Blog Archives

A homecoming with fresh eyes

We’ve written about the benefits of Boomerang Hires, but what’s it really like to leave a company and return again a couple of years later?

Two years ago I left Slade Group to see what life was like on the other side. Having consolidated my internal recruitment and industry knowledge in a consulting role, I went back to professional practice to work in a mid-tier accounting firm.

I learned a lot sitting at that desk. While it taught me about different operating systems and processes, I also learned something about myself – essentially that this new job was not for me; recruitment was where I wanted to develop the next chapter of my career.

In my next role I worked for a niche professional services recruitment firm, where I specialised in forensics, insolvency and corporate finance. Sounds dry if you’re outside the industry, actually a pretty exciting time for me. It allowed me to upskill, while expanding my network in the professional services sector. I grew the business, met some influential people and made many successful placements. There were even a few parties.

However over the course of leaving Slade and working in those subsequent roles, I was discovering what motivated me and finding out how I could add value to the company I worked for, as well as client organisations.

As a returning employee, you have an objective viewpoint. You’ve had the opportunity of new experiences with other businesses and the benefit of seeing your former employer with fresh eyes. For me the culture at Slade, the integrity of its leadership and the trust the brand enjoys (evidenced by longstanding relationships with clients, candidates, and former employees – myself included) were deciding factors in making my return when the time was right.

Today employees change jobs a lot more often over the course of their careers, and there is certainly an advantage to learning new skills in a new organisation that you can bring back. Culturally coming back to Slade was easy because I understood and respected its values. Flexibility and adaptability are critical in today’s market. Being agile, learning from different organisations and observing how others work has allowed me to realise new opportunities for the team I now lead. Likewise, being a knowledge specialist is equally important: clients appreciate my understanding of business support roles and my experience in industry.

When moving on from a job people often talk about the negatives that motivated them to looking elsewhere. The positives for me are always the people, colleagues and clients, where I established relationships based on the authenticity of a personal connection to the business.

Coming back to Slade was like leaving home in my early 20s. Heading off on many adventures and returning to my family home a bit older and wiser than when I left. You are much more appreciative about being looked after and having your favorite things!  At Slade my ‘favourite things’ means quality systems and processes, ongoing training, clear values, flexibility with time arrangements to pick up on life’s vagaries, and of course my colleagues and clients. When I walked in the door, it felt like my team already knew me, like I was welcomed back from a holiday.  I’m not one to get too comfortable, I enjoy taking risks, and there’s much to be done, but it’s a nice feeling to boomerang back to our Slade family.

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Posted in Slade Business Support, The world @work

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?

Posted in Professional Support, The world @work