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Is the Parthenon Approach essential for your recruitment needs?



‘Grow your own’ is a common mantra. However, as a professional recruiter I am more interested in growing talent than just vegetables!


As I approach the end of another year I have been thinking hard about staffing trends. Having worked in the Food Ingredients sector for 25+ years one of the things I have noticed is a lack of real flexibility regarding recruitment policies in companies both large and small. I think this calls for a new approach as I explain further on.


In 2020 I would like businesses to think really carefully about what they want from their employees and also what they can offer. I am not talking about salary or classic benefit packages necessarily. What I think is missing is a transparent and honest dialogue about the value of an employee to a company and also the value that a business can bring to an individual.


Photo Credit Austin Distel



I know some will be throwing up their hands in horror but when you analyse the cost of staff churn carefully it's often a real financial drain to regularly recruit rather than spend time nurturing current staff. That doesn’t mean that new people shouldn’t be brought in from time to time. However, loyalty, continued professional development and skills should not be considered as old fashioned has-beens in the contemporary recruitment landscape. They still have a significant part to play in the most forward-thinking start up.


I speak with companies from the largest corporation to medium and small sized businesses. Some have internal recruitment teams that cover the day-to-day needs. Their tendency is to turn to specialist recruiters only for specific and significant hires.

Photo Credit Mimi Thian



Others focus on graduate schemes where the focus is on training. In general, insufficient value is brought in those early years and sometimes finding an experienced person to become an asset not just an expense is not a bad shout.


However, in the past decade staff relations have changed dramatically. People have been told it is unlikely they will keep one career throughout their working life. It seems that moving around is par for the course. This means organisations expect an element of churn. That’s fine but until we have ‘ An Australian points style immigration policy’ I wonder how many people will want to work in the UK before Brexit is finally sorted.


So what I want to suggest is a different multi-pillared ‘Parthenon’ approach.


This is where companies don’t rely solely on one way of recruiting staff. After all, not everyone will want to leave a company after 3 or 5 years. I think that by developing open and transparent conversations regarding what the individual and the company both needs and wants could be a very fruitful approach. Household names can afford to train many and lose more than a few but for most this is not a viable or desirable option.

My tips for recruitment success in 2020


1. I believe that recruitment strategies should be multi faceted. It’s really not advisable to stick to one approach to finding and retaining new staff. An example that sticks in my mind is regarding a highly competent senior manager who decided she needed a new challenge having worked for a major company for more than 15 years. She was attracted to another household name looking to appoint a Head of Sustainability role. Imagine that after all that time this particular job had to be something very special to tempt her away.


At interview the company made all the right noises and she decided to accept the position. However, within ten months she left. The company had paid lip service to the role and had made it very difficult for their new Head of Sustainability to push any new initiatives through. It was a very expensive hire as it was a £150K+ salary, so within twelve months the company was faced with going through the whole process again. The candidate left a good job and one cannot imagine that she will have said anything positive about working for her new company; that too may well impact on further recruitment.


2. Succession Planning is another strategy that smaller firms feel they don’t necessarily do effectively. Many small businesses rely on one or two people and all aspects of the business are in their hands. This is fine when it works but planning for all eventualities works more effectively. Consider a key member of your team goes away on holiday and does not return for a tragic reason. Sadly it does happen as we know. What would be the true cost of losing one of your key players? Have you ever taken time to cost it realistically?


3. Creative recruitment initiatives are also a key consideration for the coming decade. Profit sharing, employee CV maintenance, continued professional development alongside more challenging opportunities may well keep staff motivated and loyal. This is where the parthenon Approach comes into play. Variety will make your recruitment procedures more robust in challenging times.


4. Risk Management has never appeared to be more important as the UK moves into uncharted waters. It may well be difficult to forecast and evaluate all the potential financial risks but that’s not a valid reason to ignore them. Businesses need to avoid or minimise their impact and working with staff and even bringing them into appropriate decision-making opportunities might make a huge difference.


It’s worth taking time over the Christmas break to think about just what your staffing needs might be for 2020. If you need help or would like to chat through some options I am here to assist. Contact me via LinkedIn, leave a comment or give me a call


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mike@meyrickconsulting.com