A Newton-le-Willows based recruitment and business consultancy has been praised by business chiefs after starting out in a box room with no clients and just a kettle for company, to boasting a multi-million-pound turnover in three years.
Based in Centrix House on Crow Lane East, Mercury Hampton – which specialises in psychometric assessment, recruitment and performance strategies throughout technology, construction and manufacturing sectors globally – was founded by Chris Hickey and Jonathan Sallis who together have a combined 30 years’ experience of working in executive recruitment in the city.
After years of punishing commutes to and from city centres and spending more time travelling than they did with their own families, Chris from St Helens and Jonathan from Cheshire set up home with St Helens Chamber in 2018, with the aim of changing the external perception of recruitment – as well as creating a workplace that strongly focussed on culture, teamwork, and happiness for its now 17-strong workforce that trades in 14 countries.
An investment in technology proved to be a defining moment in the company’s history, creating online platform, Mercury Hampton IQ – available anywhere in the world 24/7 in five different languages – which allows clients to narrow down suitable candidates, then provide them with videos, key competency Q&A’s, references, and psychological profiles on all of them. This has created a further 20 job openings within Mercury Hampton, which will all be recruited from the local area.
Newton’s strong connections have helped the business grow
Chris said: “I think there’s a big misconception that you have to have your business in a major city in order for it to be successful – but that’s not the case. Our business is located 30 minutes away from two major cities and it has only worked to our advantage, as has the vastly cheaper business rates. Not only that, I grew up around here, so I’m beyond proud to bring prosperity and opportunity to the area.
“I would 100% recommend anyone wishing to set up a business in the St Helens area to speak to the Chamber and take advantage of their Enterprise Greenhouse scheme. Without their services, advice, and help, Mercury Hampton would not exist and be thriving today, so we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
Jonathan added: “There’s an assumption that your business requires relentless pressure being put upon its colleagues in order for it to flourish. After being on the receiving end of that kind of environment for far too long, I can categorically state that nothing could be farther from the truth.
“One of our core business values is well-being, and that only comes from one place: a positive culture. If you curate a positive work culture then not only will the business thrive, but so will every single person working for the company, and that is what gives me the greatest pleasure with Mercury Hampton. The Chamber have helped us to create this with their welcoming attitude and willingness to help, and I’m extremely grateful to them for helping me build a workplace where I and my colleagues can be happy and successful.”
Celebrating a local success story
Commenting on a recent visit, Cllr Kate Groucutt, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Business, said: “The progress Chris and Jon have made since setting up Mercury Hampton in Newton-le-Willows – faced with a global pandemic which seriously affected the recruitment sector – is impressive and I’m proud we have businesses like this in our borough which you’d otherwise find in major cities around the world.
“As the council’s portfolio holder for business, I’m enjoying going out to meet as many businesses as possible, old and new, to hear their success stories and find out how we can support them.
“St Helens Borough is such a great place to invest and we have ambitious plans to grow our business base yet further.”
“Tracy Mawson, Chief Executive at St Helens Chamber, commented: “It has been a pleasure to see Mercury Hampton go from strength to strength over the last few years and support them along that journey, from their first days of starting up in our Enterprise Greenhouse the successful business they have become.
“They are a true success story of a business created by hard work and determination and I’m sure they will continue to thrive and create new opportunities. I hope their story will help to inspire other local entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.”