Workplace Leaders
McGregor Boyall
Group Managing Director 

Lucy Frost

In today's fast-moving business landscape, a diverse pool of talent can provide the edge needed to get ahead. Diverse perspectives, talents, and experiences can serve as a driver of innovation and progress for any aspiring business. With her extensive background in people management, Lucy Frost, Group Managing Director at McGregor Boyall, understands the power of diversity more than most.

Lucy met with Max Webber, Co-Host of The Interview, to discuss topics including her career journey, creating a welcoming environment for a diverse workforce, and striking a balance between cultural and commercial objectives. 

Lucy's Journey

Max: Let’s start with a brief introduction to yourself and your organisation.

I’m the Group Managing Director of McGregor Boyall. We’re a global recruitment consultancy specialising in placing talent within technology, HR, marketing, risk and governance across financial services, commerce and industry and the public sectors. We have offices across the UK in Scotland, Manchester, and London, as well as in Dubai. We’re also in the process of setting up an office in the United States.

Max: I’m curious about your journey so far. How did you become the Group MD at McGregor Boyall?

Well, I started my career about 25 years ago, and I’ve been working in recruitment and talent management ever since. As a graduate, I began working as a 360 recruiter, working in that role for several years before moving up to manager. At that point, I started to think about if I wanted recruitment to be the only thing I did. Fortunately, I had an employer who didn’t want to lose me, and they sponsored me to go back to university. Then, I studied for a Postgraduate Degree in Career Management and combined that with my recruitment experience to secure a position at Ernst & Young. After four years working across a range of roles, I was looking for a new challenge when I was introduced to Laurie Boyall, the founder of McGregor Boyall. Back then, the company wasn’t as large as it is now, and he offered me a role during a pivotal time in the firm’s growth. He understood that the firm couldn’t expand unless it had a robust people infrastructure in place. The opportunity was too good to turn down. That was thirteen years ago now, and since then I’ve developed our people infrastructure while working my way up to become Group People Director. Sadly, Laurie passed away earlier this year, and I’ve since stepped into his shoes as Group MD. 

Max: What initiatives have you implemented around people, belonging, and inclusion?

It’s important to understand the world we’re working in at the moment, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic. From a people perspective, working was challenging during Covid, but everyone was in the same boat. But post-Covid, one of the biggest challenges for us is balancing working from home and working in the office. So we’ve settled on hybrid working, with two days in the office and three days at home. We’re trying to make sure everyone has the same opportunities regardless of where they are working. The social aspect is a huge part of our culture, and we have a social committee which organises sports groups and after-work activities. It’s important to get feedback so you know where you stand, so engagement surveys have been one of my top priorities. It’s pivotal that employees feel valued and heard. As a recruitment firm, incentives are crucial for motivation and morale. Back in the day, that might have meant dinner and drinks, but now we understand that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t very inclusive, so we’ve tried to widen our offerings so we have something for everybody. We’ve also updated all of our policies: we’ve just finished improving our maternity leave, and are currently rethinking paternity. Social impact is huge for our staff: people want to feel like they are part of something. EDI is a continuously developing platform, and you need to constantly work at improving your policies. 

Max: Today’s workplace has employees from many diverse cultures and backgrounds. How do you make sure everyone, regardless of their background, feels welcome at McGregor Boyall?

It’s necessary to understand that people don’t always feel comfortable disclosing their individual differences, especially when it comes to things like neurodiversity. So we’re reworking our hiring and interview processes to help people feel able to speak out. Small things can make a huge difference, something simple like offering two computer screens to a person with dyslexia can really help them whilst working. It’s important to promote positive attitudes to inclusion and diversity internally. We’ve partnered with organisations such as Heart of the City to deliver seminars and events. Ultimately diversity and inclusion are about values: building a sense of purpose and identity. Technology is a huge area of interest for us, so we’ve been carrying out research into women in technology, and how to support more females getting into the sector, and how to retain them. For us, it’s not just about working internally, but about collaborating with clients as well.

Max: People’s work lives are busier than ever. How do you find the time to engage them on issues like diversity and inclusion? 

The latest generation that is coming through into the workforce has so much awareness about these topics already. They are really passionate about diversity and inclusion, and it’s a core part of their journey. We promote the education of these issues throughout our workforce through the continual research that we are doing into them. If our recruiters of all generations are more knowledgeable and educated about these issues, then our clients will have a wider and more diverse pool of talent to chose from, which ultimately supports them with their internal initiatives.

Max: What traits are needed by top people leaders to get the most out of their teams?

Emotional intelligence is number one. In this day and age, managing teams means working with highly diverse backgrounds, so you need to have the emotional intelligence to navigate that. It’s also vital to have the courage to lead and do the right thing. Sometimes you just need to step up and take action. Finally, good managers will empower. To make a team work, you need to give them power and provide them with the opportunity to do what they do best. 

Max: How do you articulate the link between inclusion, belonging, and the higher-level commercial goals of your organisation?

If you don’t foster the right working culture and ensure engagement, you won’t create loyalty, and that will ultimately hit the bottom line. So you need to have strong core values and put the right policies in place to support that. People need to feel that their voices are heard and that they are rewarded for their hard work. If you create that sense of togetherness, then people will go above and beyond, and that will drive performance. 

Max: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career? 

If you want to do the best for your people, sometimes you need to make difficult decisions. Laurie once told me that you need to do the right thing and stop worrying about what people think about you. That means people won’t always like you, but they will respect you. 

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Max Webber
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