The Fifth Business | Doing business The Hague | Engaging People
This month, we are happy to highlight The Fifth Business as the company of the month November. Founded in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1993 with just two employees, The Fifth Business now has offices in The Hague, London and Houston and employs over 70 staff across its four offices. We spoke to Cristina Gonzalez, Business Manager The Netherlands at The Fifth Business in The Hague, about their operations in the city.
What kind of company is The Fifth Business?
“Our company provides a variety of services such as change management, staff engagement, e-learning, SharePoint solutions and graphic design to a global client base that includes Aegon, Shell, TATA Steel, BP, ExxonMobil and GlaxoSmithKline among others. We focus on the employee side of major organizational change programs and have supported leadership teams and diverse workforces through various transformation programs.
Our services are very versatile. To give you an example: Shell had a large number of internal publications and wanted to amalgamate into one more focused publication, aimed at all staff. A strategy to support a more aligned culture of ‘One Shell’ was devised and the smaller publications were replaced with one quarterly magazine – Shell World UK.
The Fifth Business managed all aspects of the magazine including the content, graphic design, production and distribution. The key aim was to build awareness of Shell’s activities throughout the UK and how these activities link to the global business strategy, while upholding the company’s ethics and values. The style was to be that of a magazine available on newsstands and the appeal had to be wide and culturally diverse.”
What was the main motivation to expand to The Hague?
“The Fifth Business has a great track record and strong footprint in the energy and oil and gas sector. Some of our major energy sector clients are based in The Hague, so The Hague was an obvious choice to establish an office and remains a key location for The Fifth Business. In addition to the energy sector, The Fifth Business has been successful expanding into other markets from our The Hague office, including Finance, Manufacturing, Telecom and Construction. With The Hague’s proximity to other large Dutch cities and European metropolis, excellent transport links, talented candidates to further our ongoing recruitment and expansion plan, The Hague is set to grow from strength to strength for us.”
“In recent years, we have been able to support companies in Belgium, Denmark and Germany from The Hague office. In addition, as our main niche is Dutch companies with international operations, or international companies with headquarters in The Netherlands, we foresee an increase of inquiries from potential clients who are moving their offices to The Netherlands with Brexit in mind. In our experience, these companies appreciate the experience and approach of The Fifth Business to support their internal communication, change and transformation programmes.”
Does sharing an office building with other international tenants bring advantages?
“A turn-key office helps us scale up as we go, and sharing the space with other tenants helps us to keep up with business and city developments in a very smooth manner (over the coffee machines!). In the ten years we’ve been located there, it has proved to be great office location and facility. We have had introductions to other international companies and actually ended up working together with a large Telecoms company, in a client we both shared, which was great fun and a very successful project.”
Are there any major developments?
“Earlier this month, we were delighted to announce that The Fifth Business joined London Stock Exchange Group’s international business support and capital raising ecosystem, ELITE. The Fifth Business, along with other ELITE selected companies across Europe opened trading on London’s market on the 8 November. This huge opportunity will help prepare and support The Fifth Business to grow over the next 2-5 years, helping us to achieve ambitious targets to expand the business by 50% in two years.
ELITE describes itself as: “a programme of structured engagement developing and supporting ambitious private companies through their next stage of growth. ELITE delivers a three-part service of education, business support, mentoring and access to an ecosystem of professionals fostering growth and innovation.”
2017 has been a great year for the business, landing new contracts in change management and training to boost revenues from new clients including Diageo, Tata Steel and Heathrow Airport and our Hague office nearly doubling employee numbers over the past 12 months.”
Any upcoming events you will attend or host?
“We are closely involved with the International Association of Business Communicators, and will cooperate with the IABC EuroComm 2018, which will be held in Copenhagen in April, 2018. We often attend events organised by the Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), and the International Community Platform (ICP).”