Chriss Andrews is the Founder and Chief Executive of Church International, an IT recruitment and talent management company, and KA2, a technology consultancy firm. Her passions are family, people, business, rugby and the arts.
In her interview with CEO Today, Chriss discusses Church’s development under her management, what brings it to the next level of technology recruitment, and the influence of putting people first.
What has been Church’s greatest achievement in the last few years?
There is no single answer to that question because we have achieved so much over the years. I am incredibly proud of the Church team and their commitment to excellence and quality standards, which has enabled us to ride out the economic downturns we have all experienced along the way. We have worked extremely hard on building deep and trusted relationships with our clients, many of whom have been with us for years, as have the Church employees. Honesty, integrity and having fun are our core principles and I strongly believe that staying true to these has been the cornerstone of our continuing success.
How does Church stand out in a competitive technology recruitment market?
It’s all about the people, and without exception, we treat everyone with the utmost respect. We know our business inside out and always strive to learn as much as we can about the people and organisations we serve. Before connecting anyone, we work hard to understand the precise needs of both the client and the candidate to ensure each pairing is relevant and valuable. We enjoy our reputation for being a people-centric organisation and delivering a great service is at the heart of everything we do. This is a highly competitive environment and I believe this non-negotiable approach to quality has helped us to stand out from the crowd.
What have been the biggest changes and developments you’ve seen in your 34-year experience with Church?
I think the pace of change in terms of technology advancements, the way business is now being conducted generally, together with an empowered modern workforce has transformed the world beyond all recognition. As a business, we have invested heavily in modern technology and in creating an inclusive and attractive working environment to help us keep pace with new developments and emerging business trends. However, while we wholeheartedly embrace change, our clients, candidates and our staff will always remain front and centre of everything we do. That is something that will never change.
What challenges have you been faced with along the path of development and how did you overcome them?
The key challenge to the business has been keeping ahead of the regulatory and legislative changes, both specific to the recruitment sector and business in general. Working with trade bodies to help shape the regulatory landscape has no doubt helped us keep ahead of the game in terms of preparing for and handling the impact and consequences of these far-reaching changes.
How has your experience at Church influenced your position and work at KA2?
While Church International and KA2 are two very different businesses, the common thread they share is people. Having experienced and learnt some very important lessons from the school of hard knocks, I can honestly say that being direct and straightforward is the only way to operate. Transparency is a much over-used term these days, but being transparent is in my DNA. I never deviate from this policy, even though sometimes it can be quite a painful process. I believe that people appreciate an honest approach and, in my experience, in the end, it has always paid off.
It is very important that everyone recognises that Church International is not all about me. Brian Fitzgerald, the Church MD shares my values and customer-centric approach to doing business, and together with the extended management team, they have helped me to create a highly capable group who are all committed to taking Church International to the next level. While I cannot claim it has always been an easy ride, boy it’s been fun. Here’s to the next thirty!