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50 years of Hays: “The ultimate people business”

Posted By Rowan O’Grady on Friday, Feb 9, 2018

50 years of Hays recruiting experts | Hays Canada BlogThis year, Hays turns 50. Any milestone birthday is time for reflection, and 50 is one of the big ones, for a company as much as for a person. I’ve worked at Hays for 22 years, almost half its life – and about half of mine.

Working at a company is not unlike being in a relationship and many of the reasons I, and so many others, have been able to build such long careers with Hays are similar to the advice you hear about building and maintaining a relationship. Communication, growth, adaptability – these are core to what has made Hays successful over five decades and what has enabled me to continue to grow with the company.

What makes Hays different?

From day one, Hays was established to be different from the standard recruitment model of the 1960s. Founder Dennis Waxman envisioned and created the Hays specialist divisions, which are still relevant and used today. It’s not a one size fits all approach and I see this applied every day as our teams use their industry expertise to put the right person in the right job.

The second big difference is a focus on helping candidates find the right role, even if they’re not a fit for current vacancies. When Dennis was looking for a job in the 1960s he was often rejected based on the openings the recruiter had. This made him wonder what their clients might say if they met him, and he saw a missed opportunity to help companies proactively grow their team by connecting them with great candidates. Today that means that a strong candidate can connect with their recruiter and target the types of companies and roles that interest them and align with their career plans.

Embrace change to evolve with the times

Getting the foundation right is critical for long term success, but you can’t keep doing the same things and expect to excel. The ability to recognize and address problems early is critical.

Throughout my career with Hays, whenever I was struggling, whether I had reached an impasse or was in a low moment, someone has always noticed. My manager or a peer would help me address the problem and move forward. Some days that meant coaching me through a tough call, other times it’s lead to major moves such as the one that brought me to Canada.

I think that, like in a personal relationship, if you can identify the problem, resolve it, and move forward, you end up with a better relationship than if you never had a problem in the first place. I’ve taken that idea and tried to apply it to people who work for me. How can I fix this problem and move forward? It develops two-way trust so people will come to you with their problems before it becomes overwhelming, and it’s essential to our success in retaining great people. And as they progress into management, they pass that on to the next generation.

Just as Hays supports individual change and growth, it has always embraced organizational change as well. The biggest evolution is the use of technology. In my time at Hays I have seen a consistent belief that technology is a key part of continued success. From our searchable database, to partnerships with Google and LinkedIn, Hays embraces new technology. And just around the corner we’re seeing new opportunities for candidate matching technology. There is a top down understanding that technology, and the changes in approach that go with new tools, are essential to keeping up and staying ahead.

The ultimate people business

Today we have more than 10,000 people in 250 offices worldwide, including eight offices and 200 people in Canada. We help thousands of people find jobs every year, making sure hundreds of companies have the workforce they need to meet their goals.

We often say Hays is the ultimate people business. It seems obvious – we place people in the right job. But that is a challenge at times. It’s about a lot more than just ticking the boxes of finding someone with the skills and experience needed, because if there’s one thing people get passionate about it’s the people they work with. Every Hays recruiter knows the feeling of placing the exact right person in a job, knowing you’ve changed that person’s life, and improved a team or company in the process. There’s nothing like it.

What’s next?

The next few years hold many changes for recruitment, especially as artificial intelligence and machine learning open new opportunities for identifying talent. The ability to find and engage candidates proactively, instead of waiting for people to apply to job openings, is the new frontier of recruitment and Hays is at the forefront of this change.

Thank you to all our clients, candidates, recruitment consultants, and team members in Canada. You are all part of what makes Hays a great company to work with and for. Where will Hays be in another 50 years? I don’t know, but I am confident we’ll still be a leading voice in recruitment, helping find the right person for the right job, and continuing to push the industry forward through new technology and systems.


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