4 Tips to Proactively Turn Passive Prospects Into Engaged Candidates

Job seekers have more clout today than perhaps at any time in history. Now is the time to engage prospects early, efficiently, and in a very personalised way; to sell people on everything your company has to offer.

John Ryan provides 4 helpful and useful tips on finding, engaging, and converting great talent into top-notch candidates who choose your company over the competition.

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Thrive, Survive, or Cease to Exist: How Workplace Culture is Driving the Great Resignation

As America weathers "The Great Resignation" there has been a marked shift in the power dynamic between employers and employees. Those companies who put finances over people may be surviving, but companies who understand the importance of fostering a people-centric organisational culture are thriving.

While some initiatives to improve your company's culture can be viewed as costly and time-consuming, there are quite a few that are easy to implement and have little to no impact on the company's bottom line. Nic Karczewski shares a few examples.

Read "Thrive, Survive, or Cease to Exist: How Workplace Culture is Driving the Great Resignation" leadership insights

What is culture?

Culture is a competitive imperative

Brian Chesky, the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, says, "It doesn't matter how good your original product is, if you can't build a great company around it, the product won't endure." When Satya Nadella took over as CEO at Microsoft, in 2014, he told employees that his highest priority was the company's culture. He refers to culture as "the soul" of the organisation.

For a great organisation, culture isn't an abstract or vague concept … it's real … it speaks to people. It's not a competitive advantage … it's a competitive imperative.

Many forms of culture

Culture is a complex word. Its first official mention, in English, was in 1430 when the Oxford English dictionary stated that it meant "cultivation." Somewhere along the line culture stopped being about tilling the soil. Instead, it became synonymous with "the arts:" music, poetry, dance, opera, literature, painting and the like. Tilling the intellect!

In a different guise, culture distinguishes one tribe from another. Think about the elite education, polished accent, prescribed dress and required etiquette of the English upper class; the tattoos and street argot of a LA street gang; the shirts, scarfs and chants of Liverpool soccer supporters; and/or the conflict resolution rituals of the Yanomami, one of the most primitive and remote indigenous tribes of Amazonia. Fertilising the closed mind!

In yet one more form of expression, culture describes the habits, values, norms, ethos, organisation and identity of a community who work together in pursuit of a common purpose. The tribe is about exclusion; everyone has to look and act in the same way. Taken to its extreme the tribe emerges as a cult. The psychological polar opposite is a community built on inclusion, shared values and a respect for individual difference. If you want things to stay the same … act as if you are part of the tribe (cooperation, consensus, build walls).

If you recognise and embrace the need for change, think and behave as if you were part of a community (collaboration, trust, sharing). Internal tribes at war with each other are the best thing the competition has going for it. Ploughing a new furrow!

The culture challenge

Culture isn't a plaque in reception, a consulting exercise or a memo to all employees. It isn't limited to the organisation's values, exclusively the province of HR, a repackaged engagement survey or something you "do" and then forget about until this time next year. If the term never passed the CEO's lips your culture would still define what's possible. And it will change … whether you want it to or not. As a business, you are your culture. It's the essence of who you are. The good news is it's the one thing the competition can't usurp.

Culture within a business setting is a container for diversity. Here, one is faced with the law of requisite variety. For a system to sustain itself, it needs at least as much internal variety as exists in the environment in which it sits (context). If you look around your organisation or team and, for the most part, those involved all look and sound the same, know that you are ill-equipped for a world where ideas are the lifeblood of tomorrow's success.

The challenge culture presents is that it is the behavioural equivalent of the water in a goldfish bowl. We mostly don't know that it's there but it, nevertheless, sustains life. Have you ever thought how remarkable it is that at the end of the day hundreds, even tens of thousands, of employees go home and, without thinking about it, are able to pick up exactly where they left off the next morning? That's culture!

Insights from "The 7 Questions Every CEO Should Ask About Culture" by John O. Burdett, Orxestra Inc., © 2018

As passionate experts in the executive search and leadership consulting industry we build leadership teams for our clients every day. Learn more about TRANSEARCH International and our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment.

The Bedford Group TRANSEARCH 2021 HR Leaders Survey Report

Bedford Group/TRANSEARCH's expertise in executive search and talent strategy solutions has provided first-hand experience with the trials, tribulations, challenges and opportunities that HR leaders faced over the past year.

This snapshot report provides valuable insight to help you approach and position your organisation for success in 2022 and beyond.

Read "The Bedford Group TRANSEARCH 2021 HR Leaders Survey Report" leadership insights

A Mentally Healthy Environment Is A Business Imperative For Inclusion

The 10th of October, was World Mental Health Day. The reality is that we have never before seen as many individuals openly discussing their mental health challenges and there has been significant progress gained in the de-stigmatization and normalisation of Mental Health challenges within society and the workplace.

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Measuring Executive Effectiveness

There are lots of simple reasons why any organisation should measure executive effectiveness. There's just no clear consensus on how to do it.

Should one look only at recent financial results or share price as indicators of a leader's impact on the enterprise, say in the case of a Chief Executive Officer or Chief Financial Officer?

How about the person's progress against key individual or unit performance metrics or specific milestones related to their most recent job description?

Or perhaps the results of one of a battery of available psychometric tests, behavioural interviews or personality type indicators that may shed like on interpersonal tendencies, communication styles or ability gaps?

Then there are the matters of whether they have worked collaboratively with peers or perhaps even with customers to achieve success for key stakeholders and whether the leader has exhibited support and passion for the company's culture, mission and senior-most management team.

Yes, each of these can provide an enterprise a measure of a leader's performance and impact on a broader team or business group.

But the bigger question - the focal point of business impact across the enterprise - really boils down to whether an executive made it more or less competitive compared to its market standing before they were granted the mantle of leadership.

Sure, an individual leader can meet and consistently exceed performance expectations when it comes to the things they do and what they focus on.

The larger issue, however, and one that synergies with increasing discussions about corporate sustainability, is whether the leader has put the company on a firmer footing than they found it. Did they leave the woodpile higher? Or were they only concerned with advancing their own agenda?

So how does one address or know these things? By considering three simple questions:

  1. Who has the leader hired?
  2. Who has the leader promoted?
  3. Who has the leader mentored?

The answers to these questions really surface a leader's commitment to increasing corporate competitiveness and long-term performance and sustainability.

Judging a leader's performance is serious business. So serious, in fact, that it should go beyond short-term measures of their personal contributions - straight to their investments in people over the longer term. These are, after all, the very people who'll someday take the reins of management and be expected to instil all the right things in the next generation of leaders.

As passionate experts in the executive search and leadership consulting industry we build leadership teams for our clients every day. Learn more about TRANSEARCH International and our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment.

Working from Office, Working from Home – The Way Forward

TRANSEARCH Australia recently partnered with Gadens to host "WFO/WFH – Making it Work", a breakfast seminar, with presentations from Executive Search expert Bill Sakellaris and Employment Law specialist George Haros.

Senior leaders and executives came together in person for an interactive presentation with Q&A, exploring the legal and culture imperatives and opportunities in the new workplace.

Find a summary of the key points covered in the seminar presentations, as well as some relevant resources for further reading.

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Everybody Wins When Managing Candidate Expectations

Human nature is restless. How many times have you questioned a recent purchase or even suffered from so-called buyers remorse? This is a natural occurrence and it more often than not happens to you in a professional capacity, for example: you join a company as a new addition to the executive team, but at the same time continue to consider offers from other companies.

Research has shown that very few new joiners are completely confident in their choice. It is such an important decision that many continue to study the market, hoping to confirm or deny the correctness of the decision made. It might be that they are confident in their choice and find the new company completely suitable, but they find that executive search consultants and companies are still approaching them. This is particularly the case if they were not a passive candidate, but were actively looking for a new challenge.

It is also true that the more interesting the opportunity the greater the likelihood that executives might be tempted to at least attend an exploratory conversation. The latter scenario is not unusual in itself, but when an executive continues to remain unconvinced that their new position is suited to them we have to consider how we could have addressed this situation before they actually joined.

There is also the possibility however that some candidates choose a position with the knowledge that it is unsuited to them. The last possibility is that after joining a candidate realises that the company culture just does not suit them or that the reality of the role is not how it was described.

Whatever the candidate's motivation might be, the cost of unsuitable hires is quite substantial; not to mention damaging for the executive in question.

In light of the above, the role of the Talent Manager and the executive search consultant, remains important in the hiring process. It is their responsibility to accurately manage the candidate's expectations and to determine their motivation at the interview phases. Once the candidate is onboard however a keen interest in their adjustment should be a priority - this could take the form of a formal induction programme, but it could also be a coach that familiarises the candidate with the ins and outs of the company.

As TRANSEARCH consultants we take pride in our commitment to the integration of the candidate and keep in regular contact with both parties for at least the first six months of employment. As a third party we are often able to act as mentors and external HR-experts, listening to claims and fears of candidates while understanding the needs and requirements of the client.

To discuss our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment find a TRANSEARCH consultant by expertise, region and country.

As passionate experts in the executive search and leadership consulting industry we build leadership teams for our clients every day. Learn more about TRANSEARCH International and our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment.

When Business Goals And Company Culture Clash

Business growth and profitability is the stuff of legends. Companies that astound investors, employees and the business media with sustained or unprecedented expansion become the darlings of the global financial markets and the spotlight grows on the careers of the executive officers, non-executive directors and innovators who made it all happen.

It is not surprising, then, that we are all chasing the same dreams. Growth leads to new opportunities. New opportunities present the potential to change the things around us. And recognition enables influence on a scale sometimes unimagined.

Yet there comes a time in the development of any company - large or small, public or private - when the risk of significant imbalance between corporate objectives and company culture escalates and begins to threaten continued business growth.

It is time like those that define companies. It is in such instances when the owners of a company reveal their true intentions, inhibitions and fears. And this is precisely when high performing executives begin to ask themselves whether it makes sense to work "all out" for the growth of their business when the reality is that corporate culture or fears about how growth may change it is holding them - and their organisations - back like an anchor.

Particularly for companies with long legacies or foreign owners, the stakes are very high when it comes to aligning business growth objectives with the corporate culture insiders see as the key, unifying force that has positioned the organisation for success in the first place.

The simple truth when it comes right down to it, is that even the most ambitious corporate plans for growth may collapse under the weight of questions about retaining company culture. That is why it is essential for executives already in a key leadership role, or contemplating a move to a new company and management opportunity, to probe considerably on the state of balance between business goals and company culture.

Questions one might ask could include:

  • "What elements of the culture are the owners willing to sacrifice in order to achieve business growth?"
  • "How much growth would the owners need to realise to be convinced that the culture needs to change?" and,
  • "Am I being compensated to preserve company culture, achieve business growth, or both?" And in the very likely case the response from company owners is "both", how are the financial incentives and rewards balanced to recognise both sides of the coin?

The pursuit of big dreams forces these tough questions and requires thoughtful answers. There is a natural conflict between ambition and identity. On a human scale, it is a question of knowing one's self. In corporate terms, it is a matter of sacrifice versus comfort and the willingness to confront one's fears.

As passionate experts in the executive search and leadership consulting industry we build leadership teams for our clients every day. Learn more about TRANSEARCH International and our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment.

The Importance Of Trust

Trust is an incredibly valuable business currency for today's global leaders. If you don't have it, you better get it - fast - because it can really slow your organisation down. If you do have it, the trust of employees in particular is something every manager should seek to deepen.

In today's global corporate environments, trust fosters employee engagement. Trust helps to create and solidify company culture. It gives everyone a reason to believe what they are doing really matters and who they are doing it for really does, too. A trusting bond between managers and their direct reports helps fuel effective communication. It helps both parties clear up ambiguity and get to the heart of important business matters.

Trust breaks down barriers. Trust enlists personal investment in the company's objectives. And trust makes it all worth doing, and doing well. Trust flows like a river where self-aware leaders go to quench their thirst and occasionally pour new waters into.

Yet, the reality for many global executives is that their companies may see - or continually fail to recognise - a trust deficit that prevents them and their employees from reaching their full potential. Just knowing there is a lack of trust in an organisation is a very informing starting point. Even the simplest of employee surveys on the matter of trust can uncover loads of actionable intelligence.

If you are operating in an environment where trust is running thin or present only among employees with a particularly gifted leader as their manager, it is indeed time to reflect on what workers must see to begin to believe again. Ask yourself, "What do workers need to see that will connect the promises you or the company has made to them to actual action on those same promises?". Or consider, "What would workers need to see or hear from me as a manager that would connect my own words and actions?" Or even, "What can I show them that will demonstrate a commitment to them?"

Trust isn't built overnight. And it surely isn't granted in bulk. Trust is a reflection of a worker's own experience with their manager, their colleagues, and others who collectively either represent what the company says it represents or simply fail to do that. Trust is an essential ingredient for business growth. If you can build trust among your employees, you will invariably build the resources to achieve great things. You may just be surprised, however, at just how quickly lots of little, seemingly minor interactions, promises and follow actions can get you where you want to go.

Trust in that journey, and you will probably earn more trust than you and your organisation have today.

As passionate experts in the executive search and leadership consulting industry we build leadership teams for our clients every day. Learn more about TRANSEARCH International and our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment.

How to Recruit Top Talent When They're Not Looking for a Career Move

Considering today's disruptive business world, it's never been more important to employ exceptional people who can navigate through and thrive within this ever-changing climate. The question is: how do you find them when they're not looking?

Many organisations struggle to fill key leadership positions because the best and brightest typically aren't seeking a career move. So, if you're posting on platforms such as LinkedIn, your chances of finding the top one percent of talent are minimal. While junior and mid-level management roles may make sense for posting online, filling higher-up positions requires something vastly different than keyword searches and filters. It requires a distinctly human element: communication and connection with the talent.

High-tech tools and experiences do have a role to play in HR, but as other industries are finding as well, people still crave a human connection. On top of wanting a human connection, many people are also experiencing "message fatigue" on platforms such as LinkedIn, particularly with regards to untargeted sales messages.

Given these factors, it's increasingly important for HR professionals to make their new opportunities stand out. However, finding passive candidates isn't easy for most organisations. Here are some key steps for recruitment success.

Start the Conversation

While A-level talent likely aren't scanning job boards, they tend to be open to having conversations about new opportunities. At Bedford Consulting Group, we search for the top talent in any given industry, whether they're in the job market or not. This way, we get to know their career goals and skill levels, and understand what they want and need from their employers.

Tell Your Story

For today's top performers, compensation isn't everything, so it will take more than a higher paycheque for them to consider a move. Company culture is critically important, and that's not something you can convey in a job posting. As recruiters, we play a key role in communicating - up close and in person - why an organisation is a great place to work.

Ask the Right Questions

Bedford has a high success rate for engaging A-level talent not currently seeking new opportunities. The secret to success? Asking the right questions. By doing so, we uncover not only their needs and motivations, but also elements of discord employees have in their current roles. We can then leverage this information and present new options that offer potential candidates what their current job isn't providing.

Understand Why They Stay

In addition to discovering what would make top talent head for the exits, it's important to find out why they stay. Most organisations have a general idea of why their overall employee population stays, but not as firm an understanding of why their top 1% stays. At Bedford Group, we employ a process called "Why Do You Stay" when interviewing high-performing employees to find out what keeps them at their current company. That information can then be used with potential top-tier candidates to convince them the company is a good one to join. If you understand why you're retaining high performers, you can leverage the insights to attract more of them.

Build a Relationship

The competition to win over top talent will only intensify, so it's critical to build and nurture relationships with candidates until the right opportunity opens up. This requires time, continual engagement and deep connections. When you have a strong relationship with the talent, chances are you can win them over with a new opportunity. At Bedford Group, we are trusted advisors to help guide people to the right opportunities with our clients.

Originally published by Steven Pezim on LinkedIn.

As passionate experts in the executive search and leadership consulting industry we build leadership teams for our clients every day. Learn more about TRANSEARCH International and our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment.