Monday, 8 August 2011

How media advances are changing resourcing - For the Better or Worse?

At a recent meeting with a long standing FM client, the comment was made to me “it must be really hard for you guys as social networking and on-line media is changing your industry”.  I banked that one for further thought, but he went on in the discussion to say he was “getting over a 100 emails a day related to applicants”, and the way these were dealt with was to “highlight them all, and press the delete key”!

The insinuation was that social networking sites and on-line job boards have made it much easier for people to apply for roles; hence that makes it more difficult for Search consultants.  In truth, it probably makes it more difficult for clients and consultants – companies are getting bombarded by applicants, many of which are of low quality or little relevance; time is wasted both by people applying, and clients and us having to process them at our end.

In effect, social media has had a negative impact on the quality.  By making it easier to apply, candidates appear to be thinking less about what they are doing and approaching it from a “volume” perspective – get enough out there and something will stick!

This draws the conclusions that specific search, targeted at exactly the right people is more beneficial than ever.  Certainly we are seeing that clients have higher expectations of the specification and knowledge of suitable applicants – even to the extent of knowing specific people in contracts.  The days of taking a gamble with people from outside the sector seem to be increasingly rare – companies are looking for assurity – get the “biggest bang for their buck”.

The mis-conception for many clients that because they get a lot of applicants, there is talent ready and waiting to join out in the market is sadly mistaken. Many good people are more nervous about moving in a “down market” fearing if they don’t integrate well initially, will that leave them quickly out of a job.

Hence companies need to be assessing their approach to resourcing – better targeting of the right people and a campaign of how to attract them through a compelling and differentiated process that adds real weight and quality to the approach and results.

You can now follow Macallam on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!

By Duncan Carter, Director, Macallam

Monday, 1 August 2011

M&E and The Market State!

Things still seem tight in the M&E sector, but we are getting reports of greater activity and starting to see some movement.

There seem to be some nice contracts coming up in London, but clients and Main Contractors taking advantage of the competitive situation by extending tendering lists, sometimes to as much as 15!

A number of Developer contacts are telling us they are very busy with Pre-Planning and Planning applications, so if they are busy now then we should see things picking up in 2012.

At Macallam, we have been busy in the maintenance, FM, energy, logistics sectors, and Natural resources and Oil & Gas have performed well, however we want to maintain our contracting relationships for future. We have also seen more work coming from the Middle East and Saudi.

Many UK Companies have been restructuring their sales teams, looking for better resource with the skills to get upstream in client discussions, influence earlier and engage around the value and benefits propositions to clients – going back to original selling concepts, not just process/ tendering!

Where is the top line growth going to come from and how to deliver the targets has been a challenge for most, and getting the right people in place to deliver it.

Alongside that, we have been doing more Finance work – some Group FD/CFO roles and some senior divisional Finance positions; possibly seeing a trend for finance and commercial coming to the fore as work is won at smaller margins? Acquisition activity in some sectors is gaining momentum, and a real need for people with wider and multi-functional business skills sets in the present climate.

We hope to see more opportunities and work from the M&E sector across all functions moving forwards, and re-establish our relationships. If your situation has changed, please update us and we can keep you informed of our work and news.

If we can help you with any roles or advice, please get in touch.

Prepare your self for the top job

As the Facilities Management sector emerges from recession Duncan Carter, Managing Director at Macallam, reflects on how companies can recruit and retain the best executive talent and how managers can prepare themselves for a top job.

Rather than cutting back on talent development in a downturn, the best companies  are focusing on developing leaders who will not only survive and thrive in the current downturn, but will be well positioned to grow as the economy improves.

And this is no different for the Facilities Management sector which, up until recently, has had a poor record at developing executive talent.
However, many FM companies are missing a trick internally by failing to nurture middle managers as leaders of the future.
This includes valuing leaders who can achieve results through others; holding senior managers accountable for commitments; having a formal process for identifying individuals for leadership roles and aligning talent management to a clear business strategy.
Chief executives recently responding to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ most recent annual global survey said it is important to achieve a viable balance between short-term survival and building for long-term success. And they saw access to, and retention of, key talent as the single most important issue in sustaining such success.
Meanwhile, companies with stronger leadership development have up to 7% higher profits than competitors and 85% of the 20 top performing companies hold their leaders accountable for developing talent.
However, in FM middle managers seeking to progress often lack the basic tools to demonstrate their credentials and, more crucially, a personal development programme that will help them achieve their career goals. Moreover, they don’t understand what their superiors are looking for as part of their wider talent management programme.
It is a widely held view within FM that the next swathe of middle and senior management talent will have to be recruited from outside the industry, as it just doesn’t attract enough graduates for development. Historically there has been a trend to promote good engineers and 'hands-on' operational individuals into management roles, with widely mixed results.
Part of the problem stems from the FM sectors obsession with basic operational and technical abilities rather than wider strategic and leadership competencies.
To attract the best people, FM needs to raise its 'brand awareness' and provide structured career paths into strategic roles.  In some cases FM has been seen as a smaller side show to larger civil or construction companies and as a result talented graduates seek out positions in the parent business.
However, a number of successful FM companies have recognised the need to identify and nurture talent through the ranks. For instance, Interserve FM has developed its 'Leadership Edge' programme to further the careers of its top 40 managers within the company, and some of its competitors have similar systems.
This is a step in the right direction, but talent acquisition needs to start at the lower ranks - apprentices and graduates being given the experience and opportunity to progress quickly. Within ten years a new breed of manager in the FM industry will emerge driving forward one of the fastest growing global industries.
If the sector is to continue to thrive there must be a cultural shift in how FM manages and nurtures its talent. And one area ripe for development is graduate recruitment but this will require FM companies to be more proactive in their recruitment policies and ensure that the right brand messages are being communicated to the audience.
Senior managers must be more open to change and innovation, and embrace the fact that sometimes an engineer with many years experience may not be the answer. A fresh approach is required. At Macallam we have developed our Talentrack scheme to identify, track and appoint high potential/high performance candidates from inside and outside the Facilities Management industry and this is now seen as very valuable by most of our clients.
Recently Macallam carried out a 'dipstick survey' of several senior executives working in the FM sector to gauge their thoughts on how to get to the top in the FM profession.
In general most agreed the reality is that not everyone can be the chief executive. However, people of all levels can rise through the ranks when they can demonstrate that they are comfortable as leaders and can show good people skills.
Steve Thomas, former Interserve HR Director noted: "As someone who has come from outside the FM sector I have been surprised how far behind the sector is in offering opportunities for managerial development - for instance by offering established qualifications which demonstrate a level or professional ability and competence.
Mike Fellowes, recently of Babcock Infrastructure said ambitious managers need to display their leadership qualities: "You have to show that you’re committed to making a difference - you need to walk the talk. Be realistic about the challenges and the obstacles you will need to overcome and resources you will need to get you there."
So if you’re looking to progress your career in FM what qualities should you be nurturing and displaying? It is quite simple. First, you need to show leadership and develop your people skills. Second, do not get too bogged down in operational matters and understand the bigger commercial and strategic aims of your company. Third, be consistent in your delivery - your staff will thank your for it, your superiors will applaud you for it, and the client will be happy.
All these principles apply to other industry sectors it’s just that FM has not yet caught up with them yet which means the opportunities are huge for those who are willing to embrace them.

Welcome to Macallam's Blog

The blog also provides our team at Macallam with a platform to tell you about our company developments, recruitment, human resources and our thoughts on specific sectors we are operating in… in fact, anything that takes our fancy.  As always we would welcome your comments so don’t be shy!

There are some house rules, however, when commenting on the Macallam's blog:

It is our policy to review all comments before publishing them, partly to reduce the possibility of spam comments and partly to ensure comments are in line with our list of blogger ethics below.

These are based on General Motors’ corporate blogging guidelines and code of ethics:

·         We will tell the truth. We will acknowledge and correct any mistakes promptly.
·         We will not delete comments unless they are spam, off-topic, or defamatory.
·         We will reply to comments when appropriate as promptly as possible.
·         We will link to online references and original source materials directly.
·         We will disagree with other opinions respectfully.

Happy blogging!

By Duncan Carter