How to build your personal brand

How to build your personal brand

Posted November 16, 2023

It’s a noisy world out there, and these days, it’s not enough to just let your work speak for itself.

Building your personal brand is about telling people who you are, and demonstrating how you could be of value to them. In the simplest terms your personal brand is your reputation, which follows you around whether you like it or not. So, you may as well take control of it and leverage it to make connections, grow your business, and land your dream job.

1. Figure out what you’re all about

You may have many jobs over your lifetime, but your personal brand is something you’ll take with you over the course of your career so it’s worth investing time and energy into it. Before you can sell yourself to the world, you need to know who you are, what you want to be known for, and where you want to go. What are your values and interests? What motivates you? What’s the most exciting part of your job and what are the changes you want to make happen in your industry? Take stock of your set of skills and talents and experiences that are unique to you. If you were competing for a spot in the rocket ship leaving Earth to start a new civilisation, what would you write on your application form?

Then start thinking about where you want to be a year from now. How about in 5, 10 years, and beyond? Once you’ve established your short and long term goals, you’ll have a better idea of the kind of people you’d like to start noticing you, they’re your target audience.

Answers to all of these questions will help you formulate a one-line vision statement for your personal brand that really feels authentic to you, not just something you think you’re meant to say.

“My number one tip is to always be honest and true to who you are,” says Scarlett Cooke, Talent Sydney Account Manager. “Pretending to be someone or something you aren’t will only end in tears.”

2. Build your brand

In the good old days, if someone wanted to stalk you, they’d need several fake moustaches, a big pair of binoculars and a leafy bush to hide behind, but today all it takes is a simple Google search. In most cases, they’ll start with your LinkedIn profile, and this is your first chance to impress.

Your online presence is an extension of yourself, so inject a bit of your personality in there. For Scarlett, “Personal qualities I look for in a candidate include their humour, an inquisitive nature and their motivations to grow and develop in a role.”

In the one-line bio, don’t just write “Developer at Boring Company”, use a full sentence to show the world that you love what you do, and that you’re damn good at it. Need some inspo? Check out the bios of LinkedIn’s Top Ten Voices In Tech.

People looking at your profile don’t just want to read your resume, they want to get a sense of who you are as a person to see if you’re a good cultural fit for their company. “The more you tell me about yourself, the more you stand out and will spring to mind when new roles come up,” says Scarlett. Your work history shouldn’t read like a resume. People are naturally drawn to narratives, so tell a compelling personal story that includes your interests, motivations, key milestones in your career and your outlook for the future. In addition, she advises your photo should be professional and your ‘experience’ section should be up to date and aligned to your CV.

Of course, as much as recruiters want to get the full picture of you as a professional, there is such a thing as TMI – too much information. “I would also strongly recommend keeping your personal social media on the highest privacy settings possible!” Scarlett adds.

3. Create content

You can use the words “motivated” and “passionate” all you like, but the best way to prove that you’re the real deal is simple: Show us what you can do. You’ve identified your area of specialisation, so you can start by sharing articles related to that topic and commenting on posts with your insights. You’ve told us all about your skillset, so build a beautiful website for yourself that showcases those strengths. But please, make sure it works.

Blog about industry topics that combine your experience, interests and expertise. Don’t be afraid to get niche, as you can position yourself as a thought leader in that particular space. You could write articles on platforms like Medium and also consider sending out a regular email newsletter that people can sign up to. You don’t have to restrict yourself to blog posts, think about other media too. Consider articles, white papers, speeches, video series, podcasts, animated infographics, flash games, the choices are endless!

4. Connect with others

If you’re an introvert, “networking” might be a phrase that makes you feel like throwing up a little bit in your mouth, but at the end of the day, it’s just about making genuine connections and getting to know the people in your community. You might not always love talking about yourself, but that’s just a part of what personal branding is about. Instead seek out the people whose work you admire, and tell them how much you appreciate their work. Share articles that others have written, and soon others will do the same for you.

If you’re a developer, another tip is to frequently add to GitHub, Stack Overflow, or if you’re a Salesforce developer, continue to earn badges on Trailhead. It proves that you care about what you do and gives you a chance to show off your ability and interact with your peers.

Being social is also about going out and doing stuff in real life. If you live in a city, there are events, training sessions, expos and conferences happening pretty much every day of the week.

“I would recommend signing up for Meetup as this is a great way to connect with the tech community and stay up to date with new trends,” says Scarlett. Or just Google tech events + your city and see what turns up. As well as proving that you’re constantly learning and adding to your knowledge, attending an event is bound to give you an idea for something to write about on your blog. Bonus!

5. Living your brand

Building your personal brand is about discovering and then showcasing the best version of yourself. It’s not just about self-promotion, it’s about conducting yourself in a way that other people are compelled to be your cheerleaders. Going above and beyond in your work and helping out colleagues means you’ll be more likely to get LinkedIn recommendations and prove that you are as good as you say.

Employers do look for volunteer work or community involvement, as well as extra-curricular activities around social responsibility. You really can’t fake this stuff, so if you’re not doing it already, get out there and use your skills and privilege to make the world a better place.

Finally, this process might have helped you identify some of your personal shortfalls and flaws, so use this opportunity to work on yourself. Become the kind of person that you’d want on your team, and you’ll be much happier for it.

If you think your personal brand has what it takes to stand out from the rest, browse the opportunities we have available and get applying!

How to manage outcomes, not hours

How to manage outcomes, not hours

Posted September 16, 2023

From the very first moment someone accessed their work emails outside of the office (most likely on a Blackberry), the need for human beings to be sitting at their desks in order to perform their roles began to diminish.

In our increasingly mobile and cloud-connected world, the hours we spend in the office are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Computers in our pockets have more fire power than the computers we had at our desks in the 1990’s, and we now have the ability to work from any location at any time. The entire world of work has evolved, so the way we manage must also change.

What still really matters are outcomes and results. We all seem to be fairly capable of managing people to outcomes when everything is going well. Freedom and flexibility are a breeze when your team is kicking goals. But what happens if someone is not meeting their KPI’s?

1. Ditch the old-school thinking

When our teams don’t deliver, we usually let our old fashioned thoughts on management prevail. We move to managing via time at work because it’s easy to resort to making judgements about what we can physically see our team doing. Did they arrive in the office 15 minutes late? Did they take an extra 20 minutes on their lunch break? We start to judge by what we can see, but is this really the right way to go about things?

Oftentimes, because of technology and flexible work policies, we can’t physically see the work our teams are doing. That is where trust comes in. We need to demonstrate to our teams that we trust them to deliver on their goals, and we need to give them the opportunity to work in their own way.  Provide them with this flexibility and put the onus on them to make it work. If they have clear goals and a sense of direction, they will deliver.

This isn’t always an easy thing to do though. When frustrated, it’s easy to give in to old-fashioned thoughts. You might feel as though it’s unfair, “I worked for 20 years before being able to negotiate Fridays working from home” and “I was never allowed to be late when I was the junior”. This may be well and true, but times are changing. While you may not have had the opportunity to work from home in your early days, you may instead have had the luxury of a clearer distinction between your personal life and work life. Speaking of which…

2. Be aware of blurred lines

While the ability to work remotely is all well and good, the barriers that define “work” and “home” are being increasingly blurred. The juggling of commitments by parents who work from home, in many cases means that they are available 24/7 – well, except perhaps for those hellish two hours between 5 and 7pm when they need to get dinner, bath and bed sorted in military precision.

We may not physically see the hours our teams put in to their work, but that does not mean that they are not plugging away to deliver quality results. Employers expect team members to take calls from clients outside hours, and sacrifice personal time to have a meeting with the UK team at 10pm, but are not so happy when they arrive at the office 15 minutes late. We can’t forget that flexibility works both ways. It can’t always be give and no take.

3. Presenteeism vs productivity

It’s also important to consider that the most physically present team members might not necessarily be the most productive. “Presenteeism” is defined as “the practice of being present at one’s place of work for more hours than is required, especially as a manifestation of insecurity about one’s job.” Woody Allen once said that 80% of success in life can be attributed to simply showing up, but growing research shows that’s not the case. It is of no value to your company to have a full office, but a team of unproductive people. Sure, they’re ticking the box of being present, and maybe they are going beyond that and staying back late at the office, but are they actually delivering? Again, it is easy to manage on what you can see, but are these employees actually performing, or just putting on a show? If you choose to manage on presence, this is something you need to consider.

4. It’s on us, not them

The relationship between manager and employee is a two-way street. Managing on hours is actually really lazy. It’s easy. What’s a bit more time consuming, but far more rewarding, is spending more time up front having clear and regular conversations with your team members about their goals.

Before you begin to question them on their punctuality, take a moment to consider your own actions. Have you been clear about what you are expecting and the objectives you want your team members to meet? Have you had a somewhat difficult conversation with them about what you really need them to be achieving? An employee with very clearly defined KPIs, objectives and goals should be trusted to manage their time however they need to.

With that being said, if your company prides itself on the values of connection and collaboration, it is not unreasonable for you to place the expectation on your team members to make an appearance in the office often. A culture of connection can’t be achieved if there are never any people around. It is also a great idea to be using digital engagement channels to foster collaboration during the times your team is not physically present. This way you can maintain the culture your company is known for, without compromising the flexibility policies you have in place.

The world of work is evolving, your management style needs to as well. Remember, it’s not about measuring hours, but about managing outcomes. You can’t always see what your team is doing, but you need to trust in them to deliver. This isn’t something reserved for the workplace of the future, it is something that needs to be happening now.

With return to office mandates rising high, get in touch with us today to find out how you can balance office culture with employee well-being to retain and attract top talent.

The benefits of working with national sales recruiters

The benefits of working with national sales recruiters

Posted March 16, 2023

Looking for top sales candidates is no easy task. As the face of your company, you want to make sure the salespeople you recruit are at the top of their game. That’s where recruiters come in. Sales recruiters with a national presence provide a multitude of benefits. From enhancing your pick of candidates to gaining an insight into regional markets, there are plenty of benefits to reap.

 

1. A look into the market

A national sales recruiter will provide you with in-depth insights into the local market that you are looking to recruit in. According to Talent’s Sales and Business Development Recruitment Specialist, Thomas Mackenzie, “Things like average salaries, average tenure, and realistic commission structures based on market conditions should only be one phone call away.” If you are not based in a particular city but are seeking talent from that local pool, then a national recruiter will be on call to help with any question you may have. They will know the local market well, possess strong knowledge of the candidates within, and be well versed in the different salary trends and skillsets prevalent.

 

2. Connections, connections, connections

National sales recruiters are especially helpful when struggling to find candidates within your immediate area. With a presence in multiple locations around the country, they have the relationships and people power to dedicate towards finding the strongest candidates for the roles you’re seeking to fill. If you can’t find that stellar salesperson in Perth, it may just be that your perfect sales candidate is waiting to be found in Melbourne instead. Mackenzie explains “national sales recruiters are in the market every day and have connections in different cities who can help you locate the exact talent you’re after. And now that we’ve experienced working remotely, why be constrained by borders?”. A national sales recruiter can break down these barriers for you, opening the way to a brand-new talent pool.

 

3. Time is money

Using a national sales recruitment agency will shorten the time to hire, meaning you can fill your vacancies with star salespeople in no time. With access to a pool of pre-screened candidates, your sales recruiter can present you with a carefully selected group of talent to consider. So, save yourself the countless hours of scanning through hundreds upon hundreds of applications and leave it to the professionals. They can connect you with the very best candidates for your needs.

 

4. Face-to-face contact 

Salespeople are the face of your organisation, so you will want to know that whoever you hire for the role is a fit culturally and truly represents your company’s values. According to Mackenzie “if your sales team spends considerable time in the field, it is even more important that your recruiters are meeting these candidates prior to submission.” National recruitment agencies with multiple office locations are best equipped to satisfy this requirement so you can rest easy knowing your candidates have been met prior to their submission.

 

5. Hire the best person for the job, not the best candidate who has applied

Utilising a sales specialist means that you won’t just hire the best person who has applied to the advert you have placed on LinkedIn or Seek. You will instead find the top salesperson in the market who suits your business needs. According to Talent’s Sales and Business Development Recruitment Specialist, Jenna Daly, “A sales specialist won’t just place an advert and secure the best applicant from this. They will proactively use their own network, speaking to existing candidates and clients they know to gain referrals, as well as proactively contacting and headhunting passive candidates that fit the brief”. The best sales professionals are usually passive, so hiring a specialist is the best way to ensure every candidate approach is covered.

 

At Talent, we’re experts in sales, tech and digital recruitment. With an international presence in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, USA, and the UK, we have a strong understanding of these national markets and have the skills, knowledge and expertise to help you find the right people for your needs, wherever you may be located. Get in touch today.

What’s culture got to do with it?

What’s culture got to do with it?

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Purpose, values and why they’re important

Okay, picture this. You’re in the office and you walk over to someone in your payroll team and ask them what your company vision, mission, and values are. Can they tell you? Doesn’t matter if they’re one of your first employees and have seen you through from the start-up phase, or they only started last week, every person in your business should resonate with your vision, mission, and values. According to Forbes, good company culture can increase revenue by more than four times.

How do you make this happen? Have a look at your vision, is it the light on the hill that we’re all working towards? Take your mission, is that what you do every day? Not just you, everyone that sits around you, works remotely, the candidate interviewing in the next room. Your values; are they the things to live by every time you open your laptop or walk into a meeting?

If you hesitated when answering any of those questions, you may need to press pause and reassess. This is a huge deciding factor as a scale-up. People want to work for scale-ups because they want to be on the journey, and it’s often one of your biggest cards when competing against the big banks, multinationals, and companies with a lot more cash to splash.

This should resonate through everything that you do, not just the day-to-day dealing with each other and your customers. Have you got your Corporate Social Responsibility sorted? Put together some tangible things that your company can have a positive impact on. A great place to start is committing to a strong ESG strategy. This also connects your people and potential candidates to a bigger purpose and can be a big draw card when competing for top talent, but most importantly just being a better company.

So in short, nailing your purpose, values, vision and mission will set you up on the path to successful company culture.

“ More than ever candidates are focused on finding a company that offers them a meaningful mission, interesting problems to solve, and a chance to work on challenging, impactful projects.”  Kiri Evans, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner, Immutable, on site via Talent

What’s your reputation like?

First things first, let’s just clear something up – Employer Value Proposition (EVP) and Employer Brand are not the same thing. Employer Brand often amplifies what your EVP is to your target audience but there’s a lot of things at play.

Your EVP should be a true reflection of what your team is getting out of their day-to-day, not something that your senior leadership team has thrown together over a few glasses of wine. What attracts people to your company can be a big variety of things, from culture, to work environment, career and development, pay and more, and how you deliver on the commitments that you made will be a strong indicator of how healthy your turnover stats are.

In its simplest form, Employer Brand is your company’s reputation as a good place to work. Think of this like lifecycle marketing. It doesn’t just happen around adoption (or hire), it’s a large funnel that starts with awareness and consideration. Your consumer brand can have a really positive (or in some cases negative) impact on your employer brand, if you’re doing really cool stuff as a consumer brand, likelihood is that people are going to want to get on board with that. However, this is definitely not enough. A couple of bad experiences and a change in consumer brand and you could be up the creek without a paddle.

Scale-ups have a buzz of their own, lean into that. Create a community around your brand and ensure that your EVP resonates with your people, and that you’re walking the talk. From there make sure your candidate journey and employee life cycle are second to none.

Interested in looking into this a little more? Get in touch. 

Pay it forward

Rewards do not have to be costly, or involve additional payments and bonuses. They can be as simple as feedback loops and open communication about a job well done. Employers should ensure that any rewards provided to colleagues are appropriate to the individual. Not all employees exercise at the gym or are interested in a long lunch with the champagne flowing, therefore discounted gym memberships or extended lunches or dinners might not be a one size fits all. It all comes down to being inclusive.

Not sure where to start? We’re going to sound like a broken record here but talk to your people. There are many different personas that make up a team, and there are lots of different tools that you can use to identify these differences to find out how best to reward. At Talent, we use a little something called the PI index, and we’ve found that it helps identify personal traits, thus building stronger, more sympathetic teams. Just like rewards, everyone communicates differently and being attuned to these different styles can help you in the long run.

According to the Harvard Business Review, 82% of people surveyed feel like their supervisors don’t recognise them and an additional 40% added that they would do more work if they were recognised more often. In a scale-up where people are wearing a lot of hats just to make things happen, this can have a big impact.

Moral of the story: A well-deserved pat on the back can go a long way. And it’s so easy to do without breaking the bank!

Different strokes for different folks

Open and honest communication from the top down can help to foster a positive culture within the business, where your people are kept informed of strategies, directions, outcomes, and significant changes. It’s a bit of a no-brainer that businesses that involve their teams in business planning and decision making are more likely to have an engaged workforce and retain valued employees. Your team will also feel a sense of recognition if their views are taken into account and they feel heard.  Check out our podcast on Internal Comms with Christie O’Toole from Salesforce – ​It’s the Vibe Podcast if you want to delve into this in a bit more detail.

Let’s get into it. How are you talking to your people; is the leadership team known for keeping secrets or are you an open book? Don’t get us wrong, there’s pros and cons with all types of communication, but the more open and honest the better off you’ll be in the long run. We all know the feeling of being out of the loop – it’s not fun!

Different people like different communication levels, styles, mediums, pretty much any variable you can think of applies here. Having a single source of truth is incredibly important. Your people need to know where to go for important updates. Please don’t make this another email chain, this is 2022.

There are a huge range of different communication channels that you can use, even company social media channels can be one. Our recruiters live on LinkedIn, so it’s no surprise that it’s often the first place they learn new information. There are about 1,000 internal comms channel providers, we work with Blink and Slack a lot if you need somewhere to start.

In the scale-up world, it’s safe to say that most of us are pretty tech savvy. Scaling a company around one persona never did inclusivity any favours. Have a think about how your communication style is received by different people across the business, and if you feel you aren’t cutting through, you may need to rethink how you deliver your message.

Some people aren’t a fan of the social media style communication system, and that’s okay too. Make sure that your managers are across what’s going on so that everyone feels included, regardless of how they get their news. All hands meetings are a great way around this, and helps reinforce a sense of community within your scale-up.

“The fastest way to get customers to love your brand is to get employees to love their jobs”– Tiffany Bova, Global Growth and Innovation Salesforce and award-winning author of Growth IQ.

If you want to dig into more insights, check out our 2022 More Than Money Salary Guide for market trends, regional insights, salaries, and more!

Advice for start-up founders

Advice for start-up founders

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Vision, Values, Belief – getting the fundamentals right!

Start-up founders and entrepreneurs are often portrayed as enjoying lavish and excessive lifestyles and recent fallen angels are testament to this.

However, as someone who has started a company from nothing I can tell you that you need to keep your head down. It will take extreme hard work, plenty of self-belief and the backing of genuine supporters. Apply all of this in the right amounts and the rewards could be beyond your wildest dreams. And I’m not talking about financial rewards but the pride in seeing something that you started and invested your time, heart and soul into grow and develop into something that is making a real difference.

So if you are thinking of launching your own venture, or you have already taken that leap, I have some advice that might help you on your journey.

Clarify your vision

You have to have a clear vision and purpose to be successful in business otherwise you will risk falling by the wayside in the early stages. You also need a strong sense of conviction or people won’t join you on your journey, including both employees and customers. Belief in yourself and your venture is vital and it’s apparent to others when you walk into a room and begin talking.

When I started Talent our funding was limited but we had belief and purpose. It has always been a focus for me in terms of mapping out our journey whether short term or long term. Talent’s first logo was a spinning globe with an orbit track coming out of Australia. Even back then – from a home office in Perth, whilst survival was the key, we also knew where we wanted to go. But it’s more than that, vision is about finding and understanding, as Simon Sinek says, your ‘why’ and then building everything around it. Your purpose, your values and your vision should be clearly defined and something you keep front of mind every day.

Failure is part of success

No business has ever existed that got everything right. You will have failures and that’s a not a bad thing as long you take lessons away with you. How will you learn if you haven’t fallen and figured out what you did wrong so that you can fix it? Treat each failure as a way to learn and get better and don’t let it get to you – keep getting up and keep going. However it is important to know when to reassess your model and change focus.

Persistence is a great trait but make sure it doesn’t become mindless. For us at Talent this may have been reflected in our Asian excursions. We kept throwing funds into our expansion into places like Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong where there was never likely to be a great return for the nature of our business. As an Australian company it seemed to be the thing to do and we subscribed to the hype. Wrong! Those funds were always going to be better invested in innovation or places like the US and Germany where the potential returns for us are enormous. This is exactly what we have done.

Grow at the right speed but prepare for more

Businesses are not created overnight. Things will sometimes take longer than you expect, whether that’s finding the right team, building a strong customer base, raising funds, or making a profit. A lot of start-ups these days are focused on short-term quick growth, unrealistic valuations or immediate exits. If you are starting a business, my advice would be to spend time and resources getting your foundations right. Those who have patience, strong foundations and resilience are more likely to find success.

When we expanded to Sydney from Perth we made a decision to move HQ there and set up a back-office infrastructure that could handle a contracting business 20 times larger than we had at the time. It seemed a little crazy but I wanted to make sure we could handle the growth I was confident we would achieve. Sure enough, it happened and for many years we added 50 contractors a month which we absorbed without missing a beat. Many of that infrastructure team are still with us today.

Build a great team

The key to building a successful business is finding great people. This is everything! No one can do it alone and being able to build a strong team with the right dynamics, diversity and synergies is perhaps the greatest ability a leader can have. From my observations, many entrepreneurs and start-up founders focus too much on hiring people who are and similar to them in their thinking or will do what they’re told. You must be challenged whether you like it or not! There is often too much focus on breakneck growth, valuations and endless pivoting and not enough on building a true and lasting culture based on trust, respect, and long term value systems. Look at the person and personality first, and specific work skills second. Then hire people who will complement the existing team and yourself. Find complementary people who work well together. Make sure that the team feels ownership and is involved in the hiring process so there is buy-in. Also if you have a geographically dispersed business bring your people together regularly and get them on the same page. This was a challenge at Talent but also something we invested plenty of time and energy into. It’s been well worth it!

Take advice but be selective

Tune in and get connected to the business community that’s relevant to you. There are a lot of people who have done it before and can give you great advice. But at the same time be selective about who you ask advice of and who you listen to. Too much of the wrong advice and ideas can choke your creativity and your beliefs. Feedback and advice are important when you are starting up or in the early stages of your business, but you need to be able to put the feedback in context. If you can identify a good mentor then do so. Remember advice can come from the unlikeliest of sources – even from within your business and often from young or junior staff. It is very tempting to gravitate to highly successful wealthy people in business or your field, but they can sometimes be disappointing and prone to dine out on their own stories rather than listening to yours. Your customers can also be a great source of advice – never be shy about asking them how you can do a better job

And finally don’t forget friends, family and loved ones. They know you better than anyone and are likely to have the best handle on your emotional capacity – a vital component for a successful entrepreneur.

Be brave and good luck!

Are you ready for a career change?

Are you ready for a career change?

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It’s Sunday night, and that familiar thud hits you in your stomach, tomorrow is Monday. Dread washes over you with the very thought of dragging yourself to work and going through the motions all over again. You’re bored and unmotivated or perhaps you just feel like you’re ready for the next big challenge.

You know deep down in your gut that something has to change, you’re just not sure what.
If you’ve got as much passion for your current occupation as you do for taking out the bins every Wednesday night, it might be time to change careers.

But how do you know if it’s time to take the leap into doing something completely different, rather than just repositioning in your current industry? Here’s how to start thinking strategically about whether making a career change is the right decision for you, right now.

1) Take a long hard look at yourself

Did you do it? You look great! Have you done something with your hair? Ok, now look a little deeper. If you’re feeling really frustrated, you might have the urge to make a drastic change and quit in a spectacular fashion. But before you go full Jerry Maguire, you need to do a self-evaluation. You might be thinking, “Stare into the abyss, not for me thanks!” but taking the time to understand yourself will allow you to make future decisions with clarity.

There are some great career self-assessment tools online, like this one from the Australian government, but you can start with questions like this.

Who inspires you? What drives you? Ask yourself, if I didn’t have to work for money, what would motivate me to turn up at the office every day? What are your hobbies and why do you love doing them? Do you want to incorporate them into your next career, or would you prefer to leave them for the weekends? Think about the last time you mentally gave yourself a high five, and write down those activities you do at work or in your own time that leave you with that strong feeling of satisfaction and a job well done, so you can seek them out in your next role.

2) Evaluate your current workplace

Now you have a good idea about your priorities and motivations, write down what you like about your current job, and the parts you’d rather leave behind. Remember, there might be personal skills that you enjoy flexing, even if you don’t necessarily enjoy the task. Think about how those skills could be transferrable to another field.
It’s also important to be specific about the stuff you don’t like so much. Is it a problem that’s specific your workplace’s culture or do you suspect it is industry wide? It’s also handy to do this to make sure that you don’t switch careers only to find you’re stuck doing all the things that annoyed you in the first place.  For instance, you might not want to start your own business if you really dislike admin and book-keeping. If there’s nothing that could change at your current job to make you happy, start looking further afield.

3) Advancement in your career

Mirror mirror on the wall, who has the best job of them all? Do you look at anyone in your company or field where you think “That’s what I want to be doing in five years!” Would you want to do your boss’s job, or their boss’s job? If so, it’s time to make a plan about how you’re going to get there. But if there’s no position that you aspire to, and there’s nothing that excites you about a future in this field, it’s time to make a change.

4) Take your daydreams seriously

No, not those daydreams where you imagine dunking your boss in a vat of slime, the ones where you look out the window and wistfully imagine a better life. If your happy place is anywhere but here, and you spend your days browsing job ads and thinking about the skills you’d be learning if you only had the time, start listening to what your daydreams are trying to tell you.  If you dream about spending more time with your family, your dreams may be telling you to seek a job that allows you to have a flexible work schedule. If you have a behind the scenes job and you daydream about how cool it would be if you could speak  directly to the client, you may start looking for a more people-oriented career. Maybe you dream about being a famous rapper. Whatever it is, you owe it to yourself to spend some time thinking about how you could make it a reality (rapper school?), and soon you’ll turn your daydreams into clear goals.

5) Do your research

Once you’ve got a list of potential career options, start interrogating each one. Play good cop/bad cop and get real about their pros and cons, whether you’re up for the extra training you’d have to do, and if there are good opportunities for growth. Get really nerdy about it and learn as much as you can in your own time. “ You need to keep up to speed with what’s happening,” says Anthony Whyte, Talent South Australia General Manager. “After all, there’s no use saying you want to do something if there are no jobs out there. So know where there are jobs and future careers and let that guide you.”

Seek out people who are doing what you’d like to do, then take them out for coffee and pick their brains. You’d be amazed at how secretly chuffed most people are to be asked for advice. If your dream career is in tech, you can talk to one of our experts here.

So ask yourself the right questions, do the work, be prepared to take on the ups and downs of a career shift and you’ll find yourself on a Sunday night, eagerly awaiting the working week ahead.

As Steve Jobs said: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

How to work collaboratively from home

How to work collaboratively from home

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When working from home, it’s not as simple as tapping your co-worker on the shoulder to ask a question. You are instead often kilometres away from each other, linked only by your Wi-Fi router. So what does this mean for your ability to collaborate? Does it ultimately crumble? Not at all! Here are our suggestions on how you can continue to smash out your team goals, even when you’re not physically in the office:

1. Leverage collaboration tools

There are a multitude of collaboration tools out there that you can use to stay connected with your team. From Zoom for conference calls, to Microsoft Teams and Google Drive for collaborative work, there are plenty of platforms enabling you to work together. Programs such as Trello and Monday, are also great, as they simplify the project management process, allowing you to delegate responsibility to team members and set deadlines. They are great tools for establishing accountability amongst your team, ensuring everyone is across what they should be working on. Clarity is what you want.

2. Establish clear expectations

As a manager, you should be setting clear expectations for your team when it comes to remote work. Outline what you would like them to achieve for the day, week, month and check in with them regularly to see if you can offer any support as well as to see that they are on-track. You also want to ensure that everyone has a distinct role and is clear of this. There is nothing worse than having two people unknowingly working on the same task – talk about wasted time and effort!

Read our article on how to manage a remote team if you are looking for more tips on effectively communicating with your team.

3. Use video calling tools

Never underestimate the power a video call or even a regular call can have in achieving your best collaborative work. Sometimes you actually need to speak to someone to sort through issues rather than continue a 20-message-long email thread. This is a much more efficient way to clear up any confusion and to resolve any concerns about pressing tasks. It also adds a human element to the remote work sphere, which can boost morale amongst your team.

4. Check in

Regular communication is key. Check in with your team often, whether it’s a quick 5 minute call each morning to see what they are currently working on, or a group conference call where everyone has a chance to discuss their work in progress. Providing opportunities like these, remind your team that it is a group effort and that everyone is in it together. They are not working in isolation, but are working in collaboration towards a common goal. Sometimes, just hearing the progress that everyone else has made allows them to feel as though they are part of a bigger purpose and their efforts are contributing to achieving something worthwhile. This can be all the motivation needed to perform their best work.

5. Be responsive

When working remotely, you can’t just go over to someone’s desk to ask them a question. So, what happens when you need an answer to your problem right away? How do you manage this? As a leader, when working from home, it is important that you are still reachable by your team and are fairly responsive with your communication. You need to be present to provide guidance when necessary. This isn’t to say that all responsibility for communication should fall on you though. You should have the same expectation of your team, that they be responsive when working out of office. Remember, this only applies during business hours – you should never be available 24/7. Digital communication replaces verbal communication in the WFH landscape, so you, as well as your team, need to be prepared to be active across a number of channels, especially email, if you are to effectively collaborate.

6. Culture is key

You should live and breathe your company’s values. Although your team is working remotely, you still want to maintain the culture you are known for. This comes down to your people. Prioritising team bonding is key during this time. It’s a great idea to spend a few minutes catching up before starting formalities on a conference call, as well as using communication tools such as WhatsApp or Blink to stay in contact with your team on a social level. Your culture is built on your people. If you have a culture built on positive team relationships and collaboration, then taking this to the virtual sphere will be no problem!

If you are looking for new digitially skilled candidates to join your team, get in contact with us at Talent today.

To read more,  check out our tips and tricks for virtual onboarding and our working through COVID-19 guide.

7 proven ways to increase engagement in your business

7 proven ways to increase engagement in your business

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Recently, Talent was announced as one of Gallup’s top 40 exceptional workplaces globally for the third year running. April Marcot who is our Head of People and Culture was asked what her top tips are to increase and enhance workplace engagement and performance. Here are the seven areas she believes leaders and managers should focus on to achieve increased employee engagement.

 

1. Establish your baseline

Start with understanding the current level of employee engagement within your organisation. It’s not where you start but where you go from there that matters!

Use an engagement survey to establish a baseline to work from. This will provide you with facts, figures and anecdotes to assist in measuring the different areas of engagement. If your company measures well in areas relating to social engagement but low in relation to training and development – you will know which areas to focus on and plan around for improvement. It will also help make the qualitative work you do later more measurable. Listen to your people, they will give you the answers you need, and, at the same time, they will appreciate being asked. They might even offer much simpler and more intuitive solutions than grand corporate schemes.

 

2. Impact of managers

The relationships between the manager and their team has the biggest impact on engagement.

While initiatives, incentives and programs from head-office are important to increase engagement, it’s the relationship between team members and the manager that is responsible for 70% of employee engagement and therefore productivity. This has been quantified in an enormous amount workplace research including Gallup studies, and from my own experience, I have found it to be the most important factor in creating an engaged team. Start with giving your mangers the tools and support they need to get it right. Give them the autonomy to lead, encourage them to communicate and listen, set clear goals, and give feedback regularly.

 

3. Play to their strengths

Connect people with the right position. Help them progress in their career by allowing and encouraging them to do what they are good at. Develop people in their roles individually, and help them become leaders in their field, within their strengths and interests. You don’t need to be a manager to be a leader. Career progression means different things to different people. Not everyone wants to be, or can be a manager of people, but everyone can be a leader, given the right opportunity.

 

4. Connect culture and performance

Clearly communicated values that resonate with employees will go a long way to shape behaviour and identify behavioural expectations. These values need to be communicated and reinforced constantly, in various ways to reach everyone. If you don’t already have clearly defined values, or they need a refresh, get everyone involved in helping to define them. Give them a sense of ownership and accountability in creating and living them.

Leaders and managers need to be prepared to make some hard calls to show they not only support but also live by these values.

 

5. Communicate and have meaningful conversations

Don’t underestimate the importance of communication. Over communicate with everyone all the time. Make communications global, local, in writing, in person and in teams.  Share the vision, the plans and the progress, celebrate the wins, and share learnings for improvement.  This helps people feel involved and connected to the purpose of the company. Taking the time to genuinely listen is one of the most effective ways to understand the people in your organisation. It’s also a great way to learn from them in order to be a better leader.

 

6. Celebrate success

Motivate your teams by helping them understand what success looks like in within your business, and by helping them understand how it was achieved. Start with recognising good behaviour, catch people doing a great job and acknowledge it. By sharing the highs and lows of their own journey, leaders and managers can help their team members to see that success comes from sustained hard work, not by having the magic touch.

 

7. Kindness is not a weakness

Treating people with respect and kindness does not mean you cannot have a strong focus on performance. Celebrating people’s differences and opinions, respecting social and emotional needs, will result in an engaged team wanting to push harder and go the extra mile. Showing support and caring for your team members does not come at the expense of performance, it actually improves it. Allowing people to bring their whole selves to work will ensure they continue to come to work, and love being there.

How to hire top talent

How to hire top talent

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Everyone wants their pick of the top candidates in the talent pool, but what can you do as a company to attract the best? From defining your recruitment process, to finding top talent, here are our tips for recruiting the right candidates to take your business forward:

1. Establishing your hiring needs

Before embarking on the recruitment process, you firstly need to establish what your hiring needs are. What exactly are you looking for? At this stage, you should develop a recruitment plan which outlines the roles you are seeking to fill. This will support you through subsequent stages of hiring. Determine what skills you are looking for, consider the outcomes you wish to achieve as a company, seek out candidates who are multi-talented and can dip into different tasks as needed, look for those with a positive attitude and consider what employment arrangement will work best for your organisation. Determine what’s best and build your strategy from there.

2. Defining your recruitment process

Recruiting is no easy task, but there are things you can do to make things a little less stressful. One of these being defining your recruitment process and the planned steps within it. You should identify your current state and then envisage your future state and determine what you need to do to bridge this gap. This involves determining who will be involved in the recruitment process, what resources you need, being clear as to who will ultimately make the final hiring decision, designing your job application process, developing your preboarding, onboarding and induction strategies, and designing attractive job descriptions based on measurable outcomes. You want to attract the right people with the right attitudes.

If you’re a small-medium business and would like to learn more about how to hire top talent, check out our SMB Hiring Guide.

3. Breaking from the pack

At present, the hiring landscape is characterised by significant demand by candidates yet a decreased supply of roles. However, one thing is constant. Companies of all sizes that are continuing to hire are seeking out top talent. So what can you do to stand out from the pack and snag these quality candidates for yourself?

Our tips? Firstly, cater to your candidates and what they are looking for in a role. According to Stack Overflow, compensation and benefits offered are the highest priority for 18.3% of developers when assessing potential jobs. Having this understanding will work in your favour.

You also shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are too time-poor to conduct this research yourself, it may be worthwhile to use the services of a specialised tech recruiter who is highly knowledgeable about the tech industry and the candidates within it. Knowledge is power.

A positive company culture can only bring you benefits and should not be underestimated. Candidates are looking for a strong culture – one that will provide them with support during this time of change. They want to feel connected, supported, part of a team and that their mental wellbeing is looked after.

Ultimately, it comes down to the basics. Value your teams, create a nurturing workplace (either physically or virtually), and promote a culture of connectedness, co-operation and understanding. Do this, and candidates will be racing to your door.

4. Shaping your story

When shaping the story of your brand, what do you want it to say?  Your story comes from your values, vision and purpose. Make sure these are clearly defined from the outset. They will provide candidates with an insight into the essence of your business and what it stands for. Yes, you can hire for skills, but if you want to hire the best candidates for your company as well as retain the culture you are known for, you need to ensure you are making conscious decisions to hire to your overall vision.

How can you do this?

// Include your business values when advertising the roles you are hiring for. This will help you attract right fit candidates.

// Discuss your values during the interview stage and ask questions related to them. Can you see that your candidate embodies these? Will this candidate also fit in well with your existing team and the business culture you have created?

// Hire for attitude as well as skills. Skills can be taught, attitude not so much.

If you need assistance defining and building your EVP our Talent Managed Solutions team can help with this. Get in touch with us today.

5. Finding top talent

Locating top talent can be a challenge. So, how do you go about attracting the best people for your company? Here are some options to consider:

// Online job sites 

Simple and easy to use, online job sites are a great way to attract talent and alert candidates of job openings. However, there are typically thousands of listings competing with yours to attract talent. It is a competitive platform, but if you can appropriately speak to candidates’ wants and needs, you will have a step up on the others.

// Referrals 

Referrals that come from people you trust can be a great way to recruit candidates who you know will be a great fit for your business and its culture.

// Recruiters 

When recruiting, you are competing with major corporations for top talent. To help you acquire great candidates and have an edge over competitors, it may be worthwhile to use the services of a specialised tech recruiter. They have the resources, skills, connections, as well as a detailed knowledge of the industry, to help you place the best people in the roles you need to fill.

At Talent, we have 25 years’ experience in recruiting IT talent. Contact us today to see how we can help you with your recruitment needs.

More sausage than sizzle. Why we all need to be talking about company culture.

More sausage than sizzle. Why we all need to be talking about company culture.

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​Good culture has never been optional, but right here, right now, it’s essential. The hiring market is on fire, there’s talk of the great resignation, so we find ourselves asking, how can we be a cut above the rest? As we move into a post-pandemic world, creating a company culture that is thriving is increasingly important. To respond to this, we wanted to showcase key insights from some of the best leaders around the globe so, we created ‘It’s the Vibe’. A no bullshit podcast around company culture.

When creating this podcast, we wanted to ensure that there were tangible takeaways and real-life examples on each of our topics, so you, the listener, could walk away with the secret sauce to start moving the needle on your company culture. Above all, we also wanted to highlight why this is important for you, the employer, and how having a great culture can help you retain talent, entice top candidates to join, and have a highly engaged business. If I was to go through all the benefits, we might be here all day.

It’s about having more sausage than sizzle, actually walking the talk and making sure that you’re embracing change and putting in place the building blocks that will set you up for future success. Once you begin taking purposeful action on the culture you want to create for your people, then you can start bragging about it. A recent survey from Deloitte showcased that 82% of people surveyed feel that culture is a competitive advantage. If you are wanting to attract the best and beat the competition, you should be prioritising your company culture. So, if we have the information, how do we make sure we are taking this and putting it into action? We hope this podcast will be able to help answer this for you.

Here at Talent, we strive to build a better world of work for all. We want to help educate and address issues that we are finding when speaking with candidates on what is making them love their job but also, or alternatively, what is making them want to leave their jobs. We then want to help share those insights with employers globally.

Throughout this podcast we will be touching on six key areas that we have identified as being crucial in building a brilliant company culture. These are:

  • Communication
  • Innovation
  • Employee experience and retention
  • Perks
  • Employer Brand
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion

We speak with experts from a broad range of companies and hear their take on how they are listening to their teams, researching what the market is doing, and putting their words into action.

As Christie O’Toole from Salesforce put it when speaking about communication; “How can we make sure our leaders are holding up that north star and bringing everyone on the journey?”, or when Jennifer Mumford from Zip Co said, “Care is the new currency”. We want to bring you on our journey as we learn from the very best.

My advice is to give your people a bloody good listening too. Sure, it takes a bit of time and patience but knowing what people need to succeed and knowing what they want for the future will have a positive impact on every part of your business, all sizzling down to your bottom-line and the happiness of your people.

What are you doing to help build a world-class company culture?

Tools, tech stacks and staying healthy at work.

Tools, tech stacks and staying healthy at work.

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There’s more to flexible work than allowing your employees to work anywhere in the world. Whether it’s an office, home, or a holiday house in Fiji, maintaining and fostering a culture that works remotely is a challenge businesses are facing. Whatever way you look at it, the work environment isn’t solely focused at your office desk anymore. Good office snacks and a Spotify playlist probably isn’t enough to keep your teams truly fulfilled at work anymore. People expect work-life balance now so you need to create a great culture in a different way. Let’s get into a few things we have found over the past year.

Have you got the right tools?

Anyone who’s taken part in the Gallup Q12 Survey can tell you, having the right tools and materials to do your work is pretty important. Having lengthy manual processes, technology breaking, systems crashing, or poor IT can be a pretty strong indicator that you might not be such a cool place to work after all.

The tech stack for every team is different, made up of everything from Microsoft Office to cutting-edge engineering. Some companies struggle to have a ‘functional’ tech stack, others utilise their tech stack as a part of their Employee Value Proposition.

For back office functions the tech stack is still just as vital. For P&C, marketing, finance and IT teams, it can be a real make or break, and can also make a huge difference in resourcing. Automation is a real game changer across businesses, saving your team from doing menial tasks such as data integrity, integrations, pay runs, email automations (internal P&C and external marketing), and more.

Ensuring that your tech stack is up to scratch is critical for attracting and retaining people, especially working in the tech industry. It’s something that’s really worth investing in.

If you’re interested in finding out more about automation in back-office, get in touch with Talent’s project arm, Avec.

Setting boundaries

Mid-pandemic there were a few companies that were named and shamed when policies were released, primarily around working parents and sole carers of children. While this is probably not the way to go about it, it started a conversation about where the line is. School pick-up, yoga classes, morning golf games all became heightened with the work from home normality.

The 9-5 day might not look the same at home, but you don’t want to feel like your people are taking you for a ride. There’s lots of different people that you might have to cater for when working in a team, but if you’ve hired the right people, work is on their priority list, and if someone is taking advantage of flexibility it probably isn’t the only thing they’re taking advantage of and it will show, pretty quickly.

This is a two-way street, while many LinkedIn “content creators” were driving the conversation around people taking advantage of flexible working arrangements there were many people that were struggling with working from home, feeling isolated, overworked, taking meetings at all hours and responding to their emails well into the evening, creating a cycle that entire teams could get sucked into, while they watch their wellbeing go down the drain. If they’re wellbeing isn’t a priority then productivity is often the next thing to suffer. Make sure you are challenging the norm around wellbeing from a leadership level. It is not a job as a leader to do this, it is a responsibility.

Hybrid and flexible working arrangements are an essential when trying to attract top talent, work-life balance is one of the most important things for candidates changing jobs at the moment and they want to be assured that this will be a permanent arrangement. – Claire Wright, Talent Acquisition Partner, Brighte, onsite via Talent.

Healthy at work

Come into work, sit down, log in, don’t move until lunch time – or eat your lunch at your desk and barely move all day. It’s not good for us. This applies to both being in the office and working from home.

We love an office snack as much as the next person but having a variety of healthy options for your team is vital. A sugar rush won’t get you through the next meeting, never mind the day. According to Public Health England, almost 67% of men and 61% of women working a desk job are overweight or obese. How you set your team up can have a big impact on not only their mental health, but their physical health too. This seems simple but just check it out before you add “free snacks” to your benefits list on your job adverts. Encouraging your team members to feel free to step away from the desk for a walk, a coffee break, or simply to just rest their eyes will do wonders with their mental and physical health. It’s all about trust.

Planning a variety of team activities is not only beneficial for your waistline and mental health but critical for inclusion. Just like life, it’s all about balance.

Our recent podcast was centred around the sentiment that a good culture is something that’s hard to pinpoint, it’s the vibe. Setting yourself up for success doesn’t stop at your morning coffee. How can you create an environment that keeps the positive momentum up and stress at bay throughout the day? Get the tunes pumping or create a calm environment. It’s about trial and error and seeing what works for you and your team. This can also change day-to-day and with different people around you, in the office or at home. Our office dogs personally love a bit of RnB.

Where to from here?

Though the work environment is just one aspect of your employee value proposition, it makes a big difference to the day-to-day operations, so it’s definitely something to keep improving. The world of work is continuing to evolve, so if you want to stay competitive in the market, it’s time to review what’s working for your people, and what needs a bit more attention.

For more insights, check out Talent’s More Than Money Salary Guide.

Talent New Zealand announces team expansion

Talent New Zealand announces team expansion

Posted January 11, 2023

Bianca Jones, Country Manager, Talent New Zealand, will be transitioning into a newly created role of Managing Director, Projects New Zealand. In her new role, Bianca will be responsible for implementing new revenue streams across NZ, as well as growing the Talent RISE and Avec brands in market.

Kara Smith, Managing Director, Talent Auckland, will be stepping into to the role of Country Manager, Talent New Zealand. In this role, she will be overseeing all day-to-day operations for both the Auckland and Wellington Talent branches.

Nik King-Turner, Senior Consultant, Talent Wellington, will be transitioning into the role of Managing Director, Talent Wellington. In this new role, he will be responsible for running the day-to-day operations for the Wellington branch.

Bianca, Kara and Nik will work closely with Talent’s Global CEO, Mark Nielsen, and the wider Talent team, focusing on the growth of the New Zealand company.

On the announce, Bianca Jones, Managing Director, Projects New Zealand, said, “It is an absolute privilege to watch Kara and Nik transition to the next phase of their careers. They are both incredibly passionate about what they do and work hard every day to make Talent Aotearoa an awe-inspiring business. I am confident under their leadership the recruitment business will continue to grow and thrive. As I pivot into a new phase of my career, I look forward to working closely with them both as we tackle some exciting and ambitious growth initiatives in 2023 and beyond.”

On the transition, Kara Smith, Country Manager, Talent New Zealand commented, “I’m thrilled to be taking my next step with Talent! I’m very passionate about creating safe and inspiring spaces where our diverse team can be challenged, achieve their dreams and of course have loads of fun along the way. In this role I have the privilege of building on our amazing foundation and helping to take our Aotearoa business to the next level – harnessing success for our colleagues, clients, contractors and community.”

Nik King-Turner, Managing Director, Wellington, said, “I am super excited to be leading the Wellington team. We have an awesome group of people with amazing skills and potential. Our business has a great platform to launch from with amazing clients and contractors. I am really looking forward to watching it grow and being part of the team’s successes and triumphs.”