The advancement of robo-advice and other digital disruptive technology has recently masked the fact that our industry is fundamentally a 'people business'. People lead our organisations. It is people who invest. It is people who drive how technology is implemented.
Just as with technology, it is the quality of people that makes the difference and provides a competitive advantage – be it fund managers or customer service specialists – coupled with the technology that asset owners and managers use.
So how do you get the best people onto your team?
Often the best people aren’t looking for a new employer; they’re content delivering real results where they are, rather than tweaking their resumes. Accordingly, no matter how much you advertise on technology-based platforms like LinkedIn and Seek, you won’t reach them.
Rather, technology in recruiting has tended to result in a focus on those people who are already looking to move rather than identifying the best performers that you should have.
Does this suggest a need a return to ‘old school’ low technology head-hunting that identifies who has a proven track record at delivering what you need and enticing them to you?
There is, of course, a third option that combines both approaches – harnessing technology to develop and tap extensive networks of proven performers, then coupling this with a personal approach to entice those performers to join your organisation.
As such, people – and the personal touch – need to be returned to greater focus in today’s recruiting and human resource departments.
Technology is a means to the end – an efficient enabler of rigorous processes – rather the starting point. For example, some 83 per cent of superannuation trustees expect to personalise each member's fund experience by 2025. Technology will enable this, but how to personalise that experience is the key, not the technology which sits behind it.
It is the same with recruiting. Every potential employee hopes to be a valued individual who is wanted by an organisation, not just the author of a resume that ticks a short list of boxes. Every organisation wants people who are committed, passionate, proven performers. It takes people who understand our industry and the people within it to combine these needs.
Unfortunately, human resource departments are often so stretched trying to keep people, move others and find replacements — along with the day-to-day basics — that they can’t keep up with who’s who in the zoo.
Having a network, not just a database, is key in this respect. Being able to call on trusted colleagues to determine who is best in the market is paramount to finding proven performers who can make a difference, who can make or break an organisation.
How often have you worked with others who were troublesome, who were focused on themselves, who didn’t understand what was required — and how has this impacted your own work?
Employing such people increases the risks within an organisation, and to its reputation, often requiring even greater risk and marketing teams to counter the damage they cause.
Accordingly, identifying and enticing proven performers who culturally fit with your firm is going to return to focus this year.
With the increasing pace of change in today’s markets, you don’t have the time or money to waste on someone who has a good resume and interview technique but little substance.
Top five workplace trends for 2017:
1. Focus on improving candidate and employee experience: almost 60 per cent of job seekers report they have had a poor candidate experience with employers.
Many of them have shared that experience online, damaging the organisation’s reputation. Have you checked how you rate in this respect? Most HR departments haven’t.
2. Tenure improvement: the average tenure for employees, regardless of age, is just 4.5 years in the US and seems similar here.
A majority of Millennials are reported as leaving after just two years. This is why we expect to see a refocusing on ‘older’ employees this year.
3. Young, older or a better blended workforce? The latter would seem to be the obvious solution, but it is often difficult to implement, with younger managers often threatened by those more experienced.
Programs that see the latter share their wisdom with younger teams are key in this respect; but are hard to find, let alone implement for a busy HR department.
4. Increasing teamwork: we predict an increased focus on teams and teamwork, which can reduce the risks when a star performer departs or is head-hunted.
It can also slow the rise of internal politics. We all know that high-performing teams always outperform individual stars.
5. Greater alignment with customer needs: expect to see roles and responsibilities become more aligned with end-customer needs, rather than just those of the organisation.
This is often stated as an aspiration, but seldom achieved.