Gavin Tew & Lawrence Hargreaves, Source Group International

Gavin Tew & Lawrence Hargreaves, Source Group International

GBI catches up with Gavin Tew and Lawrence Hargreaves, the co-founders of staffing business and 2021 Growing Business Awards winner Source Group International (SGI), to discuss the ongoing progress of the company and its unrelenting focus on nurturing its own talent.

What does SGI do?

Gavin Tew (pictured left): SGI is a multi-disciplinary global staffing firm working in two core customer markets, technology and life science, across a worldwide network of offices.

What was the inspiration behind you founding the business?

Lawrence Hargreaves (pictured right): Our organising thought at SGI is “Discover Your Potential”, and is most certainly the premise on which SGI was founded. Having previously run a successful recruitment business, we wanted to take all the learnings from over the years and see what we could achieve! More specifically though, we felt that there were significant opportunities in the technology and life science markets in terms of customer proposition, location, economic resilience and competitive access. Lastly, these are both sectors that can have an impact on the big challenges in society today, which offers an important employee value proposition.

SIG won a Santander Growing Business of the Year trophy at the 2021 Growing Business Awards - how important is this type of industry recognition when it comes to building up visibility for the business?

GT: It can be very important. It helps staff acquisition, our customer proposition and end-to-end brand advocacy. It is however not the most important thing. There are many businesses that fly under the radar but still produce excellent results and engender brand loyalty. The primary source of building up brand recognition is how we interact with our customers, and to do that we must have an excellent employee proposition. The cascading effect of that can be seen in our customer success as we increase performance, footprint, satisfaction and referral. The awards are of course nice though!

More broadly, how do you measure success for SGI, and what have been some of your key achievements since winning the award?

LH: There are many measurements of success; financial, customer, staff performance & well-being, community, impact metrics and company goals, to name but a few. But really we can only measure ourselves in achieving what we set out to do for our staff, as without them nothing happens. We have found over many years that once that element is right, all else follows. So our achievements may sound unusual but we have incredibly low attrition, high promotion rates and some of the industry’s standout performers, meaning our average billings per head is up there in the premier league of staffing businesses. This naturally produces high performance for the business overall - but the juice is in our staff achievements, beginning and end.

What has been the most difficult or challenging part of growing the business, and how have you addressed that challenge?

GT: Uncontrollable factors: Brexit, Covid, recession, legislation changes and so forth. This presents huge challenges for how we balance growth with investment and the impact that has on cash management…because there is no crystal ball.

However, getting strong financial practices and policies in place is crucial, together with a deep customer and people offering… And last but not least, putting in the hours! It is hard to replace the mountains of work that all business owners undoubtedly do.

What are your main ambitions for the business over the next five years?

LH: To date we have grown exponentially, and this has served our staff well, producing unparalleled opportunity. We want to continue to offer exactly that. There are many other exciting plans such as further global offices, continually enhanced sales and customer propositions and innovation to drive continued progress…but none more important than offering exciting careers where staff can discover their full potential.

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