Over the past two decades, Stan has been responsible for exceptional growth and development in many of our sectors and offices.
Following his promotion to Executive Director, we heard from Stan about what he has learned as a leader in recruitment.
Listening is key
When I started on this journey, the objective was always to be a market leader in all of the disciplines that we operate in, and the only way we were going to achieve that was with the people we work with. If you begin with the ethos of treating people the way you want to be treated, everything else fits seamlessly. We cannot possibly expect to deliver a service of exceptional quality to our clients and candidates if we don’t respect the people that we have working for us in the business.
I am super proud of how we have created a huge family at Venn Group, I am so very fortunate to still be working with a large cohort of those that joined me on this exciting journey, which is unique in the recruitment world and defines our culture: listening to what our staff need. That is at the heart of our approach and is part of what led to our Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement programme and the ambassador scheme that represents the voice of our employees, while most recently we’ve introduced wellbeing days, further cementing our commitment to our people.
Listening has been fundamental to the success of our client and candidate relationships; if you want to understand how someone likes to operate, engage with them and work in partnership, asking them to tell you what they want from a strong partnership and then refine that into your service. How do we build relationships with clients? We talk to them, we find out what others do well and we replicate that, but of greater importance is finding out what others do that they don’t like, and then we just don’t do it. As much as you can learn from your mistakes, learning from others’ mistakes is a less costly exercise. If we follow these important steps then we will, with the right people doing the right job, provide a service that is better than anybody else. It might sound oversimplified, but it really is how it works; the more I understand what you want, the better I can deliver that service to you.
Developing future leaders
I don’t have a type when it comes to leaders, there isn’t one personality or one specific set of skills; it’s not because you’re a brilliant biller or because you’re exceptionally good at networking with clients, and there isn’t a script that you can read from that will turn you from someone who can’t lead into someone who can. Leadership is a privilege and it’s not something that everyone can do. But if you look after people and you teach them the values of the business, and you have a strong moral compass in terms of the right or wrong thing to do, then you’re starting out in a good position.
I don’t ever remember seeing someone walk through the door and thinking: here’s a leader of the future. Becoming a great leader is something that you only learn with time, because you have to make mistakes in order to correct and transform yourself. We often take on our staff with little or no experience and they grow within the business and naturally shine because of the type of people that they are, rather than being naturally gifted leaders from the outset. It returns to the idea of treating people as you would want to be treated, because as a leader you need to put others before yourself, not the other way around.
Our people determine our success
Of course there are some metrics at the core of all that we do and many different ways we define success within our business. We’ve achieved so many memorable milestones over our twenty-two years, and each one makes you look back with a great deal of satisfaction; our millionth timesheet was a particular moment where we all stopped and took stock of where we were at as a business. But the most important part for me is how time after time our consultants and management cohort have come together and delivered on its promise of great service over and over again. At times this has been done during periods of immense challenge, none more challenging than the pandemic.
When setting targets, it's important to understand that one type doesn’t fit all. The environment that we operate in is one-part team and one-part individual, so you have to both define a collective aim and understand what motivates each individual; if you only have a collective objective, you won’t always succeed. Everything we do, we tailor to the individual so that they can play their very important part within the team to achieve the goals of the team, business unit and company, which are all intrinsically linked.
We will deliver our plan for 2023 because of the fully invested people we have. We have the bedrock of the talent, the enthusiasm and the adventure of our newly joined group of consultants; some of whom will be in the position I am in today, because that is the cornerstone of what Venn Group is.