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Why adopting a professional services model is working for Talenza

It has been two years since Talenza adopted a new model and fee structure where all directors and leaders are externally facing and work with each consultant to develop “top down” client relationships.

This model supports the team to achieve personal and team targets and inevitably leads to an environment that feels more supported in what is a challenging role, Talenza Co-Founder Andrew Sully explained to The Brief.

“Talenza believe that consultants at all levels should be supported when going out to win new and existing business as this can be a lonely/dark place at times,” Sully said.

“If you support and develop each individual to crack a new client and increase their earning potential, they hope to retain staff longer and create a more collaborative workplace as the leaders are genuinely leading by example.”

In its maiden two years, the start-up has boasted 100% staff retention, revenue this Financial Year of $23 million (up from FY2018 revenue of $10 million) and an increased headcount to 23.

Sully and Co-CEO Henry Gatehouse said that while this tweak to their business model may not be ground-breaking, having been used in professional services organisations such as KPMG, PwC, it is relatively new to recruitment and staffing.

“At all levels from Consultants to Partners, staff are paid and targeted on developing relationships at all levels across clients,” Sully continued. “So you have Partners going after Executive levels and Directors to Consultants, everyone is targeting appropriate levels to their skill and experience, and through monthly client meetings, Consultants to Partners work together to build 'top down’ client relationships.

“However, in the recruitment industry, so many leaders focus more on sales activities, monitoring activities/ KPIs that do not matter and do not practice the skills they have developed to benefit their business with valuable client contacts that lead to revenue.

“Talenza strive to commit to developing client relationships from all leaders that provides, on average one deal per consultant, each month.”

While all Talenza staff are currently based at the Sydney office, two will launch the company’s Brisbane office in August and there are plans to expand its Australian business into Melbourne over the next 12-18 months and then to the US by 2021.

“Since we started up until today, each owner held themselves accountable to bring in $250k each, a quarter of job flow,” Sully continued, referring to his fellow Co-Founders Henry Gatehouse, Dan Cobelli and Simon Lynn.

“At Talenza, we want our leaders ‘truly leading by example’. This needs to encompass: winning business for the team, coaching the team, working side by side them in the thick of the job and providing the team extra job flow that enables them to hit targets in and outside of work, so that we can help move peoples’ lives forward.”

In its early days when the headcount was much more modest, Sully and his fellow Co-Founders would get the jobs and fill them personally, until the rapid growth of the business made this unsustainable.

Now with a team of consultants Talenza have a list of clients that provide job flow across the office, so the team can service them while going out with the leaders to win new clients and in the process all while being coached, taught and mentored by senior staff. Talezna has been able to show this approach works at scale.

“We felt sure adopting this model would work for our business and it has. It has only been possible because each of the owners shares the same philosophy and that doing what we can to move the lives of our employees forward by supporting them in tangible way,” Sully continued. “And it’s working.”

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