HR Professionals “pining” for Part-Time

Lately I advertised a role for a part-time HR Business Partner and was inundated with applications from highly qualified, highly credible, highly personable and highly paid HR professionals.

The choice of people applying for this role was amazing and completely outstripped the number of quality applicants that I would typically get for a full-time role.

Every enquiry in relation to this role started with….”it is so rare to see a part-time role in HR at Business Partner level and above”

Most people I spoke with were comfortable to take a pay cut for the “privilege of part-time work”

In fact, one lady was happy to take a pay-cut of up to 55% for the luxury of a part-time role.

The majority of the people I spoke to wanted to continue working in their chosen profession of HR but they also wanted some flexibility and work/life balance.

You would think that in this day and age, this would not be too much to ask!


And the moral of the story…?

To all you employers out there who are planning on hiring a HR professional for your business but have a limited budget? Why not make the role part-time?

Hire someone who is more than capable, comfortable and content in this role – and to make the budget work offer it three days a week – not five!

People working part-time are often more focused and productive and have also been known to answer the occasional email on their days off!

It is a WIN: WIN situation not be overlooked

Would be keen to hear your thoughts on this topical subject….

Be values focused, profits and wins will follow!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending DCU’s Leadership and Talent Institute Conference on the subject of “Leadership for a Sustainable World” The content of the day was insightful and provided great food for thought. Particularly interesting for me is that many of the principles and points being made were simple and very much back to basics i.e. being respectful, taking responsibility, being aware and having integrity.

There were speakers from all over the globe – and while it was great to hear from thought leaders in Darla Moore School of Business, University of Boston, Unilever, Maturity Institute, DCU and Joe Schmidt, next year it would be great to hear from Irish companies as to how we are making a difference and contributing to the Leadership and Talent discussion.

Food for thought from the day.

According to Professor Pat Wright of the University of South Carolina, Succession planning is critical to business sustainability – the risk of getting it wrong is very costly and this is well documented.

Research shows that traits of successful CEO’s include humility, willingness to accept feedback and unselfishness. On the other hand, traits of unsuccessful CEO’s are arrogance, failure to listen and selfishness.

According to Stuart Woollard of the Maturity Institute we need to think in terms of “Societal Value” ie the best quality at lowest cost (including cost to the environment & society) Companies should be managing people for value not cost. Stuart had plenty of examples to support this theory eg Costco & Toyota. They have a focus on Societal value and guess what? Their margins are a lot higher than those of their closest competitors.

Doug Baillie, ex CHRO of Unilever spoke about the Unilever’s VUCA world – volatile, uncertain, complicated and ambiguous. Unilever strives to be a giver to society not a taker, to make a positive social impact and to reconnect with individuals and communities.

And what does leadership look like in a VUCA world in 2020? Leaders will be values based with purpose – they will be authentic, adaptable, resilient, systematic thinkers and results oriented.

How do you get started in establishing sustainable leadership? You must start at the top with role models who lead from the front. These role models must be courageous and committed and help people to work out what their individual purpose and contribution might be. It starts today – what will your contribution be?

Joe Schmidt, Irish Rugby Coach talked passionately about taking responsibility and being accountable. This needs to be passed down the line, we all have a role to play. It is not what you say it is what you do! Circumstances are not always perfect, you just have to work with what you have and get yourself into a place to be useful. Always acknowledge people for their performance and contribution. No point in doing something efficiently that does not need to be done at all.

I particularly liked this point, do the ground work, build a firm foundation and then use this as a springboard. Make sure that you have a context before you embark on your bold plan. Last, but by no means least, never overlook the importance of saying good morning to your team every day. By acknowledging employees at all levels you are building engagement and confidence and buy-in. Simple, cost free but effective – just ask Joe!

According to Dr Jack McCarthy of the University of Boston we now have a triple bottom line….we need to be able to balance People, Planet and Profit? We need to move from controlling, ordering and predicting to acknowledging, creating and empowering. We need to be curious, connected and considerate!

Dr Janine Bosak of DCU finished off the day by discussing the underrepresentation of women at senior executive levels in Irish companies. Despite equal numbers of well-educated men and women joining the work force, by the time they get to senior management and above these ratios are grossly out of sync.

Everyone agreed that this needed immediate attention – what people were uncertain about it why this phenomenon exists. Discrimination and stereotyping was discussed as was women’s lack of self-confidence when it really matters. As a working mother of three, I also feel it is directly related to an-inbuilt tendancy for Irish women to feel guilt, self-imposed and societal.

Cultural change takes time, but we can all start to-day and make a difference by opening our eyes and watching out for women who are potentially vulnerable in our organisations.

So whether from Academia, Private or Public sector, NGO’s or Sports, Ireland, Addis Ababa or the USA, there were common threads throughout the day. Respect, responsibility, awareness, values, community and society.

Companies and teams should be values focused and the profits and wins will most certainly follow!


Thanks to DCU Leadership & Talent Institute

Visionary IBEC HR Leadership Summit

Last week, Caoilinn and I took a day to attend the IBEC HR Leadership Summit – An excellent day. We all walked away with some insight into how the world is changing at a rapid pace and what that will mean for people both personally and in the world of work!

For me the following points were eye opening and thought provoking:

  • The war for talent in Ireland is back with a vengeance and we, as HR professionals, need to be increasing open to new ways of attracting and retaining talent. According to IBEC’s recent survey, the greatest areas of skills shortage are in the areas of IT and Engineering.
  • Social Media will take over our lives unless we develop measures to prevent it. Social media and technology should make our lives easier – not take over our lives completely.
  • Multitasking is not always a productive way of working.
  • Challenge your-self every day!
  • Encourage your children to be as creative as possible. Creativity will be increased demand in the workplace as technology takes over and more routine work is automated.
  • We need to be prepared to live longer and work later than our predecessors.
  • Our children will live and work even longer than us – 1 in 3 children born in 2012 will live to be 100.
  • Our children will therefore need to start saving as early as possible.
  • Our children won’t just have one career. With the change in required skills they will retrain at a couple of intervals throughout their lives.
  • The norm will increasingly be two parents working which means more flexibility will need to be afforded by employers to either/or parent.
  • Organisations need to be able to offer flexible working arrangements – this should become the norm or they will find it increasingly difficult to attract top talent.
  • HR will be instrumental in helping their companies prepare (in advance!) of these fundamental human capital and workforce changes.

Thanks to the speakers on the day – Lynda Gratton’s was excellent and I look forward to reading her book “100 year life” which is being published next year.

I will be encouraging my teenage children to also read this book as they will most certainly be affected by changing technology and demography.

This IBEC summit provided many HR leaders with food for thought and were challenged by all the presenters to be the leaders rather than the followers of this change!


HR – 5 top trends

Recruitment in the HR space has never been as exciting in Ireland. Growth, Change, Competition and Globalisation are creating an unprecedented level of interest in areas such as Talent Pipelining, Engagement, Talent Management, Succession planning and C&B.

According to Valerie Daunt (Director – Human Capital Consulting, Deloitte) “HR faces continuing challenges in generating the investment to begin to close the gap between current practice and desired outcomes”. “With targeted investment, HR leaders can begin to really engage with solutions to the people challenges facing their organisations. Investment in HR technology is crucial to begin this process; however, this investment must be accompanied by efforts to redesign processes, talent management programmes and retraining of HR professionals to see the maximum return”.

There is one problem! There is a lack of expertise in the Irish market to fuel the demand for this new “breed” of HR professional that can help to bridge that gap!

Serving to highlight my point is Deloitte’s Capital Market 5 top trends 2015 survey:

  • Culture – no longer a ‘soft’ concept
    Culture and engagement are at the forefront of talent issues for the majority of Irish companies, according to the Human Capital Trends 2015 survey.
  • Leadership – a perennial challenge
    This year’s report indicates a continuing lack of progress in what has become a perennial organisational challenge – leadership.
  • Learning and development – into the spotlight.
    In 2015, the need to transform and accelerate corporate learning moved to the third highest priority in Ireland.
  • Performance management – the secret ingredient
    As business needs for leadership, stronger engagement, and critical skills continue to grow, business and HR leaders look to performance management as the  ‘secret ingredient’ that affects all of these challenges.
  • Workforce on demand – are you ready?
    Building an ‘on demand workforce’ has become critical to business success. To combat talent shortages organisations must engage with the ‘open talent economy’ to tap into a broader range of external talent through non-traditional employment methods such as joint ventures and partnerships, contracted, outsourced and freelance workers.

Regardless of where you are in your journey, it is critical that you come up with innovative means to track down those skills that will allow you to be ahead of curve in terms of your people agenda.

Companies need to be prepared to attract resources in from countries such as Canada, America, Singapore and Australia, as well as Ireland and across Europe.

HR Search and Selection are actively working with our clients sourcing the best talent, regardless of location.