No compromising! Recruiting for Cultural Fit at Push Doctor

Push Doctor are growing at a phenomenal rate, and part of their challenge is bringing in new hires with the right attributes. Because it is such an exciting, buzzy business, the assumption could be made that it would be a laid back, fun, atmosphere, you know all Xboxes and table tennis. This assumption would be flawed! So, they asked us to help. We interviewed existing staff and asked what it was like there, why did they join, was it like they thought it would be, what made people successful, what made people leave. From this we were able to identify, (in proper words, not consultancy models, or generic terms), exactly what attributes made people successful at Push Doctor. We then created an online assessment tool which accurately measured these attributes. Those that do not match, are not invited to interview, but receive a helpful, developmental profile, outlining their strengths and suggestion as to the sort of work environment where they would thrive. For those who do exhibit the right characteristics, the system produces a profile, which includes an interview guide and questions relating to that particular individual. This means that those candidates who make it through to interview have exhibited the right sort of traits, it has cut down on wasteful interviewing and has made the hiring process more robust, speedy and specific.

We tested the process by putting several tranches of candidates through the system, but allowing those who did not match up through to interview. And in 100% of the cases they did not make it through the interview process.

Restructuring for ambitious growth

In November 2016, we undertook the Management Due Diligence on a management team in the Pharma Sector. As ever, when we showed up the management team were frazzled, having been ‘diligenced’ to death over the past 8 months, and the last thing they wanted was to be “analysed!” However, the Board found the process extremely helpful in understanding the team dynamics, and how to work better together for what will be the typical Private Equity ‘sprint.’ So much so that they invited us back to assess the whole next tier of management in order to help them better understand strengths and weaknesses, and get a sense of the deeper bench strength in the business and also for us to use this information to map out a better organisational structure to support the growth of the business. It was really exciting to see the original work we did on diligence used as a framework to completely change the structure of the business, which included bringing in new hires and developing some of the emerging talent.

Observations from the last 3 years in Private Equity Due Diligence

There has been a strange pattern in Private Equity deals over the past three years. In 2015, we undertook the Management Due Diligence on 13 transactions, which was a slightly quieter year for us. In 2016, we undertook the Due Diligence on 26 deals, a record year, then in 2017 it was back down to 17 deals, which is a more typical year for us. There is no doubt the appetite for Private Equity deals is there. But with prices rising, we are seeing more interest, but also more aborted deals. Private Equity Funds are under ever greater pressure to deploy funds and put money to work, yet the landscape is increasingly competitive, as one investor said to us: “I used to buy businesses, now I sell money.” We’ve also noticed firms becoming more flexible in terms of their investment parameters, for example investing in smaller businesses, or at an earlier stage, or tolerating greater risk.  It will be interesting to see how 2018 plays out, with the uncertainty of Brexit, and the potential changing of the political landscape. However, the industry seems to be in agreement on one thing: there will be more deals to be done.