How do you Scale Quality? Heather Hughes, QA & Project Manager, shares her insights

The skill in biggest demand from Executive in Africa’s clients is the leadership capability to scale a business.  Africa is home to seven of the ten fastest growing economies in the world, and is one of the most desirable investment destinations.  The business landscape has been rapidly changing due to increased regional mobility, rapid urbanisation and population growth, and on a continent which breeds an entrepreneurial spirit, there is huge demand for business leaders who can take a start-up company through the next stage of its growth.

Many of our clients come to us needing a visionary leader who knows how to embed scalable systems and processes to ensure they can grow quickly, without loss of control or quality.  Some businesses are aiming to grow ten-fold in less than five years, a proposition that must be underpinned with robust and sustainable business processes and practices, which are supported by changed behaviour and improved operational capability.

One business practice which should be at the heart of any growth strategy is a well-defined, and understood quality management system, aligned to customers’ wants and needs.  In order to ensure success, every company worth its salt must have an assurance system in place relating to the quality of the product they produce, and moreover a system to measure against, ensuring that they are in fact delivering what they claim, each and every time.

When typing the words ‘quality management system’ into popular search engines, one of the definitions provided is based on the Lloyds system, the ethos of which is hard to argue with:

“A quality management system (QMS) is a collection of business processes focused on consistently meeting customer requirements and enhancing their satisfaction.  It is aligned with an organisation’s purpose and strategic direction (ISO9001:2015).”

There is, however, a lot of hype relating to quality systems, but some, like Lloyds, do indeed provide very useful frameworks and training for organisations wishing to embed quality systems into their day to day activities and processes.  A quality driven organisation will look to measure performance for all aspects of the business and strive to continually improve all their functions, systems and processes in order to provide customer satisfaction.

As Executives in Africa reported in a recent article entitled, “How to mitigate against ‘Failure Rate’ with Key Hires”, we pride ourselves on an unrivalled record of 99.4% of our placed candidates having stayed for at least one year in their role.  Furthermore, the majority have gone on to be promoted and deliver quantifiable results.  When compared to the Search sector as a whole where the ‘failure rate’ of new Executive level hires is usually between 30-40%, it raises the question, ‘What are we doing differently?’

We believe that a key element of our success is our use of a robust, established Search Process and well-defined quality standards which set expectations at each stage and are used to monitor the progress of every Search against a core set of ‘Critical Requirements’.  This whole process is overseen by a dedicated team of Quality Assurance (QA) and Project Management specialists, committed to ensuring that our clients receive a top quality Short List of relevant candidates on time, and in full, every time.

Indeed, to facilitate this, the QA and Project Manager at Executives in Africa is a Green Belt Six Sigma trained practitioner and experienced Project and Quality Systems Manager, having spent 20+ years embedding, adhering to and maintaining Lloyds ISO9001 accreditation for a large industrial organisation.  Rigorously assessed and continually improved based on our clients’ feedback, our processes and systems at Executives in Africa are constantly being reviewed and fine-tuned to ensure we keep delivering exceptional results.

In addition to being focused on consistently meeting clients’ requirements and providing satisfaction we also aspire to deliver a service that outstrips our client’s expectations.  By delivering just this, Executives in Africa have ensured that we have become trusted Search partners to our clients, and the first choice for their Executive and Senior Management recruitment needs across Africa in the future, and we believe our model is sustainable and scalable.

We don’t just ‘talk the talk’, we ‘walk the walk’.  Based on the robust processes and systems we employ, Executives in Africa have been able to grow five-fold in as many years, and have increased from 3 to 31 employees with 16 Search Consultants and 9 In-House Research Associates.  It is evident that Quality Systems, when embedded and continuously improved, enable scaling and ensure repeat business from clients who can trust and rely on a top quality product or service every time, as well as building a new client base due to an excellent reputation and referrals.

For more information on Quality Systems or our Search Process at Executives in Africa, contact Heather Hughes, Quality Assurance and Projects Manager on hh@executivesinafrica.com 

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