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The Team at Laudale

In Conversation with: Rachel Dunscombe, Director of Digital, Salford Royal

In the first of our ‘In Conversation’ with series, we spoke to Salford Royal Head of Digital, Rachel Dunscombe about the digital skills required for the workforce of the future and how the NHS is working with education and the business community to enable skills development in the North.

 

Tell us about workforce for the future  

Workforce of the future is something which is really important because we are becoming more and more digital so the workforce both in terms of the wider workforce and its ability to understand digital but also the workforce within the digital disciplines which are growing.   

Within health we certainly have been doing a lot of work and we found we need to start at the beginning with kids at school and that whole career path right the way through because we find a lot of people who go into computing don’t understand the career options that are available to them. for me I’ve worked in other industries health is so much richer in terms of the data, the possibilities, the imaging that we do, we have the most amazing data sets and we have the most amazing abilities with digital futures.   

 How are digital skills being developed for the future within the NHS?  

Some of the things that we’ve been doing are around working with schools, apprenticeships and bringing people through via The Princes’ Trust but also working with degree apprenticeships and pipelining people right the way through to make sure we have the digital skills we need for the future and that’s going to have to continue because as we shut down NHS buildings we’ll be delivering healthcare via tele-health or via the home and community and that needs to be a technology enabled path. As we do that we need to create more and more people that can support and implement innovation and technologies that allow healthcare to be implemented in different ways.   

 What skills will contribute to the workforce of the future?  

One of the things which is very interesting to me in terms of the workforce of the future are skills like data science, we’ve started taking on data scientists and we actually do some very in depth analysis of data to tell us about personalised medicine or about precision medicine or about people’s risk or a population’s risk or a cohort’s risk and that’s a very exciting place as you have the possibility of improving healthcare for individuals or groups and that’s a very fulfilling career choice.   

We do that on the big data side and the other side that’s really interesting for me at the moment is imaging, we do more and more work with imaging to use algorithms to detect things. Now instead of taking slides of people’s cells we digitally take pictures of people’s cells and can run algorithms over that to allow people to make diagnoses or support diagnoses and again there’s an awful lot of technical jobs in deploying these things and supporting them and they’re actually improving outcomes.   

 What are your hopes for skills development in the North? 

I think we find that in the North we have an awful lot of connectedness between healthcare, local services and the talent we take on, so a lot of the people that come to us want to make a difference to their communities, and the outcomes for their communities and so for the future I want to be part of that ecosystem that incubates and that’s universities, it’s the NHS, it’s schools it’s a whole set of things that support people to become digital health professionals.  

The North, in particular has that and things like that the infomatic skills development network we’ve had for ten years up here is nowhere else in the country, all of the magical ingredients are in the North for digital health in terms of the talent and certainly with the likes of Andy Burnham the support is there in terms of digital as a set of professions to actually bring that talent on and support that talent.  

You can watch our full interview with Rachel here 

About Rachel Dunscombe 

Rachel is Director of Digital for Salford Royal Group consisting is Salford Royal and Pennine Acute. She is also CEO of the NHS wide Digital Academy which provides post graduate training for all senior digital leaders across the NHS and takes them on a journey of transforming their organisations in digital health.  

Laudale Reads: our monthly book recommendation

 

Every month we’ll be recommending a book for you to get your teeth into. This month we’ve been reading DO/PURPOSE/Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more by David Hieatt.

Here’s a synopsis* to whet your appetite

The most important brands in the world make us feel something. They do that because they have something they want to change. And as customers, we want to be part of that change. These companies connect with us because they have a reason to exist over and above making a profit: They have a purpose. Yes, we love the product they make. But the thing we love most about them is the change they are making. We love why they get out of bed in the morning. Purpose is an incredibly powerful thing. It provides the strength to fight the impossible. It tells your story, it builds your teams and it defines your culture. In Do Purpose, David Hieatt offers insights on how to create, build and sustain a purpose-driven company. You know, those companies we all fall in love with. The crazy ones that don’t just make something, but change something as well. B&W photographs and illustrations throughout.

Read reviews and get your copy on www.amazon.co.uk 

What are you reading this month? talk to us @LaudaleHQ #LaudaleReads

* synopis reproduced from Amazon.co.uk with thanks

10 top tips for an effective recruitment process

Setting out on a recruitment project for a new hire can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be,

Laudale MD Alec Laurie shares his top ten tips for SME businesses, breaking down the recruitment process intos simple steps ensuring a positive outcome.

1. Start with Why. 

Get clear on the reason you’re recruiting – the problem you’re trying to solve and how this appointment helps you to achieve your goals.  Once you’re clear on this everything else seems easier – your business case to make the hire, deciding on your interview questions, how you market the opportunity etc.  If this is a replacement for someone who is leaving, it is a like-for-like backfill?

2. Do some research.

Now you know how this role will help to achieve your objectives – does this specific role exist in the outside world? ‘Marketing Manager’ (for example) is a common job title.  But in other businesses, do people with this job title do precisely what you want them to?  Search job boards, LinkedIn, ask friends and colleagues for example role profiles etc.  Consider market rates and geography – do these people exist nearby and how much do they cost?
 
3. Get clear about what you can offer (financially and contractually).

I too am a small business owner, so I get that sometimes things are fluid.  But it really pays to understand up-front what you can afford to pay, whether or not you need someone full or part time, what benefits and bonus you can offer, etc.  Do the maths before you start to engage people.  Your message to prospective candidates will be more fluid and credible, and you’ll avoid wasting your own time going through a recruitment process.

4. Define your selection criteria

…document them and work out a simple way of assessing candidates against them (we find a simple 0-2 score system for each point works).  Be specific with yourself, and with any colleagues who are involved in the interview process, about what you’re looking for and how you intend to measure it at interview.  Why is this important?  Because hiring on ‘gut feel’ is unreliable (there’s a stack of research-based evidence on unconscious bias).  It’s a tough one to balance in a small business, because culture fit is so important, but hiring someone primarily because you like them can be disastrous.

5. Make a plan

…and be clear with your hiring team – your colleagues involved in the interview process – about what their role is.  Literally creating a timeline can be helpful.  If you’re aiming to interview in the 3rd week of February, but Lisa is on holiday that week, then it’s best to work around that now.  Having a clear roadmap to a decision, including how many interviews, the format of these, and any other hoops to jump through, will minimise disruption to business-as-usual, and create a seamless candidate experience.

6. Use the right channels

We can’t all afford recruitment consultancy fees.  And luckily we don’t all have to – it can be a complacent way of recruiting for some businesses.  Have you maximised all channels?  Job advert on your website, outreach on social media, referrals from friends, neighbours, parents at the school gate, current and former colleagues, links to other businesses and industry networks, universities etc… Cast the message as far and wide as possible that you’re hiring. Be as creative as you can be.

7. Tell your unique story

Why did you set this business up? If you’re not the founder, why did you join?  It’s a safe bet that 9 out or 10 small business stories are more compelling and human than your average corporate spiel.  And why is it great to work there?  There are things you take for granted that people outside of your business would love.  You offer flexibility around families, you have a dog-friendly office… whatever it is, make this messaging the fabric of all of your communications.

8. What about geography?

So you’re based in the Outer Hebrides and you want a social media guru.  Or you’re competing for talent with a major city like Manchester.  Think about how you’re uniquely positioned to navigate this.  Can this role be based from home?  Are you an attractive option for someone who doesn’t want to sit in traffic or on a packed train into Manchester?  Once you’re clear on this, use it to shape your search.

9. Maximise your talent pool

We’ve all heard of the War for Talent, but the fact remains that most businesses are only really making their opportunity accessible to a segment of the total market.  Look at every opportunity to bring in the right skills. ‘Returners’ are a huge, largely untapped, pool of highly qualified people, for example.  Think about whether your search is truly diverse and inclusive in every sense of the terms.

10. Make it a great experience

Finally, but most importantly, do the little things well.  Treat candidates like you would customers.  Be on time for interviews, smile, get back to people in a timely way, give them feedback, etc.  People have invested their time and money to come and meet you about a job with your business.  Make them feel valued – whether they’re successful or not.  And when you’re ready to make an offer, commit fully and free from ego – make the candidate feel wanted, not lucky to be joining you.  After all, it’s a small world and your reputation matters.

Find out more about our Recruitment Process Audit and how it can benefit your business

How Transport for the North can significantly impact the talent landscape

This week saw Transport for the North propose a new train line that would connect Bradford to Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and beyond.  The Northern Powerhouse Rail line is a positive development for the North, and especially Bradford – a city which doesn’t have a through-railway station and which boasts the most youthful population of any UK city.  With almost a quarter of its residents under 16, they are literally the ‘next generation’ of talent, but they also currently reside in a potentially career-inhibiting location.

Of course, it’s not just Bradford which sees these limitations placed on its workforce, with only 10,000 people in the North of England within one hour’s reach of the region’s largest four cities. Journey times are not short, with even a trip between the relatively close cities of Manchester and Liverpool taking 50 minutes and a trip between Leeds and Manchester, clocking in at over an hour.

So what does this mean for attracting talent?

Let’s imagine the best candidate for your role lives in a suburb of Leeds and you’re in Manchester.  You have a few options: the candidate makes that commute every day, the employer accommodates home-working on a very regular basis or the candidate stays over during the working week.

Whichever option you take has both positive and negative implications on that employee’s performance, their wellbeing, understanding of your business culture, and retention.

OK, so you could appoint the second best candidate based in your city – conceding on quality – but this isn’t usually the preferred option (in more ways than one).

As a firm that places talent in the North on a regular basis, we see first-hand the impact of limited transport infrastructure on businesses, and the solutions our clients’ have to adopt to overcome these challenges and secure the right candidate.

Such as

  1. The outstanding candidate for a Manchester-based IT exec role who lives on the other side of Bradford. She secures the role and fulfills it successfully, earmarked to succeed her boss. But after 2 years, even working 1-2 days/week from home, the commute (of just over 37 miles) takes its toll – especially with 2 young children and she opts for a role closer to home.
  2. A market-leading organisation wants a specialist skill-set and cannot compromise quality. The needle in the haystack lives near Rochdale about 39 miles away from the role in Cheshire. A 2 hour drive or a train with 3 changes each way, means the company pays a premium to cover a weekly commute/stay.
  3. A technology leader lives 75 miles away from HQ – a commute that will be do-able if the proposed Northern Powerhouse rail scheme happens. Under the status quo he works from home at least 2 days a week. In a project heavy environment this is less than ideal and, whilst he’s been successful in his post for 4 years, there have been challenges (not least ” if he does 2 days from home, why can’t  I..?)

(We do recruit people who live near work, too, by the way!…)

As open-minded as people are to flexible and remote working, relocating and so on., it’s idealistic to think these options are a reality for everyone, especially those in leadership positions.

The work outlined yesterday by TFN won’t be finished until 2030, with the much heralded HS2 set for completion 2 years after that.  This can’t come soon enough.

Whilst Northerner’s will succeed regardless, there’s no doubt that improved transport will be a game-changer for attracting and retaining talent across the region.

What’s your view? 

Talk to us @LaudaleHQ

 

What’s in a name? – job titles and perceptions

Ever tried to negotiate a new job title only to be told ‘ job titles don’t really mean anything’ if so you’re not alone but is that entirely accurate?

There’s an argument job titles are important because they are all about perception. Think about where your job title appears across your professional life, it’s on your email, your LinkedIn profile, your business card, your name badge if you attend an event, in fact there aren’t many places it doesn’t appear, it is always visible and if it doesn’t represent what you do or who you are that’s a problem.

What employers often mean when they say job titles don’t matter, are they don’t matter internally and that is a more accurate statement. It’s true in most modern businesses that employees are measured by the work they do and the value they bring and not what it says on the second line of their business card, employers are rarely thinking about how the wider market perceives your job title.

However, on the flip side, one of the first things recruiters and hiring managers will consider is your job title. If your current job title accurately demonstrates your seniority, experience and skills then you’re already on the road to being considered.

If you’re an employer, empowering your team to essentially find another job might not sound too appealing but consider this, giving your employee the title they want and the one which represents their place in the market will make them feel valued and if you’re showing the outside world that your business employs talented and experienced professionals with specialist skills then that’s not harmful to your brand either. Most importantly you’re showing your employees you trust them which probably means they’ll want to stay right where they are. Everybody wins.

A truly great employer wants to equip their teams for career progression, if you’re still being told your job title doesn’t matter perhaps it’s time to consider your next move.

Do job titles matter? what’s your view?

Talk to us @LaudaleHQ

IN THE NEWS: Tech-focused executive search company establishes No.1 Spinningfields HQ

This article appeared in Bdaily and Insider North West

 

Executive search firm Laudale is relocating its Manchester headquarters to No.1 Spinningfields.

The company, which focuses on the technology sector, will be based within the WeWork facility at the 19-storey commercial tower.

Established in 2013 by managing director Alec Laurie, today Laudale works with a number of large organisations in the region, among them Shop Direct and Manchester Growth Company. Its client list also includes Manchester City Council.

Last year saw the recruiter add to its team with the appointment of Natalie Asprey in the role of marketing communications manager, and Jonathan Basnett as a consultant for both permanent and interim appointments.

Laudale founder Alec said: “We are a Northern based business with a global reach for talent, more and more we see Manchester is the choice for tech and IT leaders and with our new HQ we’re right at the heart of that.

“It’s an attractive place to be, we’re at an exciting point in our business journey and we’re looking forward to continuing our growth here during 2018 and beyond.”

New Year – No Staff? Turn your focus to staff retention before it’s too late

2 minute read

It’s cold and grey, the festive lights have been switched off for another year and many employees will have returned to work with a lack of motivation and energy, if this seems like an incredibly depressing start to this article then you’d be right but it’s an important time for employers to take a serious look at staff retention.

January is prime time for job seeking with job site Monster reporting that applications grew to 75% above the daily average in January 2017.  Time to reflect on career ambitions and frustrations over the break leaves many employees considering a move at the start of the year.

How can you keep employees engaged and beat the January blues for good?

Communicate with your teams

The start of the year is a great time for goal setting and objectives, use this time to catch up with your team to talk about and reinforce the goals for the business and the part they will play in achieving them. Regular communication with employees is important at any time of year but particularly when motivation might be lacking as it’s a clear demonstration of how their efforts contribute to and important to the overall direction of your business.

Be Flexible

It’s old news that employees just want to be rewarded in the financial sense so don’t assume that a pay increase or bonus will ensure their commitment to your business. Studies have shown that a third of employees would prefer a more flexible approach to working hours than a pay rise so as part of your planning for 2018 consider how you can integrate flexible working into your business – if you haven’t done so before this can seem daunting but with the results of flexible working including higher job satisfaction and a higher standard of work-  it’s an investment worth making for you and your employees.

Focus on goals and development

What would the individuals in your team like to achieve in 2018? If employees are looking for a new role, one of the reasons could be lack of development options or the opportunity to improve. Whilst you can’t just create new roles or hand out promotions you can focus on committing some of your 2018 budget towards training and development or, at the very least, making a concerted effort to support personal growth.  Take the time to discover how your employees are keen to develop and you’ll see the benefit in a higher performing and more engaged workforce.

Recognise achievement and effort 

You’ve put the work in and so have your teams but when you’ve valiantly made it through January don’t forget to recognise and reward accordingly. Typically employees fall into a regular working pattern in the middle weeks of the month however as the end of the month approaches job seeking resumes in earnest making this the perfect time to show your appreciation – a small gesture can create a big impact on your staff retention efforts.

There’s no doubt about it, January can be a tough month however with just a few practical steps you can create a happy and engaged workforce who will want to remain a part of your business well into the New Year and beyond.

What are you doing to motivate your teams this January?

Talk to us @LaudaleHQ

 

A case of the Blues – why there’s a recruitment lesson to be learnt from Everton’s woes

Here at Laudale HQ, we have a couple of Everton fans. We won’t reveal their identities given our Manchester roots, however, the recent managerial woes at the Merseyside club did get us thinking about the risks associated with making senior appointments, and how these risks play out across any industry.

There are two clear lessons from Everton: making a) the wrong appointment and b) a hash of a recruitment process can cause significant reputational damage.

In the case of the blues, that wrong appointment came in the form of Ronald Koeman. We won’t talk about the actual football here but lack of vision and direction, poor or unclear communications, failure to organise and motivate a team, and a fuzzy leadership structure, particularly around the big decisions, are all quoted as reasons for the Dutchman’s downfall.

More worrying was the apparent lack of ‘buy-in’ to the culture of the club, a senior appointment who does not share the values of the organisation is a huge problem but it’s one which can be avoided at recruitment stage.

We think about candidate selection criteria under 3 pillars: competence, character and chemistry.

From a ‘competence’ perspective – experience, skills, and qualifications – Koeman looked like an excellent appointment, but he would no doubt have ticked less boxes for ‘character’ (including motivation) and ‘chemistry’ (including values). He was always clear about what the job meant to him, a stepping stone, he played it straight and stated it wasn’t his dream role from the outset.

Whilst a highly competent candidate will often get short-term results (season Koeman’s first season at Everton), these are rarely enduring if motivation and values are misaligned. A senior appointment with an eye on the door is unlikely to work out in any business, and especially one like Everton, who stated at the outset that the new appointment would be ‘a guardian’ of their strong culture.

The subsequent recruitment process to replace Koeman could have been managed much better, to put it lightly.  Whilst your business and your senior appointments are unlikely to be under the media spotlight to the extent of a Premier League football club, make no mistake, the point still holds: a poor recruitment process will have a reputational impact.

Sam Allardyce (who eventually got the job) went public part way through the search stating that he’s lost interest in the role due to Everton’s indecisiveness.  Candidates talk about their experience and it’s a small world.  Whilst you may be immersed in your business and believe in its values and vision, that’s not always the view from outside.

Football clubs and businesses learn the hard way, through failed or unsuccessful appointments, that the cost of a poor senior hire is detrimental on many levels.  If a senior appointment is critical to your business, then it’s worth engaging specialist advice before you embark on your recruitment journey.

Laudale offers consultancy services specialist expertise in appointing technology & transformation leaders across a range of sectors.

Let’s talk hello@laudale.com

Why employers shouldn’t underestimate the power of ‘wellbeing’

3 minute read

Businesses spend thousands and thousands of pounds on creating the right strategy to deliver results and yet a recent piece of research said that over a third of senior HR staff do not consider employee wellbeing to be an important part of that strategy.

This was despite the fact that the same piece of research found that 51% of HR staff see their employees struggle to concentrate when wellbeing is poor, noticed more sick days are taken and saw an increase in mental health issues.

So why aren’t more businesses and employers embracing wellbeing as part of essential business strategy?

There’s no getting around it, poor staff wellbeing affects the bottom line, through lost productivity, profits, time and resource businesses are losing out by not investing in the wellbeing of their employees. 43% of all working days are lost to ill health, stress accounts for 35% of these days. Absence isn’t the only factor at play, presenteeism for employees who are stressed or suffering from poor mental health costs businesses an estimated £26bn annually so businesses shouldn’t assume if employees are still clocking in that they’re happy or productive in their work.

It’s fairly simple to just start doing ‘wellbeing’ type activities but whilst often delivered with genuine intentions these don’t always mean much to the employees they’re designed to benefit. Don’t let that stop you from buying that pool table for your team or stocking the fridge with beers for 5 pm on Friday but be realistic about how sustainable their impact will be in the long term.

Embracing wellbeing as part of your overall business strategy is challenging because it’s about building real cultural change and not quick wins. It’s about asking the right questions to discover how your employees feel about the working environment you’re providing for them.  How do they feel when they get to work? Are they happy, raring to go or stressed and having difficulty coping? Whatever the answer investing in making your staff feel good about the workplace will set you apart as a great employer with the added benefit of increased productivity and performance.

Wellbeing can seem somewhat of a wishy-washy term, a HR buzzword perhaps but its power in your business is real, and should be ignored at your peril.

What’s your view? Talk to us @LaudaleHQ

5 things Technology leaders want to know about your opportunity

4 minute read

We’ve interviewed 1000s of ‘Business Technology’ leaders (IT Directors, CIOs, CTOs, CDOs, ‘Heads of’, etc.), from which we’ve gained a vast amount of insight.

Interestingly, no matter how many technology leaders we speak to, 9 times out of 10, we are asked a variance of the same handful of questions.

Why is this interesting? Because these questions are rarely answered or addressed by representatives of the hiring company at the first point of contact with a potential candidate.

In a talent scarce market this is a missed opportunity.

By clearly articulating answers to these questions up front you will greatly increase your chances of keeping the best candidates engaged. Weak or no answers to these points simply increases the probability that great candidates lose interest.

Done well, this means that everyone involved in your recruitment process is aligned and can answer questions like the following.

1.What are you trying to achieve with this appointment?
There are many variants on this question that centre around company vision, strategy, objectives, and how you would like technology to contribute. Does the business know what it wants to be? You’re making a significant change by bringing in a technology leader – why? What would you like the outcome to be, and by when?

2. How is the technology function currently perceived by the wider business?
It’s helpful that the candidate knows the current lay-of-the-land and what’s on their prospective customers’ minds. This perception isn’t always negative! The technology function could be flying and therefore it’s important to maintain momentum. Conversely there could be some bridges to build.

3. What level of financial backing and proposed investment in technology is there?
Think about your own position – if you’re being held to account for a function, knowing your budget is a prerequisite. It could be that there’s very little IT spend and the candidate will have to create efficiencies to reinvest. Or you could have a pot of cash. Either way, be clear about this up front.

4. What level of sponsorship and influence will the technology leader have?
Similar to the above point, but separate to financial backing. The incoming technology leader will ultimately make impactful decisions. How are decisions made? Will the successful candidate have access to the exec/board? Who is chiefly behind him or her when making the big calls?

5. How did this position come about?
Very obvious, right? Yet, few job adverts make explicit reference to this, and it’s infrequently clearly articulated at first point of contact. You might be creating a new CTO role to improve tech capability, following new investment. You might be replacing someone who hasn’t worked out. Whichever way the vacancy came about, clearly articulating this up-front is a simple and professional way to start the conversation effectively.

In your experience what else is important to address early on in the recruitment process? Technology leaders: what questions do you want answering before seriously considering an opportunity?

Preparing effectively for a strategic appointment can significantly increase the likelihood of a successful recruitment drive. Laudale help clients to make the key decisions that will shape their approach to recruitment.

Talk to us to find out more