Episode 62 of Talent & Growth saw Rassam Yaghmaei, Talent Acquisition Director at Doctolib join us. Rassam is the creator of the live talk show Recruiters InDa House and he emphasises creating and building brands to be the most effective talent acquisition method. 

In this episode we go through, employer branding, team branding and job branding and Rassam gives some invaluable advice. 

In this blog we’ve highlights some of the key points to help recruiters today to be successful – we hope you find them useful. 

The recruiter in 2022 is entirely different to how they were 5, 10 years ago. So for you, what are the most significant evolutions in how the recruiter of today has to be successful? 

In my experience over the past six years and seeing that evolution, was that it was mostly in house. Maybe I’m biased here, but I think that the learning growth you can have today is a bit higher in house than maybe in an agency. There are some elements that are universal for anyone. Something that I feel is universal is candidates. What the market and candidate needs or expects have evolved. There is the need for asking for transparency, authenticity and efficiency in the process. For example, getting feedback quickly or diversity and inclusion being at the top of people’s minds- this has impacted everyone for sure. Other elements include data fuel decisions, better tooling, ATS automation. These have all evolved prompting recruiters to adapt, learn new skills and become either more specialised or poly talented.  

I really feel that what has pushed the market to challenge us is the fact that there has been more and more highly skilled in house recruitment teams. I feel that that’s where the collaboration with the hiring manager started to become much more dense, complex and granular. This is where we start to consider and pair peers and we’re not just a relationship or service on demand where we are just there to provide profiles, CVs or leads.  

I feel that asking your recruiter to challenge and to influence businesses is what you heard often 15 or 20 years ago. But it is something that is very actionable. If after six weeks or even six months of working on an open position that is not filled, what do you want to say to your hiring manager? What kind of approach do you have? How can you influence things to change? Can you change the process? Can you change different ways of assessing the bias? We have so much content to learn from. The ATS that I mentioned earlier, the tooling, and applicant tracking systems have evolved into something much more either business or recruitment oriented centric.  

But even the free and open source ones that we have today can be really handy for project management, nurturing, automation, completing competency based scorecards and getting reports data out of your funnel. All of this has evolved. We often compare growth marketing skills to storytelling skills adapted to recruitment and that’s been something that’s been quite common for the last five or ten years. I think it’s at the top of everyone’s mind that you need to be good at that to do a good sourcing job. 

But then there’s the go to market (GTM) approach and a lot of companies, including us, have been applying this approach to how we build our TA strategy. Do we consider what’s our audience? What’s our target? And we think about how we work with the talent marketing team. I’m working with EVPs by clusters, we have different clusters, different teams, different profiles and you can have EVPs for all of those.  

You need to build and nurture communities. It’s not going to be a one shot or a six week sprint, you need to build a long-term relationship with the market.  

If you like this you can listen to the full episode here. 

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.

Talent and Growth Live is coming - the 19th of October! Don't miss this incredible event focused on bringing Talent Acquisition professionals together and learning how to be even better at hiring great people into our businesses. 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/talent-growth-tickets-414487652727

The reality of a four-day work week becoming the norm is edging closer as 86% surveyed of the companies taking part in the landmark UK trial have said they will keep extending the policy beyond the six-month trial.

The Metro reports that “Nearly half said productivity has ‘maintained around the same level’, while 34% said it ‘improved slightly’ and 15% reported it ‘improved significantly’”

This is a monumental step in the right direction of better working conditions for the people in the UK, who for too many years have been driven into the ground by an archaic mentality of working as many hours as possible.

That same archaic mentality that suggests we need to deliver work in a set place at set hours, despite technology allowing us to do otherwise.

How many of us have lived that life of working into the ground?

How many of us barely saw parents when we were growing up because their lives were even crazier regarding hours worked, longer commutes and the lack of platforms like Teams and Zoom?

A four-day work week gives people back time to breathe.

Time to spend on themselves.

Time to spend with their family.

Their children.

Time to do things that make them happy.

And by the way, a happy person will be much more productive, committed and invested in work than somebody who is burnt out to the crisp.

It pains me to see the criticisms around this experiment.

I have heard people criticising how little well-known some of the businesses taking part are, which shouldn’t bare much significance in my opinion.

If these businesses are performing the same, if not better, then why can this not be replicated by better-performing companies?

Logic suggests they could create even larger scale performances from it as their infrastructures would be better!

The most dangerous phrase in business is “that would never work for us”.

That’s right up there with terrifying statements like “Because that’s how it has always been done”.

Why are people willing to accept the incredible advances we have made in the world of science and technology, yet they cannot get the possibility that a four-day week could work?

There is no science attached to working five days a week, especially not in the technologically advanced world we live in now.

It’s just a framework that has been in place for hundreds of years that we have stuck to because we didn’t know how to challenge it.

And now, we do.

And now, we have.

In the instances I have seen this criticism of the four-day work week, it does not tend to be the workers who are juggling working, commuting and childcare complaining, but rather it seems to be privileged leaders of businesses who are focusing less on their people and more on their bottom line.

But if you look after your people, the people will look after your profit.

To be clear, if I had a magic wand, was the world ruler and could implement any system I could, a four-day work week wouldn’t be.

I would suggest that all our work be purely deliverable focused (work that can be, of course, before anybody starts shouting at me about bus drivers again) rather than the time allotted.

We would measure our employment contracts, not on hours worked but on achievements and what we had produced.

How many hours we spent on it or during which days would be insignificant.

But for now, unfortunately, I am not the ruler of the world and will instead happily accept that the slow acceptance and adoption of a four-day workweek is a significant step forwards in the right direction, and I applaud the companies who have taken part in the study.

I get that it is not as simple for every business, and for some, the transition will be less smooth than others.

And I am not saying that everybody should click their fingers and implement it immediately.

But what I am saying is this:

Stop saying, “this will never work”.

And start saying, “how do we make this work”?

Because the world is changing.

You can either change with it or fall behind.

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Rather than a blog this week I wanted to introduce readers to Goodwork, following a chat I had with their founder Felicity Halstead a few weeks ago.

It’s a phenomenal cause focusing on social mobility and helping young people from underrepresented backgrounds get work.

Here’s the info, message for details:

Who we are 

GoodWork is a non-profit supporting businesses to take bold, progressive and decisive action to make early careers fairer, more inclusive and more meaningful – all while supporting the young people who need it most to access and succeed at work.

What we do 

Our six-month-long Early Careers Programme provides intensive training, support and paid work to unemployed and underemployed young people from marginalised backgrounds, aged 18-25. 

How we’re different 

We work with the candidates who are most often left behind. The correlation between disadvantage and lower educational attainment is strong, and yet most businesses and apprenticeship providers use academic achievements as a key recruitment metric. We look at the whole person, and their potential – giving you access to talent you otherwise wouldn’t reach, and them an opportunity they otherwise wouldn’t get. 

How it works

We partner with forward-thinking organisations to bring in entry-level talent, that they otherwise wouldn’t access. We work across sectors and disciplines, and can support existing internships or help you create new roles. We then find a young person to join your business, using our behavioural science backed, psychologist-developed, bias-mitigated recruitment process. 

Interns go through two weeks of employability, confidence boosting and soft skills training with us, before joining you on placement. Throughout the six-month programme, we provide support and continuous training to interns, as well as helping you facilitate the placement. We’ll also provide pre-placement training and ongoing support to interns’ on-placement managers. 

When placements end, you’ll have the option to retain your intern on a permanent contract. Regardless, they’ll ‘graduate’ to our Alumni programme and benefit from our ongoing support.

Contact [email protected] for more details.

Episode 57 saw Jan Tegze, Author of Full Stack Recruiter join us on Talent & Growth. 

Jan gave us some fantastic insights into what a modern recruiter needs to do and be and we covered how we can better engage passive candidates, the blueprint for the perfect candidate process and experience and some advice for modern recruiters who want to be world class. 

Jan also gave us a ‘state of the recruitment market in 2022’ overview and we’ve pull together the headlines from this for you below. 

What are you seeing in talent acquisition recruitment and where are we heading? Have you noticed any trends? 

Companies and hiring managers are trying to expand their pipelines and are always pushing on team members with the same question: I need more candidates. But, companies are now moving from remote set ups to wanting people back in the office, meaning that a focus is being put on location and where they are based. Not only is their pool much smaller because of this, but people looking in the same location are probably also looking for remote talent. It will be incredible to see how this situation evolves. 

I believe that the companies who are forcing people to go back to the office will be bleeding talent which they will not be able to easily replace, especially considering their talent pool is much smaller than before. People will be actively looking for remote working opportunities. The future will be depressing for many companies and teams. 

I’m expecting there to be a new shuffle at the end of the year when there are people looking to change their jobs. There’s a chance that people will be unhappy in their new jobs because they had high expectations which were not met. I’m also expecting that TA teams will be shuffling due to the amount of pressure they are under. Lots of managers are pushing for more, but they’re not helping. It will be an interesting and challenging time for all of us.  

It’s a good time to be in Talent Acquisition in terms of being wanted. It’s a competitive market out there isn’t it? 

Yes – salaries are going through the roof. People who are working as recruiters for a year are expecting to be senior within a year – it’s crazy. I’m seeing that more and more people are entering the recruitment field but they are not getting any training which shows in how they are approaching candidates. Companies are so desperate that they’re hiring people without providing any training- but are they really expecting that those recruiters will help with their brand? In the end, they are hurting their brand, causing them to loose talent immediately as they are approached with awful messages such as “Hey, if you’re interested let me know.” Those kinds of messages are going to repel any talent on the market. So I wish more companies were providing better training.  

To listen to more from this episode click here.  

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.

Episode 55 of Talent & Growth brought us the dynamic duo of Dr Richard Claydon, Chief Cognitive Officer @ EQ Lab and Geoff Marlow, Executive Director, Aligned Agility.  

With so much emphasis being placed on building a business culture and making sure people align with the values we spend some time challenging some of the common beliefs around whether this is time well spent. In this episode we covered the impact of business culture on innovation, what motivated and inspires the workforce and does an emphasis on culture create a high-performing team. For more on this, read on. 

Is this culture, or the emphasis on culture that’s being pushed, conductive to a high performing and happy workforce in the manner that many companies believe? 

Dr Richard Claydon: I think the research generally shows it’s the opposite. Most of the research that I’ve seen around the world at the moment show that people are nor missing the organisational culture and in fact feel freed up by working from home. 

 Pre-existing research before COVID was very clear that if you’re a start-up, high commitment cultures predicted getting to IPO successfully. You could hire younger people who would come and join you and they would stay there for lower wages because they genuinely believe they are there to change the world. However, when you’ve got mature, complex organisations (across many countries, environments and many product lines) the research showed clearly that a high commitment culture predicted low growth and lot profitability. You need a much more diverse understanding of behaviours in order to create value. 

I think what we’ve seen over that last few years is that there needs to be a behavioural shift. Organisations have been left stripped of the skills that were behaviourally excellent in a COVID, networked environment and they turned back to something that was already not working. That’s the big challenge. When people respond to these espoused values on the walls with cynicism or apathy, this predicts depression and all kinds of low performing work endeavours. Cynicism is perhaps a little more protective- but you remain cynical while you’re looking for another job. Great for recruiters, but not necessarily what the company thinks it’s doing. I think you’ve got a lot a pre-existing evidence and it doesn’t do what it says on the tin.  

Let’s talk about values then Geoff. Businesses spend a lot of time working on these – is this time well spent? 

Geoff Marlow: The one word answer is, yes. However the more complex answer is that this idea of values is extremely seductive. We all know if we look inside ourselves we feel that the things that really motivate us are our values. So are we able to align with the things that we deeply believe? Are we able to self- actualise? Are we able to bring the best of ourselves into the things that we’re doing in our day to day work?  We know that even if the experience has been fleeting, if the answer has been yes then we feel more motivated and engaged.  

It’s a logical leap to suggest that if we could get everybody to be like that all the time then it would be wonderful. There is a genuine desire to create a workplace where people really would love to be there.  Senior management may have their eye on profitability and performance, but no one really sets out to create a horrible, unpleasant, self-destructive work environment.  

The problem is that people don’t understand what cultures is- every organisation has a culture but it’s almost never what they intended it to be. Culture is emergent, when you’ve been in an organisation for a few weeks or months, you pick up on the way things are done and pick up subtle clues, signals and signs- you’re tapped into the ‘vibe’ of the place. People see conflicting messages in how the values are carried out by staff. So organisations use their values to try to triangulate ‘the way we do things around here’. Organisations assume you define the culture and that dictates behaviour, whereas actually you create the conditions in which behaviour emerges. That behaviour, the way we do things around here, is the culture.  

To listen to the full episode click here. 

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.

This week we will announce our final speaker for our London Live Talent & Growth event in conjunction with Warner Bros Discovery AND release our first wave of tickets.

When I launched this podcast back in January, I never imagined that I would get to 80 episodes and not that it would evolve into a live face-to-face event!

Building this community for Talent, People & HR professionals has taken a life of its own and has been an incredible journey.

So, I wanted to use this week’s newsletter to provide people with the last opportunity to register their interest in the event before the tickets are released Wednesday/Thursday.

This event is designed to help us all get better at our job if our job is about attracting or retaining the best talent. It will also allow us to network with fellow Talent, People and HR professionals.

AND…to raise money for Mind, a charity that is very close to my heart. All money will go to them.

Speakers confirmed so far are:

Katrina Collier – How to make the business partner with TA & deliver a better experience (for all!)

Christine Ng – How to build an employer brand to attract tech talent

Annie Jackson – How To Build A Careers Page Which Actually Attracts Talent

You can register interest here – https://12ry7qhrk1u.typeform.com/to/ZzKigWXf

FYI – Due to next Monday being a Bank Holiday, there will be no T&G newsletter.

Joining us on episode 53 of Talent & Growth was Samantha Mountford, CTO at Feast IT. In this episode we discuss what a safe engineering culture is, how we can make our culture safe and still drive high performance and how companies go wrong when building an engineering culture. 

We’ve taken some of the key points for creating a safe engineering culture and outlined them for you below, we hope they help! 

Let’s define what we actually mean by a safe engineering culture. 

It’s an environment where developers feel like they have the space to plan and deliver their work, but they also have the space to grow and develop. They need to be able to do that without feeling like they’re under pressure to deliver deadlines that they didn’t agree to and be able to move quickly without being put in a position where they can make a major error.  

The feeling of anxiety is one that I know well from my years as a developer. I was full of questions and concerns. Can I ship this code now?  If I don’t work late to get this feature delivered my project manager is going to get it in the neck from a client. I’ve got five tickets to deliver but I wasn’t to spend some time learning and I’ve been asked to take on more duties. No one seemed to understand that all of that was too much for me and the quality of my code will suffer which means that it will take longer to code review, longer to QA and I’d feel the weight of that all.  

I want to avoid these scenarios for my team as much as possible. That’s not to say there isn’t a desire to get a lot done quickly, but the solution isn’t to work people to burn out. I’ve seen a lot of burnout in people I’ve worked with so anything we can do to stop that is really important.  

How do we enable this safe engineering culture in a start-up, which typically involves the cliché of long hours, intense pressure and working non-stop? 

I try to make it really clear that a start-up culture is one of pace and ownership- not presentism, long hours and unrealistic deadlines. In terms of ownership, we make sure that everyone has the capacity to affect positive change, then they can own and optimise their processes to get work done quickly and safely. Keeping pace involves setting a target or deadline and being committed to hitting that. We want to give people the confidence to set ambitious targets, feel like they have control over the way they work and they have access to data to help them make informed decisions. They also need to know that they have the support of the wider team to be able to deliver in the timeline they’ve set. 

How do we make sure that the culture is safe whilst still driving that high performance? 

You need a strong and short feedback loop, allowing developers to voice their concerns and opinions often and making changes quickly based on that feedback. One to ones are a great place to gather this feedback, as well as team retros where you can agree to try something new quickly.  

You also need to have a blameless culture. It’s rarely one person’s fault so we should instead approach an investigation to see what could have been done differently as a team. For example, are there alerts that should be set up to notify the team and if not why not? Or is there a manual process that should be been automated? AWS had a major outage of one of their storage solutions, due to a single developer following a manual playbook and making an error on a command that they ran. They should have never been put into a position where one line of code written in the wrong way could cause that much damage (loss of customer data). 

The great thing that AWS did was acknowledge that they needed to improve the process and did it quickly, therefore protecting their developers in the future. There are lots of questions employers can ask themselves. Did we require that code have test coverage in the code review process? Did the developer that run the code review process actually have the space and capacity to do that thoroughly at the time? Are you giving developers the ability to monitor their code and production to know when things go wrong? Do you have the appropriate level of logging? There are many steps that would protect a developer from feeling like one of the many thousands of lines of code that they write might cause a major issue.  

As well as a blameless culture and tight feedback looks, we’re also shifting to using cross functional product teams to deliver value. The smaller, more focused teams are able to optimise their process much faster and find a way which works for them.  

Listen to the full podcast here.

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.

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Alan Sugar is at it again.

I still like to think that Lord Sugar doesn’t actually believe this but rather is leaning into a character that promotes his brand thus growing his follower base.

But whether this is an authentic belief or not, it triggered this weeks topic which is the importance of setting boundaries when working from home.

This isn’t a new conversation.

In 2020 when the majority of us were trying to hang onto our jobs and businesses in the toughest market we had ever seen, whilst simultaneously being locked down and forced to work from home, burnout was a big topic.

Now, as the pandemic has significantly subsided, WFH is no longer an infliction but a choice that most of us who can, choose to make.

Not Alan Sugar obviously, no doubt he is in the office 24/7.

And WFH doesn’t necessarily mean WFH! It could mean working from a coffee shop. It could mean working from another town. Another country. You can work from anywhere.

But the problem with being able to work from anywhere means you will work from anywhere.

You might be more inclined to work more hours because you don’t have your commute.

You might be more inclined to work on weekends.

You might be more inclined to work on holiday.

And if you love what you do, like I do, then this doesn’t always seem like work.

If you love what you do, you will never work another day in your life right?

Wrong.

Everybody needs down time.

Everybody needs time to step away.

To reflect.

To recharge.

To spend time with friends and family.

To laugh, to be brought back down to earth and to step out of that work bubble.

I don’t have this nailed by any degree.

It is something I have to keep working on continuously, often because I get pulled out of said work bubble by my (romantic) partner, my (business) partner or a friend.

But here are some basics that help me set boundaries:

  • Allocate set days where you WILL not allow yourself to look at anything work related. These used to be called weekends. I managed this from 3pm Friday until Sunday and felt brand new when I did log back on.
  • Be clear at the beginning of the working day what time you will finish and log off. Be strict with that. If your to do list isn’t done by then, then tough – you still have to log off. But I have a sneaking feeling that if you set a deadline, you will get what you need done.
  • Leave your phone at home. Hold on, hear me out. Yes, I get that you have already promised that you won’t do any work but removing your device from your person for a few hours or even (oh my god) a DAY will have you feeling liberated and free. You will also be completely present wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Try it.
  • Do you love blocking out your calendar? Cool, me too. But do you block it out with your fun stuff? Your yoga class? Your lunch with a friend? Your trip to the cinema. Do it. Place as much importance in your diary on the fun stuff as you do on the work stuff. It’s just as important.

I hope these help. Let me know what works for you?

And Lord Sugar…be quiet.

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Another week, another shot of me in the Warner Bros. Discovery studios visiting the venue for our very first Talent & Growth live even in London.

We will be beginning to announce our amazing four speakers this week!

We will also be raising money for Mind with this event – all funds will go towards this incredible charity.

If you would like to register your interest in attending the event, please do so here – https://12ry7qhrk1u.typeform.com/to/ZzKigWXf

With the fear setting in to the country around energy costs, inflation and the recession in general, how are you helping your people? I asked this question and Chelsea Foxwell of Uptake Strategies responded.

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I also spotted this post from Ben Rutter which I loved.

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So big up to Chelsea and Ben and their businesses 🙂

If you or your business are doing something special to help their people weather the impending storm then please do get in contact and I will share on this platform.

The more ideas we have the more we can help each other.