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On Monday 4th July 2005, Oakleaf was born…

I was going to start my 15th Oakleaf anniversary message to you by celebrating the news that for 5 consecutive years we have delivered upwards of 20% top and bottom line growth. Sadly, I’m not sure how relevant that is anymore in the climate we find ourselves in. It is, however, 15 years ago tomorrow that Oakleaf came into being and I’m super proud of what myself and my wonderfully talented and passionate colleagues continue to achieve. The initial vision was to create a business where individualism was encouraged, creativity and ideas thrived, and a place where people were proud to work, proud to be themselves and proud to serve our customers, the broader HR and payroll professions. That vision remains as clearly in-focus today as it did on Monday 4th July 2005 (my personal “independence day”!).

The strength of our culture and the resilience of the Oakleaf family is being tested now in a way that no one could have ever envisaged only a few months ago and I’m certain that that the enduring legacy view of Oakleaf will be formed on the basis of how we have behaved and reacted as business leaders during this crisis. I hope, beyond all hopes, as I’m sure you all do also, that we do the best we can and don’t let anyone down. This is a true test of leadership, the likes of which many will have never known, but will remain in our DNA for life.

I have been ably supported for 14 of those years by Simon Hunt, latterly as my COO (“I do all the things you hate doing, RC!”). Simon now moves to take up the challenge of Managing Director of the Financial & Professional Services, Commerce & Regions, Reward and Payroll UK businesses. It is a well deserved change of focus for him and one for which he is well equipped. I remain as CEO of Oakleaf and will work with Katrina Stewart and Jamie Newton to support the ongoing growth of our global Executive offering. Katrina and Amy Morris have also just been appointed as Companies House main board Directors of Oakleaf and is truly deserved recognition of both their support and consistently sound judgement. A massive well done and thank you to all.

Whilst trading conditions remain extremely challenging the market has now, for the time being at least, bottomed out and is stabilising. Let’s all hope that the next few months see more green shoots of business activity appearing. The HR, Reward and Payroll professions have all massively stepped up to the Covid-plate over the last few months and I’m certain that there will have been very few CEOs who didn’t have their CPO on speed-dial (or speed-Teams/speed-Zoom!). There are, of course, some companies that have shown their true colours, when it comes to how HR is viewed and has been treated – I won’t name names but it really does speak volumes.

As the lock-down eases, and with 15 years of successful trading under our belts, we are in excellent shape to partner with you again in the coming months, but please bear with us: the volume of candidate applications we are currently receiving is huge, and I have some of the team on furlough, so unfortunately we simply can’t operate in our normal fashion for the time being, but we are trying our best under the circumstances. Please accept my apologies if our communications aren’t as good as they should be.

Happy OP15 and thank you to all our customers and friends who have been a huge part of this wonderful journey. It’s much appreciated. Stay safe and here’s to the next 15!

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