RM Group Insights and news

We gather here our stories, culture, values and highlight our employees success stories

RM Group AG: A Quarter Century as a Proudly Swiss-Owned Entity 

In the dynamic realm of talent acquisition, where the search for the perfect candidate is as crucial as ever, the evolution of recruitment companies is often marked by the transformative leadership that guides their journey. We are about to delve into the intriguing narrative of RM Group AG, a quarter century company, by capturing the perspectives of both its former and current owner.

Back in 1998, Roberto Grassi, holding a leadership position in a local Swiss company’s software team, embarked on founding RMIT Professional Resources. This recruitment company, specializing in IT roles, originated from his decision to follow a colleague. Notably, within the organization at that time, Roberto stood as the sole individual with an IT background. Moreover, the concept of recruitment, particularly for contractual positions, was entirely novel and unfamiliar in the Swiss business landscape.

The culture for working for decades in the same company was vastly spread along the country. The concepts of relocation, work permits, and employment regulations were unfamiliar to companies, even when they required a specialized professional from overseas. Roberto invested months of thorough exploration into these matters, delving deeply into the intricacies of Switzerland’s work regulations. And the business was really a niche.

“I had my microcosmos where I could do business”

reveals Roberto when rendering back in the memories for the company’s foundation. „It was not only the missing knowledge. It was the service companies provided. It did not exist. 90% of the contractors were brought over from anywhere in the world. You move to another country and are left alone in this process. And here is where we jumped in. From day one, we had one person dealing with newcomers – now a whole HR external team. When people arrived, we met them at the airport, helped them with the accommodation, and showed them how to register. I also remember that funny thing. I was a member of a video club next to the office and all the contractors, whenever they wanted to rent a DVD, got my membership card to do it. „

First Big Win: Securing a Key Client 

Roberto reveals that success in the business at that time hinged significantly on possessing extensive knowledge of work permits, as it stood out as the primary and most challenging obstacle. This is how based on this knowledge RMIT won the first big client – the international giant Nestle – one of the biggest companies in Switzerland. So, this is how we turned a cowboy business into a service business. It was pretty easy because the competition was so not aware.” recalls the founder of the company.

A New Chapter Unfolds 

Ten years later, in 2009 Yohan Bräunling – then UBS Managing Director in charge of sourcing professional services and global HR services inherited a program to centralize all Swiss contractors under a single payrolling partner. Since RMIT had not been chosen, he got the tough task to negotiate the transition of the workforce. “It was not the cuddliest of starts” admits Yohan and continues “but we had a mutual professional respect.” 

Consequently, the relationship, initially grounded in mutual respect, progressed and deepened. In 2012, Yohan departed from UBS to establish his independent consultancy agency. In part, he maintained collaboration with RMIT, engaging in diverse projects and business development initiatives. This ongoing partnership finally led him to join RM’s leadership team in a Management-Buy-In, becoming a chairman of RMIT. In 2021, Roberto Grassi retired early to enjoy life in all its facets, and Yohan took up the role as CEO. 

Going the Extra Mile – the Value Driving Years of Success 

Going back in time Roberto elaborates further on the story remembering how tight the work permits had been linked to specific projects and employers. “The permits were even bounced to the canton.” expressing his amazement proceeds the narrative RM’s founder “The contractors were more or less nailed down to the agency and this was also why the service wasn’t developing. “

As a result, RM Group not only established a business but also pioneered a new trend in contracting, placing special emphasis on the significance of contractors. This aligns consistently with the company’s guiding principle “Going the extra mile”. Roberto recalls how this phrase was actually born and how implicitly it has described the company’s philosophy for 25 years: “It was not us who invented it, it was a contractor. He was working for another agency and even made it possible to change his agency. He told us “I join you guys, because you go the extra mile”. Since then, the company, driven by a strong focus on clients’ needs, has dynamically adapted to market changes, placing over 3500 candidates. This commitment to client satisfaction, coupled with a flexible approach to evolving market dynamics, has fostered successful, enduring relationships with dozens of long-term clients. „You decide to be the price leader or the quality leader. And we said we take quality leadership. “ affirms Roberto with unwavering determination and continues the story “Another thing that drove our success was that through the time we actually took ways no one else did like doing the payroll or delving into the work permits. It drove us to success, and we were really outstanding.” This philosophy can be summarized in Peter Drucker’s words “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, which appears to be coherent with the succeeding management of the company. Consistent with this favorite phrase of Roberto and despite all challenges along the way, Yohan Bräunling directs the company further in this strong culture of collaboration. “We have less focus on individual goals & incentives and more emphasis on overall group success.” admits the new owner.

Navigating Challenges in the Talent Acquisition Landscape

The landscape of the market undergoes continual changes over the years. So, two years after the company leadership transitioned to Yohan Bräunling it is facing a tough contemporary market situation. “The recruitment market is in constant flux. Last year everybody was hiring like crazy. This year mass redundancies are in the news” notes Yohan, observing the unpredictable nature of the industry. According to Swissstaffing reports there is an 8% drop in the staffing market overall, and Yohan declares approximately 5% lower (17.8 million compared to 18.8 million) income for Q3 at RM Group, which still focusses solely on IT and white-collar staffing. As both clients and candidates show heightened risk aversion, he anticipates an ongoing phase of subdued client demand. Considering this, Yohan reveals a key strategy contributing to the company’s success: maintaining a substantial percentage of internal staff working with the company for the long term “Attrition was low for the last few years, people like their colleagues and the atmosphere – and therefore continue working here” reveals Yohan and emphasizes “Certainly not “my secret”, but the culture prevails also in the current rocky economic climate.” This establishes the conditions for embracing diversity and inclusion not merely as a policy but as a lived reality, fostering a multicultural setting that encourages individuals to flourish and contribute their unique ideas.

Inheriting RM Group’s values and initial strategy, Yohan Bräunling steps forward to make his own contribution to maintain the growth and stability of the recruitment agency. “The company has always been a Swiss leader in ICT staffing including payrolling service for corporate services” reveals the new CEO of the company. Reflecting on the past year, the initiation of RM Managed Services underscored a strategic decision to expand RM Group’s offerings beyond Personalverleih. Looking forward, Yohan emphasizes, “Over the next few years, our focus would be to broaden our client base in Switzerland beyond the large corporations and become more present in the Romandie as well.” He further notes, “We have upcoming initiatives to locally expand our offices in both Berlin and Sofia.” RM Group has embarked on a journey of diversity by making strategic investments in different countries and cultures. This commitment goes beyond business operations, as the company actively engages in social initiatives. Through these endeavors, RM Group not only broadens its global presence but also fosters an inclusive and socially responsible approach to its operations.

Embracing Sustainability: A Shared Commitment, Both Corporate and Personal

In line with the forward-looking strategy of expanding into diverse countries and cultures, sustainability is a natural addition deeply rooted in RM Group’s culture for a long time. Over ten years ago, RM Group expanded its ISO certification to encompass 14001, specifically focusing on environmental standards. Shortly thereafter, an EcoVadis review was initiated, achieving a consistent gold rating three times consecutively. Additionally, the company has committed to the UN Global Impact initiative, striving for continuous improvement and sustainable practices. This highlights the company’s commitment not only to global growth but also to responsible and sustainable business practices. As an active contributor to the CEO4Climate initiative, Yohan Bräunling serves himself as a noteworthy example of embodying and addressing environmental concerns in his own lifestyle:

“We reduce emissions where possible – taking the train for all corporate travel between Zurich and Berlin, and even investing in our own solar panels in Zurich. While we are aware that it is far from perfect, we will extend our Co2 compensation plans beyond air travel.”

Thus, Yohan reflects not only a corporate policy but a personal example, emphasizing his dedication to making a tangible future impact “A certain aspiration is needed, and we need real impact over the next years for the sake of future generations. “

Over 25 years, RM Group AG, led by Roberto Grassi and Yohan Bräunling, highlights resilience and adaptability in recruitment. From contractor-focused practices to embracing diversity and sustainability, the company excels with client commitment and innovation. Yohan Bräunling’s leadership navigates market uncertainties, emphasizing collaboration. As a proudly Swiss-owned entity, RM Group’s enduring success stems from dynamic evolution, cultural values, and a forward-looking, globally oriented, and sustainable approach.