2022 Wrap Up with Gordon Brown, Founder of Nine Twenty

2022 Wrap Up with Gordon Brown, Founder of Nine Twenty

Natalie Johnston

Some things tend never to change, well not very much nor very often. At this time of year when we begin to wind down for the festive period, I take time out to reflect on the last 12 months, I gather my thoughts on what we have achieved together at 920 and consider whether we might have gone even further.  

In contrast, some things do indeed change. For example, take a close look at ourselves, let’s focus the spotlight on 920 and I’m sure that you’ll agree that we have undergone a challenging but successful year of transition. Evolution not revolution is the keyword; change for the better, gradual but steady change, and always aimed at improving our people, our skills and expertise, our solutions and service levels that we provide to our valued customers. We've changed, or to be more precise, we've evolved! 

Emerging from an unprecedented period of turbulence afflicted by Covid, we faced a new set of challenges, none more so than a huge & widening skills gap amidst record levels of vacancies, lowest unemployment rates and an acute scarcity of candidate supply. Adding to that uncertainty in a UK economy that has spiralled into recession having been pummelled by the impact of the war in Ukraine, the revolving door at #10, budgets and re-budgets, soaring inflation and an alarming cost of living crisis. Is it really any wonder that the markets have lost confidence in the economy not to mention their appetite for investment? 

This has all had a knock-on effect on budgets and projects at our existing and prospective customers and made it of paramount importance that we exercised our inherent agility to adapt; to re-define ourselves, innovate and refine our value propositions to create compelling solutions and services that deliver true value to our customers. Quite simply, we could not have done this without 920’s single biggest asset– our people. Our team never cease to impress with a unique combination of hard work, loyalty, and customer-focussed creativity.

Team Nine Twenty enjoying our Christmas night out.

I am exceptionally proud to look back on 2022; to reflect on our growing range of new products and services, our ever-increasing portfolio of Managed Service Partnerships, and our continued investment in people with newly appointed employees due to start in January. Our decision to develop a recruitment process Insourcing model particularly resonates with me, not simply because it has been a huge commercial success, but because it disrupts traditional engagement models and reinforces key attributes such as courage and innovation that have historically positioned 920 as a market leader. 

Change typically happens despite its partner – resistance – and often presents challenges along the way so it is refreshing that together we have overcome obstacles and reached sometimes difficult decisions that have enabled our business to grow and prosper. On a personal note, we have witnessed our people adapt and supported them on their own individual journeys to flourish, to perform beyond expectations and to help them realise their own career aspirations. 

With our independent franchise businesses working seamlessly together as a group, we have delivered more than £4 million turnover in revenue, a remarkable achievement. Naturally, everyone at 920 and every single one of our customers have made massive contributions, for which we are so incredibly grateful. Projects that spring to mind include: 

  • A five-month campaign at Chivas Regal where we managed over 800 applications and processed 500 assessment centre applicants. 

  • A huge digital transformation project at William Grants, where we hired more than 40 people within their technology team, all within a sole onsite partnership. 

  • Delivering a massive recruitment campaign for incentive Games, a games development business across the UK, with more than 30 hires in the technology team based in Edinburgh. 

It is no secret that we embrace challenge at 920, and there is no denying that our can-do attitude and fierce determination to always go that extra mile can be very demanding on our people. Whilst I offer my unreserved thanks and commend you all for your outstanding effort, I must also reiterate that we fully acknowledge the need to completely trust all our employees and remember their absolute right to embracing home and/or family life and to achieving that optimum work/life balance. On that note, I would like to pay tribute to your families, your partners, and your friends for all their support and understanding that they continue to provide throughout the year, it’s not easy and it’s much appreciated. 

Whilst on the topic of thanks, there are a few others that I must mention. Firstly, a massive vote of thanks to my business partners; Karen Stewart, Chris Lowden, Laura Armstrong, Lynne Rae, Danielle Scott, Andrew Nuthall and Alan Crockert. We do this together; I couldn’t wish for a better team, and I look forward to working with them to navigate the next stage of our journey through 2023. Also, special shout out to Karen Stewart who won an award this year for Established Business at the Business Woman Scotland awards 2022, what an achievement and proud moment for Nine Twenty! Next, a very sincere thank-you to all our clients and candidates, without whom we wouldn’t have a purpose or indeed a business. And finally, on a very personal note I must thank my loving wife Melanie and my incredible & beautiful wee daughter Ruby – they are what I live for, and I am truly blessed to be able to rely upon their unconditional love and never-ending support. 

I would like to wrap up 2022 from very much a personal perspective by stating how proud I am of 920 through such a challenging period. It can be a lonely existence at times, especially as we further embed our ‘work from anywhere’ policy but I am genuinely excited by how we’ve evolved as a team, how we’ve re-invented ourselves and innovated to refine our products and services. We always strive to ensure that we align with market needs, that we remain relevant and stay at least one step ahead through 2023 and further beyond... to Infinity & Beyond? 

Best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2023. 


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