Top tips for hiring a great team

Hiring a team is easy, but hiring a great team is a little harder. This is because many hiring managers choose a group of similar people who clash with each other, or they fail to hire people with a wide range of completely different skills. This can affect the workflow and the mood in the office, and over time it can lead to employees quitting their jobs or creating challenges for other team members.

If you want to make sure that you hire a great team who work well together and get the job done, don’t worry. Here are some top tips to help you hire the perfect team.

Plan Your Recruitment Strategy

This is essential. You need to devise an in-depth plan with a comprehensive job description drawn up in collaboration with all stakeholders. It is important that everyone involved is bought into this process. Getting this input is essential so that you can identify the skills, experience and crucially the personal traits required to succeed in your organisation. You also need to identify the correct channels to identify where to source the ideal candidate from. Posting the role on your website and job boards is unlikely to deliver the desired result. Utilising social media channels (particularly LinkedIn) is now essential. For specialist roles and highly confidential positions consider using a specialist headhunter with in-depth market knowledge.

Devise a robust onboarding process

Once you have identified and secured the ideal candidate for your team it is critical that you start off on the right foot. The first 90 days particularly are critical to ensure that new employees feel that they have made the right decision.  You need to make sure that they are onboarded in a structured manner and crucially that they understand their role in the team and how the team can support them. Draw up a a structured plan that can be used when all new staff join which quickly gets them up to speed and makes them feel valued and integral to your success.

Focus On Creating A Positive Culture

Your team will need managers and leaders, and it is important that those tasked with leadership understand how to create a positive working culture since they will be responsible for implementing it.

Choose People Who Get Along

If you are hiring people who have to work in a team with each other, they obviously need to have great communication skills but they also need patience, diplomacy and sometimes a thick skin! Ideally avoid hiring people who are very insular and prefer to work alone as they may disrupt the balance in the team. Over time this can lead to resentment and increased attrition rates.

Look For Soft Skills

Many hiring managers focus on core competencies for their teams, such as IT skills, coding skills and other role-specific skills. Important as these may be, it is essential that you hire people who have strong soft skills, such as communication and goal setting skills. These people will help the team to gel together, and if issues do arise, they will invariably be instrumental in resolving them.

Compare

Clearly, you will need to hire new people for entry-level roles, but if you are hiring someone to fill a senior position in the team it is often best to make a comparison between external and internal candidates. This is because you can identify those who already fit in with the company values, and you know that they are passionate about the team. Benchmarking external candidates with those superstar employees will either validate you decision to hire externally or make you realise that you have the ideal candidate under your nose.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1 

 

Are you listening to your team? You really should be

One of the biggest misconceptions we have about communication is that listening is a passive activity. How many times have we heard someone say, or said ourselves, “I’ll come along to the meeting, but I’ll just listen”? We understand listening is an essential quality of leadership, but most of us don’t know how to listen effectively.

In a marketplace where there is a global war for talent, it’s crucial for organisations to have strong leadership. One of the biggest motivations for team members to resign is because they do not feel heard, appreciated or understood. Here are some of the biggest management blind spots when listening to staff and how to easily fix these issues.

Did you know?

When someone is talking with you face to face about their attitudes or emotions, research shows the most dominant form of communication is non-verbal. Words account for 7%, tone of voice 38% and body language a whopping 55%. While we may consider discussing attitudes or emotions to fall outside of mainstream professional communication, the reality is most one-on-one chats instigated by staff indicate attitude or emotion at the core of what they are saying. Feelings of being overwhelmed are extremely common.

It’s the same, but different

On the surface, nothing much has changed about professional hierarchy structure. Much, however, has changed beneath the surface. Dissatisfied, frustrated employees cite not being heard as a major motivator to look for a new job. Companies need leaders to recognise the importance of caring for their team in order that the business may flourish and succeed. The powerful act of listening transforms workplace culture, creating a harmonious environment, greater respect between team members, increased productivity and employees going above and beyond to deliver results. Focus is undiluted, office atmosphere is calmer, and there are fewer misunderstandings and errors. All because people feel heard.

Listening demands focus

Today’s lifestyle both in and out of the office is distracted, fragmented and dominated by technology. When you give an employee your full attention and time, they feel empowered. Give them the time and space they need to say what they need to say. Be careful not to interrupt or “help” them as they express themselves. Avoid the temptation to fix. Instead, give the person the opportunity and experience of being heard first and foremost. Just this simple act of listening to what someone has to say is effective and empowering. If you cannot contain yourself, don’t interrupt with a statement. Ask if you can offer suggestions.

Another positive way of reinforcing that you have heard what someone has said is asking questions to clarify what they are saying. Again, don’t interrupt, but wait for a pause. When the employee has finished speaking, let them know what you understand from what they have said, then ask if you have understood correctly.

Encourage your team to listen to each other

Listening means waiting before adding any thoughts to what is being said. Take this learning to your team and encourage them to listen to each other. As always lead by example. Creating authentic working relationships built on trust encourages loyalty – we could all do with more of that. Make listening a priority and your team will thank you.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. We promise to listen to the issues you face in your business – hopefully we can help. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

 

Why digital print is a game changer in packaging

 

The digital opportunity in the packaging sector of the printed graphics market is valued at over $10 billion, and with projected growth rates of 14% to 2020, this sector is booming. To keep up, equipment, software, and ink manufacturers are creating innovative tools, unique packaging specific solutions, and chemistry to enable future growth in digital packaging.

Innovation and potential

Digital print’s potential is enormous and already proven to be disruptive in other print segments. Industry leaders are supporting this trend and are pushing their return on investment ever upwards. The beauty of digital is its innovation and power is not exclusive to technology. Digital focuses on harnessing technological prowess with any organisation able to embrace evolution and development as part of its operations.  While digital is already widely accepted in the tag and label sector and the short run pharmaceutical folding carton sectors, of the packaging segment, other segments are ripe for significantly digital adoption in the next three to five years.  Particularly, the packaging sectors of corrugated, narrow web flexible film, and direct to shape (metal and plastic containers) offers the next likely high growth areas for digital.

Consumer experience is everything

The digital evolution continues to offer improved usability. As a result, the importance of a consumer’s experience continues to increase. As consumers’ confidence in digital transformation has grown, they have aligned themselves with brands and products that cater to their ever-evolving needs.  While the initial driver for digital was to enable personalisation, on the fly customisation, short run profitability, and the enabling of quicker and easier design to print campaigns are driving the next growth spurt.  Consumer’s expectations for packaging in the digital bombardment age, is also changing, just as the way millennials see and respond to advertising is changing.

Why is digital print continuing to grow?

In addition to the reasons outlined above, the growth of digital print enables print providers to exponentially improve and increase the services they offer to their customers. In addition, digital empowers innovation and encourages an increase in revenue streams not easily achieved in traditional print methods. It’s expected that digital print will make the most of the high value short runs and provide quicker turnaround times for packaging sectors.

Interesting times ahead for digital technology advancements

Today, there are both electrophotographic (dry and liquid toner) technologies and inkjet ink types of digital.  Toner based systems, such as Indigo, Xerox I-Gen, and Xeikon, have gained an early foothold on the short run tag and label, as well as some folding carton sectors.  More recently, inkjet solutions are being adopted as they can often do more than electrophotographic systems at a lower cost of ownership.  The technology advancements in the inkjet print head, electronics, and ink chemistry has now reached a point of practicality, likely eclipsing electrophotography as early as 2019.  Beyond toner and inkjet are a number of what have to still be referenced as “yet-to-be-proven” digital technologies that, if they really work, will also be very disruptive in the packaging sectors, especially those food related packaging sectors.

Excitingly, the greatest changes expected over the next decade will be in packaging. Sectors that are most likely to employ digital production processes include corrugated (direct to board and pre-print liner), metal decoration (2-Piece, and flat sheet 3-Piece), flexible (films, bags, pouches, etc.), and rigid (direct to container) applications. The folding carton sector also has the potential to grow as digital technologies develop further.

Beyond graphics and packaging

Digital continues to break new ground in all kinds of industrial applications, forging applications including flat and round glass, textiles, ceramics,  tiles, wood, plastic composites, electronics, and 3D. The term “Industrial Digital Printing’ has come to represent a kind of catch-all descriptions for every type of decoration that does not already fit into a known segment or sector.

Better Together

Organisations which recognize the phenomenal growth and potential of digital packaging are often engaging strategic alliances or in joint ventures, sometimes for technology, sometimes for route to market. This approach enables companies to capitalise on a booming market with less risk and faster time to market. These types of partnerships often bring together technology components and brands, as well as system manufacturing and customer facing solutions to help drive the industry faster into the digital age.  Some examples include  companies such as: Xerox with Impika, Fujifilm working with Heidelberg, and Xerox( Primefire 106), KBA with their own subsidiary Kamman (Direct To Shape) and new projects with Landa (S10 automation) and Xerox, Komori and Landa (Impremia NS40). Flint Group have acquired the Xeikon business in a key strategic move.

On-demand printing

On-demand printing reduces waste and also means the latest design, product information or alterations to components do not create unnecessary clutter such as superfluous records. Electrophotography and inkjet’s continual evolution and development mean that on-demand printing is possible for the packaging industry. Specialised detail such as packaging specific to a particular region, demographic or specific interest is now a practical reality for the packaging sector. Exactly where in the supply chain that the printing is happening is also changing with Digital evolution.  Digital printing near or actually in-line with the packaging converting process is also a trend, further shortening the turn-around time for a package to market while offering the flexibility only digital can offer.

There’s no doubt about it. The inclusive effects of digital development, particularly on the consumer, has changed the way in which the market interacts with packaging. Everyone wants to jump aboard this rapidly expanding sector, flourishing beneath digital technology’s ingenious gaze.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. We are excited about Digital Print and recruit for companies at the cutting edge of this sector. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

 

How to attract passive candidates

One of the main pressures bearing down on Print and Packaging organisations around the world is satisfying the constant demand for talented staff. It’s unrealistic to expect the most talented candidates to be looking for a new role at the same time you are hiring. Often the most talented candidates are happily engaged in employment elsewhere.

We call these candidates “passive candidates”. A passive candidate is someone who is employed and not looking to change their job, but who may be open to being approached. Approximately 45 percent of the current workforce are considered passive candidates who are happy to have discussions – with the right people. Let’s examine the most effective methods of attracting passive candidates.

…it’s who you know

Using an in-house employee referral programme is one of the most effective methods of recruiting passive candidates. An employee referral programme also increases in-house talent retention, because existing staff are actively promoting the company to friends, family and networking contacts. Passive candidates respond well to referral programmes, in no small part due to the credibility of their in-house contact. Also find a good specialist recruiter who knows your sector and has a good network. They will be an invaluable source of passive candidates if they have authority in their marketplace and will give you access to the very best passive candidates.

Strong branding

One of the first things approached passive candidates will do is Google your organisation and look you up on social media. Make sure your recruitment page is up to date, easy to navigate and shares the strength of your branding and company culture. Your recruitment page also needs a clear call to action, and your current career opportunities must be easily visible. Remember, talented candidates are looking for more than an attractive remuneration package. They’re looking for a company they connect with. Updating your social media feeds with information about company culture and branding creates a dynamic landing platform for the passive candidate when they look you up.

Trust is everything

Professional discretion and rock solid reliability will ensure a passive candidate discusses their possibilities with you in greater depth and detail. It can be stressful discussing a possible – and unexpected – new career opportunity. Make it clear to your candidate up front that you’ll never ring or email using their current work contact details, and you are of course happy to meet and interview outside normal working hours.

Network, network, network

A clever on-going, strategy is to ensure that you attend networking events and build up a steady stream of passive candidate contacts, to be used at a later date. It’s good policy to network whether you are recruiting for a particular role or not. If you use networking as a long range plan of action you build contacts slowly and establish trust with each of your candidates. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn are a great way to stay in touch.

Know your candidates

When you find an ideal passive candidate, make sure you do your homework. Taking the time to research a candidate properly is worth its weight in gold. It’s extremely flattering for a passive candidate to be approached, particularly with some visible progress already made into understanding their current circumstances.

First impressions are powerful. If you want to win the war for talent in the Print and Packaging sectors, carefully thought out strategies such as these make all the difference.

Athena Executive Search. If you are serious about attracting and retaining the best talent in the Print and Packaging sectors Athena can help. Our 7 Step Recruiting System is designed to ensure that you can recruit and retain the top 15% of candidates in the Print and Packaging market, candidates who are motivated by much more than money. We work in partnership with our clients to fully understand their requirements and ensure that newly recruited staff are joining for the right reasons and looking to develop a long-term career.

Book in for a Client Discovery Call today by clicking on this link https://athena-executive.acuityscheduling.com/

How to improve your work productivity

Productivity is the place where smart planning meets concentrated effort. To some, this place is nirvana: a productivity paradise they have long heard of but do not expect to visit anytime soon. There’s too much to do. To others, productivity is a practical process available to all, provided that you’re prepared to chip in a bit of discipline and effort. We believe in the latter ethos. Productivity is a simple and straightforward process. We just need some coaxing to change our thinking as to how to eke out the best from ourselves at work.

Move!

You almost certainly know that sitting for most of the day damages your health. Research has proved that sitting for 8-10 hours every day without moving around in between causes heart attacks. What does this have to do with productivity we hear you ask? Your energy levels are reduced because you’re not moving around. If your energy levels dip, your concentration levels take a hit. If your concentration is impaired, your decision making isn’t what it could be. Productivity isn’t about how many hours you sit at your desk. Productivity is what you achieve without ruining your health.

Disconnect

In America alone 12.2 billion hours are collectively spent scrolling social media sites. The approximate cost of these diversions in productivity terms is approximately $650 billion per year (that’s about $4,452 per person).

Constantly switching between the task at hand to quickly check your social media feeds impairs your focus levels. While this may not affect you initially, you’ll discover its crippling effects when circumstances demand you focus for an extended period. Monitor your scrolling time. You’ll be happier, have more energy and will notice the world around you again. TV watching is another culprit. As they say, no empire was ever built watching TV. Discipline yourself to one show per evening, and notice how your concentration levels improve.

Think about what you want to achieve and look at how you are realistically going to achieve it. The temptation to escape by watching TV is real, we know, but the advantages and rewards when you resist the urge and get on with going for that swim, walk or catching up with some reading are remarkable.

Plan

Before you leave the office for the day, plan your tasks for tomorrow. Writing a to do list of what you want to get done focuses your mind. When you leave the office you are confident of what needs to be done when you return. Overnight your mind has some time to itself (because you’re not slumped in front of the TV) and, after a while, you’ll start having good ideas. You might find yourself doing some background reading or brainstorming on your commute to work.

You were right all along

Forget multi-tasking. Research has confirmed what our frayed nerves have been trying to tell us: we cannot complete multiple tasks simultaneously. The old rule of “one thing at a time” is back and we’re all more productive because of it.

The key to productivity is working smarter, not harder. You know what you need to do. Far from being a grind, being productive increases positivity, wellbeing and guarantees success. Go for it!

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1