How HR systems have been key in helping people through the pandemic

From an HR perspective, there has never been a stronger case for investing in technology solutions to support employees and business operations.

HR really has been at the forefront of the pandemic helping guide people through the challenges faced due to Covid and remote working and HR systems have been key.


survey by XpertHR has given some key stats on HR technology through the pandemic:

  • 85% of organisations have a formal HR technology strategy in place, or plan to introduce one over the coming 12 months.
  • 9 in 10 deployed some form of technology to support HR activities.
  • 12% of organisations said they currently do not use any HR technology, with the most common barrier being insufficient resources.

In most organisations surveyed, the HR technology strategy was part of a wider HR strategy, although 1 in 10 said they had a standalone strategy for technology.

Just over a quarter plan to introduce an HR systems and technology strategy over the coming 12 months. Given the conversations I have been having recently I can see this increasing significantly.


Reasons for investing in technology:

  • To increase automation of HR services (81%)
  • To enable employees to access HR via self-service (66.9%)
  • To enable data-driven decision making (66%)
  • To integrate disparate sources of people data (64.6%)

When asked how HR technology use had changed over the past 12 months, HR professionals said it had been deployed to enable the rapid shift to remote working. This has helping to keep employees engaged and connected, and recording details of payroll changes especially with regards to furloughed employees.

Technology has also been vital in supporting ‘virtual’ processes such as recruitment and onboarding.


Moving forward, as companies rethink the value of their existing operating models this trend is only going to increase.

James Cumming is our MD and leads our Interim Transformation practice. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.

If you would like to find out more about re:find and how we can support you and your business, then please get in touch.

Your journey to a new HR role

If you’re starting a journey to a new HR role, (or any other role!) then there are lots of things to think about.

We want to break the process down into manageable chunks, so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. So, over the next few weeks, we will be updating this page with all the things you need to consider when starting that journey to a new role.

Your personal profile

First things first – your personal profile needs to show you in the right way, your skills and experience as well as your personality. LinkedIn is the number 1 tool recruiters use, and prospective employers are likely to look at your profile, so it’s important you get your LinkedIn profile right and utilise it in your job search.

Here you can not only share your experience and skills but engage with your network and raise your personal profile.

How you can achieve an All-Star profile on LinkedIn:

  • Make sure you have a professional photo – forward-facing, clear background, smiling.
  • Headline – utilise all characters to tell people what it is that you do.
  • Summary – here is your chance to sell yourself (more on this later).
  • Add your location – so you’ll be found in searches for roles in your area.
  • Experience – list your relevant experience, with main achievements.
  • Skills – pick your most relevant skills to showcase.

Here are top tips for successful job searching on LinkedIn from Ellie Rich-Poole – the recruitment coach.

It’s worth checking your settings on LinkedIn to select what is shared and what people see. If you have any other social media accounts, it’s probably a good idea to check the privacy settings on there too.


Your CV is the other part of your personal profile which is crucial to your job search. It’s often the first thing a potential employer sees of you, so you need to make sure you get it right.

Things you can think about before writing or updating your CV include – your biggest achievements, why they should employ you, what you can bring to their company and what desirable skills you have.

  • Demonstrate your skills and experience – commercial success, problem resolution and achievements.
  • Keep it simple – your font and layout are important, simple works best.
  • Don’t be generic –
  • Check and check again for mistakes – anything from spelling and grammar, incorrect contact details or employment dates that don’t add up. It doesn’t give a great impression.
  • Keep it up to date – you should regularly review your CV, so it’s not outdated and make it specific to the roles you’re applying to.

Here are tips on how you can stand out from the crowd with a commercial and impactful CV.


Your summary or personal statement sits at the top of your LinkedIn profile and your CV. This should not be longer than a couple of paragraphs, succinctly showing off your strengths and aspirations. It’s important you keep to the point, market yourself well and reflect the job specification in your statement. Don’t overuse buzz words, waffle or mix the grammatical person – use either first person or third person, but not both!

Transferable skills

Don’t forget that some skills can be applied to any role or company – portable skills could have come from your current role or a past role, educational background or from hobbies or voluntary work. They might help in roles even if it is not obvious at first that they are directly relevant. Having examples of the transferable skills you’ve developed, can help to show you are right for the job.

Here are some examples of transferable skills:

Leadershipstrong interpersonal skills and the ability to inspire others.

Analytical thinking – or problem-solving skills – are desired by businesses, to help solve challenges and problems within the business.

Communication – good communication skills are so important in all roles, as they contribute to smooth operations. These skills include verbal communication, written communication, listening skills, presenting, and negotiating.

Technical skills – it is important to keep up to date with technological advances, so you have at least a basic knowledge of computer systems in a digitally evolving world.

Teamwork – being strong in collaboration, relationship building, communication, motivating, problem-solving and conflict resolution are all key skills to have.

Management – this doesn’t only cover people management, but time management, project management, organisation skills and budgeting too.

All of these transferable skills are important and desired by businesses, so don’t let these be forgotten in your job search planning. Sometimes organisations will use psychometric profile testing in the process to check personality type as well as skills and ability and will measure potential as opposed to just experience.


Networking

Networking can be key in finding that next role, you can get a lot out of networking, whether that’s through online profiles, talking to your networking, reaching out to a wider network or attending networking events.

These points are important to bear in mind before you start networking:

  • Know what you are looking for in terms of the role, the company and the culture. Have an idea of the things that are non-negotiable and the things that
  • Use your existing network  – think about who you already know or have worked with.
  • Create profiles and keep them updated to reach a wider audience.
  • It’s always good to ask for feedback, to check you’re coming across how you want to and so you know if there are areas you can improve on.
  • Get out (or online!) to networking events.

If you find networking intimidating, you don’t need to – here are tips on how to navigate them effectively.

You can gain a wide range of things including:

  • Grow your self-confidence
  • Build long lasting relationships
  • Sharing ideas and creativity
  • Find new opportunites

There are all different kinds of networking events, so find one that suits you! We run a breakfast event – in person and online – which is informal and fun. You can find more info here.

It is worth considering setting up a profile on some of the sites below, with your up-to-date CV, plus any other important info, to broaden your network, so recruiters have a higher chance of finding you.

Total Jobs

CV-library

Jobsite

LinkedIn


Interview tips

Once you make it to the interview stage – well done, it takes some work to get here. Now make sure you do the right preparation work and smash your interview.


  • Make sure you do your research – get to know the business, the role and be prepared to answer questions on both.
  • Dress to impress – find out what their culture is and what is deemed appropriate.
  • Know your CV inside and out, so you can confidently and articulately talk about your background and experience.
  • Be in control – it’s not just them grilling you, you want to find out about the company and find out if it’s the right fit for you.
  • Ask good questions – it is so important to ask the right questions.
  • Practice examples to key questions and prepare your answers using the STAR model (Situation, Task, Action and Result).

Being resilient/dealing with rejection

Unfortunately, it won’t always go the way you want and you will get rejections, which is why being resilient in your job search is important. It is important you control what you can – and realise what you cannot. Getting feedback is always good, so you know what you can improve on.

Many things that affect resilience and that you need to factor into your quest to be more resilient include:

  • Physical energy: falls into 3 categories – sleep, nutrition, exercise.  
  • Emotional intelligence: the higher the intelligence, the higher the resilience.
  • Multitasking: has a direct negative influence on work and negatively impacts resilience.
  • Inner voice: internal commentary can be a negative force.
  • Purpose in life: high purpose in life acts as a protective factor against stress.
  • Recovery: Recovery in all dimensions, agility, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and recovery are dependent on the creation of new individual habit.

You can see more about these tips from organisational psychologist and resilience expert Fran Costello here.

Resilience is closely linked with looking after yourself physically and mentally, so here are some tips on looking after your wellbeing throughout that new career journey.


Your wellbeing throughout

A routine is important for many people as a foundation for good mental health. These simple steps apply in all situations, but between jobs, they are even more important:

  • Start your day well – get dressed, have your normal breakfast, get ready for a working day.
  • Get some direct sunlight.
  • Stick to your regular lunchtimes and eat well.
  • Don’t sit for too long – get up regularly and go for a walk at lunchtime.
  • Even when job hunting set a time to switch off. Close your laptop, enjoy your evening, and continue tomorrow.

Tools that can help:

Mindmental health charity, giving advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.

Headspace – a meditation app with a mission:  to improve the health and happiness of the world.

Speak to people – Speak to a family member, friend or loved one, or call the Samaritans on 116 123. Alternatively, you can text Shout to 85258 and a member of their team of crisis volunteers will call you back as soon as they can.

Here is a blog we wrote on managing stress in the workplace.


James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.

If you would like to find out more about re:find and how we can support you and your business then please get in touch.

Discover the tactics that head-hunters are using to source talent (and what could be causing you to miss out when you are direct sourcing!)

Discover new tactics that head-hunters are using to source talent: Never ever do something you can’t afford financially or emotionally.

Like giving away all your top tips on how to do your job… for FREE. People will just copy you and you’ll be out of business in no time!

So, shh – don’t tell anyone…

I am kidding, of course, fortunately/unfortunately, no one has found a silver bullet yet for recruitment and it is still a case of time = reward in many ways when it comes to Exec Search. There are some best practices to ensure you get it right.

A very quick recap for anyone that hasn’t Headhunted! Executive search is about being proactive – rather than passively waiting for people to come to you (e.g. via adverts or job boards.) These tips might help you to get it right… feedback appreciated as always.

The brief

Work out the job brief – this is often the trickiest part and should be anything but brief. The aim is to fully understand what the hiring manager needs from the appointment, the must-haves and the areas for push back.

Culture – if you are internal you are likely to already understand the culture of the business – if you are external, I would suggest fully immersing yourself in their culture (retail is a good example where I would suggest visiting stores to get a picture of what it’s really like!)

The story – WHY is just as important as WHAT. You need to understand the bigger picture and where this role fits into things – this will become useful in our approach stage. Get this wrong and you won’t get the right people interested in the appointment.

Defining the role – a job description doesn’t give a full picture of what a job really entails, It might list tasks, but this just doesn’t cut it. Also, it won’t tell a great story.

The push back – the most important part of taking any job brief is the push back. This is a reality check on their expectations vs what is in the external market. This is why many searches fail – whoever has taken the upfront brief hasn’t said NO to unrealistic expectations. Ensure you have data, benchmarking, and a thorough understanding of the candidate landscape before any briefing meeting.

Where will we find the talent?

I will leave the basics of research to another time and focus on the more strategic side of things.

Personally, I believe that one of the biggest mistakes that can be made when hiring is wrongly assuming that the candidate with the exact experience for the role, is the right candidate for the role.

It is important to determine whether you are sourcing for experience, or whether you are taking a more holistic approach to sourcing for future talent – where it is important to place a lot of emphasis on hiring for attitude and potential.

Some top tips:

Keep an open mind on sector experience – For example, retailers have large multi-site workforces, as do restaurant businesses. Restaurant business might have chefs that work in their kitchens – so might pub groups or business services firms such as Compass group.

During your research ask the right questions – for example, if people aren’t interested: do they know anyone who might be interested? Ask who they rate in business and why? Who are the future stars? Who is the best boss they have worked for?

Sometimes you need to kiss a few frogs – in my opinion, if you are retained on an assignment you need to fill it. This sometimes means approaching more people than you might have ever thought necessary! Keep going when it gets tough.

The approach

There are a variety of options when it comes to approaching candidates – email/LinkedIn/telephone. The most important thing is you must be able to sell WHY someone should join your business and what is in it for them – I will repeat this bit as it is often forgotten. The candidate needs to know what they will get from the business, be it development, a great boss, flex working, career development or whatever, it is just as much about them as it is about you checking that they are right for your business.

People are emotional and everyone loves a good story, in fact, there are significant pieces of research that point to storytelling being one of the most sought-after skills required in business over the next five years.

In today’s business environment, where information is out there and candidates have greater choice than ever, it is vital to get this narrative correct, to ensure you build an emotional connection with candidates from the first contact during the research phase.

The follow-through

It’s important to work on building a relationship with the candidate and make them feel valued and wanted. After all, if they are in demand and have more offers on the table, they are going to be more inclined to lean towards the people that make them feel engaged.

Make sure the process isn’t too one-sided and transactional. Of course, any process needs to be robust, from my experience, I would suggest this isn’t the first time someone comes to meet you. This first meeting should be more informal, sense checking their experience but equally selling the opportunity to them.

Once they are fully committed, then you can assess away.

The offer

The offer is the most important part. You must remember that you are dealing with people. People are emotional and are all driven differently.

  • It is important to make people feel wanted! Telling someone WHY you think they would be great in this role and WHY they were the preferred candidate is a great starting point…
  • It is vitally important that you do a thorough search, to take your time to ensure that you hire the right person for the role. Once you have found that ‘right person’ it is important to move quickly, especially in talent short markets (where people might have multiple offers.)
  • Money can be an important motivator to move but isn’t the only reason people accept a role. It is worth exploring fully someone’s total compensation and what is important to them.

-For example, home working and/or 3-4 days a week is more important to some people than a large bonus for example.
-Conversely, base salary might be more important to someone who is the main breadwinner – they might not be financially able to take a cut.
-Ensure you have a full understanding of full compensation including pension contributions, healthcare, LTIPs and paid bonus arrangements. Especially if your extended package doesn’t add up – you may well have to provide a cash equivalent.

If you would like to find out more about re:find and how we can support you and your business then please get in touch.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Optimising team performance

For our featured blog this week, we caught up with Dani Bacon and Garin Rouch about their new ‘distinction podcast’ series, where they are aiming to bridge the gap between academic research and management practice. The series is based on leadership and remote working and this particular podcast is on ‘optimising team performance’.

Dani was Director of People and Business services at Investors in People, but this year has set up her own consultancy business to help organisations take a more strategic approach with their people and to make their organisations more effective and human.

Garin is an organisation development consultant, he’s been running his own practice for 10 years, but has been an OD consultant for 15 years.

There are a lot of myths around leadership practice. But there is also an enormous amount of good high-quality academic research that leaders could be using in their day-to-day practice. And that HR professionals could be advising their managers to implement on a day-to-day basis as well.

In this podcast they’re looking at teams, and what leaders can do to maximise performance. Dani and Garin have identified five specific actions that you can take away to apply to your work in optimising team performance.



If you’d like to chat with Dani and Garin more about optimising team performance, you can contact them here.

If you would like to find out more about re:find and how we can support you and your business then please get in touch.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Why do executive search consultants always knock internal recruiters out of the park?

Why do executive search consultants always knock internal recruiters out of the park? There’s one very simple answer: they have more time and resource. There is no way that an internal recruiter can do the work an exec consultant can on a role.

Internal recruitment

Internal recruitment can be tough! Most internal recruiters will be running around 25-50 requisitions at any one time. They also do a lot of work around direct sourcing initiatives, talent strategy and hiring metrics. If that wasn’t enough, they might also manage a team and must attend a number of internal meetings.

If you are running 25 searches and using a number of channels to source – even with the help of technology – you are going to be very busy. Also, these jobs will likely be across a number of different job categories and locations, making it more challenging. There isn’t the option to walk away and decide to work with someone else either – they have to fill them all!

Executive Search

As an executive search consultant, I don’t normally run more than 3 roles at once. Plus, we have an internal resourcer to help us in finding those hard to find candidates. I typically spend at least 3 weeks doing research, I’ll then speak to 100+ people for an assignment, meeting with at least 8 of them. There is no way an internal recruiter can justify spending this amount of time on just one assignment.

Many internal recruiters will be much better recruiters than I am, but the one thing that I bet they don’t have is time to focus on every requisition they work on. With what little time they do have, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to do the same amount of work on one vacancy, as it just wouldn’t make commercial sense for them to do that.

Partnership

That’s why the best internal recruiters know the value of having trusted executive search consultants work with them. This allows the internal recruiter to focus on the roles that they can fill quickly and successfully. This Increases candidate experience, reducing time to hire and reducing agency spend.

Our clients often come to us with challenging briefs. Whether they’re not fully defined, are new into the organisation, are confidential or require a discreet search. We can offer them a robust system that enables us to find the best in the market, whilst being approachable and easy to work with.

You can download our eBook – 7 steps to executive search here.

If you would like to find out more about re:find and how we can support you and your business then please get in touch.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Shared Services vs. BPO – who will survive?

There has long been an argument between Shared Services and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) – is one better than the other? There are many factors to take into account including the business objectives, the budget available and the speed that is required for the project.

BPO is the process of engaging a third-party vendor with the right skills and resources, to carry out work on your behalf.

Shared Services relates to the creation of an autonomous business unit, based on-site, which carries out these processes for multiple functions within an organisation (HR, Finance, procurement).

The services that BPO and Shared Services provide is generally to remove manual, operational and often repetitive tasks from your everyday work.


Business Process Outsourcing

BPO is often thought to be more efficient, due to it having better systems and processes. It is frequently based offshore, so labour costs and overheads can be significantly lower than having this service in-house.

Outsourcing can often be implemented quickly and more effectively, due to the experience of the resource within these companies. The transition to an outsourced model may not offset the savings you make and the increase in the quality of the work you receive.

Feedback is often that ‘BPO can be seen as ‘faceless’ or lacking the human approach’ that people sometimes want from these services and in a world where employee engagement and experience is paramount, this can cause real issues.

Shared Services

Shared services can be a better solution if your needs are bespoke. BPO can often be one size fits all, and if you have requirements that are specific and processes that aren’t bog standard, then a shared services model may be the best choice.

However, the implementation of a shared services function within a business can be slow and painful. More often than not this is due to lack of experience internally to deliver this and if systems, processes and data are not clean and efficient, the service will fail.

If the service fails, it can be hugely damaging to employee engagement and if people aren’t engaged to use the service, then they will revert to old habits, rendering the service useless.

Is there a place for both?

General consensus seems to be that in the long term, only one will survive. I think there is a place for both: if you have a high volume of standard processes which need carrying out without the knowledge of internal factors or processes, then BPO is probably for you. However, if you have unique processes and you have the time, money and resources to do this properly, then shared services is the best option.

Before you decide whether to implement a BPO or Shared Services model, it’s a good idea to do a thorough diagnostic of your business and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the end goal is for your organisation in changing to a new service delivery model?
  • Do you have management engagement and support?
  • Are your systems, processes and data fit for purpose?

Once you have the answers to all of these questions, you should be able to make an informed decision.


If you would like to find out more about re:find and how we can support you and your business then please get in touch.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Wellbeing in the workplace

Wellbeing in the workplace is fast becoming just as important, if not more so, than salary or career progression. One issue at the forefront of this is mental health in the workplace. We are all aware of the importance of wellbeing, but could we be doing more?


Surveys over recent years have shown the true impact of poor mental health:

  • 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace (14.7%
  • Evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.
  • Deloitte says poor mental health in the workplace is equivalent to almost 2% of UK GDP (in 2016).
  • 89% of workers with mental health problems report an impact on their working life.
  • Just 13% of employees would be comfortable talking about mental illness at work.
  • Last year, poor employee mental health cost UK employers £42bn.
  • The return on investment of workplace mental health interventions is overwhelmingly positive, with an average ROI of 4:1.

Last month our Thursday Brunch event was on ‘Mental health strategies for a crazy world!’ looking at the stats above and speaking to our guests about what we can do to help our own mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

We found that: 

  • Kindness and wellbeing have a significant impact on culture and the engagement of colleagues.
  • Our brain is our most powerful tool, yet we are not taught how we can manage it to get the best out of it. This needs to change. 
  • The fear of failure and constantly striving for perfection are massive contributors to poor mental health – but is in our control if we are aware of it.

So what can an employer do to support an employee with mental health issues?

Discuss
Ensure that you create an environment that is open, that encourages staff to discuss their challenges and problems. Have a culture of openness that allows you to go beyond a person’s workload, instead, it delves deeper into their role responsibilities and the opportunities that they would like to see appear. We know that 13% of employers would feel comfortable talking about their mental health and that percentage needs to be much higher!

Educate
Know what to do if a mental health problem arises within your workplace, such as where to direct the employees if they require specialist help. Also, educate yourself and staff on various mental health problems, so you can see the trigger. Always remember to be sensitive.

Be clear
The groundwork can be set from the minute a new recruit starts, just by letting them know that if any problem arises, big or small, that they can discuss it. It doesn’t take much to make an employee feel supported or to create a culture of openness, especially if it means it decreases the chances of mental health problems in the workplace. You could create a wellbeing policy with relevant support links and contact details, which is always available to employees. 

We have recently become a ‘Mindful Employer’ – we recognise that in the UK, people experiencing mental ill-health continue to report stigma and discrimination at work. Having signed the ‘Charter for Employers Positive about Mental Health’, we are committed to creating a supportive and open culture, where colleagues feel able to talk about mental health confidently, and aspire to appropriately support the mental wellbeing of all staff.


As an employer, we have made an on-going commitment to:

  • Provide non-judgemental and proactive support to staff experiencing mental ill-health.
  • Not make assumptions about a person with a mental health condition and their ability to work.
  • Be positive and enabling all employees and job applicants with a mental health condition.
  • Support line managers in managing mental health in the workplace.
  • Ensure we are fair in the recruitment of new staff in accordance with the Equality Act (2010).
  • Make it clear that people who have experienced mental ill-health will not be discriminated against, and that disclosure of a mental health problem will enable both the employee and employer to assess and provide the right level of support or adjustment.

If you’re struggling with your mental health at work or in general – mental health charity MIND can offer lots of help and support. Here are tips for staying well at work. 


If you would like to find out more about re:find and how we can support you and your business then please get in touch.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Organisational design, the dark art of any company restructure

Organisational design, the dark art of a company restructure… the past 12 months have seen limited strategic change initiatives, my guess is that OD is going to be one of the most sought after skill-sets in 2021.

This increase in strategic change is likely to be accelerated as a result of the pandemic.

Although, the continuous disruption of industries means that companies now need regular shake-ups in order to succeed over the long-term.

As many leaders will already know, a high number of change programmes fail, with a large percentage simply running out of steam. In other cases, some fail to meet their objectives or improve performance once implemented. Could this be down to the organisational design or the actual implementation of the new model?

In a study conducted by Mckinsey, they found that; “the most successful organizations combine stable design elements with dynamic elements that change in response to evolving markets and new strategic directions. Corporate redesigns give organizations a rare opportunity to identify the stable backbone and set up those elements ripe for dynamic change.” The most successful companies see organisational redesign as a chance to rebuild the landscape and direct the future of the company.

What is ‘Organisation Design’ all about these days?


Today, organisational design involves the processes that people follow, the management of individual performance, the recruitment of top talent as well as the development of employee’s skills. When the redesign of a company lines up with its strategic intentions, there is a higher chance of employees being able to execute and successfully deliver these changes.

All organisational change programmes should start with corporate self-reflection. Asking questions about the purpose and direction of your company is surprisingly effective when it comes to keeping the focus on a new design strategy.

A study conducted by Deloitte echoed this sentiment – it found that whilst effective organisation design delivers significant improvements in business performance, most companies fail as they don’t go far enough in addressing real organisational or structural issues, and that; “businesses embark on organisation design projects in search of benefits they can’t achieve through organisation design alone—or even at all.”

But – all hope is not lost! There are things you can do to encourage a successful redesign.

How can you get it right?


  • Spend time to define the purpose of the organisation. It is critical to engage with leaders and people in the business to ensure that they buy into the change – before decisions are made.
  • One of the key aspects of any change programme is to get the new changes to last! Make sure that you put time and resource into business change, which will likely include significant cultural change, comms and training. Otherwise, employees may revert to how they previously operated.
  • Interim executives have proven experience in moving the programme forward towards implementation. Typically, it’s right after the management consultancies have developed the top-level strategy.
  • Lastly, you’ll want to assemble a leadership team that has the right capability and is bought into the new strategy.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

How to increase commercial awareness

Over the last few years, you may have noticed more companies are advertising for commercial awareness when hiring prospective new employees.

I can tell you from personal experience, that lack of commercial awareness is one of the key reasons that good candidates are rejected at interview stage. “They were really great, but just lacked the commercial edge we were looking for.”


So what exactly is commercial awareness and knowledge, and is it something that you can learn?

First of all, yes, anyone can learn commercial awareness and knowledge. It does, however, take hard work and dedication to become good at it. It should be noted that commercial knowledge isn’t the same as general knowledge.

Commercial knowledge refers to a sound understanding of what a business does, how it makes its money, the market in which it operates and how you and your role can fit into it. Often this means considering things such as, how you can increase revenue or market share, customer service levels, improved productivity levels, a better and more efficient team environment, great levels of quality assurance, less waste – I think you get my drift here!


If you want to actively increase your commercial knowledge you can consider these top tips to help you get it right:

  • You must understand what a business does and have a good understanding of its competitor environment.
  • Do your research and look at their online presence e.g. Glassdoor, LinkedIn groups, Twitter, Feefo. These can give indicators of customer service levels and employee satisfaction rates.
  • Look out for important events. Are there any future projects a company is about to begin working on? What have they done in the past?
  • Be aware of how economics can affect that business.
  • Think about the challenges that a business could be facing and formulate ideas on how you can help solve them.
  • If you’re at an interview, a great way to demonstrate your commercial knowledge is to have a couple of ready-made questions prepared.

There is no quick fix for getting commercial awareness but by putting the effort in, potential employers will give you kudos for trying, even if you don’t get it 100% right! Good luck.


James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Start with why

I absolutely love Simon Sinek’s famous Ted talk, ‘Start with why’, which examines why some companies achieve things that completely exceed our expectations and defy our assumptions of what’s possible, whilst others simply don’t.

 

After re-watching this talk, I started to think about how it applies to the recruitment industry, which leads me to this; many people think that all recruitment agencies are the same and that there is no difference. They all just fill jobs, right?

 

What

Everyone knows what a recruitment agency is and what they do, or at least they think that they do.

All recruitment agencies (should) have this one essential thing in common, which is that they aim to place people into jobs.

Whilst this may sound contradictory, the majority of recruitment firms aren’t in the business to fill your jobs… they are in the business to make money.

 

How

Most recruitment firms don’t proactively search for candidates for your jobs, which may sound strange but hear me out…

A lot of firms are extremely passive, they run a number of roles and simply move their connections around multiple job roles (instead of proactively searching for new candidates whose skills meet the needs of the current client).

The fill ratio of most large recruitment firms is 20%, that’s 1 in 5 roles, and if they are any good then this may even be 1 in 4.

 

Why

A lot of this comes down to why firms do business, and their ‘why’ is normally quite internally focused. They have goals and targets they need to hit in order to please internal shareholders at the recruitment agency. Which I can tell you often doesn’t help the end client…

My advice is that you should understand what you want from your recruitment supply chain.

Are you after CVs or do you want them to fill the role?

If you want them to fill the role, are you incentivising them to do that successfully?

(I’ll give a quick tip here – sending jobs out to more agencies doesn’t get you better candidates… it gets you who they can get their hands on the quickest.)

 

Our Why

Our why is pretty simple. We believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in creative solutions and we believe in working together with people.

 

Our How

We do this by sourcing proactively for talent, by engaging people on a personal level and by adapting our model to suit our client’s needs.

 

Our What

We just so happen to want to fill your jobs…

 

We prefer to let our results talk for themselves, so rather than blow our own trumpets, you can check out some of our case studies here.

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn.