Engineering: Kendra Energy

Attracting and engaging the best talent: how Kendra Energy built their employer brand for sustainable succession planning

Kendra Energy already has a great culture and a brilliant business proposition. But no-one outside the business knew about it. With forward-thinking leadership and tactical use of the right people experts, they have created a more cohesive culture and stabilised the talent pipeline to support further business growth.

“People Puzzles’ reputation for excellence in HR consulting made them the ideal choice to support us in this endeavour.”Chris Mills, Managing Director, Kendra Energy

Founded in 2011 by Chris Mills and Gary Ford, both experienced business founders, Kendra Energy Solutions provides net-zero solutions for clients to optimise the intelligent control and energy performance of their buildings. This is achieved through a combination of their Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) and their excellence in environmental technology and engineering and enables clients to become more efficient, optimised and sustainable businesses.

Since it started, Kendra Energy has seen a great deal of growth and expansion, operating from its HQ in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, with additional sites across the UK. It has successfully grown from just three to over 150 direct employees and there is plenty more scope for growth.

The challenges of growth

Despite its successful growth and expansion, the business leaders were aware of some challenges that needed to be addressed. Although Kendra Energy had a great working culture, that culture wasn’t visible outside the business, and they were struggling to attract the calibre of candidate they needed to uphold their reputation for excellence. They knew they needed a succession plan to support the business long term, and better ways to integrate the somewhat siloed teams to create a more cohesive, aligned approach across the business.

Throughout, the business leaders wanted to retain their genuine focus on valuing their people and building a more engaged, high performing team.

In June 2022, Chris and Gary decided to bring in specialist expertise to help them address these challenges and get a deeper insight into what else might be going on under the surface of the business. They reached out to People Puzzles, and two experienced People Directors, Sharon Vinnels and James Montgomery, were introduced.

A deep-dive into organisational and employer performance for strategic growth

“Choosing to partner with People Puzzle was driven by a clear vision for strategic growth. One of our primary objectives was to conduct a comprehensive deep dive into our organisation’s performance as an employer,” recalls Chris, “We recognised the importance of understanding our strengths and areas for improvement in managing our people, fostering a positive work culture, and ensuring employee satisfaction.”

Kendra Energy truly value the people in their business and understands the importance of getting the employer brand and talent development elements right. “Our company’s commitment to retaining our valued team members and attracting exceptional talent was paramount,” Chris continued. “We understood that in a competitive job market, having expert guidance in HR services was crucial to achieving these goals.”

Work began straight away with the People Puzzles Discovery Phase, providing exactly the deep dive insights and assessments that the business leaders were looking for. This phase was led by Sharon, who reviewed Kendra Energy’s business strategy, leadership, culture, people processes, structure and talent.

Sharon conducted interviews with employees across the whole business at all levels, to get a view of each of these areas. “It helps to get under the skin of what was going on within the business and put a spotlight on the key areas that needed addressing,” said Sharon.

The findings from the Discovery Phase highlighted the main areas that needed focus, and an implementation plan was designed to deliver improvements, leading to several key outcomes as a result of these initiatives.

Key Outcomes

  1. Business alignment through refreshing and clarifying the mission, vision and values

Aligning the whole business behind freshly clarified business mission, vision and values was an essential step to create a cohesive approach across the business and ensure everyone was pulling in the same direction. These were developed in conjunction with the leadership team and the roll-out was supported by the marketing team to ensure consistent communication both internally and externally, making the employer brand much more visible from outside the business.

  1. Improved talent attraction from enhanced employer brand with a modernised recruitment and onboarding process

Modernising the recruitment and onboarding process was identified as necessary to attract the right level of talent and get them started in the best way. This led to a review of all employee collateral, with everything being updated and modernised, including web site landing pages, their employee handbook, and welcome and onboarding communication to ensure consistency and a positive employee experience.

Operationally, a review of people processes ensured these were up-to-date and fit for purposes in supporting and driving improved employee engagement and development, incorporating performance management, KPI and reporting, as well as TUPE transfer.

  1. Enhanced knowledge transfer and inter-team collaboration

Communication, collaboration, and knowledge transfer within the business were key areas of focus for Chris and Gary, to leverage the combined potential of the united business, rather than the disjointed siloes which had developed over time, with separate divisional P&Ls in place. It was therefore critical to define and implement methodologies for inter-team collaboration and knowledge sharing, with better communication throughout, and a consistent, standardised approach. Sharon initiated and led quarterly collaboration meetings for the business unit directors, resulting in improved communications and knowledge sharing across the business.

  1. Clear succession planning and talent development

Although still early in the process, organisational design principles will help with strategic succession planning, talent management and people development throughout the business, helping the leaders to build a sustainable, future-ready organisation set up to succeed in the long-term.

Building brilliant partnerships

James reflects on his time with Kendra Energy, saying: “Gary and Chris are fantastic clients. They truly value the people in their business and are passionate about creating a culture where everyone loves their job and are inspired to do their best to deliver great outcomes for clients.”

Chris has valued the partnership too, “Working with Sharon and James at People Puzzle has been instrumental in shaping Kendra’s HR strategies and providing focus to our growth plan, with both our companies values and goals aligning seamlessly.”

With a well-defined approach to talent attraction, development and retention, and better frameworks in place for consistently aligned communication across the business, Kendra Energy is in a fantastic position to continue on its ambitious growth journey, and we are privileged to be able to play a part in helping them deliver the full potential of their vision.

We would love to explore with you how our national team of senior People Directors can support you. For a free 30-minute consultation with an HR Director local to you, please contact us on 0345 646 5201, email [email protected] or fill in our contact form on our website and we will get back to you to follow up.

People Director, James Montgomery
People Director, James Montgomery


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