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.
Want to hear more about our senior HR professionals golf society? Sign up 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.

You can ‘goal’ your own way…achieving business goals

Achieving business goals

Achieving goals, whether they’re personal or professional, can be tough. We’ve all got our own personal mountain tops. The goals that we set ourselves that, from the outset, seem nearly impossible to conquer…

I read a book called ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller. The premise is: what is the ‘one thing’ that you need to do that will subsequently make everything else fall into place and become easier?

In the book, Keller talks about breaking down your goals into long and short term, and how by doing this you can turn them into more manageable and less intimidating tasks.

Once you’ve broken them down, you can then consistently ask yourself questions about your progress to keep you on track with your overall goal.

The process

This process works in two parts. The first is about finding the right direction, and the second part is about chasing the right action.

For the first part, think about the big picture and identify what your overall goal is, what is the one thing that you want to do or achieve. This can be anything from your career goals to a personal ambition that you have.

The second part of this process is more short-term and practical. You have to ask yourself questions that provide you with a small focus on what you can do right now to help you get to where you want. For example, making that phone call that you’ve been putting off, or signing up for that networking event that you find intimidating.

Stay on track

By repeatedly asking yourself these more focused and short-term questions, you will not only keep on target to your overall goal, but you will also find yourself taking actionable steps that all build on one another and provide you with the momentum to finally reach your mountaintop!

To have a chat about your goals or 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.

Want to hear more about our senior HR professionals golf society? Sign up here.

Let’s talk about time management

We’ve all heard of it and, although it’s something that comes around like clockwork, whenever it’s time for a performance review, it’s still something that we ironically don’t always have the time to work on, me included.

It’s easy to be ‘busy’ at work, but are we busy in the right context? Or are we all just busy being fools? And how can we make our time at work more productive?

Alleviate pressure

We live in a world where we are always switched ‘on’. Our smartphones constantly alert us to any new messages and emails, our smartwatches vibrate all day long and alert us whenever we make so many steps, and we always seem to be on the computer where there is no shortage of information being directed our way.

There’s pressure from our peers, directors, business owners and employees asking us questions, and there’s no longer an off switch for anyone.

So, how can we implement some simple structure that will help alleviate some of this pressure?

Plan, plan, and then plan a bit more. It’s not the most revolutionary answer I’ll admit, but it works.

Most people don’t plan for the following day, but you’ll be surprised at how effective setting aside time to assess the rest of your week can be.

Get organised

Create your own spreadsheet or write a list of all of your tasks for the week, whichever method works for you, and take a break every hour to assess what you’ve achieved since you last checked over your list. You will either be amazed at how much you’ve done, or surprised at how much you’ve procrastinated!

Treat your time like you would your finances – keep a close eye on them!

The most important thing is to be honest with yourself, and question how you should delegate your time. Doing this will help you identify your biggest waste of time, so you can change it!

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 professionals specialist here.

Want to hear more about our senior HR professionals golf society? Sign up here.

Why are we all so scared of business change?

Why are we all so scared of business change?

We all know what it feels like to be anxious and unmotivated when it comes to our professional lives, yet even with these feelings, we’re still hesitant about implementing change.

Change can be intimidating, but it can also present much-needed opportunities for growth and development that you wouldn’t experience if you stayed in the same, comfortable and familiar role that you’re in at the moment.

Everyone has different ways of dealing with change, but how can you incorporate change into your everyday working life if the prospect feels overwhelming?

One popular model, the change curve, can be used to help understand the varying stages of personal change and ensure that the correct support can be provided as needed.

The change curve identifies six different stages that people experience when they go through change. These stages are:

–      Stage 1: Initial reaction

–      Stage 2: Self-criticism

–      Stage 3: Confusion and doubt

–      Stage 4: Acceptance and rationalisation

–      Stage 5: Solutions and problem solving

–      Stage 6: Normalising the change

As you work through the various stages of the change curve, you’ll start to notice the positive effects of personal and business change and be able to identify at what stage you’re stuck at. Once you know this, you can find the best support to help you successfully transition into the next stage.

Whilst business change may not always be successful, it’s important to take the value of a new experience seriously.

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 professionals specialist here.

Insider Story… Interim change management

Insider Story... Interim change management
Insider Story… Interim change management

Insider Story… Interim change management. This was my first ‘Insiders Story’ blog of 2018,  discussing two of my favourite things – change management and how great interims are!

 

For this blog, I met with Michelle Wenham, Head of HR, and Feona Veys, Senior Manager – Talent Sourcing. Both fabulous women work for The Gambling Commission and started their journey as contractors. They have been instrumental in leading and delivering truly innovative change, which has transformed the people and culture within the organisation.

The Gambling Commission is no ordinary organisation. Over the next five years, they have five priority areas: empowering and protecting consumers; raising standards across all gambling sectors; building partnerships and understanding; ensuring fair play on the National Lottery and improving regulation.

Both Michelle and Feona joined the Gambling Commission in an interim capacity to oversee change management.  They became so immersed in the business and culture, that they subsequently felt empowered by the organisation’s mission and took on permanent roles.

 

The Transformation

After joining the Gambling Commission in 2015, Michelle was shortly followed by a new CEO which naturally brought about some change.

There was a lot of discussion around the employee engagement survey – the 2015 results could have been better, so areas to be improved were identified which could have a real positive impact.

In 2012, the Commission had embarked upon a similar change programme, however, after previously struggling to demonstrate the burning platform for the change, they decided to use the employee engagement survey as the catalyst.

Michelle explained, ‘from a change perspective, the outcome we wanted to achieve was similar to the previous change programme. Sometimes it isn’t the right time to deliver the change.  It was like the stars aligned and with the right communication and the right people involved, we knew it could be a success.’

From this, they developed a new people strategy and discussed the kind of organisation they wanted to be – one that takes care of its employees and exceeds expectations in delivery.

 

How have you done it?

Previous change programmes had at times been a little ‘parent and child’ and hadn’t always successfully maintained engagement or momentum.

The new CEO really transformed the feel of change within the Commission, she took people with her on the journey. One of the key things that she did was made herself visible. She role-modelled, to the business and the senior leadership team, how visibility should look at a senior level.

They also implemented a change champion network across the business. This was a cross-functional network of employees, which meant that they were able to reach out to and engage with employees who otherwise may have got lost along the way.

Unlike many businesses, the Gambling Commission also have a Board of Commissioners alongside their leaders who have been a great support with the change management.

Michelle says, ‘the Commissioners are so engaged with us, they challenge us and have been really involved in how we use our investment and resources to get the best out of our people.’

 

Engagement is everything…

The culture within the Commission is really transforming into a truly engaging and inclusive one, which has already had a positive impact on performance and personal development.

HR has a seat at the table. Historically, L&D was always seen as an add-on but is now included as part of all functions resource planning. A day every month is allocated to every employees’ personal development.

‘L&D Week’ was also a big win. Employees had 50% of their working hours dedicated to their own personal development and they also held department roadshows.

The Gambling Commission is a programme led business, which at times can leave functions at risk of becoming very insular. Department roadshows allowed employees to understand other functions and their importance within the business.

Michelle and Feona both believe that small things make a big statement. Basic things like providing staff with fresh fruit and a wide variety of refreshments, alongside communal kitchens and break-out areas, has enabled them to further develop cross-functional relationships.

They also held their employee conference in their offices instead of off-site. Michelle said, ‘we wanted to show that you don’t go somewhere else to talk about change then come back and forget about it – the real change happens right here.’

 

It isn’t all about HR…

And the people strategy is a perfect example of this. The HR team constantly keep it under review to ensure they are delivering what has been promised. When they successfully meet those promises, they make sure that this is shared across the business, developing a feeling of trust and raised the profile of the function.

The team also launched 24 new policies across 2015 and 2016. They rebranded these as people policies to demonstrate that the organisation should be owning these policies, rather than HR. This resulted in them gaining constructive feedback from employees around their policies, enabling them to be more inclusive.

 

‘Ideas don’t have to be perfect in order to roll them out’

And I couldn’t agree more! What the Gambling Commission do really well is that they are totally honest about this and adopt the approach of ‘we are going to try this and see how it goes.’

They re-launched their spotlight recognition scheme, to recognise great behaviours on an on-going basis. Historically, this hadn’t gained much traction with employees, so they decided to make some changes in order to make it a more successful endeavour.

The Commission quadrupled the value of vouchers offered, changed the nomination process and included awards for teams as well as individuals. When re-launching they decided to review on an ongoing basis, to measure the success and take on feedback and suggestions from individuals and constantly improve the success of this scheme.

 

‘Interims have really helped to drive change’

At the Gambling Commission, they have used interims in 2 different ways. Firstly, they have brought in career interims to act as subject matter experts and be slightly more heavy hitting. Areas such as reward, communications, HRIS and PMO.

Secondly, they have brought in interims in a flexible way to fill permanent roles, before employing them, allowing the opportunity to engage with their overall offering.

Feona said ‘HR have really led the way in what good looks like when hiring an interim. We have demonstrated to the rest of the business how to effectively use interims and how flexible you can be with this approach.’

And Feona knows this first hand because, as Michelle admits, they wouldn’t have been able to secure Feona’s skillset on a permanent basis without the flexibility and proposition they have. When Feona joined as an interim, she was offered the opportunity to work 3 days per week around her previous clients, the caveat to this being that Michelle trusted her implicitly to do a great job.

In their PMO department, interims have helped them to think about ‘the art of the possible’. They have shared knowledge and brought ideas which the commission have been able to ‘borrow with pride’ and customise for their own needs.

 

‘I felt the change overnight’

Michelle and Feona both joined the Commission as interims and admit their mindsets have totally changed since taking on permanent contracts.

Feona said, ‘as an interim you definitely get less involved in the politics. You get paid to do a good job and you want to prove that you’re worth your day rate’.

Michelle also admits that she believes something is definitely different psychologically. As an interim, you simply feel different. When she signed the permanent contract, she felt the change overnight. On an interim contract, there is an end date and there are end goals, in a permanent role it isn’t so definitive.

That being said, interim isn’t for everyone, just as permanent employment isn’t, and both Michelle and Feona have gone back and forth depending on their own personal circumstances.

Michelle said, ‘I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to get the best person possible, if that means being flexible and creative then you do that. Having an interim minimises risk to the business – if it doesn’t work out, the contract ends.’

As we drew the discussion to a close, we discussed if there is such a thing as becoming ‘change-weary’.

Feona and Michelle both agree that a business can get ‘big change weary’. Big change is great, but you should always give timescales and allow time for change to settle, or employees can get change fatigue. Continuous improvement and development is part of life and change management is so important in any organisation.

 

So where has this left the Gambling Commission?

The change programme has been embedded with great success! The engagement scores have increased from 55 to 64, with leadership and change increasing by almost 30%.

They have shown that if you develop your people and culture in the right way, change becomes so natural that you don’t realise it’s happening.

They have also proved that by attracting, developing and engaging people in the right way, anything is possible.

 

A huge thank you to Michelle and Feona for their input with this blog.

If you would like to learn more about the gambling commission and what it is like to work for them, then visit their website here.

For all things interim management, change management and transformation, get in touch or if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, you can email me on kate@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Kate Wass our executive interim specialist here

How to lose friends and alienate people…

How to lose candidates and alienate people
How to lose candidates and alienate people

We are in the 21st Century and candidates SHOULD be at the centre of what we do. Let’s be real for a moment. Candidates are key to our success – they are the one thing that stands between success and failure as a recruiter.

But I would be bold and say 40% of recruiters treat their candidates like shit. Treating a candidate badly can destroy the reputation of you/your business. Any press isn’t always good press and trust me candidates talk. And they talk even more when they have had a bad experience.

 

So, here’s what not to do:

1.   Sell them the dream…

I get it…recruitment marketing is a hot topic right now, everyone is getting training on how to write engaging job adverts, how to be witty and get candidates attention etc. That doesn’t mean you have a to be a billy bullshitter. Don’t sell the candidate the dream – unless of course, the job is Chief wine taster at an exclusive hotel in the Bahamas – because who would turn that down?

Anyway, my point is, be honest with a candidate when talking about a role. Yes, tell them all the good things about the role, but tell them all the bad things too! Talk them through the client’s challenges and shortcomings.

Jobs aren’t all about flexible working and table tennis tournaments, sometimes companies are in a bad situation, don’t have the best brand etc. and that’s ok, in fact, some people like that about a job!

 

2.   Force a candidate into a role they aren’t sure on

Picture this. After hours of searching on LinkedIn and your job boards, you come across the holy grail of candidates. Your purple squirrel, glittery unicorn, whatever you want to call them. They are the perfect candidate for your role.

You pick up the phone, excited to tell your candidate about their dream job. But to your shock, they aren’t keen.

Newsflash. Just because they are perfect for the role, doesn’t mean the role is perfect for them. Respect their decision.

Don’t try and push them into going for an interview. Don’t even push them to apply if they aren’t keen. You look desperate and pushy.

You risk them being offered the job and turning it down, or worse, you risk them leaving in that elusive rebate period. You also risk them thinking you are a bit of an idiot and that you only care about your fee.

 

3.   Drag your candidate into an ownership war with another agency

It is the most frustrating thing in the world when you spend time qualifying, meeting and briefing a candidate on a role, send them over to your client…only to get the dreaded email response.

‘ We have already received this CV from Cowboy Recruitment, sorry’.

The candidate has not been spoken to by Cowboy Recruitment about the role (they claim!) so doesn’t know how her CV is already in the process.

There are two ways of dealing with this:

–       Politely step away from the situation and allow the candidate decide how they wish to proceed in the process.

–       Demand that the candidate calls the other recruiter immediately and tell them how terrible they are, whilst simultaneously emailing you to confirm that you have the right to represent them on the role.

I advise the first. Step away and allow the candidate to decide how they process. Naturally, there is some subtle influence you can have on this, but doing the second option makes you look like a petulant teenager.

Candidates also don’t need the reminder that they are simply just a fee to you – it makes you look greedy. Show them you are supportive and have their best interest at heart.

 

4.   Call your candidate in the morning on the day they are due to start their new job and then every day for the next 3 months

Your candidate isn’t an 18-year-old teenager who may or may not turn up to work, depending on how pissed they were the night before (apologies to any sober, reliable 18-year-olds).

You don’t need to ring them the day they start their job. A simple call the afternoon before, to check they have everything they need or the following day will suffice.

Candidates are intuitive, they will sense that the fact you are calling them every day means they are a flight risk. Also, their first few weeks are really full on. Give them some space and allow them to settle in, then check in with them.

 

5.   If your candidate doesn’t get offered the job….ignore them

In my opinion, this is the worst possible thing you could do to a candidate and it is the most damaging thing for your reputation.

Nobody really likes to tell a candidate they didn’t get the job…but it is not acceptable to ghost them. Other unacceptable ways of delivering feedback include emailing, leaving a voicemail, or getting your resourcer to give the feedback instead.

Don’t be a terrible human being. Your candidate has worked hard for you, they have understood the brief, done their research, spent 2-3 hours of their time with your client to represent you to the best of their ability. The least they deserve is some honest feedback.

 

6.   Give vague feedback

Almost as crappy as giving no feedback, is giving vague feedback. If you are giving feedback on your opinion to a candidate, don’t be afraid to tell them the truth.

Think their CV needs some work? Tell them.

Don’t think they interview well? Tell them.

They don’t have the right skills for the role? Tell them.

You get the gist.

A separate challenge is when a client gives vague feedback about a candidate. It is ok to push back on your client and ask for further detail or examples of what the candidate did.

Feedback should be constructive. Tell them what they did well, where they fell down and how they could improve.

Candidates may not always agree with the feedback, but they will be appreciative of the feedback nonetheless.

 

7.   Only communicate by email

If you are afraid to pick up the phone to speak to a candidate, you are in the wrong job. Pick up the phone and speak to them, what is the worst that could happen? It takes as much time and effort to speak to someone on the phone as it does to type out that email.

Contacting people exclusively by email is impersonal, impractical and to be totally honest, just bloody lazy! I don’t care if your candidate isn’t based in the UK and there is a time difference, or if they are travelling, or you are ‘super busy’…pick up the phone!!

Now I’m sure some of you are reading this, thinking it all seems pretty obvious. I’m also sure a lot of you reading this are guilty of doing one of the above things.

We are all guilty of letting standards slip from time to time, but let’s do our best not to become one of the clichés in those recruitment bashing posts we see on Linkedin!

 

 

For all things interim management, change & transformation, get in touch with us via the info form below, 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 executive interim specialist here.

Insider Story – Resourcing Transformation at Gowling WLG

For August’s instalment of Insider’s Story, I met up with not only one of my favourite HR professionals, but one of my favourite people in general, to talk about ‘resourcing transformation’.

The wonderful Jo Franklin, Head of Resourcing for Gowling WLG, agreed to sit down with me and have a chat about the huge ‘resourcing transformation’ journey they have been on.

She explains how they have transformed their resourcing strategy and well and truly stepped out of the ‘Wragge & Co shadow’.

Gowling WLG has been on quite a ride over the past few years…

What was once Wragge & Co, then Wragge, Lawrence Graham & Co, (before joining forces with top Canadian law firm Gowlings) and finally Gowling WLG was born.

Jo joined the business post-merger in the early part of 2016. They had gone from being in the Top 25 to overnight becoming a part of a major international law firm. As a result of this, their resourcing and talent strategies needed some serious development and she was in responsible for resourcing transformation.

“ It was a testing period”, Jo admits “as I joined, three of my most experienced team members were going on maternity leave. All of that knowledge and experience leaving at a time of considerable change!”

The Transformation

The vision was clear; to make Gowling WLG a recognised brand in the marketplace, to compete against the top law firms and to secure the best talent across lateral, business services and early talent.

The perception that the resourcing team was very much an administrative support function was something that Jo wanted to change. As around 60% of the team’s time had been spent on recruitment admin, they wanted to adopt a business partnering approach and get more stakeholder facetime.

Jo says, “We wanted to have a position in the market where we could source directly, because of our reputation.”

To put this into perspective in the legal sector, agency hire rates sits at around 60-70%. Jo had set herself a target of direct sourcing at 60%.

In order to achieve this, the team needed to look at a number of things including Employer Brand, EVP and Internal Engagement.

How did you do it?

One of the key pieces to landing any big transformation is to engage with your people and to take them along on the journey. They wanted to focus on their people, rather than the work they do.

Gowling decided to undertake 360-degree feedback to determine their true employer values.

This consisted of 12 workshops with people across the brand, from trainee to partner level. It also involved leadership interviews and market research to understand what made working at Gowling WLG different and unique.

From this developed an employer value proposition (EVP)framework upon which the new careers site would be based.

Headed up by the team members returning from maternity leave, they employed the service of two specialist agencies to convert their EVP into attraction messaging and built their careers site around this.

In order to meet their own challenging direct sourcing targets (60% of all offers), their social media and direct hiring activity needed to be supported by a creative, informative and content-rich careers website.

This is Gowling WLG’s first full careers site. For several years, the firm has had an early talent website, but the offering for fee earners and business service professionals was limited, and the team was keen to promote their new enhanced apprenticeship programme. Now they have detailed information on the firm, its culture and all the different job families in one place, which is presented in a creative and engaging way.

‘You can’t just tell people what your values are’

A common mistake that many organisations make is just announcing what their Values and EVP are, rather than engaging with people, which can alienate people and leave them feeling unsure of their identity.

Rather than just announcing firm values, it is far more effective to live and breathe them, and they slowly infiltrate into the business as usual.”

There must be a mindset change for any transformation to be implemented successfully.

Jo and her team did this through empowering the people around them.. Rather than focussing on what was wrong with the current approach, they demonstrated how great things really could be by sharing knowledge and helping people to understand that there are other ways of attracting great candidates…

Jo says, “Don’t tell people, let them experience it”

Developing a ‘Dream Team’

Jo recognised that in order to truly provide a value-add service to the business, developing her team’s offering was key.

At the time of joining, their agency spend was substantial…

Due to previously having a limited view of forthcoming requirements, the firm had become used to a reactive approach to recruitment and this was going to be a huge change for them.

Proving the model worked and providing tangible results in the first few months was vital, both in the quality of candidates introduced and time to hire.

One of the key hires to the team was Chris Lake, who had an exceptional track record in direct resourcing, having worked for a legal agency for 6 years prior to joining Gowling WLG.

Jo empowered the team to start taking a more forward-thinking approach. They began to identify and map the key markets within the firm’s key sector areas, understanding the active candidate market but more importantly building a picture of passive candidates that could be developed into a talent audience for the future.

The resourcing advisors started to build trust with key stakeholders and taking time to understand their business objectives and working with managers to plan for skills gaps and provide competitor insight and analysis to build credibility.

‘This wasn’t an original solution’

Now Jo, whilst undeniably fantastic, isn’t a part of some kind of secret recruitment magic circle!

The direct sourcing model isn’t an original solution, however, it’s usage within the legal sector is limited within the Top 100 law firms. In addition to this, varied results and methods are evident across the sector – i.e. direct sourcing limited to business services/non-fee earner roles or paralegal level recruitment in some firms.

What is clear, however, is that Jo has opened her stakeholders’ eyes to ‘what could be’ if they trusted in her and her team.

By really engaging with your people, being armed with knowledge and taking a genuine interest in your stakeholders, you can build fantastic relationships.

This doesn’t necessarily happen over-night. Jo herself will admit it has been in huge part down to her teams’ sheer persistence, determination and energy to truly add value that this transformation has been such a huge success

Where are they now?

12 months after Jo and Chris joined the business, Gowling WLG had succeeded in reducing its cost per hire by 41%. The time to hire for the new direct talent strategy 30% lower than for previous hires through recruitment agencies.

The success has continued with the team meeting their direct hire targets year on year, producing real and credible savings on agency spend, whilst still focusing time on building relationships with their key agencies to help with niche roles. By April 2018, they had exceeded their initial 60% goal.

The team were also delighted to receive a prestigious HR in Law award in May for their careers site, which they are now extending out to their international offices, the first being Dubai.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jo Franklin for taking part in my Insiders Story series! To find out more about life at Gowling WLG, visit their careers page at: https://gowlingwlg.com/en/careers

For all things interim management, change & transformation, get in touch with us via the info form below, 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 executive interim specialist here