In the 30 years that the Dutch multinational AkzoNobel has collaborated with PageGroup, the only constant has been constant change. Both the company and potential candidates need to be agile enough to cope with new situations. “Many of the jobs new hires will do in the future, don´t even exist today.”

These are turbulent times for international business. The unexpected outcome of the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump in the United States are just a few examples of the how the political and economic landscape can change from one day to another. In a globalised world, where all economic activities are cross-linked, companies must be agile enough to allow for sudden change and ensure that their personnel policies reflect that.

Unifying HR policies

That is exactly what AkzoNobel has been doing over the last few years: previously every business unit had its own HR policies and associated processes and systems. “There were many different ways of basically doing the same thing,” explains Ruth Saunders, Global Head of Talent Acquisition with AkzoNobel. “In the past few years we have move to a more efficient, standard global approach.”

“It has enabled us to offer better service to local managers who work in partnership with HR,” says Ruth. “To give an example: as an organisation, we created a global Leadership Behaviour framework to guide people managers to become the best leaders and role models they can be, and to give them a framework to lead their team’s performance. With such a standardised approach managers use the same materials and a common language, which helps when it comes to internal mobility. It is, for example much easier to develop manager’s careers across country borders.

Consumer approach

Part of the new HR model of AkzoNobel is the focus on Talent Acquisition. “The way candidates look for new job opportunities has changed in recent years,” says Ruth. “The new generation approaches a potential job similar to the way consumers decide on purchasing a new product,” explains Ruth. “They look at websites like Glassdoor and Indeed for reviews on the company. As an organisation, you need to be aware of this consumer mind-set when you want to recruit new talent, and adjust your practices accordingly. You also need to take into account that candidates are often much more open to relocate to another country for their work. That broadens the scope for potential candidates and organisations.”

Coping with changes

At the same time, the candidate requirements for jobs have changed. “The jobs they will do in five years from now probably don´t even exit yet, and technology is constantly evolving,” Ruth says. “So you need to look for candidates who are agile enough to cope with change. They need to be able to keep on learning and adapting to new situations throughout their career. The challenge is to select the people who have the potential to keep on growing.”

A recruitment agency like PageGroup can play a role in finding those candidates in specific niches. “Our relationship with PageGroup has changed over years: where in the past it was simply about filling vacancies, it has evolved into a more of a partnership to find the right candidates for a specific specialist role. In certain niches they have a much better network than we have. In that sense recruitment agencies like PageGroup will always play an important role in our Talent Acquisition strategy.”

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