Category: Olympics

Smart Resourcing

By Sophie Mackenzie , AdMore Recruitment Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

I was lucky enough to attend Smart Resourcing 2013 last week – an event organised and hosted by Recruiter Magazine. The conference is aimed at in-house recruitment professionals however, following our recent shortlisting for Best Newcomer at the Recruiter Awards to be held in May, we were offered the opportunity to attend with one of our clients. Despite being significantly outnumbered by my in-house opposite numbers (and feeling like the proverbial fox in the hen coup as a result!), I thoroughly enjoyed the event and found much of value to learn and to take back to the agency environment.

The event was introduced by the charming Editor of Recruiter Magazine, DeeDee Doke and after a ‘seductive’ opening statement by the chairman, Roopesh Panchasra (which is difficult to do justice to on the written page but suffice to say involved Barry White!) the keynote speaker, John Vlastelica, took to the stage. Making his UK speaking ‘debut’, John shared his significant experience and numerous amusing anecdotes about recruitment and the challenges of influencing successfully in a recruiting role. I strongly urge you, if you have the opportunity to hear John speak, to seek him out – he provided a highly energetic and inspirational start to the day.

Chris Bogh, the Founding Director of Eploy presented with one of their key clients, Matalan, represented by their Head Office Recruitment Manager Paul McNulty. Paul described the benefits they have seen following the implementation of their web based candidate management system which has seen a reduction in agency spend of 87%!

There followed a series of parallel sessions covering a range of topics from training, board level engagement and an insight into the RAF’s recruitment strategy and process. This was a great idea, enabling the audience to choose which subject was most relevant to them and their business. I chose to hear Catherine Possamai, Director of Internal Resourcing at Capita talk about the challenges of engaging the board in a business with staggering complexity and scale.

Following lunch, there was a panel discussion about Big Data, a subject which provoked a range of opinions. I have to say, I struggled to get my head around the issue and my main learning was that it’s not the size, it’s what you do with it that counts!?

In the second parallel session of the day, I heard about the significant recruitment project delivered by the Network Rail team and how they effectively managed a volume campaign and an effective onboarding programme which has positively affected retention within the business.

The final afternoon session was fascinating, opened by Paul Modley, Head of Recruitment at LOCOG. We took a visual trip back to London 2012 before Paul explained the phenomenal task faced by the team to deliver recruitment on such an immense scale against specific timescales and with the added challenge of working with an RPO and against a significant political backdrop. Through all of this, the commitment to diversity was evident and what was interesting was how Paul and his team engaged the relevant local communities to achieve the results they wanted. I certainly hadn’t fully appreciated the implications of keeping a workforce motivated when faced with the ‘cliff edge’ once the Games had taken place and clearly, the LOCOG team took the lessons from Sydney and took steps to limit the impact of this.

The final ‘slot’ fell to Ryan Broad, Head of Global Recruitment for MPC, the company responsible for visual effects on Prometheus and Life of Pi. This was a real eye opener for me, never having recruited in a creative space before, and Ryan outlined the issues involved in delivering a pipeline of creative talent and ensuring that at any one time, he knows who is available, what their skillset is, where in the world they are and at what price! Quite staggering and even more so considering the fact that Ryan manages all this information through Taleo. The key message I took from Ryan’s presentation was the importance of understanding your candidate market and what motivates them to take a role – in this case, the opportunity to work on cutting edge technology, on a cool movie and ideally with their friends!

All in all, it was a brilliant day – well organised, useful and inspirational. Although aimed at in-house professionals, I found it useful to get a greater insight into the challenges faced by my clients and got plenty of tips to take back to the office. If you get the chance to attend next year, I strongly urge you to do so.

Having this opportunity to hear some of the best recruitment minds share their experience made me reflect on the industry as a whole.

What struck me about the day was the willingness amongst the presenters, panellists and delegates attending to openly share best practice and the over-riding commitment to everyone involved to raise the profile of Recruitment as a profession both internally in their own organisations and amongst the wider business community. I couldn’t help but wonder why there are so few events of a similar nature on the agency side? Are recruitment agencies so competitive that they wouldn’t see the benefit in coming together to discuss how to improve? Surely the in-house representatives at Smart Resourcing are ultimately competing with each other when it comes to attracting the best candidates; however they ultimately consider themselves as ‘on the same side’. Equally, I wonder why the two sides of the recruitment profession are so polarised? Do both sides feel they have so little to learn from their opposite number? Adrian Thomas, former Head of Resourcing at Network Rail, spoke passionately about Recruitment as a profession and the need for it to have greater appreciation for the role it can play in delivering strategic advantage for companies.

Whether in-house or as an agency supplier, we all have a part to play in this and we should all be thinking about how we can do things better to ensure our industry gets the recognition it deserves.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about other useful industry events you have attended…

Thanks to all involved with Smart Resourcing for giving me the opportunity to attend!

Smart Resourcing 2013

Smart Resourcing 2013 Speakers

By Sophie Mackenzie , AdMore Recruitment – Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.


My twin brother is presently a ‘Gamesmaker’ based at the Aquatics Centre at the Olympic Park and he’s loving it! So what makes a married, father of two with limited interest in sport take two weeks off work unpaid to show people to their seats or guard a highly important fire door? It may not be what you think.

He certainly had doubts. Once his training began he was told pretty clearly that he would have ‘no responsibility whatsoever’. This was a little bit of a disappointment. He is an intelligent, upstanding member of the community. Surely he could handle a bit of responsibility? What about a walkie-talkie? No, sorry, that is too much to ask of our volunteers.  So, the thought of dealing with customer queries and not knowing what he would be doing on a daily basis was not filling him with happy thoughts, but you know what, this is the OLYMPIC GAMES, it was going to be awesome!

So how do you motivate 70,000 volunteers to turn up, day in, day out, sometime starting before dawn to deal with the general public (who we all know aren’t always nice to deal with!). Well, you reward them. Not with much – a handbook here, a pin badge there – but you offer them something they cannot get elsewhere. They are in a ‘club’ and let’s face it, we all like being part of something exclusive. The most important factor here is that they are told they are making a difference, they are rewarded with praise. We hear it on the TV every day what a great job the Games Makers are doing. How many of you are told to an audience of millions that you are good at what you do? What is interesting is that there are also paid marshals, they are not called Gamesmakers, even the job title is significant, and as a rule my brother noted they were far less motivated to be there than the volunteers. It is a job for them so they have to be there to get paid. The volunteers turn up because they want to be part of something, because they want to make a difference. Daniel Pink’s excellent book  ‘Drive, The Surprising Truth That Motivates Us’ is an excellent read for those that wish to understand this more.

So how does this relate to the working world? People are motivated by a number of things but rarely is this money, or a nice car, or free fruit everyday. It is the intangible reward, being told you are doing a great job, being part of something exciting and challenging. It is stretching people to improve, giving them the opportunity to grow as individuals.

When was the last time you told someone they were doing a great job? Try it, you may get a big smile (and a more motivated employee) in return!  So my brother is half way through his last week, and something extra special happened – he was rewarded with some responsibility, he got a Walkie-Talkie! Now that’s power!

Shane Horn

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