Project Freedom : A Q&A with FJ CEO, John Gaughan

Project Freedom : A Q&A with FJ CEO, John Gaughan

Following his talk at Recruitment Leaders Connect (RLCon) on Thursday 15th May, we caught up with FJ CEO, John Gaughan and asked him a few questions about Project Freedom – the inspiration and the results so far.

What was the inspiration for Project Freedom?

Project Freedom was my business partner, and wife, Sara’s idea – to break the rules of convention of normal recruitment companies and put the emphasis on trust.”

“Having worked in recruitment for one other company beforehand, I learned how to deal with clients, with our candidates and colleagues but also where things could be improved."

“When I set up Finlay James almost 15 years ago, I wanted to create something and develop a business where people don’t have that ball of steel feeling in their stomach on a Sunday night, when Songs of Praise finishes, before work the next day. Instead, I wanted our focus to be that of a friendly, warm, compassionate employer who looked after their people and in turn, I believed, that this would breed loyalty amongst our staff." 

“I also recognised and saw that people who were trusted, appreciated and given respect worked really well, completed their tasks and performed well overall. Conversely, those who weren’t, performed badly. I would beg to differ with anyone that says micromanagement works well. From my experience, people become disenchanted, disengaged and unproductive." 

“This was the inspiration of Project Freedom – putting trust in our employees and allowing them to take control of their own working hours and assisting them to get in absolute control of what they are doing and when." 

How does Project Freedom work for collaboration? How does managing varying schedules work?

“I would say it’s all about communication. As we work internationally, flexible working hours work really well for us and with our office in San Francisco, it means that there is more collaboration with the team there.”

“All employees are required to be in the office all day Monday for team meetings and to set themselves up for the week ahead. For the rest of the week, what we have noticed is better collaboration in between teams, as those in the office hot desk, including our Corporate Services team. The whole business is utilised to ensure that things get done, at the right time.”

What are the top three benefits you have seen so far with Project Freedom?

"I would say –

  • Productivity of our people.
  • Collaboration in between the teams – and a greater level of communication.
  • Engagement of our people as they are more in control and gaining a more balanced work-life existence."