PROCUREMENT HEADS BLOG

Recruitment as a Professional Service

Every year, my leadership team and I get together in January – this year seemed more poignant, more visceral.

Having been plunged into Lockdown 3.0 perhaps everyone’s senses were heightened, but one thing was clear- that we needed to plan what life on the ‘other side’ was going to look like.

We’re incredibly protective of the reputation and ethics we’ve built with the Heads brands, but it’s a wholly different beast trying to navigate a post-pandemic labour market.

The recruitment industry is purported to be worth £35bn per annum in the UK and now more than ever I feel a sense of obligation to promote what the industry does as a force for good.

Yet recruitment is often seen as a necessary evil, something I feel increasingly disappointed by the profession’s ability to demonstrate its worth. 

So back to the SLT meeting, after many hours of deliberation we landed on our Purpose for the next 5 years namely ‘to deliver recruitment as a professional service. Simple but clean. More importantly as a highly experienced team it allowed us space to grow.

We’d added Executive Heads to the Heads group stable of businesses back in November 2019 giving us a presence in the search and selection market, but we needed a way of future-proofing our brands.

Even more important to this, a consistent direction of travel, a recruitment north star. 

So what does recruitment as a professional service mean?

I think exemplary service is a given, something that not only meets a customer’s expectations but surpasses them.

Service delivery is everything in our profession and whilst we don’t always get it right, we certainly aspire to.

However, we wanted this vision to mean so much more.

The war on talent is real

The data all points towards a profound candidate shortage soon hitting the UK.

Data solutions provider Cendex’s latest whitepaper – Recruitment, Retention, And Culture: Assessing The Pandemic’s Impact – found that 81% of HR professionals believe the war for talent has become more competitive in the last 12 months.

Why?

In most sectors, businesses looking to bounce back are upping their recruitment.

Quarterly data from the Office for National Statistics emphasises this.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said it was encouraging to see the labour market recovering its strength but had concerns over talent shortages, “This latest official data confirms the trends that surveys of businesses and recruiters have been telling us. The jobs market enjoyed a strong bounce back during the initial phases of unlocking, with the number of payrolled employees up by 197,000 from April and the unemployment rate falling to 4.7%.”

He added: “The number of job vacancies surged by 24% from the previous quarter as employers rushed to hire ahead of re-opening.

“But, with labour shortages across the economy, any delays in hiring could have serious consequences for the recovery.”

A shrinking active talent pool, with candidates who are often in multiple processes, creates the perfect storm for recruitment and it’s important that we continue to have solutions to our clients’ people challenges, solutions that imbue relationships at their core and support people through the life cycle of their careers.  

Demonstrating value

When I think professional services, I picture lawyers, accountants, surveyors – trusted advisors, sought out when help, advice or support is needed.

But, why isn’t this the same for the recruitment sector?

The truth of the matter is that the industry has struggled to demonstrate its value for as long as I’ve been a part of it, facing significant headwinds in recent years.

Even the best operators can sometimes only advocate speed as their key strength rather than any meaningful value-add or differentiator.

Make no mistake, Heads’ core business is recruitment, it always has and always will be, but we can – and do offer so much more.

We are a relationships driven business, and we place great value on their development. It is one of the key tenets to our success and why clients trust our brands and consultants to guide them towards hiring top talent and finding the solutions to complex issues.

Strategic Partnerships

Consequently, we’ve built a services matrix to clearly demonstrate all of the services we provide.

Key to this are the Strategic Partnerships that we’ve forged in the last 12 months, so that we might be able to offer solutions where recruitment is not the only answer.

Whether it’s data wizardry, commodities pricing, procurement transformation, training or interim leadership, we’re now able to offer collaborations to the market.

So, what does recruitment as a professional service mean to you:

  1. Advice without obligation. We commit to act as a trusted advisor to our clients and candidates and to offer advice that best suits their situation.
  2. Seamless integration with internal talent teams and your business. We will always act as an ambassador for you.
  3. Championing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion & Sustainability. We will give you the platform to gain a competitive advantage on these issues.
  4. Strategic Partners. We have relationships with organisations that can help solve your challenges and will add value

So as we move into a post-Brexit, post-pandemic market, we feel well placed to offer our customers a more comprehensive service than ever before, a service born out of extensive market expertise, delivering recruitment as a professional service.

#recruitmentasaprofessionalservice

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Rupert Gaster