Agenda Screening Services is a division of Agenda Resource Management and was established in December 1996 – it will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in December 2016. Besides global pre-employment screening and background checks, Agenda also provide life science recruitment and marketing services in the UK and internationally.
After a failed management buy-out, Paul Sanders, Managing Director and his wife Heather, decided to set up their own business and uniquely are joint 50% owners of Agenda. The couple converted an old grain store at the rear of their home as an office, however after significant growth in employee numbers and winning significant contracts and new clients the company moved to new premises in 2003. Agenda renovated a neglected and almost derelict previous BOCM Feedex site in beautiful rural grounds near Burstwick in East Yorkshire. Agenda have invested over £2.5m since they purchased the site from an Irish businessman back in 2003 and have grown in staffing numbers from 3 to 20 – to now over 150, with c.70 employees being based at the East Yorkshire HQ. In 2016 the company have invested £100k in new software and IT upgrades, as well as heavily investing in an office refurbishment, converting their offices into a state-of-the-art workspace. In May 2016, Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, officially opened the new office extension. The team at Agenda can use their glorious mezzanine terrace area for meetings, lunch and corporate events and enjoy some of the best rural views in Yorkshire whilst being only 20 minutes’ drive from Hull’s city centre.
Agenda is a first-generation family business with a flat management structure of strong values and common ethics. With very low staff turnover figures Agenda’s original core values; respect, reputation and responsibility still stand strong today and underpin everything they deliver and how it is delivered, creating a common purpose for management and employees. Given Agenda’s strong focus on employee values and its commitment to the local community, is it surprising that this family firm was not born and bred here. Managing Director, Paul Sanders is originally from Oxted in Surrey and Heather is from Marlow in Buckinghamshire. Brought to the area by choice, the couple have grown their business here because of the people. Managing Director, Paul Sanders said; “there is a genuine desire from our employees, all of which are from the local area, to work hard, they are really committed. I’m honoured to say 4 employees have been with the business for nearly 20 years i.e. since its inception and there is a large cohort who have been with Agenda for over 10 years, their contribution to the company’s growth and success is greatly valued. I believe it is their commitment to the business that has helped Agenda flourish into one of our area’s success stories.” Low staff turnover figures are hardly surprising as Agenda is a company who truly do look after their own as if they were family, staff perks include; an annual training bank account, free parking and refreshments, a birthday day off to monthly and annual quality awards. Agenda is an example of a company with a foundational belief that taking excellent care of employees breeds excellent service.
Although Agenda is now the oldest British screening company, it is innovative and leading the way in its corporate HR policies and procedures. Training employees to world-class standard is high on the corporate agenda and after Paul studied for an IOD fellowship he greatly values the differences between managing and directing and encourages all his Board to be IOD trained, making the leaders of Agenda dynamic and collectively responsible for continuing to grow the business. There is also strong direct engagement between the management team and employees with Agenda’s non-executive Directors; Chris Zanetti (ex-Seven Seas/Merck), Nick Hildyard (ex-Arco) and Gordon Meldrum (ex-National Crime Agency).
Agenda have teamed up with other local businesses to form the Humber Business Resilience Forum (HBRF) of which Gordon Meldrum, QPM Chairs, its purpose being to protect our region from cyber-attacks and security threats, which are becoming more and more commonplace in the world of business. Managing Director, Paul Sanders said; “businesses are beginning to realise pre-employment screening programmes and security awareness training can add value to the bottom line, it’s a crucial element of what Gordon Meldrum calls the ‘human firewall’.”
Agenda are not just active within the local business community but also within the local rural community, on friendly terms with local farmers and regularly support the local church funding needs, contribute to children’s playgrounds and have a charity of the year they work with, selected by their employees. Their work with the business and local community will ensure Agenda’s rich and characterful history continues well beyond 2020.
In 2014 the company won the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Chairman’s Best Business Award, demonstrating it really is a great place to work. And Agenda’s workforce has won plaudits for their excellent customer service and nominated for national awards for the development of their security in recruitment courses. Managing Director, Paul Sanders said; “although we have grown significantly, we continue to pride ourselves on providing a bespoke service with exceedingly high levels of customer service. No matter how great your product or service is, one of the key things clients always remember is the direct interaction they have with your company, we are incredibly professional but always with a personable friendly manner, there are no option 1, 2 or 3 phone systems you always speak to a person at Agenda.”
Agenda’s growth strategy includes goals such as; increasing staffing numbers, additional premises and to achieve a turnover increase from £7m to £15m by 2020. All highly achievable with the ever-increasing industry and Government demands for personnel security and pre-employment screening as well as greater business needs to protect personnel data and increased compliance. And not forgetting Agenda’s cultural ethos of being professional yet friendly in a world which is becoming more automated, and of course because it is a great place to work.