RSVP Magazine

Women in Business: Shona McManus, CEO/Owner of Osborne Recruitment Consultancy

 In this weeks Women in Business, we chat to Shona McManus of Osborne Recruitment Consultancy. Here, she opens up about her career to date, the challenges she faces and life as a woman in the world of business. 

Where it all began…

After I finished secondary school in Loreto Convent, Navan, whilst I continued to work part time in the hospitality industry I obtained a qualification in Travel & Tourism and as I have always had a love for travelling and exploring. I really enjoyed this coming out of school but it wasn’t the right direction for me and my career. I decided to focus my next career steps in the hospitality industry, where I joined the Westbury Hotel to complete my training in Hotel Management. I contribute the Westbury Hotel for helping me develop an excellent work ethic in a 5* customer service environment. It also introduced me to the now very familiar world of working long hours. On successful completion of my management training, I was appointed into a purchasing and cost control role. This is where I learned to negotiate and where I first developed a taste for the commercialism side of business.  When I started to look towards my next career move a very knowledgeable HR professional advised me to consider working within a recruitment agency/consultancy, as this would give me the best of both worlds, allowing me to work closely with people delivering an excellent service and also use my negotiation and commercial business skills.  Following this, I joined an excellent recruitment agency called SkillsGroup International where I received a fantastic training and grounding in recruitment.  Through great training, a love for the recruitment industry, I worked my way up in a number of the companies I joined through the years, with hard work and focus, my career progressed rapidly. My last move within the industry was in 2009 when I joined Osborne Recruitment Consultancy as the General Manager and I haven’t looked back.  I am now a Mum of two beautiful girls, Owner and CEO of Osborne, and over the past 3 years I also obtained an MBA.

Monica Hadarean Photography; www.monicahadarean.com

The biggest challenge to date…

There have been many challenges but I have learned from them all. The biggest, most positive and rewarding challenge has been my taking over Osborne in 2013 and the subsequent turnaround of the business in only 3 years. In this time, we have quadrupled our turnover, tripled employment, opened three new offices and developed significant new employer and client relationships. The 2013 takeover was a very stressful time for me and our team – lots of sleepless nights! – as unfortunately like many businesses at the time, Osborne was in a very difficult position coming out of the recession. Our passion in what Osborne does and the dedicated team I have around me, along with a clear focus in what we needed to do, allowed us to manoeuvre our way, step by step, towards the strong thriving business we have today. 2016 saw Osborne celebrate our 20th anniversary in business, as one of Ireland’s foremost recruitment consultancies and this year we unveiled a huge rebrand project, which consisted of a new logo, website and communications strategy. This amazing achievement is a reflection of the changes made and hard work of the last few years.

Where my motivation stems from…

I come from a family and upbringing where both of my parents worked and always strove to be their best, providing the best for myself and my brother and sisters.  They always encouraged us to follow our dreams and to believe in ourselves no matter what, whilst teaching us an excellent work ethic to work towards our goals and career objectives and to live by our values. Today they are the core of everything I do at home and in business.   I am motivated by a number of things. I am focused on being the best that I can absolutely be and being excellent at what I do. It is also very important to me to be the best provider for my family, teaching my girls as much as I can in relation to what I have learnt on my journey and I am motivated to do a good honest days work so I can then spend quality time at home, that’s stress free. I am hugely ambitious and driven, always striving to learn and improve myself, the business and bring everyone around me on that journey too. I believe in making mistakes, as we learn from every problem we have and come out in a stronger position, usually having learnt something new.

Shona - Family Photo

The best business advice I can offer is…

Create an excellent working environment and culture for your team. Having the best possible team around you, that believe in the purpose of your business is key. Honesty and transparency is always the best policy in everything we do at Osborne and should form part of the values of any business. I believe that having a very effective leadership team in place , that can engage with employees and really understand people’s motivation and help them be the best that they can be at work is vital. Bring everyone on the journey of success – together the journey is easier and a lot more fun and everyone wants to be successful.  I would also encourage creating and allowing a healthy work/life balance across the company.

The biggest challenge your business is facing…

Disruptive technology and innovation, along with skills shortages in the workplace are some of the greatest challenges Osborne are facing. Another challenge for us would be hiring and retaining the best people for our team and developing their skills to the best of our capabilities. We place a huge emphasis on learning and development in Osborne. We operate a Love to Learn programme, whereby we put members of our team through education, courses and training programmes to develop skills for the future.

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If I was Minister for Enterprise I would…

I would introduce training grants, particularly for SMEs, in order to ensure we have the right skillsets for the workplace of the future and to ensure we are developing Ireland’s skillset in the labour market. This would help to support skills development and therefore Ireland’s competitiveness. Within 5-10 years it is estimated that the workplace will look very different and we need to keep abreast of it, in turn developing new and innovative skills. As robot development and computerisation advances continue, and our lifestyle expectations and demands as employees change alongside them, flexible employment solutions, high engagement and business requirements will create the need to evolve workforce solutions and workplaces for the future.

What I love most about my work…

I love the purpose of Osborne and that our mission is to find the role person, for the right role with no compromise. Every day is different and there is huge variety working in recruitment. I love working with our ever expanding hardworking team, growing our business and our culture and setting our strategy for the future. I have a huge passion for what we do and I am hugely motivated by achieving things together as a team – I love seeing one of my team being successful or achieving a goal.

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