Executive search – ‘worst-case’ interview scenario?

Everyone gets nervous before an important meeting or interview. It doesn’t matter how much you may have prepared, there are some common intrusive thoughts that always manage to worm their way into your head the night before and cause you to think about possible escape routes should the worst happen. Through our executive search experience, we can help.

But worry not, you don’t need a getaway car parked around the corner to survive an awkward interview. There are tried and tested things that you can do to overcome these embarrassing moments. And who knows, if you flip the situation successfully it could work in your favour and become an example of how you have managed uncomfortable situations.

The person that you are meeting isn’t focused on you

If you notice that the other person is frantically typing on their laptop and hasn’t said in advanced that they may be taking notes or replying to a work email, then your brain may go into overdrive and wonder whether they are mind-numbingly  bored in your presence.

Read the situation and your audience, and if you’re still not confident that you’ve got their attention then politely asking questions to advance the conversation could resolve any worries that you may have. If they need to rearrange to a more appropriate time, then this gives them chance to do so

Being too early can be just as awkward as being too late

When travelling to an interview you can sometimes misjudge the traffic and end up an hour early…. It’s better than being late and although tempting, it might not be the time to show them how keen you are!

The chances are that whoever you are meeting is busy and won’t be sat waiting around for you an hour before (or after) your scheduled appointment, so if you know that you’re going to be too early go and grab a latte and steady your nerves. 15 minutes is plenty early enough to get there.

You forgot your presentation or interview materials

This problem can be easily resolved by planning properly. Try not to rely too heavily on paper materials, which can be misplaced or lost. Instead, ensure that you have an offline copy of your work ready and waiting on your laptop that you will be able to bring up regardless of the wifi situation.

And if your laptop dies, make sure that you’ve sent an email to yourself with all of the key documents on, so you can at least access them on your phone as a last resort. After your meeting, ask the person that you’ve been with if they would like you to email over a copy of any document that you’ve just used so they will be able to access them when reviewing your meeting.

Everybody has at least one awkward interview story, and how you deal with any embarrassment can say a lot about you and how successfully you manage situations. Also, a little bit of humour can go a long way, and we can all be united in our common awkwardness.

To have a chat about your executive search, contact me at carl@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Carl Hinett our Executive search of HR professional’s specialist here.
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Innovation culture…doable or black magic?

Innovation culture…doable or black magic?

We keep hearing it all the time…in order for shared services to be successful, they need to be continuously improving and innovating. But what is a culture of innovation? And how do you create one? Is it even possible?

A culture of innovation is when innovative ‘thinking’ becomes a cultural trait, second nature.

It is actively encouraged, and people live and breathe it from the bottom up.

It’s not just black magic, but in order to do this successfully, there are some key things to consider:

1 – Innovation should be encouraged across the entire workforce.

From the board to the cleaning staff, innovation should be encouraged from every employee of your business, with no exceptions.  We often think that ideas and innovations are created in brainstorming sessions. Make innovation a core responsibility of everybody’s roles and ensure it is reviewed frequently, don’t push it aside as an end of year objective.

2 – Empower your employees.

If you are going to set innovation as an expectation of your people, you need to properly equip them with the knowledge and tools to be able to do so. You also need to facilitate how people can share their thoughts and ideas in a positive and constructive way, to ensure they feel their voice is being heard and to make sure they know that no idea is a bad idea. There are a number of ways you can do this – either in 121s or group innovation sessions. Some businesses have suggestion boxes or an innovation section of their internal intranet.

3 – Take action.

There is always a risk that asking for innovation can lead to endless conversations with no real take away. The biggest impact that you can have on your culture is to take action. Now I’m not saying it is practical that every idea should be taken to prototyping/testing but, it is practical to show that all ideas are taken seriously and investigated, and giving a decision/outcome is critical to continually encourage people that their ideas are valued.

4 – It is ok to fail, as long as you learn!

Not every idea will be a success. Failure is inevitable. If things don’t fail, then the chances are you aren’t taking enough action on your innovation. Not every idea will be a success – and that’s ok!

The key here is to review the failure, figure out what went wrong, what could have been done differently and learn from it!

There are some organisations who do innovation really well. Amazon is a great example of this – where innovation has almost become a science to them. Everyone at Amazon is encouraged to submit improvement ideas through a simple template and are given sponsorship to try new ideas.

I would be really interested to hear how your company encourages innovation, as well as your opinion on any companies that do this really well.

For all things HR Shared Services, change and transformation and if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, email me on kate@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Kate Wass our HR Shared Services specialist here.

Why won’t top performing shared service professionals join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.  

10 ways HR must change today to be effective tomorrow

Changing HR

For this instalment of ‘Insiders Story’ Peter Cablis from HR consultancy firm Evolving HR, shared his thoughts with me on ways that HR can change to be more effective in the future.

Over the few years the seductive Ulrich Business Partnering and Shared Services model has become the dominant HR force in most business enterprises. Meanwhile, industry has gone through major shifts with up-sizing, down-sizing and right-sizing. Organisations now reside in a constant and rapid state of flux; when one change project ends another must begin. Change is the new normal.

‘Club class’ HR services

Throw into the mix the fact that executives who have become used to highly tailored products and services are demanding ‘club class’ treatment from HR too. On top of this, employees – who have been brought up in a society of instant gratification, limitless choice and cloud-based access to almost everything – now expect a far more gratifying HR service. They demand better engagement, relevant practices and elements of customisation. An apathetic, tired response is simply not an option.

HR must adapt or it will become irrelevant to its user base

Yet, HR in many organisations is buckling from the sheer volume of work, pace of change and the demands to respond ever quicker. Insular, lack of flexibility & innovation, and slow responding HR departments that apply ‘one size fits all’ are becoming increasingly outdated and irrelevant.

So where does this leave the future of HR. Can HR simply carry on doing what it’s doing, or is there a fundamental shift required in thinking and working practices? If HR doesn’t adapt it could become increasingly irrelevant to its user base.

Which way is up?

We’ve seen several different themes and models of HR delivery emerging across different sectors and organisations that are leading HR upwards out of the current disorientation:

  1. HR needs to remain strategic, but the strategy needs to be flexible, to quickly change to be in line with organisational and business unit specific changes.
  • HR still needs to deliver consistent high quality, cost-effective back office support, but with greater breadth of service.
  • HR needs to develop a reputation for providing invaluable, timely and highly actionable data driven insights to the business which enhance business decision-making.
  • Adding value by managing more of the outsourced suppliers to their organisations, to improve the quality and breadth of service, whilst reducing the cost of service.
  • A shift to cloud-based technology is important.
  • Delivery of a more customised service to different users across the organisation.
  • Cross functional, rapid-reaction taskforces made up from people from across the business, including HR. Suited to fast paced, constantly changing organisations.
  • Internal HR consulting model made up of experts adopting a consultative style to focus on specific business issues and provides professional advice. Best suited changing organisations with a lot of project work.
  • A decentralised HR model that provides services to autonomous businesses with very different needs. This would include decentralising BP’s and centre’s of excellence but also, in many cases, transactional work.
  • A smaller HR function, but one which still retains a shared service element, small corporate function with specialists and a small number of localised experts.

Thank you to Peter from Evolving HR for his thoughts on making HR more effective.

To discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.

Hiring an Interim Executive? You need to get it right! Discover the 8 step process you should follow, by downloading our free eBook here.

Shared services: should we go hybrid?

Shared services: should we go hybrid?

I get lots of questions about the difference between BPO and SSC, so I’ve put together a simplified answer to help you out. Could the hybrid model be the way to go?

When large organisations grow, relocate, merge, acquire, or even consolidate different entities, typically there are two options on how they manage their operational processes.

The most popular option is a Shared Service Centre (SSC), however more and more organisations are now exploring the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) model.

The difference between Shared Service Centre’s and Business Process Outsourcing is that an SSC is an internal function of an organisation, and a BPO is typically an outsourced provider based offshore, and an external solution.

Business process outsourcing

BPOs tend to offer greater productivity due to technology, process and advanced systems and AI. With labour costs in these locations offering a more cost-effective solution in the long run, however the initial set up of an outsourced model can be costly initially, but over time will see a ROI.

This can be setup quickly and effectively, however, as long as your process isn’t completely unique, as BPOs tend to offer a more ‘one size fits all’ model.

The most popular locations for a BPO is India, Philippines and Central-Eastern Europe and SSCs most popular locations such as Europe and USA. With lower labour costs, and huge talent pools, it is an effective and more cost-effective solution when done right. With a BPO, you wouldn’t need to hire, train and retain your staff, but simply move into this model, and become operational in a short period of time.

BPO offers organisations scalability and opportunity for growth, as most tend to offer a 10-20% cost reduction to an SSC model.

Whilst, outsourcing can be implemented more quickly, not all vendors can offer the same quality service as an SSC. For example, if the vendor is based in Eastern Europe or Asia, Language barriers could also affect the quality of the deliverables.

Shared service centres

The SSC model offers a more bespoke solution and tend to give a company the ability to run systems like an internal service provider, allowing it flexibility. Companies make efficiencies through process standardisation, technology improvements and centralisation of services.

The SSC model offers more control over decisions, enabling a better service to the customers, suppliers and internal users.

A Shared Service Centre can closely monitor the performance and quality of the work done, which gives more control over the service being offered, however, having to install and maintain a new infrastructure can be costly, let alone having to train the employees.

The hybrid model

The big one – the hybrid model – is when organisations may opt in for both solutions and use a combination of both. Combing different models to ensure you are working towards the organisation’s goals, with lower risk activities such as Cash Allocation, Accounts Payable Processing and Reconciliations tend to be offshored. There is less room for error with these tasks and involve more processing than communication.

Typically, their more administrative functions and processing work would be outsourced, and the more strategic responsibilities are kept in house. This has many benefits – you’re getting the best of both worlds and in house and outsourced teams are a partnership and therefore work together for better results.

It’s a new buzz in the industry, but could the hybrid model be the future?

If you would like to discuss further, email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

Why won’t top performing shared service professions join your business? And what to do about it. Download our free eBook here.