People matters

Lockdown hasn’t stopped Inflexion’s portfolio from moving things forward and hiring the individuals they need. Brilliant people can still be hired, but the process is evolving. Inflexion’s portfolio share their experiences at our latest HR Exchange.

A lack of personal contact has many downsides, but can bring about some unexpected benefits when it comes to hiring. Namely that you can be much more objective when you’re not sitting in a room with someone, as you’re not building up niceties or even the same personal rapport with candidates. While such soft factors become hugely important later on in the process, missing them out initially may in fact help foster very structured and joined-up processes.

These are some of the learnings of a number of firms within the Inflexion portfolio which continue to recruit, despite an unprecedented backdrop of uncertainty.

Paul McAvoy, Chief People Officer at Ocorian, explains how the corporate administrator is amending its usual structure for hiring. “We are making the processes more structured and with more formal assessment. I’ve reengineered the process we use entirely. I’ve tried to stop HR team members from doing everything making their work more specialised,” he says, explaining how he’s moved the recruitment function out of Ocorian’s HR team and built a remote global resourcing team based out of Belfast and Mauritius in service centres.

Another firm in the Inflexion portfolio to have altered its talent procurement function is K2 Partnering Solutions. Fernanda Pellegrini, Global Director of Talent Acquisition, explains how the global resourcing specialist is responding to a changing backdrop.

They then meet two senior leaders on the call and pretend they are pitching to them. The interviewers fill out a spreadsheet live as the interview was going on.” She is confident the firm will continue using the model as it has yielded some of K2’s best recruits.

Inflexion has actively supported their portfolio with critical hires across the c-suite during lockdown, with over half a dozen c-suite appointments undertaken. It’s become clear that creating multiple reference points around an individual that you are considering for a role helps to make the process more objective at the outset, focusing on skills and experiences, before developing a personal rapport. Then a candidate can be brought into a process and socialised to ascertain the ‘cultural’ fit more broadly with the team they will be working with.


Virtual onboarding

Always a crucial part of any recruitment process, onboarding is now completely different owing to the fact many people will join a firm having met few, if any, of their colleagues. And once they’re part of the team, it’s likely they’ll be working remotely for much of the time.

Risk software firm Alcumus made 25 hires in August and is managing the onboarding now. Says Chief People Officer Val Rees, “We have moved to a fully virtual induction. We have created a virtual onboarding lounge where new starters can easily complete all necessary documentation as well learn more about the company.  The induction  was previously two days but is now half a day, during which time they get the same experience.” She explains their equipment arrives the week before they start, and then they have a welcome call on the Monday, including the CEO and Val being on a call to greet them before they go into their own business induction.

A lasting consequence of remote hiring and onboarding may be increased probationary periods, as firms need more time to ensure the right fit. Ocorian’s Paul says, “There are a few examples where we’re extending the usual probation period. This is because three months may no longer be sufficient given the vast differences in managing remotely.”

Accessing talent


While ‘meeting’ with candidates may be easier owing to the remote element reducing travel time, accessing the right talent is a different matter. Lots of businesses are going to underperform, many for reasons unrelated to poor-quality management, and people will come out of those businesses searching for new roles with companies whose models are better suited to the future. So on the one hand you have a wider pool of candidates, but on the other hand high quality managers won’t jump off a ship while it’s sinking because their loyalty means they are trying to help save it.