The one thing you can do for your Company

People are the difference !!!

Up until recently, if you spoke to most successful business people, they would have told you that creating a successful business is all about having a unique product or service, a strong online presence, financial stability, excellent customer service and a good team.

They might even have added that having the right systems, software and processes will contribute to making the business successful.  That’s all true but do they make the greatest contribution?

When you analyse it, you realise that logistics, operations, systems, products and even business models can be copied by competitors.  What can’t be copied is the people who work for you.  

Companies can do their best to be unique, but at the end of the day it is the people behind the organisation, running and working in the company, using computers and on the phones that the difference.

The CEO’s and leadership teams of companies have to give more than lip-service to the much-vaunted phrase that “people are our most important asset”. Without wanting to sound too dramatic, their company’s very survival depends on their genuine commitment to attract and maintain an engaged, aligned and committed workforce.

We understand that at HiddenCove.  We are committed to sustaining a culture that is focussed on the foundation of enabling the success of others.  A culture that helps to attract amazing people into our fold because as an organisation we help individuals to amplify their abilities and to do their best work.

The cornerstone of our culture is what we call “Be Aware” and you don’t have to join Hiddencove to be aware.  

Those two words can have a dramatic impact on our own behaviour, that of others and the outcomes that result.

We ask everyone in our organisation to think what their world would be like if they were fully aware of the contribution they can make to every situation in which they are involved?

We ask them to “Be Aware”

  • of how they turn up. Are they present in the moment?  Are they enthusiastic and engaged?
  • of what needs to be done. What can they do to be a valuable contributor?
  • of the people around them.  What pressures are those people feeling?
  • of the perspective of others.  How can they overcome their built-in bias and create a better outcome?  
  • that everyone has good ideas.  How can they be open-minded and create a better outcome?
  • of what success look like for the client. How can they remind themselves of the bigger picture?

So what we must do is be aware of our side of the equation of our interations with our team members, our clients, our partners….everyone……be aware of our responsibility and BE that way.

Is Cold Calling Ruining The Recruitment Industry?

When I hear of recruiters who chase the sales rather than work with a client in a mutual relationship, a piece of me dies. Similarly, when I get told that the only people agencies look for are ‘hungry sales people’, I feel the annoyance factor reaching critical levels.

Then, compounding this is something I heard direct from a senior manager in one recruitment firm when he said “recruiters are farmers or hunters, there is no in-between”, gathering as I did in my non-metaphoric understanding way, that “farmers” are the relationship builders (generally account managers and similar), whilst the “hunter” is the phone jockey, the impression I got was the ‘hunter’ was far more preferred than the ‘farmer’.

Now that I am in the unique position of being able to view the industry from all sides, I find the true extent of where the recruitment industry has headed and is heading…and frankly it leaves me confused. Whilst all businesses in the current economy are changing and evolving into a more relationship / quality driven scope, I find the recruitment industry has largely not kept pace with the greater changes in business and are instead insisting on the old, antiquated methods of sourcing – and keeping – clients.

One, also, has only to look at the overall changes in sales practice, and the newer methods of doing so, to realise that the old ways are for the scrapheap, and the ones that fail to adjust accordingly will be left on the shelf.

Before continuing, I want to affirm that I am most certainly not anti-sales. Quite the contrary, sales are vital for any business (or agency) and it must be a central part to any strategy to improve client numbers and overall revenue. What I do arc up on is the methodology used, and more centrally, the insistence of only one method of selling. Phone selling, too, is useful, but only under certain circumstances, and as I see it, certainly not when it comes to establishing new business.

Cold calling is intrusive. It is a relic of both a past ideology when this was the norm, as well as an imported belief system that this is the only means to drive business. This is absolute baloney. If recruiters are still in 1985, there may be some validity. If they are sitting in an office in down-town London, then you would concur it is the best form of sales. But this is Australia, 2013. Business demand that intrusive calls, especially from recruiters are not acceptable. As with a lot of areas in business, they are demanding relationship-based selling. There is no room for a wham! Bam! sales approach where the in-out, never to hear from again process is as antiquated as the phone itself. The demand is that recruiters leave the phone alone and engage them on a more face-to-face level. Whether it be networking, presentations or similar, the phone is used merely as the follow up device, not the initiator.

What really grates is that there is still recruiters (and rec-to-recs) who believe phone-based cold business development is one – nay, the ONLY – way to sell. These are the same that believe in the churn and burn mentality. Who believe that candidates are the commodity to close the sales with and relationships are best left to lovers and family. There is no room for growth with a client unless it means a greater profit in the end. And in the end, if they burn the client, well they just move on to the next one as if it is of no consequence whatsoever.

This behaviour is the EXACT reason why the industry has a rotten reputation in the market, why employee turnover fluctuates between 45 and 49% (one of the highest in the commercial world) and why businesses are internalising their recruitment function. The business world is actively avoiding the recruitment industry simply because sections of the industry refuse to join the new, real world and subsequently burn other recruiters trying to buck that trend. It is evidential in the number of internal recruitment positions advertised and the falling numbers of in-the-market candidates for agency roles. In addition, read any business forum that subjects recruiters to scrutiny, and it is overwhelming negative in almost all cases. A quick Google search will confirm that.

Evidently, those recruiters that actively encourage (demand?) compliance on cold-calling are also the ones that can be labelled as cowboys. They drive animosity towards the industry from the cold-call to the physical interaction with clients and candidates. They usually find no reasoning to treat candidates in a clearly defined and careful approach and choose to burn anyone who stands in the way of them and dollars. Conversely (and surprisingly common), they hold over their employees KPI’s that can be classed as restrictive at best and punitive at worst. The churn and burn mentality applies as much to the way they run their businesses as it does their outside approach. When their negative reputation increases, the claim they can’t find any “decent” employees reaches a shrill. Their regressive approach is merely looked upon as comeuppance by the greater business community.

This stupidity means that the wider industry’s reliance on the cold-calling model, so outdated in a modern business context is placing it on a dangerous path. This unequivocal insistence is more likely to create obsolescence of the agency model and a collapse of the industry.

But, hey, if it creates the wonderful profits and massive salaries…

ADDENDUM: With the recent collapse of Hamilton James Bruce, one agency who has indulged in the above, I wonder if this article is prophetic in it’s conclusion?

How Do You Hire On Fit…When Surrounded By Panic? 6 Tips To Consider

Slowly, ever so slowly, the realisation is surfacing amongst some businesses that hiring with fit in mind – character, attributes, behaviours that fit the overall culture of the organisation – is paramount in ensuring not only a successful hire, but a solidly engaged employee from day one.

Yet, other businesses still fall for a panic-induced hire – overlooking the fit of a candidate for a role and instead opting for an immediate hit of skills to suffice an immediate need, without realising (or caring about) the longer-term issues that could arise. It’s like a craving for chocolate – the immediate hit of yumminess is bliss…yet the later effects of calories, weight or sugar, doesn’t enter the equation when the craving hits.

So within this, we have an impasse: on one hand, the realisation of the importance of fit is there, but there is still the overriding sense of panic and the quick fix that comes as a result of it.

So how do we do it? How, amongst the panic and stress of a vacant seat in the office or station on the floor, do we put care into the hiring process and incorporate fit into candidate requirements?

It’s not easy.

However, put these ideas in place, and it will be a lot easier (and far more successful):

1. Know Your Culture

Do you know what makes your team click? Have you properly defined how your employees are engaged? Do you know the importance of an engaged workplace? What are the behaviours, traits or characteristics that make your team cohesive? If you can’t answer these, you are not going to be able to hire against it. Not at all.

2. Time is Key

Seemingly the antithesis of panic, the fact that time creates great outcomes should not be discounted. Give yourself time to plan, source and select with care. Whilst the sense of overriding pressure to find someone will be very strong, the importance of getting it right first time cannot be undervalued.

Remember this – get it wrong, you will be doing it again…and again. The costs just in that repetitive process will be high, even before time drains will kick in

3. Plan Plan Plan

Along with allowing time to hire right comes the need to plan accordingly and to do so even before a hiring need arises. A good decision is based on proper accumulation of information about a candidate to qualify this decision. This information will only be properly attained by ensuring all step of a hiring process are carried through properly, and these steps are part of an overall hiring plan. The plan should be an integral part of the overall business plan, ready to be referred to the moment the needs arise.

4. Source Candidates Before You Need Them

Planning also caters to the times when a need to fill a role is not immediate. Using the time to identify potential candidates that may be either in the market and identifiable via social media or internal referral systems. Just like recruitment agencies have databases of potential candidates, so too can employers do the same to ensure there is a ready-made stream of candidates there who are possible ready to go when the new hiring need drops on them.

5. Get the Basics Right

The secret to any good hire is making sure the basics are covered. If you find yourself in an unplanned hiring process, at the very least get these essential points covered:

  • Define the role: what is the role that is to be filled, how it fits into the overall business and growth plans and it’s function
  • Define the Person: the skills needed and what behaviours / characteristics / cultural elements must be there. Model on a top employee if stuck
  • Define the Strategy: how you will find that person to fill the role

6. Don’t PANIC!

Yes I know it’s hard, but if you find that this gap in your workforce is giving you nightmares, step back. You are going to make a very bad hire if you go in there without a clear head and open eyes. It is simply not going to work. Think of how this is going to affect your business if you get it horribly wrong. Quality is driven by care and attention…not by panic.