About Hydrogen Group

Established in 2005, Hydrogen Group is a global recruitment company with offices in Europe, Asia and the US, recruiting across multiple markets and sectors.

People are important to the Hydrogen Group. The company believes in creating a positive environment, with personal development being key to individual success. Mentoring is extremely important, in order to share knowledge and ultimately drive the business forward.

“We are not your typical recruitment company,” explains Kiran Patel, Learning & Development Manager. “Rather than giving people ‘do or die’ KPIs, we take a more holistic approach to staff development and recruitment. This is what has increased our efficiency and improved results.”

A cornerstone of the Group’s people-first approach has been managerial coaching, to enable top-down support that motivates the whole workforce and improves individual performance.

“The coaching team cut to the chase, and even though it was a full day they kept us engaged because we focused on relevant material and discussion.”

Team challenges

  • Hydrogen Group’s workforce is relatively young, and employees do not always appreciate the traditional hierarchical structure of a sales environment. “Many begin by thinking in terms of ‘what’s good for me’ rather than ‘what’s good for the team’”, says Kiran. “We need to coach them to change that mindset.”
  • The company traditionally promoted top sales billers to team manager positions. This resulted in a mentoring skills gap, which, if not plugged, would eventually have led to a negative impact on team morale and positivity. Kiran explains, “Top billers do not instantly make great managers. Whilst they know how to win business, they need to understand the importance of team members' development and appreciate it is not just their sales skills that will make them good managers and leaders. By providing positive feedback as well as constructive criticism, suggestions for improvement are more likely to be acted upon.”
  • In 2017, the Group acquired Argyll Scott, which created some challenges in terms of differing management styles. It therefore became incredibly important to develop the skills of all managers across the business, as well as ensure a consistent management approach.

Locker room game plan

Hydrogen Group had previously used an external leadership training provider, which had unfortunately failed to successfully obtain buy-in from participants. Kiran explains, “If the facilitators are unable to engage with our leaders and managers and cannot successfully sell themselves or the benefits of the concepts they are training on, the management team will switch off and won’t take anything on board. We needed a provider that fully understood the challenges of a recruitment business like ours. A company that would work with us to design a programme that would resonate with and engage our staff.”

A fresh, external and credible voice was needed.

Team Head Coach was recommended by Hydrogen Group’s Chief Operating Officer in the US. He’d worked with Andrew and Michael, the team coaches, whilst at a previous company, and had been impressed with the professionalism of their coaching programme, as well as the positive feedback received from participants.

We set up a one-day ‘coaching pilot’ with Hydrogen Group’s leadership team. It was a huge success, and the programme was immediately rolled out to all 30 UK team managers and subsequently to the Asia Pacific and US Leadership Teams.

"Since the coaching, I've been able to step up the relationship with my team and have challenging but necessary conversations with individual members far more easily. As a result, team members have become more focused and motivated." Sales Director

In the game

Based on Hydrogen Group’s requirements, Team Head Coach recommended the ‘Billing Managers Programme’, a 90-day programme consisting of four days onsite coaching and one day offsite. Coaching was delivered in a modular format, with each module consisting of practical hands-on sessions.

Kiran explains, “Emphasis was on performance coaching, focused on how to coach teams whilst in the game (at the desk), but also we looked at how managers should tackle those difficult conversations and act as a mentor away from the game (away from the desk).

“What was great is that there were different models and approaches that participants could take away – they could all find something that worked for them.”

In the lead-up to the training, there was a mix of hesitation and general apathy, mainly because the previous training had not landed well. However, this attitude was short-lived. “Buy-in happened really quickly,” reports Kiran, “by the second day, all participants were in a positive mindset and immersed themselves in the activities. The training was bespoke to them, and aimed at their level of management.”

Post-game analysis

  • Positive changes to team dynamics
  • Better understanding and communication between operations and sales teams
  • Better mentorship offered by managers to each individual team member
  • Teams far more open and accepting of constructive criticism
  • Hydrogen Group’s workforce is relatively young, and employees do not always appreciate the traditional hierarchical structure of a sales environment. “Many begin by thinking in terms of ‘what’s good for me’ rather than ‘what’s good for the team’”, says Kiran. “We need to coach them to change that mindset.”
  • The company traditionally promoted top sales billers to team manager positions. This resulted in a mentoring skills gap, which, if not plugged, would eventually have led to a negative impact on team morale and positivity. Kiran explains, “Top billers do not instantly make great managers. Whilst they know how to win business, they need to understand the importance of team members' development and appreciate it is not just their sales skills that will make them good managers and leaders. By providing positive feedback as well as constructive criticism, suggestions for improvement are more likely to be acted upon.”
  • In 2017, the Group acquired Argyll Scott, which created some challenges in terms of differing management styles. It therefore became incredibly important to develop the skills of all managers across the business, as well as ensure a consistent management approach.

Privacy Preference Center