The Australian Institute of Business (AIB) is proud to announce their partnership with Hays Canada and welcome Vice President of Client Development Andy Robling on board as an Industry Guest Lecturer.
Hays is a global recruitment firm which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018. From a little office in London, it now operates in 33 countries across the globe including eight offices in Canada. It started as an accountancy recruitment firm and is still a major leader in accountancy recruitment as well as IT, construction and property. Hays’ recruiters only work in one particular practice area each, so every recruiter is a specialist in the industry they service.
Andy joined the company in 1991 when it was still an accountancy and finance recruiting business called Accountancy Personnel. As the workplace has changed, Hays has changed with it. Within the Canadian arm, one of the biggest areas of growth over the past 15 years has been temporary office administration and management roles, for which there was little demand before.
The company has also moved with the times in other ways, adopting LinkedIn as a recruitment method rather than trying to run it off as a competitor. Andy acknowledges that Hays saw the danger of the disruptive technology’s arrival, but also the benefits. “We just hit 2 million followers on LinkedIn, so we're the most followed recruitment company globally on LinkedIn,” he says. Hays has built LinkedIn into their own database so that updates on LinkedIn are imported into their knowledge base as well.
As Vice President of Client Development, Andy’s role focuses on three main areas. The first is stewardship of major accounts. As a board director, he has the responsibility of making sure that the company is delivering the right level of service and getting the expected return. Secondly is ensuring that everybody in a sales role is actually following the business’ prescribed methodology in Canada. And lastly, he is also involved in the development and leadership of sales for new products and services.
His long term tenure with the company might be unusual in today’s gig economy, but it isn’t unusual for Hays. “We have a lot of people who've been with the company for 25 or 30 years,” Andy explains.
He began as a junior accounting staff member in Cambridge, England. Within a couple of years, he was promoted into management, followed by a standalone business management role. Over the next 20 years, he moved from operational management - running regions within the business - to strategic sales roles. Having not been in any one role for more than four years, he says, has given him a huge variety of skills and allowed him to work with a diverse range of clients.
“It's very important for us to retain our best people,” says Andy. To that end, Hays maintains a culture-focused business with values built around developing their ambitious, passionate people. But retaining talent isn’t just about culture, it’s also imperative for achieving long term results. By having a low turnover, Hays is able to ensure that their clients deal with the same people over the course of years.
It also means that the company doesn’t bring in people at a senior level from outside, but promotes from within. They expose a performance culture where staff get the chance to learn new things and are encouraged to further their career with Hays. There’s always a challenge, though: Andy specifies that nobody gets promoted unless they can demonstrate their ability to perform.
As for how people can get ahead in their own career, Andy puts education at the top of the list. The most successful people he’s worked with are those who have carried on learning throughout their working lives. “It’s not just about amassing knowledge,” he explains, “it’s about developing different ways of thinking.” Of course, in business, how much you know is less important than how you use it.
While formal education isn’t the only path to critical thinking, Andy does acknowledge that it gives you a competitive edge in the job market. “We do find clients asking for MBAs because it says something about the person that will make them stand out from the competition,” he shares.
With 27 years of highly diverse experience in a global company, Andy is certainly well placed to guest lecture on leadership and strategic management. Welcome aboard, Andy!