Co-owner Lesa Bradshaw is often asked how Bradshaw LeRoux got started and where they’re going. Hear it from the lady herself…
It’s amazing to think that Bradshaw LeRoux has been in business for almost 20 years this year and it’s wonderful to see how far we’ve come!
It all started in 1998 with an amazing friendship at the University of Natal. Nicky Le Roux was in all of my lectures, and I needed someone to push me from one lecture to the other, so I started keeping a seat for her when she arrived late, and she gave me a push to my next lecture. What started as a symbiotic relationship became a firm friendship and we are now 18 years and counting on both the friendship and business fronts. The secret to our success? We are loyal as friends first and that respect translates into our partnership.
Once Nicky and I finished our Psychology Degrees, we started looking for a way to enter the world of work using our degrees in a unique way. At the time, competency based assessments were the newly accepted method of assessing people’s competence for work. I met with a Jhb psychologist who developed Competency Based Assessment tools and she invited us to train with her. That was really the start of our business. Truly excited at the prospect of changing the way South Africa judged people’s competence, we started in the spare room of my home, offering only Assessment Services.
Bradshaw LeRoux really is different to any other company out there – we seem to be pioneers by definition! We were one of the few companies at the time to offer competency based assessment options which were developed around on our very own South African population. And, when we opened our recruitment division, we were fairly progressive in placing People with a Disability (PWD) – not many companies are able to achieve this sustainably.
We still have the passion of our early days but we have broadened it to a new level of professionalism and our brand and services are well respected on a national level. Today the company is divided into three divisions. Our Assessment Division is headed up by the level-headed and extraordinarily committed Nicky, and uses only the most ethical and relevant assessment strategies to help our clients make the right selection and development decisions.
Our Recruitment Division is run by resident fireball Nikki Bornman who has been with us for nearly 10 years and forms a key part of our leadership team, caring for the needs of both our clients and candidates. She is supported by Deirdre, our Recruitment Consultant, in finding the right talent for the right role. Their reach is National, and their expertise is outstanding!
I head up our Disability Integration Consulting Division and thrive on the challenge of changing perceptions, seeing direct results in the workplace, and being the expert in what I do. I deliver perception changing workshops and seminars, work with our clients on our Supported Learnership programmes which we run with select partners, and offer strategic and operational guidance for clients on disability inclusion in the workplace. Other than having personal experience with disability, being in a wheelchair myself, I have completed my MBA in Disability Integration Models for South African Companies.
Our biggest daily challenge lies in changing perceptions – helping our clients to see our candidate’s ‘ability’ rather than their ‘disability’, whilst dealing with the reality that there are many environmental, organisational and attitudinal barriers that we have to tackle in order to create an environment in which a PWD can prove their skill and competency.
We have been nominated for and awarded several Business Achiever awards but our true reward lies in the loyalty of our long-standing clients, both employers and employees, who have joined our journey.
Where to next? We are proud of our success but we recognise that the world of assessment and recruitment is in a state of flux – the development of online portals offering a range of less-personalised assessment, recruitment and training options have changed the way people find their way into organisations. When deciding whether we wanted to go this route or stick to our personalised approach, we developed a solution that lies somewhere between the two.
For assessments, we have a range of online competency based assessment tools, which we combine with various SA normed psychometric tools but which still require professional interpretation and allow for an individualised exploration of responses. In the recruitment space, while we use online portals for part of our sourcing base, our principal method of growing our impressive database of job seekers is word-of-mouth amongst those we have personally represented. In the space of Disability Integration, we are currently developing a range of online training sessions around disability inclusion in the workplace, which will appeal to those organisations who are restricted by geography.
We can confidently say that we have embraced the changes necessary for survival without compromising on the power of our individualised approach. It is my belief that, in business, we remember the value of the face-to-face relationship and this is something that we do not intend to lose as we move into the future.