Along with our cover star Johnny Pawlik’s business Mantra Media having the word ‘ethics’ in his company strapline, Louisa Harrison-Walker is MD of Benchmark – which bills itself as ‘The Ethical Recruiter’.

“Every day we live our values in order to deliver a recruitment service to our clients and candidates in line with our Ethical Charter.

“By visiting all our clients and meeting all our candidates, either in person or virtually via Skype, we are able to understand the real drivers behind the job spec or CV, and so place the right person in the right job for the long term.  Arranging interviews to hit KPIs or coercing someone into a job that isn’t right for them is of no interest to Benchmark – we have long term relationships with clients delivering sustainable growth, which in turn provides benefit to the wider society across Sheffield City Region (SCR).

“Sometimes this involves giving honest feedback, such as advising a client about how their onboarding processes are holding them back or encouraging candidates to raise their professional standards in order to make a great opportunity work.  Ethical isn’t about doing the easy thing, it’s about doing the right thing in a kind and helpful way.

“This starts with the Benchmark Team.  We’ve changed ways of working to increase personal development and accountability, introduced flexible hours and healthcare to support resiliency, and redecorated the office to make it a more fun, relaxed environment to spend time in.  We also give a certain amount of time and profits back to the community by volunteering with our chosen charity for the year – this year it is Museums Sheffield – for whom we’ll be hosting our big yearly quiz to raise money and awareness.

“We believe everyone deserves a fair chance so have recently signed up to the Disability Confident scheme and I’ve joined the Sheffield Business Together steering committee to support this great new initiative, which is all about bringing together businesses to gain a better understanding of the social mobility landscape, and what interventions work to improve educational attainment and work readiness.

“I’m also the first female chair of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Council and on the board of St Luke’s Hospice.  Being an ethical recruiter involves using those relationships and partnerships to collaborate on inspiring action and building a strong business community and bright future for SCR.

“Benchmark is acutely aware of the upcoming skills shortage and so is focused on supporting skills development – we’ve had four apprentices and numerous work experience students – and understanding the requirements of industry, so I’m delighted to be on the board of the Higher Education Progression Partnership (Hepp) (read more in our skills feature in this edition).

“We can’t fix the world’s problems, but we can make a difference in our patch – and if everyone did that in their own local community, then we’d really be on to something!

“Being an ethical recruiter is quite simple really – be brave, do the right thing, and be kind!”