November 2017 Time Lapse

20 APAC / November 2017 , commitment to local business, and regional Australia has not waived, despite challenging economic times within some of these regions, and clients have appreciated this and we have won many new clients as a result. “Excitingly, we will shortly announce a strategic partnership with an Executive Recruitment Company in China, which will add further leverage for our candidates who wish to work across both regions, and this is another example of us developing initiatives to service clients and candidates across the region where we previously had missed many opportunities.” Interestingly, Paul tells us how the internal culture within the firm has changed since he joined, describing it as largely disengaged when he joined, but how it now has become one of the key factors of the company’s success. “When I joined two years ago, I would describe the culture as largely disengaged. There was high turnover, low productivity levels, a feeling of being in limbo as staff became aware that the organisation was to be sold, which resulted in a wave of uncertainty surrounding many functions of the business. Also, we have undertaken a major business overhaul as there was no chance of succeeding commercially with the previous culture, and all the operational problems that existed as a result. “Essentially, I subscribe to Simon Sinek’s theory of leadership, and adopt many of his teachings, largely because I personally believe in them, but also because I have seen them work in previous organisations. I started with “why” and asked this question of my leadership team. I started with why they remained with the company, why they wanted to stay, why they did things the way they did, and why they and their staff behaved in the manner in which they did. The results were to say the least, frightening, but we worked on a collective vision, changed our values, introduced reward and recognition programs, started celebrating successes, learning from mistakes, and to be honest, laughing when things went wrong. “Even though we are still evolving as a company, I am proud to say the culture is now quite amazing. We have a 5% staff turnover (compared to 45% industry standard) have won numerous large accounts, opened new offices across Australia, and are about to announce many other exciting initiatives which have only been made possible on the basis of a solid culture. Staff describe the culture as: inclusive, respectful, engaging and forgiving. I found the last most intriguing, and when asked to validate what they meant by this, staff have said they are not scared to make mistakes, or to own their decisions because they know the business will forgive errors, and therefore there is more confidence within the organisation. Staff have grown as individuals as a result. “Our culture is also evolving, and my personal goal as COO of this organisation is to create the most dynamic culture within a recruitment business. We will achieve this by empowering and supporting people, embracing diversity, celebrating success, training and upskilling, providing flexibility in work, having flexible remuneration models, investing in regional parts of Australia to support communities, and doing our best to create a work community that people are proud to tell their friends and family about.” Looking ahead, Paul details IPA’s overall mission, explaining what steps he wants to implement in order to help the firm reach its targets. Highlighting his experience in the industry, Paul has seen a variety of aspects which contribute to a successful recruitment company, including putting both employees and clients first. He also lists some of the values which are embedded into the company culture, creating the successful firm. “When I joined this organisation, I wanted to give it a heart. It sounds cliché, but after 26 years in this industry, I have concluded people attach themselves emotionally to a company, and I therefore wanted to win the hearts of our staff, clients and candidates with a meaningful mission and a set of values that reflected who we wanted to become. I didn’t want normal commercial metrics to drive the mission of this business – I knew that would happen if we got the behaviour right and created a mission that people attached themselves. “Fundamentally, our mission statement became: ‘Everything we do, we do to enhance the lives of people, be it our candidates, our clients, or each other.’ We achieve this via a set of values which were developed by our staff, and for our staff, and have been adopted by everyone in the company. These include; loving your work, being the difference, taking the lead, and owning the product and service. “Lastly, we support local charities within the communities in which we operate, and in turn we also have a strong diversity recruitment platform which has been adopted for many of our major clients. Our goal is to add value to our clients and candidates via services which are tailored to individual needs, and not just bottom line results.” Signing off, Paul predicts what the future holds for IPA, and he is confident that the company can become the leader in the industry. Focusing on positive and meaningful outcomes for the client will lead to the ultimate success for IPA Australia. “Looking to the future, IPA Australia will be the best recruitment company as measured by clients and candidates by 2020. By best, we mean as measured by qualitative measures, not size or profit. We have little interest in promoting our size, or our profits as a measure of success, we want the stories of our clients and candidates to inspire others, and to promote action in people’s professional lives. Whilst we are of course profit driven and our management team do manage their own P&L’s we would like to think that above all providing the very best service to our clients and focusing on positive and meaningful outcomes to our candidates is the pillar of what we do and why we do it. Get that right and the profit will take care of itself.”