Over the past two decades, Avtar has been responsible for exceptional growth and development in many of our sectors and offices, and is the Director sponsor on our Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement programme.
Following his promotion to Executive Director, we spoke to Avtar about his career and what he has learned as a leader in recruitment.
I’m proud of the progress we’ve made over the last two decades in opening regional offices from scratch and developing a number of new vertical markets across them all. We’ve become very well established and we always give our candidates and clients an extremely good service. Throughout, my main highlights have been seeing the progression of those we take on very early on in their careers, looking at where people started and what they have achieved. That progression means I’ve done my job properly.
Creating the right team and having consistency around you is very important towards success. We promote from within, so if we don’t invest in employee development we’re not going to have the next generation of managers. Succession planning is really strong at Venn Group, and the people who have come through are a great measure of success.
Another measure of success is employees enjoying themselves in the workplace. Recruitment can be a very pressurised job; sales is tough, but it’s important we have a balanced environment so people can also have fun and be themselves. This in turn builds loyalty and long commitment from our employees.
New ideas and shared values
A key lesson which Deirdra our CEO has instilled in me is to keep adapting to change and trying new ideas. When you’ve been doing a job for over thirty years, it’s easy to get set in your ways, but the approach that worked for me ten years ago may not work now, we need to remain agile as a business and constantly adapt.
The core values I look for are the same across all my business units: good work ethic, commitment, determination, perseverance, and the ability to deal with new challenges. Emma and Greg both share this work ethic, and they constantly strive to be the best in the business. When there’s a problem, they’ll find a solution. They’re respected because they lead from the front and they both share the same values and ideas as the management team.
Everyone has a voice
At Venn Group, we like to build inclusive teams and inclusive cultures where everyone has a voice and everyone’s opinion matters, whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. To build an effective and balanced team, you need the best talent across the country; you don’t want a team of people who are exactly the same and share the same personality. You want different backgrounds, different education, different ideas and different visions.
Diversity, Inclusion and social value are areas we’re really focusing on, and we’ve made massive strides in this area. We’re one of the few agencies our size with a full-time Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement Associate. The sharing of ideas and communication has increased enormously which has been helped by our monthly Diversity and Inclusion forums, and the sense of belonging and loyalty is a lot greater. We have also benefited from the engagement of an external consultancy in the D&I field which has helped us to provide an even better service to our clients and candidates.
Developing high-performing teams
Loyalty goes a long way, especially in the world of recruitment which can be a tough business, so I always make sure to deliver on my promises. I can’t fix everything, but I will listen and do my best to help. My approach to leadership is to let people learn and encourage them to thrive and develop. If you want to progress, I’ll create the opportunity. It’s important for me to develop my managers so they can have my job one day; without a high-performing team in place around me, I wouldn’t have been able to step into this new role. Success comes when everyone is pulling in the same direction.
I enjoy the challenges of leadership, and we’ve had so many recent challenges in the market that we have successfully navigated through – Coronavirus, Brexit, IR35 – but without being challenged, you can stagnate. If you want to be the best, you’ve got to keep moving and learn to leave your comfort zone.