Back in October, we caught up with Rob Barklamb, our International Franchise Operations Manager who gave us a sneak peek into the plans for Reed Franchise Partnerships (RFP). To catch you up, RFP is a new and innovative part of our business which will introduce fresh opportunities for exponential growth and to imprint our purpose (to improve lives through work) on a global scale. In simple terms, franchising is a relationship between Reed and individuals who have their own company whereby we license the Reed brand to their business alongside a comprehensive suite of products and services to help them maximise their potential.

Within that sneak peek, he mentioned that the USA was one of a number of locations where we are looking to set up shop and we can now confirm that we are officially up-and-running stateside, with Brian Newkirk as our first official Reed Recruitment USA partner. We were lucky enough to touch base with both Brian and Rob about this milestone, what it means to them both and their plans for their future!

“The Sunshine State” aka Florida where Brian is based!

Brian, welcome to Reed! How does it feel to be a part of the group?

Brian: After many years of running a small executive search firm, partnering with Reed has brought a renewed enthusiasm to me and my team. We now have the resources, support and shared vision for a prosperous and exciting future. The most accurate statement to describe our partnership is: Before Reed, I was in the market with a pea shooter. Now, we are attacking the market with a bazooka. When I was first approached by Rob Barklamb with the thought of partnering with Reed, I was sceptical. I have looked at the prospect of franchising in the past and I just could not find the right fit. As we had more discussions and I was introduced to additional Reed resources and people, it was very transparent of how we could mutually leverage our two organizations to become a category killer in the US. From the technology, industry expertise, marketing and most importantly, the people and culture, I knew it was the type of relationship I could see developing and flourishing long into the future.

Talk us through your history, what has got you to where you are today?

Brian: I believe the key to my success in life and business truly began when I entered the US Army as a military police officer. School and sports came rather easy to me growing up so I was never really pushed to the limits, however the military challenged me in ways that required me to develop new skill sets to excel. Being halfway across the world in Germany certainly added to the demands placed on me as well. After the service, I excelled in college then found the staffing industry, and it fit like a glove. For me, the complexity of working with both a client and a candidate to ensure all their needs are exceeded really kept me engaged in the process and especially the outcome. At the end of the day, we change people’s lives.

What are your ambitions and goals for this partnership?

Brian: The partnership with Reed offers me the platform for unlimited growth. The US is all greenfield and I see us attacking the markets with the same vigour and optimism that has allowed me to reach many pinnacles over the years. The one key factor to this partnership that cannot be quantified is the renewed passion I feel due to working with Rob and the RFP team and, after many years in the industry, I feel just as enthusiastic as I did at my first company on my first day.

Rob, when we last caught up with you in October, you were in the process of setting up operations in the USA. How does it feel to be finally launching across the pond?

Rob: It feels so good!!!! It has been a long process and the team owe so much to so many, but particularly our colleagues in Legal and Finance as those have been the areas which have thrown up the biggest (and weirdest) challenges. Working with Brian and talking to other future partners, I am reminded of all the things I love about the States – the “can do” attitude people have, the energy, the entrepreneurial spirit, and that desire to grow and prosper.

We have an exciting partner in Brian Newkirk, what was the process of identifying him as our partner in this mission?

Rob: It’s a good lesson in good habits on LinkedIn! Brian liked one of the ads we ran on LinkedIn, I sent him a connection request by way of follow up, he replied “Let’s talk”, so we did. From the get go (as they say Stateside), we hit it off and I realised he was exactly the type of person with whom we’d like to partner: bright, professional, credible, experienced, fun and just a decent person.

We’ve been up and running in Singapore for some time now, what lessons or takeaways from that project that can be applied to the USA launch?

Rob: Singapore was deep in lockdown when we launched, whereas we have the advantage of a flourishing recruitment market as we now launch in the USA. The key lesson for me from Singapore was that we need to work with our partners pre-launch to start building their pipeline and then training them comprehensively on how to make the most of our technology suite.

Following on from the USA, what’s on the horizon for Reed Franchise Partnerships?

Rob: We are talking to good people in Spain and the Middle East, and we’re really interested in expanding in the USA. We’ve only marketed in Florida and Texas so far – there’s an awful lot of the country we haven’t even looked at. Other than that, we’ll turn our attention to Australia later in the year and then Canada.

Rob with the rest of the Reed Franchise Partnerships team!

As you can tell, very exciting times at Reed Franchise Partnerships – especially as they have just named our next two USA partners in Phillip Kentish and George Ayebah! The journey of globalising our franchise partnerships is just starting, so if you know any recruiters outside of the UK who share our values and ambition, then get in touch. To see what a franchise partnership with Reed might look like, visit our Reed Franchise Partnership homepage here: Reed Franchise Partnerships

By Ryan Pearson