Monthly Archives: December 2014

What lies ahead?

From manufacturing to superannuation, VECCI invited ten members from a diverse cross-section of industries to share their expectations for business and their sectors in 2015. Slade Group Chairman, Geoff Slade, responds.

The canary in the coal mine may not be singing, but it’s certainly not fallen off its perch. Slade Group is a good measure of the employment market with our ears to the ground in Melbourne and Sydney and our international executive search coverage.

If you are hiring staff, you may be disappointed to learn that good talent is just as hard to find as always. The fact is that high performing employees on any rung of their career ladder can make a compound effect in productivity and organisational performance. And that’s the candidate profile almost every employer wants.

The ABS mid-year data which was re-jigged to take into account non-seasonal variations, was no surprise to Slade Group. There has been a noticeable improvement in hiring sentiment and businesses are finally feeling more confident about stable market conditions. That intangible level of confidence which we can sense and which the economist accurately measure is by far the greatest determinant of labour movement. When confidence is low, staff stay put and organisations make do with headcount. Once confidence lifts, employers embrace the opportunity for growth and start hiring; in parallel, employees are more open to taking ‘a chance’ on a career move.

In our TRANSEARCH global executive search business, Europe, the UK, the USA and parts of Asia have all seen swings upwards in the past 12 months of between 7-10 per cent in hiring activity. Australia is lagging at around two per cent growth, but that’s a vast improvement on the negative territory of the last few years. In the temporary staffing arena, employers are again putting their toe in the water and taking on temporary and contract employees as their workforce is stretched and the nature of temporary staffing allows for flexibility and ease of managing fixed costs.

For the moment the recruitment mine has clean oxygen and high grade content. Two months ago we would have been very bullish about 2015. However, but as I pen this article late in October, we’re again faced with uncertainty and will wait to see what happens with our currency, stabilised government policy, property prices, interest rates, Middle East threats, the Ebola virus, labour costs, our manufacturing industry and so on.

This article was originally published in the Victorian Employer’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) Business Excellence magazine Summer 2014-15 edition.

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Mornington’s agile mumpreneur

Slade Group Account Manager Liz Fleming was profiled this month in Mornington Life Magazine Mumpreneurs: Recruitment & Career Professional Now Working from her Peninsula Home and Business Times magazine’s Bizzquiz in October 2014. Moving to the Mornington Peninsula with her family earlier this year was not only a welcome sea change, but has proven to be a successful professional move.

Liz writes, “Working for an industry leader who had the vision to move to an agile workplace means I can have a fantastic work-life balance. I manage my time so that I can be involved in my children’s lives when they need me and I can focus on my clients and candidates when they need me. It is with this flexibility that I am able to achieve the level of excellence I strive for in all areas of my life.”

“I work from home on the Peninsula for much of my week, which allows me to deliver high quality staff for roles throughout the Peninsula and the southeast region of Melbourne. My consulting role is all about developing creative solutions to ensure my business partners achieve and exceed their HR objectives and my candidates achieve and exceed their career goals,” Liz says.

Slade Group recently embarked on agile working arrangements for our Melbourne recruitment and consulting business, as highlighted by The Slade Report articles Work is a thing we do, not a place we go and We’re curious: What’s your experience with Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) and Hot Desking? published earlier this year.

Describing herself as someone who has always dreamed of being inspirational and exceeding other people’s expectations, Liz has come a long way from her first job at The Chocolate Box as a 16 year old during the school holidays. She offers some simple advice to those inspired by her success story: “For me listening is the key. So many people are busy talking about themselves or their businesses that they forget to listen to what others are saying and just as importantly, what they are not saying. Only with astute listening are we in a position to ask the right questions, and then decipher the important issues.”

What are your career dreams? What about your ideal world @work?

Featured image: View from Arthurs Seat by cafuego, Creative Commons licence and copyright

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Seven ways to smile your way to the top

Smiling when we brand ourselves digitally is de rigueur. Just look at the photos we post on our social networks or the intranet, our professional profiles on LinkedIn and the company website. Personal branding is a necessity in today’s connected talent market, but is it a true reflection of our capability and does it help us to build quality personal and business relationships?

As a recruitment consultant I meet new people every day. Someone with a weak handshake who doesn’t look you in the eye, doesn’t make a good impression. They may still be very capable, and it’s my job to uncover that, but I’ll also be coaching them to better present themself in person.

How about the last time you were introduced to someone who was warm and engaging, smiled and called you by name? It’s highly likely you’ve since built on the relationship, and may even be working with them now. Studies show a pleasing personality and a positive attitude goes a long way towards being successful. In Why Likability Matters More at Work, The Wall Street Journal reports, “Likable people are more apt to be hired, get help at work, get useful information from others and have mistakes forgiven.”

I work with CEOs and company directors on a day-to-day basis. People at that level depend on their staff to represent them well to colleagues, clients and other stakeholders. So when I’m hiring, I’m certainly looking for someone who is likeable (with the skills, competencies and required experience for the role).

Richard Feloni has identified 14 Habits of Exceptionally Likeable People. Here are my pick – seven of the most important:

  1. They develop a positive mental attitude
  2. They pay close attention to someone speaking to them
  3. They are able to maintain their composure
  4. They are patient
  5. They keep an open mind
  6. They smile when speaking with others
  7. They know that not all their thoughts need to be expressed

Organisations that successfully retain their top talent do so with a management style that reflects positively on their employees; incentive and retention programs notwithstanding. All the stats show staff leave managers, not companies. Let’s face it, we spend more time with our work colleagues than friends and family, so who would you rather work with?

Is it important for you to work with likeable people? Do you think likeability makes a difference in your workplace?

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