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The Secrets to Our Best Year Yet

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We Are Adam’s CEO Richard Gahagan shares his take on a landmark 2018 and our big vision for the future.


“Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.”

So said Malcolm Forbes, entrepreneur and publisher of Forbes magazine. Why am I referencing this quote? Because, ten years in and on the back of our most successful year, it’s the perfect analogy for We Are Adam.

While many businesses claim to be getting 2019 off to a flying start, I know that some doth protest too much. But in our case, we really are starting the new year in our strongest ever position.

This isn’t one of those ‘aren’t we great’ posts. It’s an opportunity to publicly thank the people who made 2018 such a great year. And to recognise that this is the culmination of a decade of hard work where we’ve learned a lot along the way.

I’m writing a series of four blogs to share my insights, explore the values that have underpinned the success of the business and to reveal our vision for 2019 and beyond.

No Man is an Island

As We Are Adam’s CEO, I know that no matter how good you are, how many late nights you pull or how efficiently you work, you can’t possibly achieve more on your own than you can with the support of a team.

Of course, any old team won’t cut it. True success can only be attained with the right team in place.  It’s about finding those people who identify with and live your values so your business is built on strong ethical foundations that support everything you do.

That’s how we built the We Are Adam team and got everyone pulling in the right direction. And it’s thanks to our team’s commitment that 2018 was such a success. Not only did we secure some big wins across temporary recruitment and the digital and marketing sectors, but our HR team achieved some resounding successes too.

Our founder Leon – who’s worked in recruitment for over 20 years – revealed that 2018 was his best year yet in terms of turnover and profit.

That’s why I’m taking this chance to say a massive thank you to our incredible team. Adam’s success is your success, so I want you all to take pride in what you’ve achieved. We also wouldn’t have come this far without the fantastic support we receive from our suppliers and supporters. Thank you for getting stuck in and for cheering us on.

So, those are some of the highlights of 2018. But I can tell you now that building our business wasn’t plain sailing.

Nothing Worth Achieving Comes Easy

When We Are Adam first started out, we operated out of a tiny office in Wilmslow. As we forged the business, we garnered a reputation for dealing fairly with clients, candidates and suppliers.

Over the past 14 years, there have been plenty of bumps: the recession was a particularly tough time as firms stopped hiring and work dried up. To make ends meet, as Directors, we tightened our belts and made personal and financial sacrifices to ensure we could operate responsibly.

There are a lot of people out there who are on their third or fourth attempt at running a successful business. While entrepreneurial spirit is good, winding up failing businesses and not paying what’s owed to suppliers, staff and HMRC, is pretty poor practice. A trail of debtors from businesses one, two and three showcases some people’s rotten ethics, reputation and business acumen.

With so many people operating their businesses unethically, it pays to know who you’re working with. So do your homework, check up on your associates at Companies House, review their credit ratings and ask around to see what you can find out about their reputation.

Perhaps it would have been easier for us to follow the crowd and wind up the company, ignore any outstanding bills and start up again under a new name. But this didn’t sit right with our values of:

  • treating everyone with respect

  • paying our way

  • honouring our obligations

  • looking after our people

  • supporting others

We know it’s not easy out there. But We Are Adam is living proof that doing the right thing pays off. Not only have we had an amazing year but we’ve received a standout rating from one of the oldest British benchmarking companies, Plimsoll. Based on our annual reports and the accounts we file with Companies House, they’ve rated us as ‘STRONG’ and as one of the fastest growing firms in a new analysis of the UK’s largest Digital Media Recruitment companies.

With 2018 behind us and exciting plans for 2019, I’m glad that we stuck to our ethical guns. Because it’s these values that have helped us to weather the storms and build a business we’re proud of. A business that other people know, like and trust. And one that people enjoy working for.

Celebrating Success and Living Our Values

I believe that a big part of the reason we retain so many of our employees is that we live our value of shared success. With such a great year under our belts, we’ve had a lot of celebrating to do: lunches, dinners and even a team trip to Porto. All culminating in a super-stylish Christmas party for the whole team and their partners in Derbyshire.

Recognising wins, both big and small, is one part of the culture we’ve worked hard to develop over the past few years. And our other guiding principles of trust, collaboration and mutual respect have set a moral compass for the business which we’ve followed to reach a position of profitable success.

Our Vision for 2019 and Beyond

With our record-breaking year behind us, I’m confident that we’re in a strong situation for 2019 and beyond. And to ensure we can replicate our recent success, the leadership team will be laying strong foundations for the future of our business by:

  • Setting demanding targets – underpinned by ongoing development for our people.

  • Growing our team – to position us to respond to the growth in our business. We also understand the importance of retaining skills and experience so we’ll be promoting internally too.

  • Developing new infrastructure – including a new website and cutting edge technology to provide unequalled service to our clients.

  • Doing even more for charity – because it’s important to support causes close to the heart of our business.

This is the first in a series of four posts where I’ll be sharing our experience and exploring how ethics are fundamental to business success. By listening to and learning from stories like this, we can all build better organisations. And make Manchester a great place to do business and be employed.