1. How did you come to join Colliers? How different is this role compared to your previous appointments?
My now manager reached out to me and what started as a casual conversation became serious very quickly as a lot of the details shared resonated very much with what motivates me and the type of environment I enjoy. The double-digit business growth spurred by the entrepreneurial culture, the conscious investment by management into bringing on board top talent to continue to fuel that growth and the desire to upscale the Talent Acquisition function were the main factors which resulted in me being here.
Prior to joining Colliers, I was with a large recruitment agency for 11 years which has equipped me with the ins and outs of talent acquisition and the corresponding best practices and hence I was able to make a smooth transition. The biggest difference is my previous role was a producer role and that is different from my current one which is an internal business partnering one.
2. In your opinion, to what extent have globalisation, technology, and the rise of the millennial workforce change the strategic role of people management and talent acquisition?
Out with Recruitment, in with Talent Acquisition. As the market matures, the war for talent continues to intensify which increases the challenge of attracting and bringing on board talent. It is now a sophisticated process of proactively identifying the talent you want (vs passively sitting back or waiting for people to come to you), engaging them (which can be a long-drawn process) and convincing them why they should join your company, crafting a competitive offer, right through to having a robust onboarding process.
In terms of tools, that has also evolved with the speedy rise of technology over the years and the rise of the tech savvy millennial workforce. Social media including LinkedIn is a huge part of the talent acquisition process. When I first started my recruitment career a decade ago, we were advertising jobs in the papers!
3. In view of the constantly shifting business environment and war for talent, what are some transformational HR practices that will become increasingly important in the attraction and retention of staff across the region?
Money will always be and remain one of the key factors in a career decision. However, the war for talent and increased diversity of the workforce has resulted in the emergence and increased importance of some non-financial considerations.
Learning & development (L&D) has become a significant factor given the keen desire to stay relevant and competitive especially in today’s fast changing world and changing trends which translate into new skill sets needed. It also ties in to career growth; upscaling = being more than proficient in your current role = ability to take on a bigger role = promotion.
Another practice which has become increasingly important is flexibility – flexibility to work from home and/ or flexible working hours. Personal commitments change as life stages change and the ability and desire for an organisation to support that in the form of flexibility is a powerful way of boosting retention and employee loyalty. Having said that, the underlying premise is the focus on output (vs input) increases which does benefit the organisation.
4. What is it about HR and talent acquisition that inspires you?
I very much enjoy interactions with people; people from all walks of life and from different backgrounds and cultures. Human psyche and cultural differences I have always found fascinating versus numbers, which is the background I came from (I started my career as an Auditor in one of the big four accounting firms).
There are many dimensions and challenges in talent acquisition as the ‘product’ (loosely speaking) is people - people change their minds, people might not share what they truly think, trust takes time and engagement to build, etc. There is no right or wrong in overcoming such challenges and that’s the part I find fun!
5. In your opinion, what makes a good Talent Acquisition person?
In my opinion, a good Talent Acquisition person should be articulate and possess the ability to build sound working relationships effectively and quickly. He/ she is oftentimes the first person the candidate interacts with and the impression he/ she makes and the ability to pitch the role and company well has an impact on the first impression the candidate walks away with and like they say, first impressions counts – I like to use the word ‘brand ambassador’ for this.
The ability to multi-task and prioritise is also a key necessary skill as multiple roles are ongoing at the same time with typically pressing timelines – the most common answer I get to the question of ‘when do you want to hire this person’ is ‘yesterday’. Time is a limited resource which is why it is critical to be able to correctly prioritise to invest your resources in the smartest way and to multi-task to make sure as much ground is covered in the same amount of time.