GT Engines

Going places fast: How the right people strategy has given GT Engine Services a roadmap for growth

Providing market-leading bespoke jet engine support services from their base at London’s Stansted Airport, GT Engine Services combines pioneering technical capability with a uniquely people-centric approach. Working with the biggest names in the global aviation industry, they have big plans for growth. Understanding the importance of the right people strategy, they came to People Puzzles for support – and we were delighted to join them on their journey.

Established in 2010 by founder and Managing Director Greg MacLeod, GT Engine Services supports the International Airline Industry with a comprehensive range of customised jet engine maintenance, repair and storage solutions to airlines and aircraft operators across the globe. Setting themselves apart from the competition with their bespoke services and quick response times, they offer round-the-clock emergency response support for customers who need immediate onsite assistance and are always prepared to go the extra mile for their customers – and their people.

The business has seen steady growth since its launch in 2010, with a team of 25 mechanics and technicians, and owner Greg had ambitious plans for accelerated growth for the company. For GT Engine Services, flexibility and responsiveness are key elements of their service proposition, and they believe in investing in their people to get the absolute best teams in place to provide that world-class service.

“Our growth plan relied heavily on being able to recruit, train and retain the necessary senior managers and Technical Team,” says Greg. “We needed a clearly developed people strategy that would support our plans.”

In September 2022, People Director Andrew Johnson came on board to develop and implement an effective people strategy to support the ambitious growth plans that Greg had for the business.

Doubling turnover and increasing headcount: the picture one year on

One year later, the results are impressive. The company is on track to see a doubling of its turnover in 2023, headcount has increased in important technical and critical support function roles, and engagement across the business is significantly up.

Here’s how taking a people-centric approach to sustainable business growth enabled GT Engine Services to achieve their ambitions. 

1. Finding the right flightpath with a strategic deep dive

The first step was to conduct a deep dive into the existing people processes and procedures within the business. This involved interviews with senior managers, key stakeholders and a cross section of team members within the business to gain insight into existing processes and policies around recruitment, induction, training and development, benefits, remuneration and HR Systems capacity.

From there, an Executive Report was put forward with recommendations of the right path forward, which formed the basis of the people plan and ongoing HR agenda with full buy in from the Executive Team.

2. Setting and embedding the right business mission and values

Working with the Executive Team, Andrew helped to develop a Vision and Mission for the business which all employees could sign up to and get behind.

Andrew introduced and facilitated a series of workshops with employees at every level. He says, “Not only did this help to define the Values of the business, but by engaging with and involving all team members in the process there was much more buy-in to the eventual agreed and published Company Values.”

3. Aligning the People Plan to deliver against their Business Plan

A 3-to-5-year business plan was created which captured the necessary strategies and actions required to:

  • grow and retain the customer base
  • develop the people and teams to develop the skills and talent within the business
  • develop the necessary processes and IT systems to support the growth plans
  • create the necessary productivity, margins and profit for the business.

Each senior manager was assigned one of these four pillars to own and deliver, with the necessary support in place to succeed.

4. A step change in ownership and accountability to drive productivity

Creating a set of annual goals and objectives for every team member for them to own and take accountability for was key. The goals joined up and aligned to the business plan at the top, and integrated into the Performance Management and Appraisal Processes which was introduced for the first time across the organisation.

This clarity throughout the business has helped cascade accountability and responsibility down through the business, driving significant improvements in productivity. This efficiency has provided greater management capacity which was needed to grow and manage the increasing number of people and teams within the business. In turn, this has supported the growth in sales and profit.

5. A focus on talent attraction, retention and development

A robust talent recruitment strategy was created to source and attract the best candidates for new roles. Driving engagement and developing internal talent was also a priority, encouraging people to support the businesses growth plans and implementing an improved employment benefits program with the right rewards to help motivate and retain staff within the business.

Andrew also introduced a Leadership and Management Development Programme for all Line Managers to support them in developing the necessary skills and confidence to lead and manage their teams. This is a modular monthly Programme and covers all aspects of leadership and people management. With mid-management leadership skill being a critical factor for organisational success, this was a key initiative to help develop and retain the best talent at all levels of the business.

Making positive strides in achieving business growth – faster

Establishing a people strategy from the outset has successfully supported GT Engine Services to hit the ground running in a short amount of time.

“As a member of the senior team, Andrew has driven the people agenda in the Company at a pace necessary to meet our growth plans,” says Greg. “Andrew is both commercially astute as well as a pragmatic provider of a people strategy that meets our needs.”

Successes like this come from a great understanding and belief in the impact people do have on a business, and Andrew has been impressed by their hunger to succeed. “I love working with a senior team who are hungry for growth, understand the need for a cohesive people strategy to drive the growth of the business and are passionate about what they are doing.” He says, “They understand that the only tangible asset a business has is its people.”

If you have ambitious plans to grow your business and need a people strategy to make it happen, call People Puzzles on 0345 646 5201  to find out more and let one of our experienced People Directors help you get the right people in the right places to drive success.

People Director, Andrew Johnson
People Director, Andrew Johnson

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