find out what the company is like to work for. The way to stay ahead of that is all about employer branding.

Voxpro are very good at engaging with the local community on CSR activities. They’re also getting their brand out there. Of course, they’re also good at maintaining that commitment. If you start and stop, then people think you’re just being fake.

Of course, the success that 3Sixty has enjoyed in helping companies across all these elements lies in the quality of its own recruitment and retention strategies. The experience of the key managers tells that story abundantly.

Brian is the managing partner and head of ‘Client Satisfaction’. He previously spent 20 years immersed in everything from mergers to start-ups, from large organisations to individuals and from finance to the arts.

He brings senior financial services experience and has held directorships in a number of companies and charities. He is a qualified business coach, a certified mediator with the MII, an EQi assessor and an accredited strengths profile practitioner.

Aidan Magner is founding partner and lead consultant for the ‘Process Stuff’. Clients identify and eliminate waste as well as creating a platform for continuous improvement on all client engagements

A certified Master Black Belt, Aidan brings 25 years of international experience across a range of organisations and sectors. He previously led his own Lean Six Sigma and supply chain consultancy business, working with clients ranging from global multinationals to indigenous start-ups. He was also a global director of continuous improvement with a $1bn tech firm.

Brian (‘Bob’) O’Brien is a partner and head of ‘Coffee Conversations’.

‘Bob’ brings experience as a UK sales director for a 2000-person outsourced services business, plus five years as a founding partner of a multilingual support services business based in Poland.

Juliet Murphy is a consultant for ‘People Stuff’. She is an experienced facilitator and qualified business coach. She also previously ran a small business and captained the Cork Ladies Gaelic football team.

https://your3sixtypartner.com/

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