How Building Better Relationships Drives Growth for Irish Staffing Company, with Andy Mackin, Ep #140

What’s the secret to scaling a staffing company internationally? According to my special guest Andy Mackin, relationships are a key driver of business growth.

In this episode, you will hear how Andy transitioned from serving with the Irish Navy for 21 years to becoming an EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. He shares his story of rapidly expanding  his staffing company from six employees to 200 in less than 8 years. 

At Mackin Talent, their number one value is “Relationships Matter.” Listen to Andy explain exactly how they invest time and resources to build stronger client relationships. He reveals how they’ve embedded this core value into their systems and procedures from the way they sell to the way they deliver their service.

Andy is the CEO of Mackin Group, which encompasses Mackin EHS & Mackin Talent. They’re an award-winning business services company headquartered in Ireland and operating globally with 200 team members in 12 countries.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [3:47] Discussion on Andy’s process for posting original content on LinkedIn.
  • [7:08] Andy’s reading challenge and book recommendations.
  • [11:09] Why Andy started a health and safety consulting firm after leaving the navy and how that led to building a staffing agency.
  • [23:04] Great life lessons that Andy shares from working as a server/waiter.
  • [27:25] Breaking down the stages – growing from 6 people to 200.
  • [33:38] The business value of building relationships and treating everyone the way you want to be treated.  
  • [42:10] How to engage and build relationships with clients with a hybrid setup.
  • [48:55] Andy’s strategies for building business roles and framework.
  • [50:30] Biggest challenges when scaling a business rapidly.
  • [53:56] Andy shares his biggest learning experience from 2014 up to now.

Life Lessons From Working as a Waiter

Andy’s story is interesting and colorful indeed – before setting up his own consultancy business, he served in the Irish Navy for 21 years. After retiring from the Navy, he set up his own health and safety business which led to him setting up a talent and staffing agency.

What struck me is when Andy shared his stint as a server or waiter before joining the navy. He described it as his best 10 and a half months experience in life. For him, the life lessons he learned and the experience of dealing with people are invaluable. It became a foundational step in his journey that he attributes to his success in the recruitment space. Andy shares: “It is all about people. People that you deal with, life is all about people. I think recruitment is a pretty solid industry where it is all about people. How you get on with people, how you react to people, how you react to candidates, how you react to clients… it has served me well.”

How Relationship Building Was the Key to Scaling the Business

One of the keys to the growth of Mackin Talent is they partner with multi-national corporations and support them in rolling out sizeable EHS (Environment, Health and Safety) projects. As a small business, how do they win these major accounts? According to Andy, it’s simple – relationships. Corporations are made up of people. He can form a relationship with one person in a company, land small opportunities, and expand from there. Eventually, this leads to larger and larger opportunities. Of course, it is expected that they can deliver, which they do. 

To further strengthen their business relationship, they ensure that an onsite engagement specialist is present with their clients free of charge. This investment ensures that the project runs smoothly, resulting in less worries for their clients, and more repeat business for Mackin Talent. This practice enables them to embed themselves within their clients, and deliver excellent service.  Their guiding principle is to treat other people how you want to be treated.

The Importance of Meeting Clients Face-to-Face

How much relationship building are you doing remotely versus in person? This is the same question I asked Andy during this interview. Since the pandemic, a lot of business owners are conducting the majority of their meetings virtually. But how critical is face-to-face relationship building when you are looking to scale your business?

For Andy, they still allocate at least 65% in-person relationship building but are on the track of further increasing it to 75%. He spends thousands of dollars quarterly just to meet with employees and clients in person – the creativity and collaboration are just different when done in person. It is nice to speak with people regularly via Zoom, but meeting them in person levels up the relationship.

Our Sponsors

This podcast is proudly sponsored by i-intro and Recruitment Entrepreneur.

i-intro® is an end-to-end retained recruitment platform. Their technology and methodology allow recruiters to differentiate themselves from the competition, win more retained business, bigger fees and increase their billings. Their software combined with world-class training enables you to transition from transactional, contingency recruiter to consultative, retained recruiter. Instead of being perceived as a “me too” vendor, you’ll be positioned as a “me only” solutions provider. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter. Book your free, no-obligation consultation here: www.recruitmentcoach.com/retained

Recruitment Entrepreneur is the world’s leading Private Equity firm specializing in the international recruitment industry. If you’ve dreamed of starting, scaling and selling your recruitment business, this is your chance. James Caan and his team at Recruitment Entrepreneur are actively seeking ambitious recruiters who they can invest in. They provide everything you need to grow a successful recruitment business including: funding, financial expertise, coaching and mentoring, operational strategy, backoffice support, marketing and talent attraction solutions. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter. Start a conversation here: https://www.recruitmentcoach.com/vc

Andy Mackin Bio and Contact Info 

Andy originally hails from Dundalk, Co Louth, in Ireland. The eldest of eight, Parents Roy and Roseleen.

Andy joined the Irish Naval Service at 18 in 1985 and has been in Cork since. He served for 21 years as a member of the Irish Naval Service and, during this time, qualified as an electrician. It was here that he gained his initial experience with risk management and developed his appreciation of Environmental Health and Safety. Andy retired from service in 2006 as Petty Officer.

Andy holds a Diploma in Health and Safety from University College Cork and a Certificate in Training and Education from NUI Galway, and has over twenty years experience in the field of Environmental Health and Safety. 

As CEO of Mackin Group he has responsibility for the day to day operations of both organisations, Mackin EHS & Mackin Talent and also works with varied clients across all sectors in Ireland, UK, Europe, Asia and the US.

A positive mindset and personal development are key factors in my life to help declutter the constant noise from around the world.

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