People, Purpose, and an Evolved Form of Progress


Charles Cameron: Hi everybody. My name is Charles Cameron. I'm the Chief Executive of RCSA Australia and New Zealand. And I'm also for my sins, the vice president of the world employment Confederation. So it's an absolute delight to be joined today with Nina Mapson Bone and Jon Ives who are leaders within the RCSA Australia and New Zealand community a bit more about that in just a moment, but thank you to the World Staffing Summit for inviting us to really engage in some very important conversation as we examine who we are, what we do, and really what is the new and evolved form of purpose and how do we make the world of work better through recruitment and staffing?

Charles Cameron: Not only in Australia, New Zealand, but possibly globally as week. It is, I guess, examining how others are operating differently in other parts of the world. But the great news is that we have Jon representing New Zealand today and Nina representing Australia and New Zealand to that extent, but we'll certainly have an Australian focus and really not only do we have two people who are very insightful into the industry, but we have individuals who really are experiencing a very different regulatory environment when it comes to how we're responding to COVID-19.

Charles Cameron: And we also have individuals that operate in slightly different markets, but the one thing we know is that they're all very professional. Passionate about the way in which the staffing industry not only operates, but how we can lead. And we had RCSA have the mantra of leading in the world of work.

Charles Cameron: And we don't take that responsibility lightly. So over the next 60 minutes or so I'm looking forward to an engaged conversation as we explore, I guess, an evolution of relationships and evolution of purpose and both Jon and Nina's firms have done quite a bit of work into a, I guess, what does it mean?

Charles Cameron: For us to be attending work and actually having a great work life relationship. So I'm going to kick off by saying welcome to you. Nina Mapson Bone. Thank you for joining us, managing director of Beaumont People and joining us from sunny or maybe not so sunny, Byron bay. Maybe some people around the world would know as to being almost like the Hollywood of Australia on the far east coast, but welcome.

Nina Mapson Bone: Thank you very much, Charles. And you are at the wrong time actually just down the road from the Hemsworth's who are locals to where I am right now, but have yet to spot them. So I'm keeping my eyes peeled. Yeah, lovely to be here. Thank you for making us really excited. So, as Charles said, I'm the president of the RCSA of Australia, New Zealand, but Jon should definitely take the New Zealand mantle because his expertise far outstrips mine on the New Zealand side of things. And my day job, I am managing director of Beaumont People. And I just love the world of work. I love everything about the world of work. And what I think is really interesting is how over time, the kind of traditional sources of our identity and our community things like some of the community aspects, maybe religion, some of the things that we.

Nina Mapson Bone: Source identity has been a little bit on the decline and I 've seen through the research we do, and I believe that work has really lifted how we kind of feel from an identity and purpose sense as an individual and work has more meaning now, I believe, than ever before. So I am very passionate. About this and very interested in the discussion around particularly the last two years, how COVID is impacted, how we feel about work and very excited to be here today.

Nina Mapson Bone: Thank you, Charles. 

Charles Cameron: Thank you, Nina. And here this morning, you were feeding livestock, so maybe it's not also a glamorous lifestyle at Byron bay, but we might hear a little bit more about that. A little bit of light. Maybe it needs a side to have. Yeah, life is very different. And I think we're all better for it, but I'm here in Australia and New Zealand, where of course, so mid summer and enjoying I guess a reprieve from the focus on COVID and Jon joins us from Auckland, New Zealand.

Charles Cameron: Thank you for joining us, Jon. Maybe if you could, beyond the welcome, give us a little bit of an insight into yourself, your role with RCSA and also with One Staff. Thank you. 

Jon Ives: Sure. Thanks, Charles. So, Jon Ives is the New Zealand chairperson for the New Zealand council of the RCSA. I've been on the council now for about, I think, a year and a half in title.

Jon Ives: And then just recently stepped into the chairperson role, which has been very exciting and I guess an exciting time to come in with all the changes that have been happening in the world of work and as the effect of New Zealand. My day job, I'm the CEO for One Staff Group. We're a large industrial New Zealand industrial recruiter.

Jon Ives: So 16 branches across 12 regions which has been keeping us very busy over the last period with all the different challenges that have been there much like Nina of As well as working through those challenges that have been there I've quite enjoyed seeing the changes that have happened in the working environment in New Zealand.

Jon Ives: And I guess the agility at which New Zealand businesses are adapted and changed to, to deal with those challenges. And that's coming from a lot of different forms you know, from. Technological solutions through to just general motivations for work. And I think that's probably a key point that we'll be talking a lot about today is really how the shift has affected the way that we recruit in the market and what we can expect to see as we go forward over the coming months and potentially years as a result of these two years of change.

Charles Cameron: Great. Thanks for that. Jon, look forward to looking into it just quickly, give us a bit of an insight into the regulatory environment around COVID just for those who aren't across New Zealand. Cause you've had a pretty special ride, I think in New Zealand, what's the current status, just to give a bit of context there. 

Jon Ives: That, so, for the last for the last two years, or since April 2020 new Zealand's been searing and eliminated.

Jon Ives: Strategy across the two different variants that have come COVID a and Delta which have been largely successful. There's been a lot of messaging that's gone out across, and I think generally the entire country has sort of pulled together in order to do what they need to do to suppress what outbreaks that we've had.

Jon Ives: And as a result, we've probably had a lot more. I guess sort of freedoms from the effects of COVID in the community that perhaps a lot of other countries have had which has been a, I guess it's been a wonderful thing to be a part of. But you're also very aware through the media of how other countries are finding things and the challenges that they've had to put up with.

Jon Ives: And I guess we have now reached a little bit of a tipping point with the Omicron variant. Has just sort of become a community transmitted within New Zealand. And it's really only in the last week that we've sort of had announcements that elimination strategy is about to change to more of a suppression and potentially living with, COVID as opposed to just COVID restrictions within our border.

Jon Ives: So. Well, there's been a lot of I guess uncertainty. It's kind of been offset by a lot of security around what's been happening in the borders. But there is a lot of, I guess, trepidation on one part and I guess uncertainty around what this will look like for us with COVID transmission in the community and across the country.

Charles Cameron: Yeah, good one. Thanks for that. Nina, what's the market like in Australia at the moment? It's and again, remembering that over in the west, in Western Australia, they're probably very similar to New Zealand. It's sort of locked down and have that very much. Elimination strategy moving maybe to suppression where you are in new south Wales.

Charles Cameron: It's sort of, certainly moving to let's live with it rather than against it. But just more generally to see what the market is actually like across the Eastern seaboard of Australia. 

Nina Mapson Bone: The short truth is it's the most blunt. Ever seen it in my nearly 25 years working in the staffing sector, we are experiencing talent shortages across almost every sector.

Nina Mapson Bone: I think the area I personally specialize in is around the white collar and professional side of things. Absolutely every one of those real talent shortages. But I'm hearing from, you know, from our members, from our people that work in more industrial areas or some of the more you know, medical areas, real shortages, as you can imagine, I know through us that we search workforce partners.

Nina Mapson Bone: Connections, we haven't to care. Obviously that's a real challenge as well. And what's interesting with this shortage and I was lucky enough to have been in the same market in the in 2008, when we had the doubt, you know, the, just the peak before the downturn, then the GFC, which was the last time I saw a market, theoretically on paper was actually a bit shorter than.

Nina Mapson Bone: I feel like this is a much more talented short market than then, because I think people are more reluctant to move. We haven't seen this great resignation yet. The people have been talking about it. But it's interesting to see. We don't have people coming into Australia in great numbers.

Nina Mapson Bone: Opening up the borders, but people are nervous to come. We have answering backpackers. There's just not the movement of people that we have had previously. So everybody is crying out for something soft, which makes it a great time to be a job seeker. If you are looking to change, cause you really can choose and pick what works.

Charles Cameron: Yeah, but it certainly changes that dynamic quite considerably. It doesn't, it just, it really puts an emphasis upon a different type of relationship. I mean, it's one thing to be really busy and the phone's ringing off the hook for clients looking for solutions. But when you actually don't have the candidates, what does that mean from a business model point of view?

Charles Cameron: How are you having to adapt your business model to. It really is quite rig quite unique, and I'm not sure that anyone had a playbook ready for this. 

Nina Mapson Bone: Well, it's interesting because obviously we've not experienced anything like this through a pandemic before, but we have experienced talent shortages before.

Nina Mapson Bone: And I think what we see the mistakes that people make in our industry is when they don't treat the candidate with respect, when candidate. Short, you know, if you're not looking after that candidate relationship during the the times when it's, when there's plenty of candidates, they're going to remember that when there's a shortage and it's the people you talked about, relationships, trials, it's the people that treat candidates, the job seekers, they treat them with respect.

Nina Mapson Bone: They help them, whether they're going to be, they give them advice, whether they're going to be the person that helps them or not. One thing we talk a lot about is. The people that come to you, looking for work, even if you can't be the person to find them work, give them advice, point them somewhere else.

Nina Mapson Bone: If you can't help them treat them with respect because they're still people, they come back to you, those relationships last a lifetime, and they last through global pandemics and economic booms and economic pass. And so treating candidates as the lifeblood of your business as a recruitment firm, your members do that well, and we see some members do that brilliantly.

Nina Mapson Bone: They're the ones that have really seen the benefit of that relationship building through this. I don't know if it's the same in New Zealand. 

Jon Ives: Yeah, absolutely. I think we've always had a bit of a focus on the, I guess, the golden triangle of communication between sort of candidates clients and the agency in it really needs to be a, I guess, an equilateral triangle with as, just as much communication going through each channel with you.

Jon Ives: If you click one, that's at your peer role as the market changes. So I guess in a lot of respects, they, a lot of good players over here that have done quite well. Three of us have really been working for that sort of man. To ensure that they're looking after everyone. Exactly the same. I think perhaps what opportunity there has been created off the back of us as for more I'll use the word intimate relationships with your candidates and with your clients.

Jon Ives: We find that there's a lot more connection now, a lot more trust. And that probably comes as part of having a, everyone, having something in common in relation to. The effects of COVID on their life, whether it's their business or their life or their work, everyone now has something in common.

Jon Ives: So it's created a bit of a space for people to be, have, be able to have more in-depth conversations and to really make clear what their expectations are. If they're seeking someone to come and work at their workplace, or when they're looking for an opportunity that needs to fit their particular lifestyle.

Jon Ives: And that's been a, that's been a great thing to see, and it's actually really, I guess, sort of built the relationships that we have. And I think that's probably going to be quite critical to continue to maintain that as much as you can, because that's. It's something that you don't, you can't just ask to have something in common with people.

Jon Ives: You actually have to have it in order to be able to create that type of relationship. So I think if we can maintain that and keep that as a focus of how we operate it's gonna really be beneficial for all stakeholders within that. 

Charles Cameron: Digging a bit for me, Jon, the evolution of the client relationship.

Charles Cameron: I mean, it has been said across the Australia and New Zealand market from time to time, there probably hasn't been the respect that maybe the recruitment and staffing firms do deserve and I certainly have seen a change here in Australia. Have you seen a similar change, a greater degree of respect, a greater willingness to partner between staffing firms and importantly their clients?

Jon Ives: Yeah, absolutely. I think again with everyone being in the same boat, we'll be at different challenges depending on what your business model is in some way, we're all involved in the supply chain. I think people actually have a greater appreciation. Of the challenges that we face, you know, with our construction client, it might be around materials, but obviously for us, it's in terms of candidate availability or skill finding the right skills or talent seats. I think, you know, Circa 2019 recruitment was a little bit like a magic trick.

Jon Ives: No one really wants to know how the trick was done. They just want to see the rabbit come out of the hat and the perfect person being placed at the business. But it's a bit different now where the curtain sort of pulled back and there's a lot more transparency around the process and the rates and the way that you're going to try and find talent.

Jon Ives: And there's also been a lot more. Innovation required from recruitment companies and finding the right candidates because for particular skill sets they're just not available. And with border closures, they can't be bought in from elsewhere. So you really have to look outside the box around how you're going to find the right kind of skillset or the right skills that can be transferred into that role to re you know, to achieve the result that the client wants to achieve.

Jon Ives: Yeah, 

Charles Cameron: Given that we actually have an acute, I guess, skill shortage candidate shortage, are we seeing the evolution of solutions and the way in which you're working with clients as well to maybe even share candidate time? Because again, they're just simply in the Australia New Zealand market, there's no immediate source of alternative candidates coming into the country.

Charles Cameron: So are you finding it? Greater collaboration between yourselves and your clients around how to solve this.

Nina Mapson Bone: Yeah, absolutely. And what's interesting, you know, to Jon's point about that relationship, those clients that took the time to have a good relationship with you as a staffing firm from the outset are actually reaping the benefits now, because you know, it's a bit, like I was saying earlier with candidates, you actually just need to treat people respectfully all the way through, regardless, because that's when you then reap the rewards of those relationships.

Nina Mapson Bone: So we know. I mean in the professional or white collar space in Eastern seaboard at Sydney right now, if you wanted to have the option to work from home, and there was a firm that didn't have that as an option, you would really struggle to find. Candidate, because there are, you know, most people now have an expectation that at least some of their weak should be able to work remotely.

Nina Mapson Bone: That's a real challenge for some clients, because some clients can't physically have people work from home. You know, if it's an aged care setting or, you know, there are certain reasons when you can't have somebody work from home, but what we're seeing from. Perspective is then when we can work with them to say, okay, well, what are the other ways in which you provide meaningful work?

Nina Mapson Bone: What are the other things you can offer? And how can we tweak your recruitment process to really highlight those things and attract the kinds of people that are going to be attracted by those things over the remote working and making sure that's coming through right from the beginning of the process, in terms of your EVP on your website, in terms of your adverts, in terms of how you're branding yourself in terms of what people are saying about you in the market before you're even necessarily.

Nina Mapson Bone: Looking for talent so that people are excited about working for you because if we have clients and there are some that still think, well, I can just, you know, call up a recruitment firm and say, just send me someone. If you've got someone I'm not going to pay you a reasonable amount of fee. And I just want to see what you've got in your books.

Nina Mapson Bone: They're going to struggle to have a quality recruitment firm work with them on that basis at the moment. And and probably going to struggle to find talent as a result, the talent shortage is a struggle for everyone, regardless of how you're working. If you're then not working in partnership and you're not willing to tweak and change what you do, it's going to become a reality.

Nina Mapson Bone: Yeah, 

Charles Cameron: It's a great example of the upside consequence we're seeing many within the COVID world, isn't it? The change in the relationship and probably them being prepared for that, clients being prepared to actually look to understand. Yeah. What is magic? There, you what leads to the rabbit arriving at.

Nina Mapson Bone: Can I give you an example on the flip side of that which actually is a lovely story, because we have a client I haven't asked her permission to share. So I won't say who it is, but we have a client we work with who have had quite challenging cultural issues and have found it quite difficult to source people in this market in particular.

Nina Mapson Bone: And they. An organization that cannot have people work from home. So, you would think that would make it very difficult, but because they're willing to work with us to talk about what their issues are, what can we do to change those issues? What can we put in place to try and improve their culture?

Nina Mapson Bone: We can help them search for people that want to be part of that. You know, there are candidates out there that love a turnaround story. They get really excited about it. I was part of the change. I was part of turning it from this to this. So then you can talk genuinely to candidates about things like, if you're working with someone that's willing to.

Nina Mapson Bone: Look at what's not working and be willing to fix it and try and improve it. And that's a really exciting thing to be part of and an opportunity for a lot of clients to really work on in this 

Charles Cameron: market. Agree with. You must have plenty of examples of that as 

Jon Ives: well. Yeah. Yeah. I think the days of transactional recruitment along gone, you know, something that we've talked about a lot over the last couple of years is really there.

Jon Ives: I guess that the recruitment consultant. So good. in 2019, a lot of times the consultant part was actually lift off and people were just recruiting and it was very transactional in nature in terms of how many people do you need. And right here they are, because there was a really resource, but in any kind of environment where, you know, demand and supplier around balanced, it's a case that you do need to consult.

Jon Ives: You do need to understand. And more than just the basics around the particular role, you need to understand the cultural benefits of working in a role, because it's not even a case of just presenting a job to someone and having them pick it up and walk into it that you really have to sell a job and to sell a job.

Jon Ives: You need to understand all the features and benefits of that role. Has they match up to the individual motivations of the candidate? Because there are so many other roles available if you don't get that. Right. You know, particularly with us we work in a very contingent style. Kind of a model within the industrial sector, if you don't get it right, they will leave.

Jon Ives: And they'll even in short order to find something else for 50 cents more an hour or a job that's slightly closer to home. So you really do need to understand everything that the client's looking for, but just as much what the candidate's looking for. And some of those. It's not just about money.

Jon Ives: It is around sort of what is actually motivating from motivating them for work. And that's changed a lot over the last two years as well. So 

Charles Cameron: With that evolve, you almost have a purpose, isn't it? I mean, on the client side though, is it new. The gray vulnerability. My vulnerability is a very attractive thing and probably has become more and more attractive, I guess, in interpersonal relationships, but into corporate relationships, are you seeing a greater vulnerability there, which actually leads to a better partnership.

Jon Ives: Yeah, so I believe so. I think that vulnerability comes as a result of having trust. Which I, which is a great thing, you know, people are prepared to share what their difficulties are, what their concerns are, what their fears are. If things don't work out or they don't get the solution that they're after, which means that you can actually really drill into a proper needs analysis of what the right solution is going to be.

Jon Ives: And that's absolutely critical. A lot of times when the solution isn't the obvious one, you know, if someone asks for a particular skill set and it's just not about. You can't get it, you know, you could pay twice as much and you couldn't find it because it doesn't exist. You need to find a way to create a solution around what are the particular skills, what are we actually trying to achieve?

Jon Ives: I mean, it all comes back to, you know, as recruiters, we all learn that you need to do a thorough needs analysis at the beginning. It comes, it sort of comes around to, I guess, sort of understanding that the obvious solution isn't necessarily the best solution. And you need to know all the different variables that are involved in order to be able to define the right person that can match with those.

Jon Ives: And it probably won't come in a neat tidy package that looks the way the client had expected it to come. So preparing them and being able to be vulnerable as recruiters within to have that difficult conversation and say, you know, I, you know, you've asked for Batman and I can't find you Batman, but I can find you Robin, who's got a lot of extra experience in his potential to step up.

Jon Ives: You know, that's something that sort of tends to go down quite well because it helps build the relationship and they understand that you understand exactly what they're looking for. 

Charles Cameron: It's exciting. Isn't it to say that evolution.

Nina Mapson Bone: It is, but I was going to say what's interesting is we, so the idea of vulnerability is that we also need to be vulnerable.

Nina Mapson Bone: We need to be honest about what we can and can't deliver. And I think the risk of the relationship there is if we are still sort of saying to clients, yeah, absolutely. We can do. Within the timeframe you expect when we can't. I mean, that's a problem in our industry if people are doing that regardless, but in this market, we need to be honest about how long it's going to take or what the challenges are that we're going to face and have those honest conversations from the very get-go with clients.

Nina Mapson Bone: And the point about vulnerability that I find really interesting is that in my experience, a lot of the smaller and medium sized businesses have been open to being that vulnerable all the way through and build partnerships, kind of base relationships based on trust and partnership from the outset, because they want to learn and develop as they go.

Nina Mapson Bone: They may not have an HR department or a legal department. They may not know what they can or can't do from an employee relations perspective or how they should build the best culture. And so. They're actually willing to kind of partner with you. And it's actually some of the, I mean, I'm talking in generalizations now, obviously, but it's some of the bigger firms where, you know, they have a lot of that stuff in house and they're not necessarily that kind of can be quite procurement led or quite metric led.

Nina Mapson Bone: And it's a bit harder. It's been a bit harder traditionally for some of those organizations to build the kind of relationships that I believe you need to. In this market, I think it's gonna be very difficult to keep the relationships transactional and get the outcomes you're looking for. You might get the short term outcomes.

Nina Mapson Bone: You might fill a seat, but whether it actually adds value in terms of being what you need to build your businesses is very different. 

Charles Cameron: Yeah, I'd say that with government, a lot in the Australian, and to some extent, maybe a lesser extent in the New Zealand market, but government is still very much procurement led.

Charles Cameron: And I, it worries me that they're actually going to suffer as a result of that, especially in a candidate short market as well. And I think it also goes to a particular campaign. A couple of campaigns, one of our campaigns is responsible procurement. We're trying to work with the procurement community to get them to better understand what.

Charles Cameron: Behind a good proper relationship, but the other one is a campaign that you're going to be leading, which I'd love you to explain a little bit further, which is you retain your recruiter a campaign. What sits behind that and drives that? 

Nina Mapson Bone: Yeah, I'm very passionate about retained recruitment.

Nina Mapson Bone: So as I'm sure everybody watching and listening knows a lot of our industry works where we just get paid. If we find the right candidate at the end of the job, we must be the only professional services industry that does work for nothing significant portion of the time and it's just paid on outcome.

Nina Mapson Bone: Can you imagine if I got to go to my accountants every year and say, I'd like you to prepare our business tax returns for us, but I will only pay you if I'm happy with how you've done it at the end of it or lawyers for that matter, any of those areas. So. The whole idea of this is to really get people thinking about the fact that we don't have to work that way.

Nina Mapson Bone: And a lot of our members already are in them. Working, collaborating with a number of our members have really made the shift. It's something we've done that I don't want people, but I know in our retainer playbook, which we have released just before Christmas and is available, we really talk about a lot of examples of different member firms.

Nina Mapson Bone: Retained work and returning to such that you pay a third up front, a third one, you present the short list and a third at the end, it can be any variation of that. That's typical of work. And it just means that as a recruitment fund, we can actually put the time and the effort into finding.

Nina Mapson Bone: The right, doing the right needs. That analysis is you were saying, Jon, really taking the time to understand what's required and really taking the time to find the right candidate. It stops it being a race and the race is not a good outcome for the client or the candidate or for the recruiter is actually delivers bad value.

Nina Mapson Bone: So it's a crazy way that we fall into the habit of working that way. 

Jon Ives: Yes, I think it's that strength of being able to recruit proactively as opposed to reactively and in this top of market you need to keep your eyes open for, you know, that perfect person that comes through and you just know, well, I know they connect that well with that company.

Jon Ives: And I know that they're potentially looking, having an understanding. What's coming up within that company so that you know, you can proactively recruit and put people in front of them before they even have the need. And that's a real value to the client and has real value to the candidate.

Jon Ives: And it's real value to you as an agency to be able to have that in place. But it can't be done again in a transactional type relationship where you're waiting for the order to come. And as Nina said, you can't guarantee when you're going to be able to find that. So, you know, the lag time from the point that they put the order in could be just unworkable for the business.

Jon Ives: So we, you have that kind of retained relationship. And you're constantly recruiting for their client. Not only do you have a better understanding, but you can work much more proactively for them and get them much better results. 

Charles Cameron: What does it mean, Jon, for the evolution of our own consultants? So if we move away from the transactional there's a greater trust, there's a greater vulnerability.

Charles Cameron: They're looking for solutions they're prepared to engage in a long-term partnership. This has got to be a completely different recruitment and staffing consultant. Doesn't it? 

Jon Ives: I think so. I mean, again, it depends a little bit on the consultant for those people that have been used to working in a transactional environment where it has been very reactive.

Jon Ives: It is a big change. It's a massive shift to, to try and build those types of relationships that you need to have. But for those that are, that have been working in a consultative fashion, With their clients. I think it's something that comes quite naturally. And it's actually a lot easier over the longer term, know, we often use a bit of an analogy within the business where, you know, the market can be a bit like I guess an ocean with peaks and troughs and the waves.

Jon Ives: And when you're recruiting in a transactional fashion, you're a bit like a cork on the ocean. You ride the high highs and you ride the low lows. 'cause you can't do too much about it, but really when you work in a consultative way, you're a bit more like an ocean liner just plowing through it at a steady course in the middle.

Jon Ives: It's much more stable. It's much better on your own mental health, unless you thrive in that kind of all or nothing, you know, stress environment, and some people do. But I think it's much easier for people in general to find a better work-life balance. Kind of a planned approach to how they do their work and where their peaks and their workloads sort of come into play as well.

Jon Ives: So I think it's more beneficial for consultants in general. And I think for those people that have been used to a transactional environment they really do need to make the shift and adjust. Otherwise, when you hit something like COVID, and there is massive talent shortages across every single sector you're going to find it very difficult and this sustained protracted, you know, we're talking close to two years now.

Jon Ives: Which has got to be quite painful for people, particularly if you're new to the industry. And most of your experience within it has been at this straw off. It must make you sort of second guess, you know, is this the right industry for me to be. 

Nina Mapson Bone: Can I just stop that Jon? Cause I actually think, I think you're right, but I think there's a kind of box on top of that, in that I think that yes, that's a big shift, transactional people, but I think our consultative recruiters, our consultants have been quite consultative.

Nina Mapson Bone: I still think there's a shift we need to see from them in that I think I see really senior people in our industry. Just falling into the habit of assuming that because a client says something it's not. Negotiable. It's not something that can be questioned. It's not something they kind of just to have, even though they can be consultative, they won't necessarily think to say, you know, is there a reason you want to do it that way?

Nina Mapson Bone: And what I think about contingent or retained work, that's a big one. So if the client says, no, I want to go retain the voice. Don't go and be retained. I see really experienced people go, okay. Because they just don't feel comfortable to say really just out of interest. Why do you think it serves you better?

Nina Mapson Bone: To go work continuously because actually you'll be better off if you work, pretend that we just can, we just have a conversation about that and explore that I'm not going to force anything on you, but let's talk that through. Or you could even in this market just say, Nope, won't work. If it's not retained.

Nina Mapson Bone: I mean, that's the kind of market rent, but more consultative ways to have that conversation. So I think there's actually still a shift we need to help our consultants just take that extra level of confidence and that extra level just to have genuinely. Interactive conversations. And then the other thing that I think is really important to this point is, are our kind of up and comers regardless of whether they're transactional or not.

Nina Mapson Bone: I know that most of our companies in our industry, most member firms of the RCSI have had to build some kind of talent pool to develop your own consultants because of the sheer shortage. We are also suffering from recruitment consultants. We've had to build our own talent. So we've got lots of people coming into our industry with no no recruitment experience and often, no work experience.

Nina Mapson Bone: So no significant work experience and just the age dynamic, the power dynamics, some of that, no matter how well you're training them to be consultative, it can be quite a big shift to have that conversation. That's a little bit kind of, can we just explore that a bit further? So I think there's, I think, yes, I agree that the consultative people will do better, but I still think we can help them do even better.

Nina Mapson Bone: I still think there's extra steps we can take in that regard. 

Jon Ives: Yeah, I agree. I agree. Yeah. Having those difficult conversations or being able, or feeling empowered to have a difficult conversation or what seemed a difficult conversation upfront is really key to good consultant service. I think having the confidence that you are.

Charles Cameron: Yeah, and it is something that the gamepad there isn't, it really is giving that confidence. You know, one of the things I commented on upon taking on this role was I really wanted to help the industry overcome this almost underlying problem. Lack of confidence because there is so much knowledge out there, whether it's you know, again, the way in which people want to work today.

Charles Cameron: And we're about to discuss that a little bit further, but you know, just even the nuances, there, there is so much information isn't there, Jon, that you can draw from the market that we can, and I won't say sell, but we can offer and we can provide to clients to add further value sometimes though it's a matter assisting those consultants to package that, to communicate that. And very importantly, to commercialize that as well, because many aren't used to commercializing a lot of that information as well. So to that extent, I'm interested in your thoughts around how candidates are changing. How work habits are starting to not so much disrupt, but how our work habits are changing in New Zealand.

Charles Cameron: And what does that actually mean for the way in which you and your one staff consultants are actually working with candidates and then communicating information through to clients as well? 

Jon Ives: I think. I think we've had quite a marked shift in that space. I mean, we've always taken an interest in the individual and around the motivations.

Jon Ives: But I think as we were talking about before that level of trust is now perhaps built out more on the candidate side of things as well. So. I think it's a lot freer to have a conversation around what actual motivations and expectations are and the reason for change. You know, I think perhaps in days gone by people sort of assumed it was really just that the pay increased.

Jon Ives: You know, that is looking for or something quite obvious as a reason for sort of changing jobs, but it's not about that at all. You know, we run a survey every year and we have done for the last four years looking at motivations around change and what keeps people enrolled. I think off the back of that over the last two years, we've seen a marked shift from.

Jon Ives: Something generic, like work-life balance or a pay rate through, to quite specific sort of motivators for being at a workplace or wanting to be at a workplace. And that in turn has enabled us to have sort of conversations with the client around things like their workplace culture, which used to be a topic that was kind of off the table.

Jon Ives: You know, it is what it is. And you find someone just sort of fit with it. But now with the shortages that are there, it's one of those massive variables that makes such a huge difference to whether you're going to be successful in finding someone or not that's on the table. Now, in fact, it's almost upfront as is the first conversation, because it's certainly upfront on the candidates' side of things, around what they're looking for and the types of roles that they go into.

Jon Ives: You know, it could be something around the particular lifestyle of the individual or maybe it's the way that they've had to work over the last two years with the intermediate lockdowns or working from home. And that's now become. More than just something that I've had to do. It's now an expectation that they want to be able to maintain that.

Jon Ives: So, as Nina mentioned earlier, that's something that needs to be put up front to the client. You're going to have to supply this in order to find someone in this particular space and whether the client's been doing it or not, they have to adapt and change, and they've got to be prepared to receive that information too.

Jon Ives: So I think it's They're more open and honest that we're getting from the candidate. Candidate about what's actually driving them has made a massive difference to the types of conversations that we're having with the client, from the client's side of things, to ensure that they actually get what they want.

Jon Ives: And it's a candidate market, you know, no two ways about it. This is when talents are short and people have this many options. You are working to what the candidate wants and they can ask for almost anything and they'll have their own reasons for doing it. It's really up to you as a recruiter to discover what those are, and then find a place to make those.

Charles Cameron: Yeah, it's really an extension of how we've become more accommodating of more holistic needs of individuals right throughout the pandemic as well. And I know Nina that Beaumont people have done a lot of work in the space of determining, you know, what is meaning what is meaningful work. And I'd love to get your insights into this.

Charles Cameron: You couldn't have picked it better to focus on a topic of what is meaningful over the last couple of years. Could you?

Nina Mapson Bone: Yeah, you're right, Charles, we've always talked about our purpose being, connecting individuals to meaningful work and creating more opportunities for meaningful work in Australia and potentially beyond.

Nina Mapson Bone: But we realized that we hadn't actually got a definition of meaningful work. So we looked for one and we realized that nobody had come up with a definition of meaningful work. So, we undertook some research and we were really excited to discover. It was actually first, first research ever into meaningful work for Australians and actually a world first in terms of being researched that combines what the individual and the societal, because our choices in work are actually influenced by society as well.

Nina Mapson Bone: And nothing of nothing out there, there was more than ever now. Right. So really interesting. We did that. Ironically, we released the report in December, 2019 and then COVID was really interesting to see, but what came out of it was that knowing this first step, I'm not surprised. 98% of people believe that having meaningful work is important.

Nina Mapson Bone: That would be understandable. But even in 2019 pre COVID 71% of people felt that having meaningful work was more important then than it was five years previously. And we're about to rerun the data. And I imagine that number will go up again. And what's interesting is that. What meaning is in work is different for every individual.

Nina Mapson Bone: There is no one size fits all to the point that Jon was just talking about, you know, you really do need to discover and understand it. So it doesn't matter if, as an organization, you can't do everything. It matches. It matters that you're talking to the people that are looking for meaning in the way that.

Nina Mapson Bone: Provide it, but cause I know everyone will ask, I'll give you the top three, the most popular factors. They're not the only, but the most popular and pay was at the bottom. So pay was at the bottom. The first one pay was at the bottom. The most popular factor of meaningful work is having the trust of your manager.

Nina Mapson Bone: So having a leader that trusts you to get on and do your job was actually the most important factor. The second most popular was culture, which was less of a surprise. And the third, most popular, also not a surprise is work. That makes a difference, your purpose, contributing to broader society. So it's interesting how low down pay was.

Jon Ives: I was just gonna say, we found the same across the industrial sector as well. It was across the board and no matter how you split it, whether it was male, female, or others. Regardless of age group, regardless of industry or sector, having a great team to work with them was number one. The second one was having a manager that you could trust and that could lead you well.

Jon Ives: And I think food was where pay started to sort of enter the equation. But, you know, it's more around the culture and people's feelings. I guess secure and the workplace that they're in made the biggest difference for people feeling like they were at a place that was going to meet the purpose for them.

Charles Cameron: It's interesting to me, when I think of the term meaningful, I immediately go to the purpose. What is the outcome of the work that I do rather than my experience? Is there a difference or throwback to your name? Cause you've done a lot of work in this space then do you, Jon, is there a difference between enjoying it and meaning. 

Nina Mapson Bone: Yeah, absolutely. So, when we look at what is meaningful work is actually four components and where you sit individually on these components, they're broken down into about 12 subsets, but there is the individual, which is your kind of skills, your motivations, your personality traits, that's an important that subset one, the next is the job itself.

Nina Mapson Bone: How has, how complex is the work? How much has the job been designed for meaning the third is the organization. So some of the things we're just talking about are culture leadership, Policies, you know, safety. Some of those areas would sit within the organization. And then the last one that touched on another is to society.

Nina Mapson Bone: So is, you know, do your family, judge what you do your friends. Don't do what you do. Does that impact. I was reading an article in the news the other day, a beautiful article about a lady that had given up. I think it was a career in education to become a waitress and was never happier. But the thing that had stopped her years before was that she felt she would have been judged for being a waitress when actually she's much happier as a waitress.

Nina Mapson Bone: So that's a society. Does play a very big impact on how we individually perceive meaning in our work. So there is no one, it's not one thing, people often think of enjoyment or engagement or culture. That's what makes work meaningful. It's actually different for everybody. 

Charles Cameron: Yeah. Anything Jon?

Jon Ives: Yeah. Yeah. I agree.

Jon Ives: Completely. I think enjoyment and engagement is more an outcome of someone heading meaning in their. And feeling like that's being met and there's a need to see that. It can be almost anything. Every individual is different, you know, for one person, it might be the particular role, allowing them to scratch their creative edge that they have.

Jon Ives: For someone else, it might be that they have other priorities in their life like their children or sports or outside activities. And it provides it could be as simple as a working pattern that allows them to pursue those things in the time that they need to do those things. For some people that could be as simple as many.

Jon Ives: You know, there's lots of different aspects for some, it might be having that learning and development opportunity for them to be able to take the next step and pick up the next set of skills that they need to step up to. What's their ultimate sort of portfolio career at the end of their development cycle.

Jon Ives: So it's, I think you have to be very careful not to assume that you know what the reason is for someone you really need to, you need to dig and understand that's the main driver for.

Nina Mapson Bone: Oh, I was just going to add to that because the thing that ties in with enjoyment, which kind of goes hand in hand with meaningful work is when you work to your strengths, when you work to your strengths, you're what you're doing. Something that you're good at, that you have a knowledge base for, and that really kind of energizes you, and that gives you that enjoyment.

Nina Mapson Bone: And then some of the other aspects of the things that also contribute to meaningful work. So we do see the two sides of both meaningful work and working to your strengths when they come together. Then your engagement and your output and your productivity and your sense of satisfaction, all of the markets that you want in a workplace go through the roof.

Nina Mapson Bone: So I was just going to add that one. 

Charles Cameron: It's true progress. Isn't it, to really just see the evolution and almost the empowerment of candidates and individuals to come forward and say, yeah, I'm really quite happy doing this job. If I want to work as an agency worker in logistics where I sit my own time, I don't mind sitting behind a truck.

Charles Cameron: My equality comes from being happy at work and then going and having my hobby or my family or whatever. It is true progress to avoid this almost societal imposition of, well, this is what's good. And this is what's bad. And I'm going to jump to you, Jon, because I know we've had a few conversations around this, but there are certain political forces out there who try and really come up with this oh, good job.

Charles Cameron: Bad job dichotomy there. This idea that, you know, you can't. Happy at work or you can't be doing a good job if it's not full-time employment in a profession. Which you know, is changing the world. I mean, it's really refreshing, isn't it? 

Jon Ives: I think so. I think it comes a lot. I mean, one of the key points around all of this is that it does come back to the individual.

Jon Ives: I think as soon as you try to put a. A group think across how people react within a particular industry or a particular employer or a particular job, then you're making a lot of assumptions and a lot of generalizations, which, you know, in terms of what we're talking about around people, finding their motivations, that they're not helpful to do at all.

Jon Ives: So I think that the key thing is to really get it down to an individual level about sort of what works for that person. You know, one, one workplace or work style isn't gonna suit, you know, person a, but it could be perfect for person. You know, if I look at my, you know, from my own personal situation, you know, some people strive, put everything into trying to find a work-life balance, you know, whatever that means.

Jon Ives: Whereas for me work life separation works much better. I like, I don't like working at home and it's not because I can't be productive, but I like my work to be at work. And when I go home, I like to be present and focused on my home life with my family. So, but that's not for everyone. Some people have loved this.

Jon Ives: Working at home over the last two years. And it really tick the box for them because it's allowed them to have some sort of family time and work time. Whereas personally, I like the separation, so I think it's going to be a challenging one as we sort of move forward. And whether we ever reach any kind of end game with COVID, I think this is a question that all employees are going to have to ask themselves and their staff around what works now, you know, we were doing this in 2019.

Jon Ives: Again, I think at the beginning of 2020, we've been managing this way over the last two years. What do we do going forward? And what's going to be right for you because if they won't get there right. Or try to shift back and say, right, we're back into 2019. I think we could see something like the great resignation take place where people say, right, well, this is my opportunity.

Jon Ives: I'm motivated by these things. And others identified that, and it ticked the boxes for the last two years. I want to keep saying that I'm not going to stay here. At least I can get these, those things again. So it's going to be really interesting to see how it plays out over the, particularly of the new.

Charles Cameron: Playing at Nina, how are you incorporating this into the way in which you deliver commercial solutions? Because it's one thing to have all this knowledge. It's one thing to be evolved in your awareness of what candidates want. But what does that mean for the way in which you're doing business? For example, at Beaumont people, if you don't mind me asking.

Nina Mapson Bone: Yes. Not until we've actually incorporated a number of these things that we're talking about into our day to day. And one of the things is developing a tool for individuals to measure what meaningful work is for them. And we give that to all of our candidates. Anyone watching can do that for themselves.

Nina Mapson Bone: We've made that free of charge because we're such believers in it. And you can just go to meaningful work to come to that, 

Charles Cameron: to find that 

Nina Mapson Bone: it's So you can take your own personal profile to see what is meaningful. Is there. And that's something we're talking about as part of our interview process with candidates, we're talking to clients about, we are about to release an organizational version of that tool.

Nina Mapson Bone: So organizations can see how they provide meaningful work. And, we also do a lot in terms of clients might be doing things themselves around some of the consultative type products. They might measure strengths. We can provide those services. If not, there's a lot that we're doing to try and take it beyond.

Nina Mapson Bone: There's an empty seat, let's just fill it. And it becomes much more about. You know, all of this conversation that we've had, how do we add value to your organization and create meaningful work for the candidate in the process? Because that's a win, win for everybody. And that's a much more commercially viable way for us to do business because that becomes a longer term outcome.

Nina Mapson Bone: It becomes a stronger relationship based. It becomes a, you know, a situation where you get referrals. We can come back to you. They remember you. It's a very different experience. 

Charles Cameron: Yeah. How about at One Staff, Jon, are you evolving your service, delivering your models in any way given this change? 

Jon Ives: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we've had to you know, New Zealand sort of been through a range of, you know, from the first great sort of lockdown where we, everyone was shut for a first sort of four weeks back in 2020 to intermittent and localized sort of lockdown. So we have quite a variety across how all of our branches work and the different experiences that they've had in different regions. Some regions have had some community spread where others have not through this entire thing.

Jon Ives: And in fact, COVID you know, it's a fairly obtuse kind of term that just doesn't apply to the region that I've been in. It's really just something they see on the news every night. But regardless what we do is basically I guess, to create certainty for individuals as to allow them to select the way that's going to work best for them in collaboration, by talking through what we need to achieve as a business.

Jon Ives: And I think on the whole it's worked extremely well. Our staff are very engaged and I believe all of them feel like they've had the opportunity to have a say in the feeling as secure as they can be. In the environment over that time as a result of that. And that's something that we're looking at.

Jon Ives: As we move forward as well. You know, I guess it's a lot of businesses have been through the process where prior to, you know, prior to COVID coming on board, working from home, wasn't an option or was seen as that's, it could be too difficult, you know, can we trust to get the work done? Are we going to be able to deliver the work in the right way, but everyone's being forced.

Jon Ives: To adapt very quickly to put it in place. And I think a lot of people have been quite surprised by how easily it's gone into place. And that the trepidation that might've been there beforehand was completely unwarranted. You know, even down to four day working weeks and this type of thing as well, you know, there were, you know, a few people that were, you know, pioneers hitting off, down that track and obviously getting great results.

Jon Ives: This has been an opportunity for people to be able to put on benefits. 

Charles Cameron: Yeah, let's talk about that narrative because you guys are forgetting trial. The four-day working week. I wonder though, whether the working from home thing sort of throws it on its head, give us your insights. Is it working? 

Nina Mapson Bone: Yeah, we love it.

Nina Mapson Bone: We do love it. And it's. It's not perfect. So I'll be very honest about that. We tried it. We spent ages working out how we were going to do it or give it a go. We launched it in February, 2020, and then we were put in lockdown in March, 2020. And so for anyone that hasn't doesn't know what we're talking about, this is the idea that if you still get paid for five days, but essentially as long as you can do your job in four, then you can do it for four and have an extra day off a week.

Nina Mapson Bone: So initially when COVID first hit us, we did actually put it on hold and we just gave everybody Friday after. Regardless, because we just needed time to kind of try and work out what we're doing. And we figured if I'd asked, it ends up quietest time of the week from a business perspective, just to give everyone a bit of downtime, but we just did that through Easter.

Nina Mapson Bone: And then we relaunched with the four day workweek and we've been doing it ever since. And what we did was put productivity guidelines in my role. And it was one of the best things we did because it meant as we went into working from home. We actually already had every single role mapped out in our business in terms of what the outcomes were on a monthly basis.

Nina Mapson Bone: And so all we ever needed to do was say what, as long as you're meeting those outcomes and we did it so that we could say to people, you're meeting those outcomes. You can have a four day work week, one month, get it next month. You don't. If you don't meet yours. That month. It's a pretty simple process, but it was so valuable in working from home because it became a great way just to check it.

Nina Mapson Bone: And we actually, we still have the four day work week. Lots of people use it. My new year's resolution this year has been to actually use it more because I have been guilty of going, I've got too much work. I can't afford it, but you know, a few weeks in so far is so good. But what's interesting is we don't even know.

Nina Mapson Bone: We know much more about work outcomes. Now, as long as those outcomes are getting done, will you know, and you're not missing any major meetings, we're less concerned about how aware or when you work, you referenced where I am. Charles. I'm actually on holiday at the moment. I'm looking after my business partners hung, you know, prop cattle property, and talking about meaningful work.

Nina Mapson Bone: I've been discovering whether I want to be far more, not I don't, but I enjoy it for a week, you know, but you can work from anywhere now. And as long as the outcomes are met, it doesn't. Any more. It does it with big proponents of the four day week. 

Charles Cameron: Excellent. So Jon, as we sort of come through it and have a great conversation about progress and evolution and I think it's a really exciting time personally, for our industry.

Charles Cameron: I think it's really, it's been a bit of a spill and feel and I don't think it could have evolved like it has in any other way, but what do you see as the. Challenges and opportunities over the course of the next 12, maybe even 36 months. What do you reckon we would have to be careful of? But what can we also grab and run with?

Jon Ives: I think I think the challenges will be matched the same as they have been over the last period, you know, where we're basically working within an uncertain environment. You know, we have restrictions on what we can and what we can. This wasn't what our clients and candidates can and can't do.

Jon Ives: So that's something that's always going to remain. I think the talent shortage is going to be a massive issue. And I think it's probably gonna exacerbate. I think there might be some challenges. You know, I think there's a bit of a mentality moving through the New Zealand industrial sector at the moment with concern about, you know, the great sort of brain drain of people.

Jon Ives: If other countries open up first and kick off work, world people leave. And that's a concern. People, you know, where there's a talent shortage and you can't bring people in, retaining the people that you have is also a massive concern. So I think that will continue to play out and there's a bit of.

Jon Ives: Perhaps a little bit of a FOMO or fear of missing out when other countries start opening up borders and, you know, the global village sort of reopens for business, you know, will we be in time for that or will we be the last to the party? Opportunities wise? I think there's quite a lot. I think the amount of connecting.

Jon Ives: Not just between candidates and clients, but even between people within the industry it has been amazing to see over the last two years, you know, and our involvement with the RCSA in having that connection and the networking and the ability to be able to openly share resources. I think a lot of the Well, what was there previously around sorta, you know, competitor version of, you know, not wanting to share these trade secrets or IP.

Jon Ives: A lot of that has kind disappeared. There's, you know, there's, we all have to do certain things the same way. So being able to share resources in that space has meant that. It allows us time to one, save time on the administrative aspects of putting those together when we're all sharing ideas and coming up with a consolidated way of doing things as an industry, which is the right way to do things.

Jon Ives: And it's allowed us more time to actually focus on those true individual things that differentiate us from the other people in the market. So I think we're getting a lot more value for our time as a result of that. I really hope that opportunity stays in place regardless of what happens with COVID that as an industry, we stay extremely connected in that way, because it's been, you know, creating a lot of opportunities for us in a business sense, but also in becoming a much more efficient operation.

Jon Ives: And I think Nina sorta touched on it earlier in the talk. You know, even to the point of, we were approached by someone and we don't have the right opportunity. Now having people that we connect with and actually direct them to someone else within the industry that we know that we trust is going to deliver a great service.

Jon Ives: It's fantastic. They have in place. And we've had a lot of work referred to us in that way as well. So I think that's extremely beneficial and I think that's a massive opportunity for us to continue to work at that and keep it in place as we go forward. 

Charles Cameron: Yeah, we'll say Nina, your views. 

Nina Mapson Bone: I agree with everything Jon just said.

Nina Mapson Bone: So I won't reiterate that because I think that's,

Nina Mapson Bone: But maybe one of each have an opportunity and a challenge as well. Just to add to that, I think there is a challenge that we need to call out around mental health and burnout. So, I think, you we have, it's been a tough two years, no matter, you know, I know there's a lot around, we're not all in the same boat and I appreciate fully that some people have had it harder than others. But I think it would be ignorant of us to assume that it hasn't affected everybody in some way. So I think there's a mental health piece. I think there's great opportunity in that because people are becoming much more aware of that and they're more willing to discuss it.

Nina Mapson Bone: Okay. Fabulous because hopefully that will open up a lot more around some of the diversity and inclusion pieces around being more open-minded about various, you know, things that perhaps have affected other people's ability to find work in the past. I think the other opportunity though, is around the people.

Nina Mapson Bone: So you talked about the connectedness, Jon, but I think that relationship piece that we've been talking about that for me has been one of the biggest wins out of all of this people. Talk to people now. As a human being, not as somebody in a business, you see into their homes, when they're working from home, you've got to know the kids.

Nina Mapson Bone: Then you've got to know the dog's name. You have people write back. I still remember the supplier when COVID first hit and we weren't sure how bad it was going to be and what our businesses would survive and all the questions that everyone was asking when it first hit. I remember the supply that said to me, and you know who you are.

Nina Mapson Bone: If you're listening to me, you know what, Nina, don't worry about your contract. You just pay us what you can afford to pay. We want to keep you as a client and you let us know you. We trust you to do the right thing. You let us know when you can afford to pay us again. Now I will be loyal to that supplier forever because of that one, human to human.

Nina Mapson Bone: Contact and connection that you have. So I think those connections that we've created with people, we really need to embrace that and continue that because that for me is the biggest win out of all of this. 

Charles Cameron: Yeah and evolved progress. It really is. I mean, we're progressing and we're doing it in a wholly different way and it's human.

Charles Cameron: So what a lovely way to finish out. Thank you so much, Nina. Thank you, Jon. I've really enjoyed this and for everybody watching. Thank you for joining us. It's actually the first time we've actually had the president of RCSA and also the chair of RCSA New Zealand come together. So look at it right before your eyes, be safe, take care out there and yeah.

Charles Cameron: Continue to evolve as humans and as businesses. And thank you very much to the World Staffing Summit for having us see you later, guys. 

Nina Mapson Bone: Bye. 


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