HR Masterclass: Lowe Clothing Delegate Story
With a client list that includes John Lewis, Topman and Arcadia, effective recruitment is a top priority for Chairman of Lowe Clothing, Jonathan Lowe. So last month’s HR-themed Masterclass was an invitation he couldn’t refuse
Lowe Clothing has an aggressive growth agenda, and this in turn means it’s essential to recruit and retain the best staff. Chairman Jonathan Lowe was therefore keen to capitalise on the expert advice on offer at the Birmingham event.
“The company has made a number of acquisitions and we need to look at streamlining our operations and ensuring our benefits and pay structures are in line across the business,” Jonathan says. “We also aim to expand further over the next two years, so we need a strategy for who and how we hire. I’ve recently appointed an HR manager, but the Masterclass was an opportunity to look at those issues in more depth, to learn from experts, and to network with other business owners facing similar challenges.”
Routes to resourcing
The first session focussed on resourcing and new ways of attracting fresh talent. “The session showed me that by changing the way we present ourselves as a business and by opening new channels to recruitment, we can reach the talent pool we want,” explains Jonathan.
“I would have had to pay an excellent HR consultant or done a lot of time-consuming research myself to gain this level of insight.” Jonathan Lowe, Chairman, Lowe Clothing
The session looked at using social media to increase brand awareness. Jonathan is now planning to improve the company’s profile on LinkedIn and to post videos on YouTube that take potential employees ‘inside’ the business. “Anyone who wants to have a career in clothing in the UK should want to work for us,” he says. “Videos that show a day in the life of the company, or the range of roles we hire, will showcase what we do and present us in a more dynamic way.”
Law and learning
Later on, a session on creating a learning culture within an organisation gave Jonathan pause for thought. “Training and development is an area I want to focus on,” he says. “We have an annual turnover of £29 million and we’re a secure supplier, but I’m aware that we have to stay ahead of our competitors to retain that advantage. Learning how to use technology is an essential part of that.” Jonathan is now looking at resources, such as online training courses, to develop the skills of his workforce.
Rewards and engagement
Lowe Clothing International has grown its portfolio by four new businesses in the past three years and has offices in Europe, China and Bangladesh. “As Chairman, I was trying to engage everyone within the business, with little success,” Jonathan says. “The final session on Reward and Recognition has helped me develop a more effective strategy of engaging my senior management team and empowering them to motivate employees and ensure the ethos of the company is understood by everyone.”
Talking with fellow delegates about how to reward employees effectively was also useful. “We looked at cash versus non-cash incentives. It’s made me think about how a benefit like a healthcare scheme might appeal to our staff,” Jonathan says.
A new perspective
“I’d never attended an event like this before, as I believed I couldn’t afford the time away from the business. But the Masterclass gave me a new perspective. Plus, it was good to get out of my day-to-day environment and meet other business owners,” says Jonathan. “The quality of the presentations was impressive. I would have had to pay an excellent HR consultant or done a lot of time-consuming research myself to gain this level of insight.”
If you would like to attend a Breakthrough Masterclass, contact your local Relationship Director in the first instance.