So what the hell do cows (and cow puns!) have to do with recruitment anyway? I’ve been asked this a quite few times recently given our new website launch.
You may have been wanting to ask this yourself if you’ve seen our social media recently (we’ve been udderly obsessed with cow puns!)
Well, unbeknown to most people, my family are Scottish dairy farmers! My family continue to run a few farms up on the West Coast. So, you could say it’s in the blood. But even though working in recruitment is a far cry from the fields of Scotland, I’ve never fully left behind my admiration for these fantastic animals.
We’d like to introduce you all to the newest member of the re:find team: meet Carly O’Connell, our Interim and Executive search specialist.
Carly has been working within the HR space for over 12 years. Many of those years focused on partnering clients in their search for exceptional contractors, who can deliver on HR and business transformation projects.
“I operate in a consultative manner and will challenge your requirements, to ensure all solutions are considered. I pride myself on understanding both my client and my candidate equally and delivering the brief in an honest and fun way.”
So, Carly, why re:find?
re:find have offered me the opportunity to work with a team who share my values: being honest and helpful, as well as looking at securing long-term genuine relationships, not just short-term wins.
The team at re:find are all experienced in their respective fields and I have spent several years learning about them as recruiters from those in our shared network. I was excited to join the team after hearing such good things about them. Knowing how credible they are, it made sense to me to join and collaborate.
As a seasoned HR recruiter, I know that cultural fit is hugely important. I have operated in many industry sectors and the best results come from matching the person to the culture not just the cv to a tick list. By really getting to know the person behind the cv and taking the time to allow candidates to get to know me all helps in building a partnership based on honesty.
What is it like being a part of team re:find?
On first impressions, re:find are actually what they said they were in my interview process, knowledgeable, creative, credible and fun. This is not the usual stuffy status quo search firm. They allow nuance and obscure requests to be the “norm” and enable people to be genuine and honest to ensure they can truly match a brief. They have a transparency that invites both candidates and clients to visualise the process of a brief and this is also reflected in the transparency the team give to each other’s campaigns and movements. I have found this to allow real flexible working with my wellbeing and professional needs being considered and met.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of resource that is given to the team to ensure we have an exceptional reach to the very best candidates both on and off the market.
The approach is different: you won’t see us shouting about our vacancies online, or spending hours sifting through job boards. What we do is we establish genuine, long-standing relationships with clients who value us and work in partnership with us, rather than having what is simply a transactional relationship with them.
For all thing’s interim management, change and transformation email me on email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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
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:
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
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
Cross functional, rapid-reaction taskforces made up from people from
across the business, including HR. Suited to fast paced, constantly changing
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
Thank you to Peter
from Evolving HR for his thoughts on making HR more effective.
To discuss further, you can email me on
You can view more about James Cumming our
change and business transformation specialist here.
Interim Executive? You need to get it right! Discover the 8 step process you
should follow, by downloading our free eBook here.
We know how important onboarding is for our candidates. The wrong experience can have a hugely detrimental effect on a new starter.
process ensures new employees receive all relevant information and understand
how the company works and what is expected of them. This information allows
them to transition from a new joiner to a productive team member, and so is a
vital process within any organisation.
It’s not just about the new starter
It’s not just
about the new joiner either, your onboarding process can affect existing team
members who will register the way a new employee is treated.
before the new team member even enters the building – both internally and
externally. Calling the new employee is clearly important to let them know the
basics, but also letting the existing team members know what is happening.
King of onboarding
We understand how
important onboarding is, so we’ve incorporated it into our process. We’ve had
congratulations packs created for all our new starters – a nice surprise and
welcome on the first day in your new role.
Graze are king of onboarding. Check out this desk set up for their new starters. How happy would you be if this was your desk on your first day…
Returning to work onboarding
My wife, Gemma, wrote a blog about onboarding, with a difference – the importance of onboarding returning maternity leavers. “Yes, they’ve always been employed and aren’t “new’, but when I returned to work after 10 months out, a lot had changed, and I mean a lot. It was almost like returning to a new business. This, coupled with the fear of returning to work, was surely a recipe for disaster.”
Some key points are addressed about being introduced back
into the company/role after a substantial period away, including new
technology, new faces and new structure. You can read the full blog here.
In any capacity, onboarding is important to your business –
it makes for happy employees and better business efficiency, as it gets employees
up to speed quickly.
To have a chat about your experiences with onboarding or returning to work you can contact me on email@example.com.
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
The experience that your employees have, directly impacts the service and experience your customers receive.
A pretty strong statement, but one that I absolutely agree with.
This week, Lynsey Kitching and I explored how the experience your employees get from their internal functions can directly relate to the experience your external customers get from your business.
The first thing to note that although I talk about shared services in this blog, the statement relates to ANY internal function within your business and the fact of the matter is that almost any role within an organisation can be linked back to the customer in some way.
Well the scorecard is green so we must be doing fine!
Lynsey, Owner of Lynsey J Kitching consultancy, spent many years working with National Grid. During this time, she headed up a project to improve service quality within their shared service function.
People often use scorecards as a measure of success within shared services. But just because your scorecards are green, doesn’t mean your customers are happy with the service they are receiving. How are you getting feedback?
Lynsey used NPS (net promoter scores) to get internal and external customer feedback and began looking at their low scores/detractors and found there was a direct correlation between feedback and performance on both internal and external NPS.
”The initial NPS scores and supporting feedback from customers was the shared services team were not accessible, our customers didn’t know what we did, email dot boxes didn’t work, and our processes weren’t transparent. That led us to develop our service proposition…to be responsive, reliable and easy to deal with. And act straight away – implement a service management tool to remove dot boxes, set up a pop-up help desk at our largest colleague office and work on improving our first identified colleague journey – how to buy goods or services. In the first 12 months the NPS score improved by 22 points.”
One of the biggest detractors on Lynsey’s NPS for external customers was a lack of consistency/continuity with people when solving an issue.
An example of how shared services could affect this score.
Your payroll administrator processes the wrong payroll data for your account manager. Your account manager gets paid incorrectly. When he tries to speak with shared services, he gets passed from one person to another with nobody really taking accountability for the error. Account manager becomes disengaged and starts job hunting and leaves his role. Your customer calls up to speak to their account manager only to find they are no longer there. Said customer is on their fifth account manager in 2 years. They are sick of having to re-introduce themselves to someone new and spend time getting them up to speed. Your customer leaves and goes to another provider.
Now I appreciate this is a pretty drastic scenario. But it happens.
‘Every role in shared services can be connected back to the customer and, as a result of this, every role within shared services is hugely important’.
Your Payroll administrator thinks they are the lowest part of the value chain. How can what they do affect your customers, when they don’t even speak to them?
And there lies your problem. Your shared services team doesn’t understand their purpose and they don’t feel empowered to deliver service to the best of their ability.
The leadership role is to set the climate and enable their teams to look at the bigger picture and how their role has an impact.
You need to move from talking in process and transaction terms, to talking about colleague journeys and experience – from setting strategic objectives to individual performance management. Empower your colleagues to step away from process when needed to improve experience (obvs balancing any controls/regulations).
So, there you have it! How internal customer experience can affect external customer service.
If anyone has undertaken a similar project, both Lynsey and I would be really interested to see any hard data relating to customer service and employee experience!
If you would like to speak with Lynsey about her consultancy services, get in touch and we will connect you, or you can catch her on LinkedIn.
For all things HR Shared Services, change and transformation and if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
I know what you’re thinking….surely that doesn’t make sense?
How can robots make things more human?
RPA and AI are becoming more and more popular within shared
services functions across the world, but countries have very different views on
In china, they want to use it for world domination. In
America, they believe it will put businesses in the best possible commercial
position. And in the UK…well, we still don’t want robots to hurt us or take our
I have to tell you guys, the least popular purpose for
automation is headcount reduction. If your primary goal when automating is to
reduce headcount or to save money, then it will more than likely fail.
Automation is used to enable better quality in operations
and more workforce agility.
So, what is RPA and what is AI and why should you use it?
RPA and AI often get mistaken for the same thing, or
organisations decide to use both. RPA and AI are two different technologies,
with two different uses, and quite often you don’t need both!
The Lowdown on RPA
AI is short for Artificial Intelligence. Artificial
Intelligence replicates the human thought process. It takes the knowledge of a
human and builds it into the application. AI deals with unstructured data,
meaning that it self improves and continuously thinks and learns. It is the
‘brain and spine’.
RPA is short for Robotic Process Automation. RPA behaves
like a person. It deals with high volumes of structured data to carry out
repetitive tasks that humans do. The purpose of RPA is to remove those high
volume, repetitive tasks that we hate. It is ‘the fingers’.
How do you decide?
Before you chose to adopt RPA or AI, as a business you have
some big questions to ask yourself – as the decisions you make will affect the
next 10 years of your business operations.
What business am I in?
How do I want to deliver services?
What do I need my operating model to look like?
The cultural impact of automation is significant. It touches
every employee and manager within an organisation, so equally, the training and
messaging around automation has to be key!
How to make it
Choose your areas of automation carefully and
then work with humans to identify what can be offloaded to automation and take
their knowledge to create the automation.
Train your people on RPA and AI. Help them to
understand what it is and how they can identify processes that may be suitable
Get your house in order! Automation only works
with good, clean data.
Continually review your processes to make sure
your automation is efficient and user friendly.
Automation is your friend. It isn’t here to take your job or
make your life hard. On the contrary, the whole point of automation is to take
the robot out of the human. To remove the high volume, menial tasks within your
role or your team, freeing people up to contribute more value-add work to your
business, so don’t fear it, work with it!
For all things HR Shared Services, change and
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 email@example.com.
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
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?
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
HR professionals gathered recently to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by HR reporting and analysis in retail.
The starting point to more effectively understand your people, is to first decide on the data you want to collect, and how the data will be used and analysed. Simply collecting as much data as possible and then attempting to make sense of it is typically a much less successful approach.
At Travelex, one of the main focuses was on staff retention and the team wanted to better understand how to retain staff.
Managers were given access to the people data through the Workday system, and Travelex is now seeing changes in behaviours based on a better understanding of that data. If the data highlights an employee is potentially at risk of leaving, managers can now intervene earlier to find out why and potentially take actions to prevent this from happening.
Implementing new HR technology
One of the challenges that Travelex faced during implementation was changing the culture across its business in the UK and internationally to adapt to a self-service HR system. To overcome this, the HR team worked closely with the IT department and regional managers to implement the changes.
The company also focused on local needs, adapting its strategy based on regional and cultural differences internationally. There were also challenges around how the HR system was viewed by employees, and the HR team worked to show employees the value of using the system.
During the implementation process, it was useful for Travelex to focus on collecting and understanding only a selected set of data points that could be easily analysed and understood, rather than attempting to understand a huge amount of data. The selected data points were easy for managers to dissect and understand in monthly review meetings with their teams.
The right tools for self-service
The discussion then moved to giving staff the tools to use the self-service systems in store, and one of the challenges that came up was around connectivity.
In-store Wi-Fi is as useful for staff to carry out self-service HR functions as it is for consumers to enhance their experience, and definitely something worth investing in for retailers.
Workday provides extensive self-service capabilities that Travelex staff use on their own mobile devices regardless of their location.
Valued and effective
For HR systems to be useful and adopted by employees, they need to be easy to use and not require much training. One of the greatest challenges faced by several retailers in the room was the outdated and difficult-to-use HR systems in place in their businesses.
Pulling data together manually, having to create reports from scratch and dealing with dissatisfied staff who find the old HR system confusing or difficult to use were common complaints. Aside from changing systems, though, most retailers acknowledged they often needed to do the best they could with what they had available to them.
Retailers also debate how they can measure the pound value of HR functions for board members, and agreed this is one area where data can help. If people KPIs are agreed at the outset, then showing how those improved and what this means for the business is one way to prove HR’s pound value. It also helps the HR team if they can articulate how using the HR systems will make the life of employees themselves easier – it’s not just about making life easier for HR.
Looking to the future
Looking to the future of more effective HCM systems that help HR, employees and managers, the discussion turned again to data and how to use it most effectively.
Performance reviews online are difficult to get right, as it’s hard to replicate the richness of one-to-one conversations. On a system these conversations become very black and white. It ends up just being a score on a screen.
Some advice for all retail HR professionals who want to use data to better understand their people: decide what data you’re going to collect and then what you want to understand from that. Unless you’re clear on that, you won’t be able to make better decisions for your employees.
Click here to read the original article from Retail Week.
re:findhelp businesses find the talent they need to deliver transformational change. Clients call us when they need change to happen quickly and effectively. We are Executive Search and Interim Search specialists.
Click here to read about what we do specifically in the retail sector.
HR Shared Services are set up to streamline HR activities, which reduces costs, increases the efficiency of business processes and frees up time to concentrate on strategy.
HR Shared Services functions can add a lot of value if you do it right. If you get it wrong, it can have a negative effect on employee experience and relationships throughout the business with HR can be damaged.
a big part in making HR Shared Services effective, but the exact structure and
scope of HRSS really depends on the company and various other factors.
Why does HR Shared Services go wrong?
Organisations use shared services as a way of streamlining their HR activities, typically concentrating transactional activities into a centralised and commonly shared function. The shared service model can help businesses reduce costs and increase efficiency of processes and allow a greater focus on HR strategy.
When done well, HR Shared Service Centres (HRSSC) add untold value to an organisation. However, get it wrong and it can ruin employee experience and destroy the relationship between HR and the wider business. But why does it fail?
You haven’t engaged the business in the change
When you implement a HRSSC, two groups of people need properly
consulting. The people working in the shared service centre and those who will
be using it. Both of these groups are equally important. You need to take your
customers on the journey with you and engage and influence, in order for them
to understand how you’re changing the way they currently do things. If either
of these groups of people aren’t engaged, the SSC simply won’t work.
You have rushed it
Delivering a HRSSC into a business takes time. It isn’t something you can decide to do and then implement within 2 weeks. You cannot do it half-arsed. There are a lot of things to consider – from mapping out processes and ensuring you have the right technology, right down to hiring and onboarding the right talent. All of these things take time. If you rush any areas and don’t give them the time and attention they need, the chances are they will fail.
You don’t use analytics to measure success and
Establishing the right metrics to analyse in a HRSSC is the key to
success. By monitoring data, you can see how your teams are performing and highlight
inefficiencies and potential problem areas, that may need investigation.
Measuring results and data enables informed decisions to be made
that drive your HRSSC to continually develop and run better. This gives your HR
teams the resources they need to be successful, provides employees with a
better experience and ultimately gets the business results you want.
Having the right leader is important for any team, particularly in
a shared service environment. If you have the wrong leaders in a share service
centre, the wheels can fall off the entire operation, leaving you with an
unhappy, disengaged team who lose their passion for delivering excellence. When
this happens, the knock-on effect across the business can be immense.
A good shared service leader should be able to look beyond the SSC
and understand the impact it has on employees, as well as customer and clients.
You don’t have the right technology
Technology is a fundamental component of any HRSSC. If you don’t
have the right technology, then the SSC just won’t work. So, you need to check
that your current HR systems are fit for purpose. Take time looking at your
current systems and processes and what you need them to do. HR tech is a big
investment, so make sure you choose the right one. Meet multiple vendors, get
demonstrations – and challenge them, to make sure the system does everything
you need it to. Modern HR technology allows HR to manage incoming requests,
review case histories and related employee files, provide consistent responses
and escalate a case when necessary.
You are probably reading this and wondering why I am writing all
of this, because it all seems like common sense, right?
You would be amazed at how often people miss out one of the key
elements to ensure their HR Shared Service Centre in a success.
So, do you agree? Have you had a Shared Service function which is been fantastic or failed spectacularly? Share your experiences!
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 email@example.com.
You can view more
about Kate Wass our executive interim 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.