30 minutes

Time to talk talent and purpose #1

by Edyta Ozbek and Julie Perkins

Time to talk talent and purpose #1:  Growth driven by purpose and values

The story of Edyta Ozbek and her company, NEU professionals
Polish-born Edyta Ozbek founded her company NEU Professionals back in 2013. As a recruitment business working with health workers, namely nurses, it has a USP (unique selling point) that has paid dividends in terms of business and personal satisfaction ever since.

With up to 50,000 vacancies for nurses in the UK NHS alone, there is certainly no shortage of demand in the marketplace, but what is it that makes NEU Professionals so effective in attracting and keeping both staff and customers? Why, a host of special and everyday superpowers, of course.

Demand focus
Firstly, NEU Professionals has a very defined sense of purpose. Having looked at different sectors of the recruitment business, Edyta identified that there was real demand from care homes and hospitals around the UK for nursing professionals. There simply weren’t enough British candidates to fill the vacancies, so she began sourcing qualified nurses from abroad. Having established contacts around Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and Asia, the company has forged a reputation for customer, candidate and staff satisfaction.

“All the people who work for NEU are part of our family and they’ve come into my life in one way or another,” she explains. “We now have Recruitment Consultants that used to be our candidates. They worked in the UK, some of them went back home to Spain or Italy, but they have stayed with the company because they’ve wanted to be part of our family. I have people who have been with me since 2013 and even now they still surprise me with incredible things.”

Shared values & vision
So, Edyta has clearly ensured that her organisational values are an important asset at NEU and while she found it difficult to initially let go of doing everything herself, she has nonetheless used these to establish a hugely positive culture within the business.

“Make your company one where everybody understands how they contribute to the change you are making – right from your customer through to every level of your team. By understanding those that share your vision and their story, you uncover the talent that is already part of you, the things you knew when you recruited them.”

 “We have a lovely team of people who really care. And now I have the privilege, with years of experience, of delegating tasks to people which I know will be done well, because they share our values and understand the value of the work we do, not just with the NHS but with the individual nurse and what it means to them.”

Compassion, above all
A unified workforce can be a powerful tool and aside from plain old gut instinct there is one particular superpower that unites NEU for Edyta.

“Every person who is part of NEU is compassionate. That’s what we need them to be, just like our nurses. Everything about this business can be learnt but what can’t be learnt is compassion. We want to show our candidates this and give to them what they give to patients.”

Edyta has found that compassion and strength go hand in hand when it comes to the everyday running of her business and she considers that these two female traits have contributed to her success.

“Being compassionate and strong are not mutually exclusive. That is exactly what you need to be. You must be understanding, because not everything is what you see on the outside but you also need to be assertive and sometimes that means protecting the people who work for you.”

From one entrepreneur to another
With the world more in need of nurses than ever, there are exciting times ahead for Edyta and NEU. Looking back on her 7 years as head of a company, is there any advice she would give to her founding self and fellow female entrepreneurs?

“You can’t conquer the world on your own. You only have 24 hours in the day, so find the right people to help you and trust them. Successful business can be rewarding, but don’t let it rule your life. Building a business is like having an amazing project and you invest everything, but appreciate your health and appreciate your family because if something goes wrong it can be hard to recover. Just have fun.”

Listen to Edytas full interview

And for more wyse words, you can hear from Kate Brown here – Group People Director at Specsavers Optical Group where she offers up some excellent insight into the importance of inspiring ideas, spark and team spirit. And also, Hanny van der Weedt, Learning & Development Business Partner at the Heineken Company, where she shared her thoughts on how to repurpose planning for smarter results, here