Retained HR Consulting Case Study – Last updated May 2021
Kocurek – Family firm with global gravitas
Many of our clients run businesses which were born out of a family passion or an interest which has spanned generations. Kocurek is one such example.
Started in 1983, Kocurek specialise in the supply of bespoke excavator equipment. With an international audience, the business is based in Ipswich and run by several members of the founding Kocurek family.
Nearly 40 years on from its inception as a plant hire business, Kocurek now has an impressive record globally.
While no longer running the hire fleet, this family-led business is renowned for its service in creating bespoke Kocurek excavator products at its Suffolk site.
Clients can expect everything from specialist manufacture of heavy lifting equipment, to component parts, such as excavator arms being used on major construction projects.
The firm’s success has called for a much increased workforce – now 66 – and at the same time had seen enhanced pressures on management to develop an appropriate employee culture and performance process.
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The case for support
As with so many family-led or initiated businesses, it had become harder for the key directors and founders of Kocurek to ‘step back’ enough to explore appropriate boundaries for staff, and to ensure that recruitment, appraisal strategies and problem identification were being approached in a fitting and swift manner.
Consultancy seemed the perfect solution.
In April 2020, just as the pandemic was causing the most disruption to UK businesses, MAD-HR was recommended to Kocurek by a professional contact.
Becki Kelly, CFO, knew that she wanted to start by getting employment contracts and a handbook in place.
She began working with Tracey, exploring how the firm might manage redundancy processes, build capability, and take control in the context of a business where the founding and family directors had become more like ‘friendly colleagues’ to many existing staff.
It was quickly established that the partnership working could be hugely advantageous to Kocurek if allowed to develop further, so after the initial handbook and contract tasks, the firm moved in to a retained arrangement with MAD-HR.
Within that, Tracey and Becki liaise regularly about all manner of issues and anxieties, ensuring the directors have reassurance, and a greater level of professional competence – even where difficult decisions must be made.
“There are nine members of our family involved in this business, so it had – perhaps understandably – become really difficult to step back where needed, and to gain an outsider perspective,” says Becki.
“Working with Tracey and the team has really given us that. We’ve got much clearer boundaries, and we’ve been able to manage some more difficult aspects of business – like making people redundant through the last 12 months – in a way which we absolutely know was the most appropriate and professional manner.
I continue to learn so much from Tracey and I can honestly say that even where things have at times felt challenging for our company throughout the pandemic, she has made me feel reassured and focused about the next steps.”
Top client tip
Becki says: “Don’t view the cost of HR as ‘just another expense’. See it as something that is bringing enormous benefit to your company, and huge reassurance to your managers and employees.
“We’re convinced it’s one of the best things we’ve spent money on in the last year.”