People at Work, Ep. 5: Gill Buchanan on helping people be their best selves

By Bev Attfield

3 min read

People at Work, Ep. 5: Gill Buchanan on helping people be their best selves

Gill Buchanan knows what happy employees look like. After all, she sees them every day in her own organization, as well as in the companies she recruits for. As COO of Pure Resourcing, an UK-based recruitment agency, Gill has a single focus: help people be the best they can be. Not surprisingly, this results in engaged, energized, and dedicated employees (not to mention customers). In this episode of People at Work, Gill and I get to the bottom of what this takes, and why it matters.

For Gill and her team at Pure, it always starts with values. When Gill and her partners, Lynn and Ian Walters, founded the company 17 years ago, they wanted to create something different: a new way to assist candidates with their career aspirations, and at the same time, build a different kind of environment for recruiters to work and thrive in. Now Pure has over 85 employees across the eastern region of the UK, placing more than 2,000 people a year. And their values are more visible than ever before.

Listen to the episode

“Having key values is the most important thing and really making sure that you're walking those values in every element of your day to day. So it's not just about the values being on the wall, it’s something that underpins everything that is the way we work.”

Gill Buchanan

Gill Buchanan

COO, Pure

Pure’s six values are innovation, support, quality, reward, teamwork, and results. These values are foundational to every decision and interaction at the company. That means they’re on display and authentically demonstrated every day. That sounds like a lot of hard work. And it is, but once you decide to live and lead your business in this way, it just becomes part of how things are done. Pure maps everything from their quarterly business plans, to their community involvement, to how they recognize and include employees, according to this set of values.

“It’s about encouraging communication, teamwork and an openness and sharing of information, and having a core set of values. People really want to work for a company that cares and that actually has a set of values that they can relate to.”

You might be wondering how this translates into helping people be their best. As Gill explains on the podcast, each of the Pure values keeps people at the heart of their business. Whether it’s innovation (providing training and technology, and encouraging career development) or quality (building relationships based on trust and integrity), the leaders at Pure are committed to a people-centric workplace.

Taking this one step further, there’s also a commitment to developing and celebrating employees as “whole people” who bring life’s struggles and triumphs to work—and they’re embraced and supported by peers and management alike. Gill describes this as creating a sense of belonging for every person at Pure. When you welcome and support people in this way, you’re setting them up for their best chance of success, both in your organization and in their lives in general.

“Work is part of your life, but it's not all parts of your life. It's about recognizing that and I think that's really important.”

This is a rich conversation that provides a unique insight into a leadership team and organization that truly puts people first. Gill offers a very honest and down-to-earth tour of how Pure has built their workplace culture and a very successful business, on this principle. Helping people be their best is a smart business strategy, but only the most authentic companies can pull this off. It’s incredibly inspiring to see how Pure is leading the way, one person at a time.

About Gill Buchanan

Gill has worked in the recruitment field since 1988 and co-founded Pure Resourcing. She continually ensures that Pure’s core values underpin their operations and make it a rewarding and positive place to work.



Bev Attfield

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