Brushing Off My Shoes For a New 2020

It has been an extraordinary couple of weeks with so much impact and change with the outbreak of Coronavirus. I have posted a few comments on the impact that this pandemic may have in the business landscape on LinkedIn but it has certainly added another challenge to the running that I enjoy.

After finishing my first 100km race in September 2019, I quickly fell into the trap that so many runners with access to wifi fall into. I was on that runner’s high that you get after finishing a race and ended up signing up for events that was planning to be a big 2020. After a few discussions with family/friend the races I ended up entering were:

  1. Two Bays 56k race in January
  2. Duncan’s Run 56k race in March
  3. Margaret River 80k race in May
  4. Larapinta 4 dayrace in August
  5. Surf Coast 50krace in September.

I started my training in October 2019 for the Two Bays race in January and was happy to complete that event in just over 6 hours. While I completed Two Bays relatively fine, I had my eyes on Duncan’s Run in March that is quite hilly and I really wanted to give that a good crack. My training for Duncan’s Run was going really well and I also at the same started my plan for Margaret River as well. That is up until about 2 weeks before Duncan’s Run when my Physio confirmed that I had pretty bad case of Plantar Fasciitis. This happened just before the social distancing around Coronavirus took effect. Since that time Duncan’s run has been postponed as has Margaret River and I get the feeling that Larapinta may not be far away from being postponed either.

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From a motivation perspective this has been a difficult 4-5 weeks for me. I have not been able to run with my injury and with the changed world we are in at the moment, it has been difficult to do any cross training which is tough at the best of times. I exert so much energy getting out onto the trails and getting my runs in, but the positive energy that comes back is ten fold. I find running keeps me pushing myself while also keeping me grounded at the same time. It gives me balance.

Over the past few weeks there has been a real drop off in terms of activity. However I have been walking the past week or so to keep moving, keep active and to make sure that I get outside. I think I now have all the self-pity out of my system and I am finding myself again starting to find that focus and motivation again. I still am not 100% from my injury, but I can see myself running again in the coming 2-3 weeks and right now I am  excited just to get out for a 5k run. At the same time I don’t want to rush it and just re-injure myself so I will take it slow. With no runs planned for the next few months I have the time to allow myself to heal properly.

My running plans then have changed for 2020 and that’s ok, people are very adaptable. I may not complete every race that I had planned when 2020 started but no matter how many runs I finish, I will still feel good at the end of 2020.

Whether it’s running, family, work, etc… it doesn’t matter, there will be times that things go well and times when they don’t. It is human nature for your motivation to rise and fall as well. I think with the world we in at the moment, it is nice to remember that things will pass and if you are in a funk, just keep doing the things that you know are good and things that produce results and you will come out of it before you know it.

It is also about perspective (hurting my foot is inconsequential really compared to what people are living through at the moment) and while I enjoy running, I am by no means overly athletic or particularly fast when I do run but I enjoy it none the less.

Will Our View of Employment Shift (Not Really, a Bit or Yes Significantly)

I love to see the speed and flexibility that many large and small businesses have shown in response to the Coronavirus pandemic and the way they have adapted their workplace/workforce policies to ensure their employees health and well being. We have seen a lot of content around working from home. Many organisations who may not have had ‘Work From Home (WFH) practices have quickly scaled to bring to the masses a new WFH mentality.  I think that this will change forever the perception of WFH policies and processes for the better but I think that the focus on remote working is only the tip of the iceberg when we look at the potential shifts we may see in the workplace in the coming year(s).

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The Push to Workforce Casualisation: We have seen a slow but steady increase in the casualisation of the workforce. I remember attending a conference in 2006 where a speaker portrayed that the workforce of the future would not be a team of full time employees but be more like a movie production crew where people come together for a specific piece of work and then disband and then individuals join another project.  We haven’t quite got there yet but we have seen the rise of contracting, side hustles and workforce casualisation over the years since at a slow and steady pace. Will the response we are seeing in the business world today from the Coronavirus be the driver that causes a spike in further casualisation of the workforce. Maybe when the Coronavirus pandemic settles down and we resume back to a degree of normality we may see some companies/employees embrace change by looking at other ways to manage the workplace relationship between each other. Will every full time role that was made redundant or put on hold need to be hired back a full time role? We may come out of the other end of this and see both employers and employees more open to considering working together in ways besides a standard full time role. Both business and workers alike could look for more flexibility from the role that work plays for them which could mean contracting, more remote work, 2nd jobs, part time work, shared jobs, etc…. as a result of adjusted working conditions that we are having to adapt to at the moment.

A Shift in Mindset: Not every person and not every business thinks the same – this is what makes the world so great. For some people and businesses working Mon-Fri in an office in the city is perfect for them while for others the opposite is true. There is no right or wrong answer when we look at how we work. What I can see happening though is that going through this pandemic we will see some people begin to focus more on doing work that fits their overall life not just their work life. People will realise they do not need as much as they think and they will get some balance in their life between work, family, health…where we have seen in the past cases of burn out from people trying to be all things to everyone.

There is an Article by the Australia Industry Group: Casual work and part-time work in Australia in 2018  It is interesting to see the percentage of the overall working population in full time employment in 2018. Will this graph look significantly different in 2025?

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Things are tough at the moment however I have confidence and belief in how resilient and adaptable people are. We do not know when this will end, but it will end and when it does I am interested to see how this changes the workplace dynamic. I think the remote work conversation is the easy discussion, the deeper discussion I feel is around how this may change the way employers/employees view work and if it does change in what way. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Running My First 100km Ultra at 46 Yrs Old

I have been quiet on this blog the past 6 months or so. So where has all the time gone and what I have I been doing? Running and more running and lots of eating!

The last post I wrote was in March this year after completing my first 50km Ultra marathon. Between March and now (September) I think it is fair to say I have been bitten by the running bug. Shortly after finishing Duncan’s Run I ended up entering the 100km Solo event at Surf Coast Century with a little coaxing from a few people (Jac, I am looking at you). So in April I started a five and half month training plan for the 100km race.

April to September involved a lot of running, I can’t thank my family enough as every Sunday I was out at least half the day on my weekly long run and Saturday’s as well for good measure. Also a big thank you to all the runners and friends who spent countless hours listening to me complain about all my aches and pains over that time during our weekly runs. There is no way I could have completed this without all the love, support and understanding from family and friends.

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So onto race day in September, to say I was nervous I think is an understatement. In the few days before the race I really had to calm my nerves as my mind started to play tricks on me. As I went through taper and took a few days rest before the race the thought kept coming back into my head that by taking this rest I would fall out of race shape or lose my conditioning. I knew this was not the case but the thought was still there trying to trick me.

It was great to start with the race with a friendly face in Greg who was also completing his first 100km with me. There were 4 legs to the race, in Leg 1 looking back I am certain I was running on adrenalin and the buzz of the day, I kept running with all that energy until I tripped over a tree root and face planted into a gum tree about 35kms in. This actually helped slow me down literally and figuratively. After knocking out the first 50 km’s in pretty good shape the back 50 was much harder and I had to dig much deeper to keep going. Having family, friends and everyone from the Seaford Lifesaving Club to support me and keep me going really helped push me through. Again I knew my mind was trying to play tricks on me and it was always good to have someone help pull me out of some of the deep mental funks I found myself in over the day.

I was able to cross the finish line and complete the 100km’s in 13 hrs and 30 mins.  Last year in 2018 I ran Leg 2 of the Surf Coast Century as part of a team. I remember seeing the individual 100km runners a year ago and being amazed at what they were doing. It is fair to say I was hurting after this race but I loved it and have a new found respect for the distance and everyone who gave it a crack.

Last year 30km’s was my limit, six months ago my limit was 50 km’s and now I know my legs have enough to do 100 km’s – who knows where this takes me next (Jac, I am looking at you again and today the answer is no way!). I do have Two Bays coming up in January and then…………

 

 

 

 

Running My First 50km Ultra at 45 Yrs Old

For the past 12 months or so I have been running with more regularity and with more thought and purpose than I had done the previous 10-15 years.

With a very big thanks to many people locally last year I signed up to do the 28km leg of the Surf Coast Century run in September 2018 as part of a team and completed my first half marathon the same year as well. After completing those couple of runs and coming out relatively unscathed in November 2018 I signed up for my first 50km run which took place over the weekend in March 2019.

Over the past weekend I ran and am glad to report that I completed the 50km run ‘Duncans Run‘. The race was actually 57 kms as they added an extra bonus 7kms to the race and I finished in just over 8 hours. The elevation was close to 2500 metres and it seemed like there was a hill at every turn, I think I am traumatised by hills now.

Having this race to prepare for really kept me focussed over the past 4 months as I tried to stick to my training plan and while I missed a few runs and missed a lot of exercises that I was meant to be doing it was good to have that focus and goal in mind. Over that training period there was a lot of self doubt and injuries that crept in, but one of the things about running that is so good is the support, advice and encouragement that you get from the greater running community.

On race day my mind was playing even more tricks on me, somewhere around the 35km mark my left leg/knee was really on fire and hurting. I managed to walk the hills and run when it made sense but everyone I ran with on race day was encouraging each other on and helping each other through the race. This helped so much.

  • I am really enjoying trail running, I love how this sport pushes my body and my mind. I enjoy working through the highs and lows of a run and love those times on a run when you push past those negative thoughts in your head and end up on the other side in a great mindset.
  • I enjoy the camaraderie of trail runners, it is not about getting a time but about enjoying the run and helping others. At least for me anyway, I am sure there are runners out there that are crazy competitive but even the competitive runners are still supportive and willing to share tips and tricks.
  • I enjoy getting out in the bush to run. I run when I can but with work, family and all the other commitments there are it can be hard to get out. I would rather be on a trail though any day of the week rather than a road race or run in the suburbs. To quote Darryl Kerrigan – ‘How’s the serenity’.

My legs and knee are a bit sore today, but I am feeling pretty good. Will I be doing another trail run in the future? Yes!!! In my mind right now I am thinking I will do the 50km run at Surf Coast Century in Sept 2019, then a 56 or 85 km run in January or February 2020 and hopefully that will lead up to a 100km run for Surf Coast Century in 2020.

Those are my plans at the moment. Who knows things may change in any number of ways but it certainly gives me a bit of focus for the next 18 months for my running 🙂

 

 

Giving Your Recruiters Tools That Will Help Your Talent Acquisition Strategy

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post talking about some of the real value adds that I see that the LiveHire solution(s) provides in the market. I mentioned the three main points of differentiation being (1) Bottom Line value translating to efficiency and value generation (2) Candidate Experience (3) Getting Full Value from your ATS.

Today I wanted to look at the Hiring Lifecycle from a Recruiter’s perspective and go into a bit more detail about getting full value from your ATS (Applicant Tracking System).

Recruiters are creatures of habit, this is not a bad thing. If you have not hands on been a Recruiter, you may not appreciate the level of multi-tasking and priorities that a Recruiter has to manage. A Recruiter may at any time be working on anywhere from 15-40 open roles that they need to fill. Most Managers will want those roles filled as quickly as possible and will have varying ways to emphasise to their Recruiter the urgency their role requires over other roles. On top of this comes reporting, branding, updating your ATS and all the other nice to haves.

With this in mind, Recruiters go to the sources where they get the best/quickest result for their effort. A Recruiter will want to identify quality candidates quickly without having to sift through candidate profiles that are not relevant. If those quick to find people sources don’t work then this is when a Recruiter needs to invest more of their time/effort and start undertaking tasks to uncover people not easily findable (sidenote: being easy/hard to find does not make you a better/worse candidate). Think back to when LinkedIn took off. I remember first using LinkedIn in 2006 and having a world of candidates to contact open up to me. That and job boards were able to give me quick wins. A good Recruiter normally has a balance of sourcing channels that provide both quick and long sources of candidate pipeline.

One thing I have noticed though over the years is that I have rarely seen Recruiters use their own ATS (Applicant Tracking System) as their first port of call to finding candidates. Job Boards/LinkedIn often gives Recruiters quick results and that fresh energy to filling a new role. I have had feedback and seen myself some of the frustration that comes from Recruiters using an ATS to source candidates. The main things that come to mind are:

A Recruiters ATS Frustration Can Be:

  • Search Capability and Results are often not accurate. You type in a search for ‘Web Designer in Singapore’ and get an Accountant in the US (ok that is extreme, but this can be how inaccurate the search results are).
  • Searches take too long. Some searches take 5-10 seconds to go from page to page but multiply that over a hundred searches in a day and you have a lot of inefficient time being spent.
  • UX/UI is clunky and not easy to navigate. Multiple clicks and pages takes away from the Recruiter’s experience.
  • Candidate profile views are often in spreadsheet format or in a format that does not let the candidate’s experience shine through. This creates more inefficient time being spent by the Recruiter to dig deeper on candidate screening.
  • Recruiters need to enter their own boolean string search and not confident that results are reflective of candidates in their ATS.

Today’s modern Recruiter will use your companies ATS if it helps them find and engage with great candidates. The world of Recruitment is changing and a Recruiters time is more stretched as Recruiters wear multiple hats from Sourcing expert, Business Consultant, Branding/Marketing, Reporting, etc… I think today’s modern Recruiter would benefit from an ATS that:

ATS Tools That Will Help Today’s Modern Recruiter:

  • Provides a great end user experience: The UX/UI is slick and makes the tool really easy to use, there is no delay between pages and profiles are standardised so they are easy to read.
  • Has deep search functionality and AI capability. A good search engine actually has a very robust and smart search capability so that not only will it produce real results from candidate database but it will actually suggest candidates that would suit the roles you are looking to fill.
  • Allows them to easily engage with candidates and minimise the amount of admin work updating systems. So your ATS should be able to minimise duplication, for example if I email a candidate and then need to update my ATS that I emailed them, I want a tool where I can do this in one place.
  • A good search engine actually has a very robust and smart search capability so that not only will it produce real results from candidate database but it will actually suggest candidates that would suit the roles you are looking to fill.
  •  Reporting is easy to read and in graph format so you can easily see the things that are important to you such as time to hire, source of candidate, etc… You will be able to have confidence in the numbers you are reporting and in the accuracy of your data.

Being a creature of habit is not a bad thing, good Recruiters use the tools/sources that provide results for them. The question to HR and Talent Acquisition Leaders is: Is your current Applicant Tracking System your Recruiters first port of call for candidate sourcing/engagement, if not how is this impacting your business, candidate engagement and productivity?

Would love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Continuing Evolution of Candidate Experience and Technology

Last week I wrote a post talking about some of the real value adds that I see that the LiveHire solution(s) providing in the market. I mentioned the three main points of differentiation being (1) Bottom Line value translating to efficiency and value generation (2) Candidate Experience (3) Getting Full Value from your ATS.

Today, I wanted to dig a bit deeper and talk in more detail about Candidate Experience. When we think about candidate experience for many people the first thing that comes to mind is the relationship or communication between Recruiter and Candidate. For me the way that a company treats this conversation/experience is the result of the way that the business or company views/prioritises their view of recruitment and candidate care.

I have worked with different businesses over the years and have seen how business leaders who place a value on the candidate experience differ from those who view hiring as a transactional means to an end. I think the view that a company’s leadership team takes towards their hiring experience is the output that candidates will get with that company. A good candidate experience begins before the company even starts it’s hiring process.

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The Changing Expectations of Today’s Candidates: Candidate behaviour has changed from what it once was 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Where once candidates did not question the processes of a companies hiring procedures and looked at jobs as ‘jobs for life’, that ideology has evolved into a much more discerning employment population.

With the changing demographics of the workforce, companies can no longer rely on their name and/or size as a guarantee of a candidates interest in them. A generation ago a common belief was to get a job with a big company and have job security. This approach has changed at least since the GFC and even before that as we have seen companies go through layoffs, redundancies and pressure to deal with a rapidly changing economy.  Candidates can now prioritise which role to take based on factors besides job security or company name. This may include factors such as, team culture, projects they are interested in, chance to work on something new, etc…..

If you couple this change in candidate thinking with the changes in the technology space it really allows companies to better understand the hiring process from a candidate perspective and provides a better candidate experience through a combined evolution of their hiring approach together with an uptake of technology.

Technology exists that should be able to parse a person’s LinkedIn profie and/or resume fairly easily without there needing to be a lot of intervention needed from the candidate. The candidate should really be able to apply for a role via their mobile the same way that they order an Uber or order a pizza. In today’s quickly evolving workplace, companies need to make the process as simple for candidates to get into their pipeline as possible. Companies should be bringing candidates into the org not losing candidates at the application process as a result of a low tech application processes.

There are so many technology changes in the workplace today that companies can easily modify their workflows to make the candidate experience that much easier and better for both candidates and managers. The answer is not in technology alone but I think will come from the combination of technology and the evolution of a company’s change in mindset to candidate experience.

 

Real Value Adds From the LiveHire Product for Companies, Recruiters and Candidates

I was with my last company (Oracle) for just coming up on 13 years. The work was great, I loved working with my team, my management was supportive and the pay and working conditions were second to none.

So with all this in mind, why then did I decide to finish with Oracle to join LiveHire which is an Australian Tech Start up that is scaling quickly in the HR/Recruitment SaaS space. Why give up what was from all sounds of it a great role/team that many people strive to find.

I am going to talk about my experience so far with the LiveHire Team, People and the culture of shifting to a fast moving scale up company in a separate post, but for this post I wanted to get some of my thoughts down on paper about what it is that I found really unique and valuable about the LiveHire solutions and products on offer.

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  • Bottom Line Value to a Companies Hiring Process– I am lucky to have had the opportunity to work with some really good Recruiters over my 19 years in Recruitment. Not all Recruiters are created equal but I believe that software used correctly can absolutely make the hiring process more efficient, effective and enjoyable for Manager, Recruiter and Candidate. One of the things I liked about LiveHire when I first starting talking to the team here is that I can see how LiveHire  will add value to a companies recruitment activity no matter whether that is done by HR an Internal Recruitment Team, Agencies or an RPO model. There are so many efficiencies that the LiveHire product can provide to a company that this may spill into future blog posts, but LiveHire will help make your companies hiring process more efficient = you will get better results for less manual input and time spent. The flow on effects will vary but the absolutely impact bottom line value, capability and efficiency.

 

  •  Candidate experience – The LiveHire platform is built with the candidate experience in mind. Anyone with success in the Recruitment space knows how hard it is to find and engage great candidates. It is easy to get 100 applications for a role but often out of those 100 applicant maybe 2-3 meet the requirements of the role. I can think of countless times great Recruiters have been able to find only 1 or 2 good candidates for a role using all kinds of sourcing channels. The days of assuming that good candidates will wait for your company are over. If you are slow to respond or slow to engage, you will let what could have been a great candidate slip through your fingers. I think the LiveHire platform allows companies to engage (have really, meaningful conversations) easily with their candidates. In today’s shifting workforce this is a huge competitive advantage as many companies still take the old view of ‘if someone really wants to work here they will wait for us’ mentality – as we know candidates will disengage with companies that do this and that is something that will hurt a companies ability to hire.

 

  • Getting Value from your ATS – One of the other features I really saw value in the LiveHire product set is that LiveHire gives companies the ability to create ‘Talent Pools’ and really allows companies the ability to take advantage of its ATS. This may seem like just another fancy way of saying it gives you access to your ATS, but the LiveHire product does so much more than this. When a company has new roles it needs to fill, more often than not the Recruiters working on these roles will go look to finding new candidates from a job ad or LinkedIn first before even thinking about mining the existing candidate data they have in their ATS. Often a companies ATS (where companies keep previous candidate information) is too hard to search, too slow, gives out unreliable results, doesn’t have search capability, etc… All these things push Recruiters to look for new candidates rather than re-engaging with candidates who have already applied to roles with them and are interested in working with them. This may not seem like a big impact statement but the flow on effects are incredible. Imagine being able to reduce your time to hire from 30+ days to 10 days for example, or actually use the candidate data you already have and talk to people you already know rather than spending agency fees, advertising fees on sourcing new candidates.

 

I am only touching upon each of these points as I think that to go into more detail on each item would turn this into a really long post. I will touch upon these subjects again in future posts. I think the LiveHire products are really exciting in the HR Tech space. This won’t work for every company but for those that want a competitive advantage in the ongoing search to hire talented people – I think the LiveHire tool is really well set up to help companies and create the kind of interaction that candidates want from companies as well.