I have worked in recruitment for over 14 years now, and it has been an exciting ride watching technologies advance, methods change, expectations progress and businesses evolve as everyone tries to stay one wave ahead of the competition.
What has been more interesting is the way businesses, like fashion, tend to follow a cyclical pattern with it comes to recruiting top talent.
It is a fact of life and business that change is a constant, but this doesn’t mean that our future cannot repeat our past. Life tends to flow in cycles – sometimes you will be swimming with the flow and sometimes you will be struggling against the current.
To give a simple example from recruitment – as the industry develops there have been shifts from an external agency to an in-house model, but as social media starts to have ever more influence, the increased reach of the employment agency is now loading the dice in their favour. That is, at least, until employee branding and advocacy becomes a little more established. Getting 1000 employees to tweet and share a job description is not an easy ask these days, but in the future, the benefits may be so overwhelmingly obvious that it might be an expected part of their job. We’ll see.
Over the years, I have witnessed businesses outsource recruitment, only to bring it back in-house later. I have seen new efficient CRM’s and candidate tracking tools implemented and then disregarded later due to their “inefficiency”. I have seen internal recruitment teams double in size in an attempt to reduce external agency expenditure and then reduce again when cost-analysis, attraction and retention rates are analysed later. The current trend seems to be in optimising “free” social channels for new blood but once this source is saturated, like everything, it else will become less efficient as a talent pool and another new trendy initiative will take its place.
None of the above serves to be a critique; more an observation as I believe companies which undertook any of the above initiatives will likely revisit them again when current methods become less productive. It’s the cyclical nature of business, and it is human nature to want to change, improve and evolve.
So, getting back to the cyclical nature of things. For me, that is what makes life as a business owner so thought-provoking.
If history and society took linear routes to a relatively certain future, competitors would quickly align in the best interests of their respective markets. There would be little differential between businesses, and there would be a “risk off” attitude for fear of losing ground.
In the unpredictable world that we work in, where the future is far from clear, and change is the only constant, you can be sure that every business will be making their own bets on where the “cycle” will be taking them next. Some recruiters are building apps. Some are investing heavily in social. Some are moving towards the job sectors of the future. Yet others (in Britain) are deciding that a more global approach will bear fruit along the line.
A business cycle pushes people to evolve – if they stay still then, they will almost certainly be caught unawares by the next set of changes. When our competitors develop, we learn from them, and we improve our businesses in ways that we couldn’t possibly have foreseen.
When change comes along, swiftly in its wake comes opportunity (and, yes, a fair amount of threat as well). You can either ride the wave or be swallowed up by it. If you want to ride the wave you have to learn how to surf, and for me, that is one of the hallmarks of the best business leaders. They have the experience of surfing the cyclical waves of change, and when they see one appearing on the horizon, they get their boards out and start waxing. They make sure that they and their people are in the right spot when the wave breaks and they speed down its face leaving their unprepared competitors flailing in the crashing water.
There is a period of immense change on the way for Britain, Europe and the world over the next decade. Some of it is technological, some of it is political – much of it will have an effect on the cycles of business.
I’m interested and excited in how we can best ride that wave – bring it on!
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This article was written by Nick Day, Managing Director of JGA Recruitment – the leading Payroll, HR & Reward Recruitment Specialists.
If you are looking for expert talent in the fields of Payroll, HR or Reward, then please reach out for a 15-minute ignition call, and I would be delighted to discuss how we can help.
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