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12 Reasons why recruitment leaders need to think about what they are doing right now.

There is no doubt that these are very unchartered waters for recruitment leaders and recruiters across the globe and whilst the current situation we are facing creates immense challenges for many of us, it does also generate some unique opportunities to create more productive, more profitable and more sustainable recruitment businesses that are truly fit-for-purpose in tomorrow’s market.

Over the past few months, I have worked with literally hundreds of recruitment leaders, all currently navigating through a global crisis unlike anything anyone has experienced before. No one has a guaranteed, fail-safe, textbook plan to get through this and that is ok.

However, as everyone is trying to figure it all out, there are some clear common themes that I am seeing emerge from the thousands of conversations we have had these past few months that I have pulled together into a simple 12 point plan.

This is not a guarantee of success, of course, but a guide for recruitment leaders (and their employees) that I am convinced will help recruitment organisations in some way both survive and thrive these extraordinary times, and more importantly emerge as fitter, stronger and better businesses on the other side.

To set things up from the outset, you first need to…

Avoid the Sideshows

All that matters right now is survival. You simply have to be around at the end of all this, when the markets bounce back, to be able to fight another day.

This means absolute focus on that, first.

Understand what sits outside your circles of control right now (you can’t control the markets, you can’t control the macro covid19 situation, you can’t even to an extent accurately control revenue coming in to your business) but instead align your thinking to just the things you can control (costs going out of the business, where you invest your time and / resources, low-risk revenue generating opportunities) and those things that that will have the biggest impact on assuring your survival and your ability to thrive on the other side.

One recruitment business we work with have been running some phenomenal marketing campaigns over this time, being very noisy on social media and keeping their brand front of mind. That’s great.

But what they weren’t doing was selling. They were neglecting sales for marketing. They forget their Calls 2 Action. They weren’t driving a pipeline of new business. They hadn’t adapted their sales approach, so their old approach just felt out of place (and rightly so). It felt good, it kept them busy, but with no real results.

We changed their focus. We realigned sales with marketing and redesigned their selling process to ensure every interaction was output focused with clear measurable actions for the customer to follow up and now they are seeing genuine conversions. It just worked.

You can also control how you plan to…

Design your New Normal

There are too many people simply asking the wrong question right now – what will the new normal be after this? This wrong. The question we should all be asking is what do we want our new normal to be after this?

This is an extraordinary opportunity for us all to take the lessons we are currently learning about ourselves, about our businesses, about what we value and proactively construct a future that we want.

Don’t let paralysis set in, waiting / hoping to find out what tomorrow might look like, but go out instead and build the future you want right now.

As the lockdown has started ease ever so slightly, there seems to be a sudden rush back to the old normal, but why? Is that actually what we want?

I heard of a story the other day of a recruitment manager who had spent an entire weekend in his old office getting it ready for the mass return of his employees. Distancing arrows everywhere, signs on the doors, hand sanitisers on the desks, screens up and so on – he had worked tirelessly to get things ready and had done a great job. But when he announced this to the team on a video posted on social media, not a single one of them actually wanted to go back. They felt they were 10x more productive working from home, using commuting time to do more business and just getting more things done.

I am by no means saying that we should get back to normality as soon as possible, our businesses / our economy needs it, but does that normality have be modelled on the normality of before?

This leads nicely into the next point of the plan…

Look Way Back to See Way Forward

These past few months have been unlike not other. You can’t compare what we are going through to a typical downturn in a typical economic cycle. This is not typical.

This is an event-led downturn driven by something that is impacting people’s lives in very deep and personal ways.

From both a health and economics perspective, we can certainly look back and get some pointers from similar historical events that have occurred before but the world evolves at such a fast pace that comparing the current economical cycle with that of the Global Financial crisis of 2008 is just not a like for like comparison.

Politics and global trade relations have evolved in the last 10 years, social demographics have changed, technology has moved on significantly. Imagine all having to work from home using the technology and broadband capacity that we had even just 12 years ago!

What we can learn from history though are trends and more importantly how certain trends will have both quickened as well as aligned because of this, thus creating new markets, new needs, new opportunities for businesses.

  • Have you mapped out the emerging trends in your markets that came out of the last downturn?
  • What do these trends show you about how your market evolves in situations like this?

But now is really not the time to let your thinking get anchored in the past. Instead, we need to look forward 3 to 5 years at what the current trends are telling us about your markets tomorrow and then work your strategies back from that.

This future trend analysis will then help you to start building out how you will…

Create your Own Recovery

Business leaders in recruitment tend to be entrepreneurial, and entrepreneurs by nature tend to be optimistic. I am definitely an optimist, with a very heavy dose of realism, and personally cannot stand pessimism.

Not for once ignoring the terrible plight that many are facing right now, the reality of the matter is that for most people, we will get through this and good times will return. You don’t have to be an optimist to know that.

The bit that really separates the optimists and the pessimists, the part that prevents the realists from moving forward whilst the opportunists are picking up market share, all comes down to timing. When.

When will the recovery come? When will my markets come back? When will we start growing again?

The optimist in me, coupled with some very sensible data / insights from some of the best social economists out there, points towards a “V” shape downturn – the market drops off a cliff, as it has, and then fairly sharply bounces back again. At the time of me writing this, even the UK Govt are swaying towards that prediction.

Remember what we said above, this is an event led downturn – the recovery will be driven less by the traditional number analysis that the economists calculate and more by the social will of the people aching to get back out working, to get out of lockdown, to just get on.

However, what some leaders forget is that businesses do not have to necessarily follow the same trend as the markets. They will be influenced by that, of course, but a business can have its own “V” shaped bounce even if the market itself is on a “U” trajectory.

Look at it this way, the recruitment market will inevitably be smaller after this. There will be winners and losers, and some business simply / sadly won’t make it out the other side. The markets may contract / shrink and take longer to return to pre-covid19 levels (if at all) but with a smaller market, those recruitment companies still strongly trading have a greater market share opportunity with less competition to go up against.

So, move. Move faster than everyone else and decide what type of recovery you’re shooting for by developing your…

Outside In Strategy

You must look beyond the walls of your business to build your future strategy.

It is easy to become too inwards focused at times like these, when in reality (once you are on top of your business survival plan) you need to look at the bigger picture and more importantly at the wider supply chains within your target markets. If you don’t, you might end up walking head on into a load of challenges that will negatively impact your growth plans or indeed a bunch of opportunities that will make them fly.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What exactly is going on right now in your markets?
  • What parts of your target market will be decimated because of this, and similarly, which parts will grow?
  • Which companies are just about getting through this and which companies will be thriving? Why?
  • If those companies are thriving, which of their suppliers will also be doing well?
  • Which areas of the market will capitalise most on the ensuing upturn? Why?
  • If those companies start to do well, which of their suppliers further down the supply chain will also follow suit?

What are those supply chain trends telling you about where you should be focusing your sales and marketing resource, and also what products / services do you need to be developing right now that align to what your customers are going to want to buy (from you)?

We recently created a market map for a retail recruitment business, drawing out the future supply chain in retail and how that has and will be affected by all that is going on, helping them identify a number of brand new, high demand / high margin niche areas to target.

If market share is going to start increasing, we now need to maximise our return by doing some…

Bottom Up Planning

Without doubt, one of the clear trends that is coming out of all this, is the extent that many businesses have actually been running fairly inefficiently in the past.

Now, when our backs have been put against the wall, and we have been forced to literally cut out as much as we can from our businesses (and quickly), we have all managed to do it across most areas. Whilst in some cases quite hard to do emotionally, it has been relatively easy to start spotting areas of inefficiency, unprofitability, and wastage that have slowly creeped into our business over the years, especially when we were in the good times and business was booming.

What this period has made us all do (and we have had the time to do this), is to focus long and hard on cash generation and profit maximisation, perhaps more than we have ever done before. Turnover and GP is irrelevant if it doesn’t drop enough to the bottom line.

  • Where does the real profit in our businesses come from?
  • What drives EBIT and generates cash?
  • Which clients deliver the most contribution to the bottom line?
  • Which products and services that we sell create the most net yield?
  • Who, amongst our consultants, delivers the most ROI?
  • Do we have the right people, in the right jobs, doing the right things that generate profit?
  • What is the one thing we do above all else that really makes us money?

Over the past few weeks, my conversations with recruitment leaders has been firmly fixed on retraining and redeployment of people and re-engineering of business structures to, quite simply, create greater capability to generate greater profit margins.

We have just completely flipped a recruitment business (circa 40 consultants) that utilised a 360⁰ recruiter model to a hybrid 120⁰ / 120⁰ / 120⁰ model redeploying their consultants to be either recruiters, new business or account managers / penetrators – we are reforecasting the second half of the year with greater costs savings per head and increased job flow / conversion ratios accordingly.

This will of course impact everything within your business, from incentives and commissions to hiring plans and importantly culture. That is why a great recruitment leader will always put…

Purpose over Profit

How ridiculous is that! Profit should come before everything right? Wrong.

Profit is created by having products / services that your customers value and want (need) and a team of employees in your business who deliver an amazing user experience to get those products / services out to your customers efficiently. The whole process of profit generation falls down when one of those elements is missing.

Purpose drives the culture, that drives the behaviours, that drive the customer experience.

Deliver an incredible customer experience, backed up with a fantastic product / service and you will create both profit and growth. Focus too much on the profit and you will create a heartless business with limited commitment and a disengaged culture.

These past few months have been an incredible test of a company’s culture and whilst many organisations have stepped up and put their values and purpose at the heart of their strategy during this extraordinary time, many haven’t.

Our employees don’t just have financial concerns right now, they are also fearful for the health and wellbeing, they are being emotionally challenged, they have very real and personal worries, which is why this is so different from a typical economic downturn. The leaders in a recruitment business need to lead with far greater heart and demonstrate genuine empathy more than they have ever done before.

After this, we will all be remembered for what we did and didn’t do, which is why we should now…

Leave the Shutters Up

Never before have we had the most incredible opportunity to get as close to our customers as we have now.

We meet them in their lounges / bedrooms / sheds, our meetings are interrupted by their children and pets running in, we have to look them in the eyes and focus more intently on their words than ever before, we genuinely care about how they are, they genuinely care about us. The barriers between our clients as corporate people and our clients as just people have been removed and the shutters are no longer down. This changes everything about the business of business.

One of those recruitment trends that we have been watching pre-covid19, is the swing away from customer / supplier relationship and more towards true partnerships. Where recruiters are seen as a transformational business partner not as a transactional supplier of services. This has now been accelerated and creates huge opportunities for recruitment businesses to reposition themselves.

Look at what you offer your clients…

  • Is it easy to buy from you easy and use you?
  • Is it hard to get rid of you?
  • Have you an embedded solution that makes you sticky?
  • Do you have a line in your budgets for MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) and a matching strategy to deliver that?

Look at how you work with your clients…

  • Do you deliver a truly celebrity user experience to both clients and candidates?
  • Do they value what you do?
  • Do you get paid according to that value?
  • Is most of your business contingent (arm’s length, low trust relationships)?

Look at the output of your client relationships?

  • What is the typical length of a customer relationship?
  • What percentage of your existing customers’ total annual spend on “talent” do you have?
  • What is their intended spend across all agencies and direct hiring over the next 12 months?
  • How much of your new business is referred to you by existing customers?

If you can set your business up to reposition your offering more towards long-term, embedded partnerships and less towards contingent supply, then you can start to…

Feed the Machine

This is where marketing meets selling, and selling becomes a continuous part of your DNA, not an enforced KPI.

For years marketing has been kept independent from sales. It was about making us look good in print and online, about how much kudos you can get per social media post to feed your ego, about how much (often pointless) noise we can make above the competition. Now more than ever, people are online consuming content, seeking out ideas, watching brands and marketing has never been so important.

Sales on the other hand has always been about the phone, the meetings, the numbers game. It is equally as important as marketing, but when done badly can create huge wastage and inefficiency in a recruitment business (do we still think working towards the 80/20 principle makes sense?!) and negatively impact brand value (external) and consultants’ confidence (internal).

So both are critically important, but not in silo. These are not independent things but instead are two very joined up parts of your ability to create consistent sales pipelines – what we refer to as “the machine”.

All day, every day, the machine needs to be fired up and fed – not when we get time to do it (as per the 360⁰ vs 120⁰ example in Bottom to Top Planning above), but continuously. All day every day.

The machine also needs checking every day for performance improvements (squeezing better conversion ratios at every stage of the sales pipeline) and it requires an automated process to sit behind the human effort to ensure efficiency can be made to improve conversion ratios at each stage of the pipeline process.

Don’t forget to adjust your selling styles to fit the market and…

Be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

This is one of the most exciting evolutions of the recruitment sector that will come out of all this, I think.

In some parts of the sector, selling in recruitment has become as bland as it has become superfluously complex, which is why so many struggle to win good quality new business (exclusive, retained, high value, long term contracts) based on deep relationships and trusted partnerships.

  • We miss opportunities because we don’t explore deeply enough into the customers’ real challenges.
  • We try and sell products and services that aren’t applicable because we don’t understand their real needs.
  • We focus too much on short term, quick wins and less about building long term solutions.
  • We still talk about price and not value.
  • We sell the same “product” as everyone else keeping our competition always relevant

These are of course generalisations, but I am sure ring true for many if we honestly look back on what we were all doing pre-covid19.

Selling is not one dimensional, but nor should it be complicated.

It should be consultative, truly consultative, helping customers to understand their future needs, to challenge their perceptions of what is possible and working collaboratively with them to reengineer talent processes tot drive efficiencies and outputs that make a very real and tangible difference.

It should start with a blank page, a bunch of data and a load of questions – where it ends up is anyone’s guess, but it will more often than not end up far deeper and further down the line than traditional selling does. Let the conversation decide, let the problems be discussed, let the solutions flow.

We built one of these just before the lockdown with an SME recruitment business in the marketing space – literally a dual branded blank canvas that the recruiter literally took to the sales pitch and worked through with the HR team. 2.5 hours later the customer had in principal agreed a six figure exclusive contract when before they just had two perm roles to discuss!

It is about building win:win outcomes where both recruiter and customer achieve what they want and not more one than the other, because if you do that, I guarantee you will far more…

Enjoy the Journey

I’ll start this by going to back to the beginning – these are very unchartered waters for recruiters but even more so for recruitment leaders who are meant to know all the answers right now. Give yourself a pat on the back for what you have done and how you have responded so far, and more importantly give yourself a break.

Recruitment leaders have concerns about the economy, about families, about personal health as everyone does, but they also have to keep an eye on how the overall businesses are faring, about how they are faring as leaders, about the team, about just about everything! Emotionally, this is tough and our resilience is being tested.

But it doesn’t have to be.

The start of every new day is a new opportunity to drop in the next building block of our future. Throughout every day we have wins, however small, that we must celebrate with our teams. We also have challenges that ultimately we somehow overcome, that should also be celebrated.

The end of every day is an opportunity to celebrate another step closer to a new and better normality.

As an observer, I find the whole thing fascinating, watching how people are responding to all this, from those who have buried their heads and hope it will all just go away, to those who just want to ensure they…

Don’t Waste a Good Crisis

Winston Churchill said this in the mid-1940s, referring to the emerging US / Russia / UK alliance that would go on to become the United Nations and the opportunities that were coming out of the crisis that was the Second World War. And his words were as right then as they are today.

These are challenging times for sure.

The recruitment industry will change because of this. Recruitment businesses will change because of this. Recruiters themselves will change because of this. But if you want to, for the better.

This is rapid fire evolution.

Be an observer of everything right now – the good, the bad and the ugly, inside and outside of our sector – and look for the opportunities that change creates.

Don’t look at this time as being “difficult” and instead see it as being “different”.

Learn. Adapt. Compete.

  1. Avoid the Sideshows
  2. Design your New Normal
  3. Look Way Back to See Way Forward
  4. Create your Own Recovery
  5. Outside In Strategy
  6. Bottom Up Planning
  7. Purpose over Profit
  8. Leave the Shutters Up
  9. Feed the Machine
  10. Be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem
  11. Enjoy the Journey
  12. Don’t Waste a Good Crisis

The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity.

Since the covid19 lockdown really kicked in I have been absolutely fascinated, you could almost say obsessed, with one thing in particular over these last 9 weeks, and that is how people have responded to what is going on around them and more notably, what has driven their response.

Having never experienced the trifecta of a Brexit, global pandemic, downturn before, the majority of us are sort of making this up as we go… and I think on the whole most of us are doing a pretty good job of it, all things considering!

However, the bit I find truly fascinating right now is the link between people’s thought processes and the resulting realities we end up facing. There is no doubt in mind that a large part of the situation we currently find ourselves in socially, economically, even down to the actual number of cases / mortalities from Covid19 itself would have all been very different had people’s responses to all this had been different. Hindsight is always a beautiful thing, of course!

I am by no means calling into question here how anyone has reacted over this time.  I am not sure I really have a right to do this as my experience of the current situation will be wildly different from many others’ experiences and we all have our own, deeply personal journeys to go on right now.  This is not what this is about.

What this is about, and the question I think we all need to ask ourselves now more than ever, is to what extent are we aware of our reactions that are being driven by certain triggers that surround us?  In other words, do we realise how much our personal behaviours change because of the resultant effect of other people’s responses to a perhaps completely disparate situation?

We’re seeing this right now with the whole Dominic Cumnings situation and how this is currently playing out…

  • An event happens as it did with his trip to Durham (you may think what he did is right or wrong, or you may be indifferent).
  • The media comment (appropriately or inappropriately, you decide).
  • People respond to how the media respond (generally in one of two different ways).
  • People respond to how other people have responded to how the media commented (go with me on this!).
  • People change their behaviours accordingly (again, generally in one of two different ways).
  • A resultant situation occurs that will trigger a new reality (with new belief systems and new responses to future events).

The fact of the matter is, that with all that is going on around us, the way in which we respond to everything now will ultimately determine what each of our own personal outcomes will be coming out the other side of all this, from both a personal as well as a business perspective, and what our journeys will be like on the way.

I’ve been intrigued recently by the work of Ryan Holliday (check out his book The Obstacle is the Way) and how different people over history have responded to the different obstacles they have faced, and importantly the methods they have used to be able do that.

The process Holliday describes in his book can be broken down into three distinct parts, that I believe should make up our strategies moving forward to how we deal with the situations, obstacles, adversity we currently face.

  • Part One – Perception: What is your attitude towards the situation you are facing (remember, this will ultimately determine the outcome)?
  • Part Two – Action: taking each problematic situation, each obstacle, and turning them into an opportunity (this nicely ties in nicely with some of the Blue Ocean Strategy work we have been doing).
  • Part Three – Will: Building up levels of perseverance to help overcome any obstacle

What we have before us right now is not only the ultimate challenge for many of us, but also the ultimate opportunity, and how we respond to what is happening, how we respond to other people’s response to what is happening, will determine what our own personal outcomes will be from this.

Spend less time concerned about what other people are doing, how others are behaving, and more time understanding how you are responding so you don’t miss out on the huge opportunity that will naturally derive from situations like this.  As Holliday concludes in his book:

“The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this.”

Women in Recruitment and The Recruitment Network announce new online mentoring programme

Women in Recruitment, the APSCo initiative supported by a range of stakeholders in the recruitment sector, has partnered with The Recruitment Network to offer a free online mentoring programme specifically for members of both networks.

The programme is set against a backdrop of recent research by Women in Recruitment which shows that only 11% of recruitment firms offer dedicated female mentoring schemes and over 80% do not offer enhanced maternity benefits on order to aid retention.

The programme enables female mentees in the recruitment profession to access experienced mentors (male or female), equipping them with the skills, guidance, motivation, emotional support and a role model to help them climb the career ladder or develop their business.

Commenting on the launch, Ann Swain a member of the Executive Committee of Women in Recruitment and CEO of APSco said:

“This new scheme has been launched online initially so that we can facilitate mentoring throughout the COVID 19 crisis – but meetings can also take place face to face once circumstances allow.  The aim of Women in Recruitment has always been to give practical support in attracting, developing and retaining female talent as well as helping to establish the recruitment profession as a ‘beacon of excellence’ for gender equality, so that we are able to disseminate best practice throughout the wider workforce. This mentoring scheme will add real value to that aim and will be particularly beneficial at this time to those women currently on furlough.

 

Gordon Stoddart, Founding Director of The Recruitment Network said:

“Considering the growing fight for talent in our industry and the increased emphasis on diversity within our businesses, The Recruitment Network is committed to looking at how the recruitment industry currently attracts, retains, and treats their female talent. We want to identify any systemic issues currently in place, offering our members not only valuable insight but also practical initiatives and advice to make improvements which will help them to improve diversity. Partnering with Women in Recruitment to make this happen made absolute sense and we look forward to matching up female mentees with great mentors in the coming weeks.”

 

Find out more about the initiative by clicking here.

Proact, don’t React

I’ll be very honest, I wasn’t actually sure if the verb “proact” was a real word until this morning! I have heard about being proactive, of course and I have heard a lot over the last few weeks about being reactive and reacting, but right now, with all that is going on, if this word PROACT is not in your dictionary, then it absolutely should be.

Let’s put some perspective to all this.

For many recruitment businesses, for a huge part of the global staffing market, things are just tough – a period in time that very few have ever experienced before. This is not a typical economic downturn that we are facing right now, but an event led downturn, fused with high levels of emotions, fear, uncertainty and concern for the health and wellbeing of colleagues and loved ones.

Quite simply, this is extraordinary.

But extraordinary times require an extraordinary response from an industry that I have always classified as extraordinary and that is just what, in part, we are seeing.

In short, there two options here for recruitment businesses, and both options are needed if you want to navigate through this, survive and ultimately thrive.

Option One is a Defensive strategy, about putting in place immediate processes and structure today to secure the long term welfare of your current business tomorrow, and that includes the people you have working in that business. Not everyone needs to do this, but most do.

This is about planning for the worse with your budgeting and cashflow forecasting for the next 9 months, stockpiling as much cash as you can to weather any drop in business, taking back full control of your outgoings, reducing your workforce to those who can add the most direct value to your cash position right now using the government furlough lifeline, squeezing every business opportunity there is available today, setting up your structure to make these unusual working conditions for many to be “business as usual” for the short term and more (you can access a complete toolkit for free to do all this at www.trnworld.com).

None of this is different from what a recruitment business leader should be doing anyway in typical market conditions, but only exasperated by what is going on right now.

Option Two comes next, and you should be well on top of this already.

This is all about what you are doing today to both capitalise on the market when it bounces, but also to ensure that you are 3 or 4 steps ahead of everyone else (competitors and clients) to take a steal on the market when that bounce does come.

Based on some of the socioeconomic studies we have reviewed, I am fairly confident that we are getting to the lower peak of a V-shaped downturn right now (everyone has an opinion, so do make up your own mind on this), so a steep return to some semblance of business normality is not that far around the corner. That is good news for those who have managed their defensive strategies well (option one above) but even better news for those who are now gearing themselves up for the bounce already.

Your consultancy led conversations with customers should centre around “pre-order recruitment”, and developing retained embedded talent solutions today to ensure they are ahead of their competitors when the bunfight for talent kicks back off after the bounce.

Your BD and Account Penetration activity across your non-furloughed workforce should be at an all-time high, albeit adjusted for the current situation (let empathy, common sense and humanity lead your sales approach here).

Your focus should pivot towards current and future niche hotspots within your markets. Never before will a quick PESTLE analysis of your markets be so paramount to determine which areas will bunce back the quickest, the highest and with the greatest need for your products and services when we hit the other side of the “V”.

Your internal workforce planning should not only be focused on training them hard now whilst in furlough to have the skills they need for tomorrow (consultancy, sourcing, talent planning, strategy, social marketeers etc.) but also how quickly and ahead of the pack you can get your team off furlough and back in the game. We’re having some great tactical conversations with TRN members about different ways to increase billing headcount now to be +30 days ahead of their competition when the markets turn.

… and so it goes on.

I liken the offensive part of all this to playing a game of chess – you have to pre-plan what the next few moves are going to be even though you can’t guarantee what the opposition will do; you can only control what you can control and influence where you can and only you can determine how bold your next move will be.

At the end of the day, a crisis is defined as a time when difficult or important decisions must be made. We are currently in a crisis, an extraordinary crisis, that needs pragmatic thinking, controlled decision making, calculated defensive strategies and bold offensive plans.

Now is not the time to react to what is going on around us, but a time to take control, look forward and power our businesses through to the other side.

Now is the time to proact.

Find out more at www.trnworld.com – free to all during these extraordinary times.

Are you looking for opportunities where the starts aren’t?

I wanted to tell you very quickly about a cool story that I thought that has always sort of, stuck home with me over the years.

Many years ago I was involved with a program working with underprivileged children where we used to use scuba diving and sailing as a backdrop to help children unearth their real talent, their potential, and stretch their comforts zones.

One of the exercises we did with some kids that we worked with in Australia, is that we took them up to the Whitsunday Islands, and we took them to one of the islands to do some stargazing at night. We decided to take a professional stargazer with us to show us some of the key constellations and different sorts of star patterns out there. As we were looking, the stargazer was showing us all these different constellations and things, but then towards the end, he said, now, I want you to see if you can find the Platypus. 

So I spent about 15, 20 minutes with these kids looking up, just trying to see, where’s this Platypus, I couldn’t see this Platypus anywhere. Then what he said is, just stop for a second and stop looking at the stars, and start looking where the stars aren’t. 

That was interesting because then after about five minutes of looking where there weren’t any stars in the sort of, the dark patches or the patches where there weren’t any stars visible, you could slowly start seeing almost a perfect formation of the shape of a Duckbill Platypus.

What a wonderful analogy I think, to take with you as a child, as an adult, and in business, when it comes to things like business development, and penetrating markets because I think we spend a lot of time working with what we know, but actually what a wonderful way of looking at it, to try and find opportunities, unearth opportunities where the stars aren’t.

Now if you think about anything recruitment, I was making a list of some of the areas where I think, there’s some much opportunity here that we’re just missing, that we need to focus on because we’re too busy focusing on the stars and not necessarily where the stars aren’t.

We’re doing a lot of work recently around Blue Ocean Strategy, there is a document link here (Blue Ocean Strategy)  With a whole load of information about how to get Blue Ocean Strategy in your thinking and your business planning for 2020.

As recruitment leaders, we need to be thinking around things around penetrating our customer base.

Are we cross-selling?

Are we upselling as much as we could be?

Have you mapped out how much market share you have within each of your existing customers?

Have you identified what your customer lifetime value is? And what percentage of that do you currently have?

Have you identified how many of your products and different service lines, if you have multiple products, multiple service lines, are your existing customers buying?

What is your strategy, your innovation, your incentives within your business to make sure that people are cross-selling and upselling a lot more than potentially they are today?

I think that’s a massive opportunity that we’re missing.

Also, from outside of your existing customers, looking at your product mix, we talk a lot about the Boston Matrix, the types of products that you should have in your Matrix, but certainly thinking about the types of products you should be developing or taking to market, in tomorrow’s markets, especially in 2020.

You’ve done all that work to get that business, how do you get more out of them?

So I think it’s a wonderful analogy to think about as your looking for strategies for 2020.

It’s not just looking up at the stars and thinking where are the stars, but also looking where no one else is looking where the stars aren’t.

Flexible working – the question of choice is no longer a question of choice!

Look at any of the multitudes of data that has been produced around the subject, and the message is clear – the jobseeker of today, the jobseeker of tomorrow There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, having worked in the staffing and recruitment industry now for over 25 years, that the world of work has not only changed significantly but is also continuing to evolve at a breakneck speed… many businesses, however, just haven’t kept up or aren’t responding at the same pace and this is having a clearly detrimental impact on their ability to stay agile, competitive, profitable and ahead of the curve.

Simply put, jobseekers today, wants flexibility in terms of where they work, when they work and how they work.

Evolutions in technology, changing skill requirements, the live and uninterrupted access to behavioural norms through social media, global talent shortages and more, all play their part in ensuring that the ball falls perfectly back in the court of the jobseeker when it comes to what they want from an employer and how they want work to be.

The choice for employers is simple – either ignore the reality and hinder your growth potential as a business, or adapt to what is going on around us and develop alternatives ways of providing work solutions, in ways that we are being asked to provide.  And this is pertinent right across the board…

In my experience, there is definitely the perception that evolved, adapted worker solutions are only really applicable across senior skilled roles – the idea that we can only offer alternative ways of working to white collar, corporates at the higher end of the pay scale. That is just wrong.

The common thread across all workers today is flexibility – they want to have fluidity and agility in their work, whether they are a chef, a software developer, a mechanic or an banker – and if businesses aren’t offering that flexibility then they are risk of missing out on attracting the best talent in the market (which can stifle growth), of not retaining their workforce (which can squeeze profitability) and in many cases harbouring non-engaged workers (which can wipe out productivity).

I have always been a big fan of the concept around creating “non-customers” in constricted markets, something that many organisations are currently experiencing in what is becoming an ever more prevalent talent short market – the idea that if we have to fight against heavy competition in a market for a share of the pie then we are always limiting our scope and potential for growth.

Equally, I am convinced there is a huge amount of skilled talent out there that companies are just not getting anywhere near, simply because they are “non-candidates”.  In other words, these are jobseekers who simply would never work (even consider working) for your business because you don’t offer an attractive enough proposition that meets their needs around flexible working conditions.

So, what can the leader of a profitable and successful business do if you want to remain relevant, competitive and agile?

Training and developing new skilled workers is a great way to, in essence, create the talent you need, but that is both time consuming and costly and often a distracting, non-core function for many business owners – partner with experts who know how to deliver this efficiently and profitability as an outsourced function or recruit someone internally to focus 100% on this.

Instead, create a structure within your business that both enables and embraces flexible working by following these five simple tips:

  • Create flex with your flexibility – you don’t have to have one singular way of working for everyone. Let the flexible working model evolve around the people in your business so keep reviewing it and getting feedback from your workers as to what works for them.
  • Forecast your workforce planning – the agility a flexible workforce can create for your business is immense when it comes to managing peak periods, not over employing when you have quiet periods, dealing with last minute contingencies, so wherever you can, pre-plan and pre-empt when these peaks and troughs are likely to occur to maximise the benefits.
  • Promote what you do – if you are a forward-thinking business that has built an environment that is clearly attractive to today’s jobseekers, then make some real noise about it. Build social campaigns to get your message out there, get your compelling proposition in front of the people you want in your business, use a specialist partner to help take you and your business brand out to the jobseeker market.
  • Treat all your workers in the same way – even though you may end up with a blended workforce of perm, part time, gig workers and so on, consider them equals in how they are dealt with / your processes so you don’t lose the philosophy of being one, unified team (even if they are disparate).
  • Trust your instincts – if you are going to go for it, then go for it. Don’t go half-hearted into creating flexi working but instead trust your instincts, trust your workers (you may feel a little less in control – that is ok) and trust your processes / technical infrastructure to keep order.

Recruitment businesses today understand the jobseeker market better than anyone else – they spend all day in it, talking to the market and creating solutions that support the needs and challenges of their customer base.

Partnering with a specialist recruiter who understands your specific market and working with them to build an appropriate outsourced talent solution that is not just about finding talent but about creating a total talent solution – flexible, agile, progressive and fit for purpose for your growth plans – is something I would suggest all business explore in detail. With the right recruitment partner in place, you can literally transform your potential and remove one of the biggest barriers to growth.

For any business owner that wants to attract and retain the best talent in the market, who wants to enable the growth of their business, who wants to increase profits, then the question of choice is no longer a question of choice – it is business critical.

3 Tips to Engage Potential Candidates with Elliott Manning

When Elliott Manning Managing Director of Kayman Recruitment visited TRN HQ we asked him for his top tips when it comes to engaging potential candidates, especially for recruitment business leaders.

 

With candidate engagement being a massive push for businesses now it’s imperative we do this right and engage the right people to be able to build their teams. Demand for recruiters is through the roof at the moment, perhaps now more than ever. 

 

Let’s hear from Elliott and his tips to get on top of candidate engagement.

 

Firstly, Social Media

 

Social media is huge at the minute. Linkedin is growing to the point where it’s one of the biggest social media networks and has a lot of pull for professionals looking to grow their business networks.

 

The market itself is an interesting one. Now it’s all millennial-based, it’s all digital age. So we’ve got to try and keep up with that. And over the last, even, ten years of me being in recruitment, it’s changed dramatically to the point where we’re not active as much on job boards. We’re trying to now sort of approach the market more on a social media basis where we’re attracting talent, you know, through that route.

 

So we make a lot of noise on LinkedIn predominantly. Making a lot of noise on social media for us is attracting a lot of attention.

 

 That attention, we try and convert it into people that are interested in coming to work for Kayman, that know about Kayman, that know about us as a business, that are aware of us through different things that we’ve interacted with them on social media. Predominantly videos, general market-relevant information, what’s going on out there, statistical stuff, blogs.

 

We’re pushing it out to the industry as well as utilising things like events. What we’ve actually noticed is while utilising social media, is rather than us talking about businesses as a whole, which as you know every business will represent themselves as the best company and the number one to work for. We’re trying to sort of be a bit more specific. You’ll know as a recruiter, they are approached all day everyday by different businesses.

 

So for them, it’s more about getting to the point and providing value to them, what can they be expecting from your business, what are the benefits and incentives? What’s the business culture like? If they already know this because they’ve seen it on their social media feed they’ll be much more likely to engage with your approach.

 

As I said, if they’re a good recruiter, they could be getting approached daily from different recruitment companies, that are all similar in size, offering the same incentives and commissions. But where is the hook? With this, you need to be a lot more specific about why they should be coming to work for you. Which leads me on nicely to point number 2…

 

Marketing collateral, 

 

It’s important to have something to send out to potential candidates, even if it’s just a 1 page document, a 1 page PDF that has all the companies benefits and incentives, laid out nicely so they can either download it from your LinkedIn page, or if you’re approaching them it can be sent with your opening message. It can also be worth including links to videos around your incentives and team holidays if you have any.

 

This saves them a lot of extra work, rather than having to go away and read up about you they have all the headline information available to them as and when they want to read it. When we send out for example confirmations from the clients we work with I encourage them to give us marketing information to send on to the clients. We find that when this is an option we get a much better response than if we’re just directing them to a website. This information is also great for the candidate as they can use it for preparation when they come in to interview.

 

Point number 3. Reputation.

 

This is such an important thing for businesses to get right, having a great employer brand is for me the number one thing we look for when working with recruitment businesses. These are the questions you should be asking yourself as an outsider looking in:

 

What’s your reputation like?

 

What’s your retention like?

 

Are you an award-winning business? if so, in what, where, why?

 

Are you putting this out to the market? Are people aware of you? How successful you are? There’s a recruitment agency that are based in the city and they are pushing out all their awards nonstop. They’re entering as many awards as they can, and fair play to them, they’re winning. They’re doing great and it just shows there is so much more about them as a business and their reputation is second to none. Then if you look at the staff who work there, there’s so much more longevity to the business, everyone seems really happy, they have a great team ethos and that’s a massive thing for a potential new employee to see.

 

One last piece off advice from a reputational point of view is no matter who interviews with you, whether you’re going to hire them or not always leave them with something good to say when they leave. Tell them about the business, about the plans for the future. So that whether they like you or not (or vice-versa) you can give them something positive to say if your business ever comes up in conversation and that conversation can be a positive one.

I hope this gives you something to think about when it comes to attracting candidates, if you have any question or want to get in touch regarding any positions then please connect with me on LinkedIn or visit kaymanrecruitment.com

Less Portal, More Personal

So over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working on a number of tender documents for a number of The Recruitment Network members, I’ve been helping them put together their proposition to send through to different organizations, to win their business.

 

Something I’ve been amazed about is how impersonal these have been. I find it incredible

in today’s day and age that businesses are still trying to develop relationships with suppliers and customers or companies are trying to develop relationships with recruitment companies, based on tick boxes on documents, as opposed to really getting to understand how a partnership could be formed.

 

Obviously, we’ve written these proposals, and we’re going to win a couple of them, which is great news, and they were obviously worth quite valuable sums of money. So we’ll carry on doing that and we’ll carry on helping our members win proposals, public sector, private sector, etc.

 

But I do think it’s really important as recruitment organizations that we spend more time with our customers trying to build up the personal relationship side of what we’re doing.

 

I’m still fearful that recruiters spend a little bit too much time hiding behind emails, hiding behind InMails, almost delivering a bit of a portal-driven service, in essence, because sometimes it’s easier to do that, sometimes maybe we’re a little bit lazy, or maybe you don’t even have the time to do it.

 

Whatever the reason is, I think it’s happening more and more at the moment. I can’t help thinking that whilst technology is there to make us more agile in how we do stuff and I certainly get that and I certainly embrace that. I do think recruiters need to get out and spend more time in front of customers to develop proper relationships, to be able to tender and pitch for business

based on building a partnership proposition that is fit for purpose and best in class and best practice for both parties, not something that just ticks a number of boxes on a tender application.

 

So, I think that a lot of this is down to us as recruiters to spend more time developing minimum standards and targets and objectives based around what I’ll refer to as touch time with customers.

 

So, I don’t know, in your business, how much time you’re spending as a recruiter, how much time you’re spending in front of your customers, talking to your customers, getting to know them properly, but if you’re not doing enough of it, then I suggest it’s something that you need to think about.

 

Otherwise more and more we’re going to end up being in a very portal-driven relationship, which based on this tender, 60% of the weighting was based purely on the price, as opposed to the quality of the delivery or the quality of the relationship.

 

That, to me, is quite scary and quite frightening. Certainly, a question mark whether you want to go for a business like that or a partnership like that, but more importantly, I think we need to try and help our customers move away from that mentality as well.

 

It’s up to us as the recruiters to become more personal and less portal.

Goal Setting 2020: Ships in a harbour are safe…

Where has the year gone?!

 

With just 9 weeks to go until the end of 2019, recruitment business leaders should be focusing on 3 things:

 

Ensuring the year finishes on an absolute high –

 

There is still time to make 2019 your best year yet – a big chunk of the work / effort you and your teams have put in these past 43 weeks is still yet to be realised, so close off October, then rally the team together and get everyone to commit to the next two months.

 

Make everyone pledge to what they will contribute to the Big end of year Push – a nine week sprint to the end of 2019 – no excuses of distractions (aka the Christmas parties!).

 

We’ve just posted all of ours on the walls in our office, so everyone is accountable for what they have to do, no hiding.

 

Celebrating the successes, and the failures –

As the year starts to draw to a close, it is the perfect time to reflect back and celebrate your W3 (what has gone well in 2019, what hasn’t gone so well, and what will we do differently in 2020?).

 

If you’re planning an end of year awards, then use the good news stories to remind people on all the good things they have done (back office to front office) and use the bad news stories and learning points to build on.

 

This needs to start happening now, as the data and insights this gives us, enables us to properly…

 

Set Stretch Goals, that everyone wants to achieve –

 

Well ahead of the end of the year, your 2020 goals need to be defined, agreed, signed off and shared.

 

Everyone in the business should be doing this from operations, to leadership, to recruiters, to BD, to marketing – this is not just a Directors’ thing behind the closed doors of the Boardroom.

 

In recruitment, your 2020 year starts in November 2019, as a two-month lead time keeps the cycle of BD and talent pooling ahead of schedule, so give your people a simple goal setting template (ask me if you need one to use as a template) to complete in their own time and present that back to the management team to mutually sign off in the next couple of weeks so they can start working towards them already, well ahead before the new year kicks off on Jan 2nd.

 

The key here is to make sure the goals that are agreed for 2020 are in the stretch zones, not the comfort or panic zones.

 

If the goals are genuinely unrealistic, that puts people in a Panic Zone which in turn creates negativity, fear and actually shrinks the size of someone’s original comfort zone.

 

Similarly, staying in a comfort zone does not create growth, learning or even aspiration.  It is safe and boring, and that is not what Goal Setting is about. Never forget, “a ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”.

 

So, what are your goals for 2020?  How far will your stretch yourself, your business to make next year the best year yet in your business?  Now is the time to decide…

Being Positively Courageous.

With this Autumn Huddles theme being positively courageous I thought it would be best to look at some traits that make us courageous, and what sets those who are courageous apart from the rest.

1 – Embrace vulnerability – if you live a fear-based life you’re less likely to have little or no confidence if you feel afraid of others seeing who you are, open up and be more vulnerable.

2 – Admit you have fears – Admitting your fears and identifying what you’re truly afraid of gives you the information you need to overcome them.

3 – Face your fears – Exposing yourself to what you fear is the best way to overcome it, scared of spiders? Go and handle one and see how you feel after.

4 – Think positively – Sure difficult times will come, but it’s best to overcome these by thinking positively.

5 – Reduce your stress – Easier said than done I’m sure, but sometimes you experience fear due to being exhausted, sleep, good food and exercise certainly help reduce stress.

6 – Demonstrate courage – Take time to help people who are in uncomfortable situations, instead of ignoring people in distress, help.

7 – Know failure but press forward – If you fail, learn from it, keep moving forward.

8 – Cope with risk and uncertainty – Conquer fears by learning to deal with life’s uncertainties. If you fear to lose your clients, or employees, figure out what it’ll take to keep them.

9 – Continue to learn – Grow, learn and improve. Take all opportunities to learn new skills. Read books, consume podcasts and videos, the more you know the more you can grow.

10 – Accept your challenges – Stay the course, even the greatest plans can fail, the best option is to have a plan b, c, d and e to make sure you can get through the challenges that can come.

We shouldn’t let fear drive decisions, we shouldn’t let fear have control, the answer is to be positively courageous!

To what extent is human failure – at any level – behind the successes (or failures) we see in the world of recruitment

‘I’ve lost 8 colleagues – every one through human failure’

When someone (Mandy Hickson sharing her story at the Recruitment Network Huddle) tells you 8 colleagues have lost their lives during the course of her fighter pilot career and every loss was a result of human failure rather than system or mechanical failure, it gets you thinking about the equivalent root cause of business failure/success (NB I am certainly not comparing the significance of lost lives to failing/succeeding at business. What’s interesting is potential impact of systems and technology on recruitment agency success or failure) To what extent is human failure – at any level – behind the successes (or failures) we see in the world of recruitment and how influential, particularly as AI evolves, is the choice and use of systems and technology we adopt? Is the proportionate human vs systems impact shifting?

It’s clear to me that it’s our ability, as business leaders, to make the right decision and effectively implement those decisions that will always have a disproportionate impact on the success or failure of our own ‘mission’.  The systems, those that exist already and those that are emerging, can make us smarter, more effective and efficient, enable better candidate and client experiences, but recruitment’s still a people and relationship business and will remain so albeit with a human/tech blend behind the service proposition

How we source, engage and work with candidates is a case in point. At The Recruitment Network’s recent quarterly Huddle at the Jumeriah Carlton Tower, 160 recruitment business leaders gathered to debate, challenge and share best practice with a focus on the candidate – how to find them, engage them and deliver consistently excellent candidate experiences

Disruptive Sourcing and Candidate engagement

2 of the industry’s leading ‘sourcerers’ – Hung Lee and Mark Lundgren – joined the event and shared their observations. We polled the audience and 54% shared that not finding enough candidates was their biggest business challenge. In a recent survey of 700 recruiters interviewed, nearly 500 – in house recruiters, hiring managers and recruitment agencies – said they were candidate short.

Hung and Mark had plenty to say about how to overcome the sourcing challenges. What was clear from their research and surveys carried out (by LinkedIn and Randstad among others) was that we agree there are not enough candidates, yet we are all fishing from the same pool, LinkedIn, where it’s difficult to differentiate. We’re all doing more or less the same thing. It’s shared data and everyone is using it.  If you are fishing in the same pond as everyone else, you’d better be doing something special. There is too much competition and it’s too busy so candidates are not looking on LinkedIn as much.

So there’s an overreliance on LinkedIn, what’s the solution and what can recruiters be doing differently?  The solution Hung and Mark presented to The Recruitment Network membership was to better use the one unique thing that we all have: our internal data. This is data and intelligence that arguably on-one else has.

The first 15 years of this millennium was the ‘wild west’ of data: not much control, with people nicking, sharing and buying data. Anybody could capture and use your data with no legal barriers. That’s changed – it’s no longer owned by businesses but is the property of the user (hence why Facebook are currently looking to protect that data). Data is about to become very expensive (and precious – you’ll have heard of the data is the new oil concept – so we need to think about what we currently have and what we do with it.

Hung and Mark argued for a different mindset and that CRMs are not used in the right way. Currently CRM’s are used as an operational tool to capture the data, as records to access when we have a job to fill, rather than an opportunity to create communities.  But changing anyone’s mindset and habits is hard. Why is that? Well for starters, recruiters are time poor, so don’t really typically speak to candidates unless we have a job for them. Recruiters work long hours and often work evenings and weekends already so it’s about bosses recognising the reality of the evolving candidate market and enabling an environment where recruiters can and want to – buy in to this is critical – work to evolve the unused database.

Can systems and technology make a difference? Of course they can:

  • CRMs are evolving
  • Products like Candidate ID monitors and tracks social activity to rank candidates on how likely they are to look for a job
  • Chatbots capture candidate interaction and notify the recruiter that interest has been shown

Despite the systems and tech evolution, we still need to evolve the classic 360 model. The strategy of hiring more 360 consultants to make more money doesn’t create the levels of candidate engagement or community we need. 360 recruiters do too much (which is why we are not using all of the data we have) you’re a BDM, a salesperson, a researcher, candidate manager, deal closer etc. That’s a lot of work as it’s a full cycle job and consultants can be a jack of all trades, master of none.

So what else is stopping us using our unique data to create better more relevant communities? The view from the membership was that:

  • No-one is actually looking at the data with the daily pressures
  • Sales people are externally facing but data analysis an internally facing role
  • It’s labour intensive (which is where tech can help)
  • It’s a slower ROI
  • Lack of confidence regarding what the content candidates really want
  • The database is significant and diverse – creating the shape and structure to use it effectively

Hung and Mark pushed TRN members to embrace an Ecosystem Model – find a niche and create a community whereas a recruiter you can be at the very heart of it. Nurture the relationships within the ecosystem to keep the candidate pipeline active. Think about how we structure the company and have conversations earlier with our candidate base. Jobs are episodic. Highly skilled people want information about careers, personal development and to better themselves. That’s what we all want – to improve own knowledge and better ourselves, our teams and our business. (which as Hung pointed out is exactly what we have created at The Recruitment Network)

Sometimes the candidate engagement should be as simple as asking them, checking in every 6 months – ‘you were applying for a job last year and reach out’ – talking about career rather than a job.  Become the agency that candidates come to when they have had a bad day because they trust you and you ‘get them’. Candidates are sceptical of recruitment consultants often believing they, the candidates, are a product to be sold. The intent needs to seem different, with candidates getting perceived long-term value or interest. Asking them questions, possibly linking the responses to a survey. Having different persona types on the database so you can split candidates out as they will all want different things, then writing content for each persona. For example, with in house developers, asking and writing about the struggles they face becomes content enabling the targeting of other developer candidates. Be open and ask candidates which community they would like to be a part of (e.g. construction but in the leadership pool).

Segmentation is important. It requires work but it is getting easier due to new tech options. Even without new technologies, there are other Mark Lundgrens – people who ‘geek’ out on data and enjoy identifying different persona, creating communities and bespoke approaches. There are recruitment businesses who are taking the sales pitch out of the mix by working hard to build the trusted relationship. This skill and expertise will become core and critical to sourcing.

That’s a mindset and strategy which all comes from the leadership. To what extent do we collectively buy into this concept of personas and community building. It starts with the mindset, then we need a team that is enabled – confident, trained and with time to do it – and the technology. TRN members were presented with their gift for the day ‘80 Sourcing Hacks’ – described a ‘brilliant’ by Hung Lee – shared a plethora of emerging tools and tactics.

 

So not only using LinkedIn as it can be used, but also understand the blend and combination of tools (ie  Meetup + Google + Amazing Hiring) that can transform how effective we are at hiring. As ever with Hung, you realise the tools and numerous and evolving all the time and you really need to know your stuff and equip your consultants and resourcers with the confidence and know to embrace it. (Start with following Hung Lee’s Recruiting Brainfood – brilliant)

 

Katrina Collier, author and guru on candidate engagement and candidate experience expert Nicola Sullivan joined the Huddle and shared their experience of engaging candidates and standing out rather than getting lost in the crowd. They shared the research and psychology of candidate management as well as a raft of techniques to make the most of the tech and systems we all use on a daily basis.

 

The lessons shared confirmed Jung and Mark’s principle that while there are some great systems to embrace which can enhance the candidate journey, it’s the buy-in to the right philosophy which is so often missing. If our consultants haven’t recognised that building trust, inspiring confidence, being seen as a career partner and a community influencer is where the art of recruitment is at, they won’t embrace it.  That comes from the leaders in the business and we need to invest in the training, create the environment, educate the team to understand what best practice looks like. 45% of what we do is habit and the common sourcing and candidate engagement practice – habits of the last 5 years – are not going to work moving forward.

 

Katrina stressed that engaging candidates required re-defining our online presence and personal brand, evolving our techniques for interacting with candidates (let’s move on from ‘urgent vacancy’, changing the language we use in our communications (‘you’ not ‘I’ etc). The psychology of the candidate engagement also needs to be understood – the fears they have, the research they will do, the support they want, the reputational damage they can cause if frustrated.   Every action has a consequence and Katrina shared how to build an online presence – from your profile picture to your Google search results via Instagram. Share your passions, your testimonials, your expertise and how you treat people

 

TRN Member Highfield Professional Solutions is a great example of a recruitment agency success story who has worked hard to  get the ‘people’ bit of running a great recruitment agency right – great people, skilled and really engaged in the business – and then making sure they use tech right to create efficiency. They have successfully embraced and invested in appropriate systems and technologies to maximise productivity and effectiveness. Equally important, and co founder Liam Thomas shared his big 3 non-negotiable principles for building his business – everyone has to embrace learning – and he’s convinced this has played a significant part in successfully building the business (they now employ 40+  and are enjoying 68% GP growth last year). That learning includes embracing best practice sourcing.

 

Members walked away with really practical strategies and tactics to implement in the business. It was a powerful day involving TRN members being challenged and stimulated and accessing ideas all recruitment business leaders should be on top of, but also some critical life lessons from  inspirations such as Miles-Hilton Barber, who’ve experienced more than most of will ever do, and had some crazy adventures is possible. So in Miles words, Dream it. Believe it. Do it.

 

Let us know if you’d like to get involved with The Recruitment Network – the summer retreat is in July – contact us via ed@therecruitmentnetwork.com

Tax Yourself & Invest in Your Business

It’s a personal habit of mine to spend some quality and regular time listening to podcasts and webinars, picking up new ideas and refreshing old thinking.  I am a big fan of personal development and believe you can never stop learning.

Every now and then, you hear little nuggets that just stick in the back of your mind and prevent you from sleeping – I often find myself in the middle of the night leaning over to the side of my bed, grabbing my notebook and pen, and jotting a nugget or two down (it is what I refer to as “positive parking”!) so I can a.) get back to sleep again and b.) remember the nugget in the morning.

I certainly suggest doing some positive parking of your thoughts whenever you can…

Equip Your Middle Management Team to Become True Leaders

The Recruitment Trailblazers programme takes them on a journey to build them up into an individual that has both the confidence and ability to understand what is expected, knows what is involved and takes responsibility for improving personal and team performance.

Last night, I was googling some ideas around content marketing and stumbled across Gary Vaynerchuk (the Belarusian / American entrepreneur and digital marketing guru) whom I have listened to in the past but have never really pursued in earnest until now.

Before I knew it, I was on trundling along on Gary Vee’s bus into a never-ending world of videos covering every stop from building value in your marketing proposition, to building value in your personal wealth – he clearly has a lot to say about a lot of things and to be honest, a lot of it made a huge amount of sense.

The intrigue around the stop entitled to “Key To Financial Freedom” was just too strong, and so I just had to drop in to see what this was all about (I’m convinced that hard work, passion and dedication are the keys, but let’s see what I have been missing out on all these years)!

I was soon parachuted into a lively, 10 minute conversation / interview / love-in between Vaynerchuck and another thought leader that to be very honest, until now, I have never really followed or paid huge attention to (again, I think this may now change), Tony Robbins the renowned American author and life coach.

They were midway discussing investments in bear markets and their thoughts and ideas around that.  To be fair, whilst not what I was originally after, it was an interesting 10 minutes and with their candid and very unique styles, was entertaining enough to definitely make it a worthwhile use of my time and get the creative juices flowing.

However, Tony Robbins dropped in one of those nuggets which really got me thinking, not so much about investments, but about business and more importantly around how we free up time to focus on what really matters in business.

They were discussing the challenges low-income employees and business owners have around being able to afford and allocate cash into investments and in particular bear markets.  When they are just earning the minimum amount to survive, how could they possibly give us some of their much-needed earnings and invest them, especially when markets are on the decline?

Tony (is it appropriate to be on first name terms with him at such an early stage to our relationship?) used a phrase “tax yourself” which really struck a chord.

He suggested that if the Government suddenly stuck a brand new tax on you or your business, you would spend a while shouting and screaming about it, complain to a whole bunch of people, and then ultimately have to just get on and manage… and often we do just that.  We manage and we manage fine.

With that in mind, Tony (new best friend) suggests that if you want to create financial freedom and invest, then you should basically tax yourself each month in the same way and reallocate that money into the markets.

I’m sure the Government would never do that to us, but if we move away from the financials and replace the monetary tax with “time”, then conceptually it is exactly the same.

If someone, in essence, taxed you 10% of your time (sounds like many a meeting I have sat through over my years) you may well shout, scream, complain but you would still keep moving forward and you would still get on with what needed to be done.

The habit would change and you would manage.

Now imagine that 10% time tax wasn’t taken away from you, but instead given back to you to now invest in the one thing that would have the biggest ROI in your business.  What would you do with that time?

For some, this may be obvious and not even a nugget and I am sure they will let me know!).  But I can’t help feeling that we all have 10% time/focus in our days that we could, from now on, tax ourselves on and reallocate to something more worthwhile.  I have already worked on mine since and the taxation has started to kick in.

… and, hey, you never know, this must just be that key to financial freedom they were on about!

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