Recruitment is broken. And here’s how we’re planning on fixing it.

I joined the Salient Group back in September, we are a small company focusing on recruitment for fast growth companies using SaaS technology. Back then,  the below was the extent of my knowledge in the recruitment sector when I said yes to the gig.

I knew there was a potential to really disrupt things in Australia and I could sense we were about to kick off an interesting journey. As we work in SaaS – both with high growth organisations and in-demand talent –  it made sense for us to start in that area. It was clear there were a few problems to fix.

I’d never worked in the recruitment industry before, but I had used a recruiter.

My experience of recruiters hadn’t been particularly bad, I guess I’ve always just felt a bit powerless.

The first time was after uni, when to be honest it felt like a bit of an endless slog to get seen. I’d always felt ok about the whole interview process – but just getting one in the first place felt tough.

My second was here in Sydney, having arrived from the UK I was clueless to brands here– I knew my experience, I just wanted to find the best fit for my skills and find somewhere to make a positive impact. I couldn’t find a single place for information that could help me do that.

The big fat problems.

1. The power is in the wrong hands.

There are a lot of hoops to jump through to find out if you’re the right fit for a company. You have to wait until you’re actively looking, hope the timing is right and then generally go through a recruiter to craft your CV and see if you can get an interview.

Alternately, you get called and called and messaged and called by recruiters and you’re completely put off by the whole experience because 90% of the time, you’re actually pretty happy where you are.

How we plan on solving it: We’re giving back control.  We’ve set out to keep watch on all the hottest SaaS brands hitting Australia and tell the stories of who they are and what they’re all about. You can follow those stories passively and never get contacted by a recruiter. If you ever decide there’s a brand out there for you and you’re a skills match, you can apply directly for an interview. When and only when it suits you.

2. No-One trusts ‘scumbag*’ recruiters

*To all my recruiter friends out there, not my words…

But seriously, recruiters get a bad rep. And I get it, they have roles to fill and targets to hit so can only focus on a certain pool of candidates. The recruiters I’ve met go out of their way to offer a great candidate experience, but unfortunately not everyone has a positive experience with recruiters and it’s left a bit of a mark.

How we plan on solving it: Opening up lines of communications at a peer to peer level.  We’ve built a marketplace where talent speaks to other talent – not recruiters or HR but people doing their job, sharing valuable insights. Think Trip Advisor for brands – that’s where we’re at. Over the coming months we’re reaching out to top talent across Australia to share these insights with you.  If you never look for a job through the site, that’s fine by us – our focus is adding value to your career.

3. Employers aren’t telling their stories right.

Sharing your employer brand has become a big topic of discussion. Only this week did I see stats from APAC execs where almost all (95%) of respondents believed that a strong employer brand was crucial to the company’s success. The problem is, stories aren’t always getting out there in the right way.

How we plan on solving it: We’re not looking at ‘what message we can put out’ – we’re instead helping our employers on the marketplace tell their story and give talent a clear and valuable insight into their company. We don’t go out making recruitment videos about how fantastic everything is, instead we’re taking our team of journalists into their offices and uncovering the real stories of the people that work there.

We’ll then follow those employers throughout their growth and catch up with talent at all levels to break down the barriers of communication along the way.

So no more waffling, come see for yourself as we’ve just launched our registration –Kudzus.com.au.

The full marketplace will be rolling out shortly, and we’ll be sharing the highs and lows with you!

Hubspot ignite the marketing flame in Australia

Hubspot, is an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.

When they released their 2014 year in review, it was clear they had some pretty impressive growth stats:

  • Hubspot Blog – 19.5 million visits
  • 153% Growth in monthly sales blog visits
  • 54% Growth in Marketing Blog subscribers
  • Twitter – 453,463 followers
  • Pinterest – 24,469 followers
  • 13,500 customers
  • 2,200 agency partners worldwide
  • 90+ Countries with Hubspot customers
  • $115.9M Revenue in 2014 – an annual increase of 49%

The Revenue.

Just 4 years ago in 2011, Hubspot’s total revenue hit a bit of a spike, from $28.6 million to nearly doubling in 2012. This was only the beginning as the company hit their stride, the revenue followed:

  • 2011: $28.6 million
  • 2013: 77.6 million
  • 2015 : $115.9 million

The Customers.

One of the unique things about Hubspot is its customers –  they have a solution that is pretty much open for all, helping the customer base grow from 5,783 customers 3 years ago to 13,607 at the end of 2014.

International growth.

In 2013, Hubspot opened their first international office at the home of Dublin, Ireland. Known as the ‘DubSpot’ team, the plan was to drive global expansion. The launch of Spanish and Portugese language blogs, a new German offering – marketinggrader.com/de and finally a new home – Sydney.

To grow presence across international markets, the company is now investing in local sales, marketing and professional service capabilities.

When discussing plans for Australia, Managing Director for Hubspot, Jeetu Mahtani said, “this style of inbound marketing has been growing in popularity in the region, with an increasing number of visitors from Australia and New Zealand amongst the 1.5m monthly visitors to its sites.”

Mahtani, who opened the company’s second office in Dublin just over two years ago, came to Sydney late last year to hire the first Hubspot employees in Australia. The aim:  “Generate traffic, and leads and buzz to their brand as opposed to trying to interrupt their way into a consumer’s mind so it’s definitely got some good momentum.”

Mahtani said they will be seeking to partner with marketing agencies in Sydney, claiming the ability for the platform to track customers and customise sites for returning visitors can add value to the content marketing, social media and digital publishing services they provide. He added: “A marketing agency might build you a new website but six months later you might go back and say ‘you built me a new website, where are my leads?’ “What we want to do is disrupt that space so marketing agencies don’t just build websites for the sake of it. They will think about the revenue part and teach their clients how you build lead generation websites using content and engagement and social, as opposed to just building a pretty website.”

Want to know more about how the Hubspot software works? Check out this video. 

Universities and the Olympics have more in common than you think

Holly Knight, Manager Campus Planning and Strategy at Murdoch University is certainly someone who knows about delivering sustainability. Having recently joined the team at Murdoch University, her first major task is to develop the Murdoch University Campus Masterplan. Holly has spent 15 years working on sustainable development in the private and public sector, and was most recently Head of Sustainability for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) as part of London 2012

As a result of that role, Holly was invited by the U.S. Embassy and the State Department to tour the USA as part of their International Visitor Leadership Program themed on Sustainable Cities and designed to introduce emerging leaders to their counterparts in the United States. Holly was also invited by UK Trade and Industry, the Foreign Commonwealth Office and the United Nations Environment Programme to visit Japan, Brazil, and various parts of Europe to disseminate best practice learning and in 2012 she was honoured by Building Design Magazine as one of their 50 most influential leaders in sustainability.

Ahead of the Campus Development Summit, I caught up with Holly to see where the potential lies for Australian Universities to create something as inspirational as the Olympics..

What are you excited about in terms of sustainability potential?

Design – Often people think of technology to deliver sustainable buildings when actually good design is more important. For example, asking ourselves; how can we design out waste within our structures and save on resources?

I’ve come from the background of mega construction and the concept of lightweightingbuildings saves money and embodied carbon. It’s not a concept that’s big yet in the educational space here, but it does align really nicely with creating flexible buildings, which is a core feature of education now. We’re looking to design buildings that are fit for the future and be able to modify them down the line without being wasteful.

Technology – In addition to that, there’s exciting stuff happening with technology, particularly around energy. The cost of renewables has decreased massively and it’s at a tipping point for photovoltaics. There are other countries & cities ahead of us in terms of smart infrastructure, but within our masterplan we can start to include and plan for those technological changes, for example electric vehicle networks and off grid energy supplies. . That space in university master planning is really exciting. We’re only just scratching the surface on what we can do.

What’s your current focus at Murdoch?

Murdoch is just about to turn 40 years old and a lot of our buildings are at the stage where they need to be refreshed, refitted and retrofitted. I’m looking at a number of things within our Campus Master Plan. One task is to look at our existing building stock and see what we need to add to ensure we can meet the future demands of our university. We also need to look at our social and informal break out areas and make sure we are meeting the needs of this new generation of students. The other part is our amazing ecological resource at Murdoch – the ‘Bush Campus’. At the moment it’s quite wild, but we’re starting to look at how we open up this amazing resource so that people who come here can enjoy the natural beauty of the place. The overall aim is to manage development and to activate spaces on campus for different purposes and excite people about coming here – not only for their education, but for their social experience. These are the key things; the educational and research spaces, the social spaces and the landscape and natural space..

What were some of your key lessons learnt during time as Head of Sustainability for the Olympics Delivery?

A lot has been transferable both within a facilities space and an educational space. It is a great opportunity to transfer some of the best practice learning from London 2012. In fact we worked with a group of organisations such as the UK Green Buildings Association and the Association of Project Management to develop the Learning Legacy Project, which provided

training and papers on best practice in Sustainable Development, Health and Safety, Engineering etc., they can be found here. This is open source material and can be shared for educational purposes, but also these papers were designed to help demonstrate that sustainability can be delivered easily. It shouldn’t be overcomplicated and it’s actually not a big cost and there is a lot of evidence to say you’ll actually save money long term.

In an environment where budgets are tight, most good facilities management teams are looking at ways they can save operational costs – the efficiency side of that is perfectly aligned with sustainability.

Ensuring sustainability that withstands macro changes – what are you expecting in the future?

As a key service provider on Campus, we need to be constantly evolving and responding to the needs of our organisation. First and foremost being sustainable means we need to ensure we are efficient with our funding to support the University’s key focus of research and education. That means providing smart utility provision and holistic building and grounds management.

Because of the age of Murdoch and a new Strategic Vision – it’s time to reassess a lot of our management and capital strategies and begin a new phase of planning and whole-life costing, that’s great because it almost always favours the most sustainable options. We also need to start future proofing our campus for a changing climate, whether or not that’s re-assessing our thermal strategy or going back to look at groundwater and land management from a long term water supply perspective.

Within utilities, we’re also assessing diversity of energy supply and improvements to efficiency because we’re expecting changes to the cost of power and gas. The strategy will address the challenges and protect us against them.

These are all in an investigation phase at the moment; we’ll hopefully have some answers by the time of the presentation.

You’re running a workshop at Campus Development – tell us a bit about it

I want people to see that sustainable development is easy if you plan for it and set up a clear, well thought out and achievable strategy at the start. It is also important to embrace the notion that it can create a really special place. Students and academics are generally concerned with issues like climate change, and are very open and enthusiastic about sustainable initiatives and helping out with energy efficiency. As a campus facilities team, we are service providers for those people and it’s our duty to give them a place that excites them and helps them perform at their best. It was a wonderful experience to be a part of London 2012, especially when the Games received accolades for sustainability. Sustainability unites people and it’s an area we can influence in the Higher Education Sector – it’s a real opportunity to inspire people.

Ditching Windows and desktop for Google and mobility: The Woolworths story

In April 2013, Woolworths migrated to Google Apps and Chrome. The migration was part of a larger transformation program at Woolworths Limited.

The move was part of a strategy to use technology to promote greater collaboration, productivity and effectiveness. Rolling out Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Talk to 26,000 staff.

The aim – to ensure staff could experience the productive and collaborative benefits of being able to work from any device, anywhere.

I caught up with Deon Ludick, Program Director at Woolworths Limited, to gain insight on how this is working operationally and get an update on results to date. He explained:

“We started moving the collaboration suite through Google Apps and vigorously adopted it as the solution; the docs, the mail, the calendar, the share drive, the Google drive, the social media.  The second part was moving desktop into the Citrix environment. It allows us to be device-agnostic and choose whatever hardware we want to give our staff. We gave people Chrome OS because of its simplicity to manage. It’s a secured device, so it doesn’t have the same threats that you have with the classic Microsoft operating system right now.”

“Our vision is to have an environment that keeps itself up to date; that’s the big advantage we’re getting through this whole program.”

Increasing productivity through software

Woolworths adopted the software as a service stack in the cloud, specifically around Google’s full collaboration suite. It’s their cloud – they just leverage the applications. Key areas driving productivity include:

  • Co-authoring documents – A key area where the team has seen success; also the most popular with employees.
  • Video conferencing- Features like Hangouts have eliminated the need for many face to face meetings, saving time commuting around busy cities and easing the ability to interact.
  • Forms – Woolworths never had a particularly great form solution, the Google Forms app both produces a slick looking form, and grafts all the responses in one place, which has saved the team time.
  • Mobility – One of the key metrics of the program is around flexibility. As the platform is up in the cloud, it can be on anybody’s device. You can start a mail on your PC then continue with your phone, or at home; whichever suits on any device. The software service is up in the cloud in the data centre and you get the continuity regardless of the device.
  • Social – There are 25,000 email accounts on the Google platform. Additionally, we’ve given our 175,000 store and distribution centre workers a Google Plus login because these workers don’t have email. As an organisation we all collaborate now on Google Plus. There are also Google sites and Google Drive for filling out forms and accessing the network.

Driving mobility

The software is the service in the cloud, which in turn unlocks mobility. Deon highlighted the potential this brings for the retail giant:

“Our position is unique because we’re not locked onto a device. It makes you completely device-agnostic and Google does a fantastic job to have a tablet or mobile version, or a browser version.

“We’ve chosen to move off our legacy desktop environment too; the current focus is moving away from a PC environment and towards a Chrome OS environment.

“To achieve that, our legacy Windows environment has moved onto a Citrix solution. It’s a HTML5 Citrix solution, which is unique to Woolworths. We don’t care what device you use – if you’ve got a Chrome browser and an internet connection, you can work on that device.

“The classic workstation in enterprise is now completely mobile. My favourite example of this is when I had to approve leave while flying to New Zealand and the plane had Wi-Fi. I logged in to our Citrix environment mid-flight, accessed the right system through our intranet and confirmed the approval. That’s the kind of mobility we have now.”

Engagement

The target at Woolworths is to be in a transformation program instead of just an enablement.  Engagement metrics have allowed the team to track progress at different stages of the rollout program.

“Our first measure and benefit is engagement. We ask our users, especially during the software Google adoption, point blank: ‘Are you feeling proud of the organisation using this latest technology?’ The same people were asked that question three times: two weeks after migration, then four months, and then eight months into the journey,” Deon explained.

“Each time the answer would increase – there’s been an increase of ten per cent already of employees agreeing they are enjoying their job more. Our results in collaboration are also up 20 per cent and efficiency ratings are up almost 30 per cent.

We’re also measuring flexibility; the amount of people logging on from home is up 30 per cent. ”

Rolling out the hardware

For the next phase, Woolworths will begin rolling out 8,000 Google Chrome OS devices to replace Microsoft Windows desktop computers – believed to be the largest such deployment in the world.

“The aim for the next six months is to complete the rollout. The thing with desktop applications is the fragmentation and the granularity; everybody’s got a little nuance, uses something slightly differently. It’s a very detailed job as we won’t be rolling out generic devices to everybody. The technology is ready, but the next big step is adoption. We pride ourselves on change management, so the next six months will only be a success when people adopt the technology and are more productive.”

The program will continue to run the same surveys as with the Google rollout; this time for the device rollout stage of the program to make sure people have accepted the change with the same pride and extra productivity as when they moved to the Google platform.

Change management will continue to play a big role, by using a staged approached, and there’s confidence in this new phase:

“The software as a service key was actually not complicated. Going into the cloud, the Google platform was quite straightforward as they already had half a billion people using the solution.  That allowed us to dedicate a lot of time to change management, using a lot of our resources – we feel we’ve done a pretty good job. Those learnings will now be used when rolling out the more technical solution – devices. Change management is the magic here, not the technology. “

Hear more on the Woolworths story from Matt Chamley, Head of Infrastructure at Woolworths Ltd during www.enterprisemobilitysummit.com.au.

Capitalising on the North West Rail Link Investment for greater good in Sydney

There’s no doubt the North West Rail Link is a game changer for the prosperity of people in Sydney; specifically North Western Sydney. Its operation will fundamentally change travel patterns and accessibility arrangements.

In addition, Badgerys Creek is going to be an enormous boost for Western Sydney and a catalyst for substantial investment in road and rail transport infrastructure.

So how are these pockets of infrastructure going to come together and unleash benefits to the whole of Sydney? I recently caught up with Tom Gellibrand, Deputy Project Director at North West Rail Link, to gain some insight on the greater impact of transport investment.

Integration

Tom and his team are responsible for the integration of the new rapid transit network into the wider transport network.

“We are identifying the best way of integrating the North West Rail Link into other modes.

“We’re working with agencies in government to make sure that our service is integrated with all transport modes. We’re working with Roads and Maritime Servicesand road improvements are going to be integrated with our service – they will complement each other.

“In the physical dimension, our designs accommodate for bikes, pedestrians, taxis, buses, commuter car parking – all connecting together at a precinct level.

“We’ve got a modal hierarchy for our precincts which puts the pedestrians first, then cyclists, buses, taxis, tap and ride, and commuter car parking.”

Overcoming obstacles

To release the highest value benefit from the project, all stations, precinct areas and adjoining urban development will be linked into stations to provide long term benefits – a task which Tom explains has a few key challenges:

“At a physical level, that means how and where you’re actually constructing the roads and creating those links. From the planning side, it’s looking at land use and activating precincts with commercial activities. That will make them destinations onto themselves.

“It’s going really well, but it is invariably a challenge, because we’re a transport provider and will need to work with other organisations responsible for land use planning.”

“We can build the train line and run the train at a a reliably high frequency, but we have to make sure that the urban form and future development capitalises on that investment. It’s one of our critical success factors.”

In addition to urban regeneration, the project will also be accommodate the government’s plans to hit the growth in housing and employment objective:

“The railway line itself traverses a number of really key centres including Rouse Hill, Norwest Business Park, Castle Hill, Epping, Macquarie Uni, Macquarie Park down to Chatswood.

“The level of service is going to increase the attractiveness of these centres for people to work in. In terms of future growth in employment; it’s highly likely that the centres will become increasingly attractive for people to invest in.

“We expect a significant increase in the growth or housing and employment along the North West Rail Link.”

The project is on track to have all major contracts signed by the end of 2014. The next tangible milestone for the community will be the commencement of the tunnel boring machines in late 2014.

Hear more from Tom and the the Key players involved in Sydney’s infrastructure future during NSW infrastructure in September.

Google Is My Co-Pilot.

The Lemonade Chronicles

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How did anyone survive without Google?  I almost can’t fathom it.  

If I think about my own, personal use of Internet searches, the bar graphs would be short at first.  Little toes in the water here and there, mostly for fun or curiosity.  No real conception of how powerful is the tool.  I’d searched on Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves, Altavista, Hotbot, Excite, and probably some others I’ve long since forgotten.  But those searches were sure so mundane.  So pedestrian.  “Good Halloween Costume,” maybe.  Or, “Red Sox Schedule.” 

I didn’t realize the unbreakable magnetism Google held over my life, really, until we got a puppy last May.  That little black furry creature brought a whole bundle of “what the hells” with her.  And a whole new epoch of ridiculous-in-retrospect search queries began.  

I’m savvy enough to have long-since discarded lengthy queries with proper sentence structure and punctuation.  I haven’t asked…

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