Reflections by one of our Talent Summit Speakers - Jeni Brown, Chief People Officer at Teamwork
Yesterday I was delighted to not only attend but to have been part of a panel session at this years #talentsummit. It has been two long years since we had in person events - and this didn’t disappoint. It was the largest HR / People Leader event in Ireland and indeed Europe in 2022. There was so much energy, a jammed pack agenda with exceptional thought leaders sharing their insights and learning, as we focused on the theme of ‘Work in Progress’, and with the venue #CCD made it a memorable day. It was a gift to meet friends and acquaintances that I haven’t met in person for several years and I truly loved sharing ideas, pain points and solutions with everyone there.
What we have learned over the past two years is that where we work and when we work doesn’t really matter- it’s the experience of work that really matters. At Teamwork we believe that work is what you do, not where you sit. Our customers are global but so are our people. We have people in 21 different countries and we continue to grow and scale - focused on hiring the best talent, regardless of location.
We joked that the Chief People Officers role should be renamed to Chief Uncertainty Officer. With uncertainty comes great innovation. We now have the power to set ourselves up for success. We want to be the driving force for change. What that looks like isn’t yet clear and most definitely will not be a “one size fits all model” but my team are committed to shaping the future of working for our people.
In my session with Katy Ingle and Laura Flynn wonderfully moderated by Mike McDonagh we discussed what “Sustaining a Hybrid Culture” really means. We all agreed that we don’t have the silver bullet when it comes to success but we know what we need to do is equip and help out leaders in this new way of working, be accountable as a team and continuously learn from each other. At Teamwork we are introducing a new performance and engagement platform to enable our people and our leadership team drive success in a hybrid working model. The key value in this approach is ensuring a connected way of working, aligning what matters to what is done, encouraging more continuous conversations, feedback and empowering all our people to realise a rewarding career punctuated by growth and development. We are lucky to have a great product that supports this new way of working. We need to be mindful that when we are asking people back into the office it needs to be for moments that matter. They need to add value to the individual and the overall team: to create connection, encourage creativity and build collaboration.
I am more convinced than ever that we need to plan for the world we live in NOW and to ask ourselves how we can be doing better and more importantly NEVER get comfortable and stay connected with our people. There is much to be done but with great people we can achieve anything.
#talentsummit #life@teamwork #hybridworking
Posted by Jeni Brown on 30 March 2022
In-Demand Business Support & Customer Service Skills
In-Demand Business Support & Customer Service Skills
As companies work hard to stay competitive and provide exceptional experiences to their clients, the need for skilled staff in business support and customer service keeps growing. In this article, we'll look at the important skills businesses are looking for.1. Great CommunicationWhether you're talking or writing, it's vital to be clear. Nowadays, good communication also means being good with digital tools. Employers want people who can talk professionally with colleagues, clients, and customers, making sure everyone gets the right information.Top Tip for interviews: Prepare examples that highlight your proficiency in clear and effective communication. Share instances where you successfully conveyed complex information to non-technical stakeholders. 2. Problem Solving AcumenIn the world of business, problems come up all the time. The ability to think on your feet and adapt to unforeseen circumstances showcases your commitment to delivering results.Top Tip for Interviews: Prepare specific anecdotes showcasing your problem-solving skills. Describe situations where you identified a challenge, analysed options, and implemented a successful solution. 3. Technological ProficiencyFamiliarity with various software, tools, and platforms can significantly enhance your employability. Things like customer relationship systems, project management tools, and data analysis software are just a few examples of technologies that are becoming increasingly integral to business operations. Embracing technology shows you're ready to work in a modern business.Top Tip for your C.V: List the software, applications, and tools you are proficient in on your C.V. Make sure to also include any certifications or trainings related to these technologies on your LinkedIn profile. 4. Adaptability and FlexibilityThe Irish business landscape is always changing, which is why being flexible is so important. Companies want people who can handle change, learn fast, and switch things up when they need to. Being open to new challenges and being willing to upskill can set you apart in a competitive job market.Top tip for your C.V.: On your CV, talk about times when you changed and helped your team or company grow. For interviews, give examples of when you tried new things or took on jobs that weren't easy for you. Show your ability to thrive in dynamic environments. 5. Speaking Other LanguagesIreland’s strategic position in the European Union has led to an influx of international businesses and customers. If you know languages like Spanish, French, or German, this can be a significant advantage. It means you can talk to more people and understand more clients Multilingualism showcases your cultural awareness and ability to engage with a diverse audience.Top Tip for your C.V: Include a section that highlights your language proficiencies and any experiences where you effectively used them in a professional setting. 6. Being Kind and Focused on CustomersFor jobs where you help customers, being kind is important. If you know what customers want and care about their problems, they'll like your company more. Companies value candidates who prioritize customer-centricity, as it directly impacts customer satisfaction and long-term success.Top Tip for Interviews: Share stories of how your empathy positively influenced customer interactions, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction and/or conflict resolution.7. Time Management and OrganisationKnowing how to use your time well and organise things can make you get more done. From arranging meetings to handling administrative responsibilities, these skills demonstrate your capability to juggle multiple priorities and meet deadlines consistently.Top Tip for interviews: Provide examples of how your strong time management skills helped you meet tight deadlines or manage multiple projects simultaneously. As the business world in Ireland keeps changing, the demand for proficient business support and customer service professionals remains steady. Cultivating these in-demand skills not only increases your employability but also positions you as an asset to your employer. Whether you're already experienced or just starting out, getting good at these skills can help you find great jobs and help Irish businesses grow, even when they're competing with companies from all around the world. At Sigmar, we're committed to connecting top talent with businesses seeking excellence in business support and customer service. Get in touch to explore how we can help you thrive in these exciting fields. Email your cv to email@example.com or check out current jobs here
Ireland Gateway To Europe 2023 - A week in Review
Ireland Gateway To Europe 2023 - A week in Review
At the end of March, the Ireland Gateway To Europe delegation headed to the US for a week long series of events, to promote transatlantic trade as well as host a special event to commemorate 25 years of the Good Friday Agreement. This year the group of 50 delegates from 25 Irish companies and organisations, as well as the team from Newstalk, set out for Chicago, Boston and New York. CHICAGOOur trip started on Monday in the Irish Consulate in Chicago, hosted by Consul Kevin Byrne. The following day we headed out to the University of Notre Dame, ahead their game in Dublin this August. As well as touring the campus and famous sports facilities, we had an insightful lecture on design thinking and some Yankee Sullivan stories over lunch. We also got to spend some time with the next generation of Irish success stories studying on their ESTEEM Graduate Program at the University of Notre Dame.BOSTONWe got to Boston on Wednesday, to host the Boston College Ireland Business Council Peace Dinner, where George Mitchell was awarded the Irish Institute Leadership Award to for his distinguished contribution to the peace process in Northern Ireland; and heard from guest speakers including: Taoiseach Bertie Ahern; journalist Tommie Gorman; Joe Kennedy III, Special Envoy to Northern Ireland; Boston College Provost David Quigley; Ruairi De Burca; Mary Sugrue; Warren Zola; and Robert MacGiolla Phádraig from Sigmar Recruitment.The next morning we hosted a Boston College CEO Breakfast with Enterprise Ireland at the offices of G-P. There were great insights shared by Sharon Cunningham of Shorla Oncology, and Jim Joyce of HealthBeacon as they discussed their scaling journeys and the impact of Irish innovation in the US healthcare industry. We also had the privilege of listening to Katherine Kostereva in conversation with Robert Mac Giolla Phadraig discussing the growth of Boston based multinational, Creatio. NEW YORKOn Friday the group went on a special visit to the UN, followed by some time and interesting conversations with Ambassador Fergal Mythen. Bank of Ireland hosted our Global CEO Forum at their impressive NYC hub in Manhattan. The event was MC'd by Robert Mac Giolla Phadraig, CCO at Sigmar Recruitment. We heard some really interesting conversations from Caroline Klatt, co-founder at Flowcarbon; and two Irish founders operating in the US - Aimée Madden, Founder and President of CliniShift; James O'Reilly, President of Life Time Work.The group then spent the evening at Irish Consulate in New York, hosted by Consul General Helena Nolan, a lovely end to a great week.
Sigmar Recruitment Announce Frank Farrelly As CEO, Adie McGennis to Step Into Executive Chairman Role
Sigmar Recruitment Announce Frank Farrelly As CEO, Adie McGennis to Step Into Executive Chairman Role
Today, Sigmar Recruitment announce that our co-founder and current CEO Adie McGennis will step into the role of Executive Chairman, and our Chief Operating Officer, Frank Farrelly will become Sigmar’s CEO.Frank has been with the multi-award-winning recruitment company since it opened in 2002, serving as COO since 2011. He is a former President of the Employment & Recruitment Federation (ERF) and currently chairs the steering group for the Apprenticeship in Recruitment. On his appointment Frank comments: “I’m really excited to continue my journey with Sigmar. I look forward to working with our great team to continue our story in Ireland and around the globe ensuring all our clients, candidates and community stakeholders get the best of Sigmar. I’m excited to lead the company into its next phase of growth as we further our momentum in the marketplace.” Frank Farrelly’s appointment was announced and warmly welcomed by current CEO Adie McGennis who will move into the role of Executive Chairman and will have a continuing involvement in the business focusing on international projects for parent company Groupe Adéquat.During his time as CEO McGennis led Sigmar to significant growth becoming the largest organically grown recruitment firm in Ireland before its strategic merger with Groupe Adéquat in 2018. This impressive baseline sets Farrelly up to continue solidifying Sigmar as Ireland’s leading recruitment agency. “I am delighted to be staying on as Executive Chairman and thrilled that Frank is formally taking the CEO role. Frank is an industry legend and his leadership from day one and into the future, brings exciting times for Sigmar, nationally and internationally,” says McGennis.All the team wish Frank and Adie every success in their new roles. Massive Congrats!
Talent Summit 2023
Talent Summit 2023
Founded at the height of the financial crisis, Talent Summit is now one of the biggest events of its kind in Europe. Sigmar CCO and Talent Summit Founder Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig talks about this year’s event, HR trends, and why the tech slump is an opportunity for indigenous firms. (Featured in The Currency)---The Currency is media partner of Talent Summit. It will be producing a series of podcasts with executive and thought leaders in human resources participating in the event. The Currency’s podcast stage is sponsored by Employee Financial Wellness a financial education and advice company supporting Talent Summit. For the full line up, tickets and more visit www.talentsummit.ie----Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig remembers founding Talent Summit back in 2011, when unemployment surged to more than 10 per cent and the country was on the brink of economic collapse.Mac Giolla Phádraig, who had co-led the management buyout of recruitment firm Sigmar just two years earlier, decided to launch National Employment Week as part of a not-for-profit effort. The aim was to connect employers who were still hiring with the tens of thousands of people who were losing their jobs amid Ireland’s economic implosion.“The idea was to set up a job activation initiative,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “Unemployment was peaking, and we just wanted to do something to help.”Twelve years later the event has transformed into Talent Summit, making March 9 this year an important date in the Human Resources calendar. Between 1,500 and 2,000 HR professionals attend the summit, making it one of the biggest events of its type in Europe. There are 35 speakers from around the world scheduled, ranging from Evelyn Doyle, the head of people and culture at Patagonia, to Eddie Wilson, the chief executive of Ryanair. A smaller basecamp event takes place the day before for 100 chief people officers from Ireland and overseas.During Covid-19 the event became virtual before returning to being in-person last year. HR had changed a lot during the pandemic.“People really wanted content,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “They were trying to figure out what was next for people strategies.”The other thing they wanted to do was convene and network. “They hadn’t been together for two years,” he said. “The conference is about the experience as much as the content. That’s why this year we’ve gone for a whole new look and feel that is flexible and open-plan for delegates.”The VHI will be operating a wellness experience, whileThe Currency, with the support ofEmployee Financial Wellness, is operating a podcast corner. Comedian Joanne McNally is closing the event at an evening reception.Mac Giolla Phádraig, the chief commercial officer with Sigmar, says that putting together the programme for this year’s Talent Summit gave him a unique insight into the challenges and needs of HR leaders.“I think it’s a very confusing labour market right now,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “The challenges have been largely talent-led the last two or three years. We’ve seen unprecedented levels of churn in the market with the fallout of remote working all of which is talent driven – it was all about the shortage of talent and how to retain it.“But this is now changing as the economy gets tougher. We’re seeing a lot of contradictions which is the theme of this year’s conference which is the tug of war of work.”He added: “Employers and employees can have opposite priorities. Before there was the swing of power from employer to employee but now it is moving back to the employer quite a bit.“At the same time, flexibility is going in the direction of employees and not necessarily for employers.”New opportunities and leadershipAccording to Mac Giolla Phádraig, the future of work could be thought about in a simple way: “You have a workplace, a workforce, and then work practice. Work practice is what enables and facilitates both workplace and workforce to collaborate and deliver the product or service.“The burning challenge right now is to make sense of how you can maybe be reducing your workforce, but still have pressure to recruit, while retention remains your number one priority, all under increasing cost pressures. That’s a very confusing message to manage, and a confusing strategy to execute.”Mac Giolla Phádraig said this was a big theme of the conference, not just for tech companies but also for other sectors that may be considering job cuts. The chief people officers of two of Ireland’s best tech unicorns, L. David Kingsley from Intercom, and Stephanie White, from Fenergo are both speaking at the event on how they see the HR market for tech.“We want to drill into, with them, where lies the opportunity in the current market?” Mac Giolla Phádraig said.He added that another theme of the conference was leadership development with Lise Render Nielsen from Lego and Leah Hollander from NASA among the speakers.“When you think about the talent supply chain,” he said. “You buy talent by recruiting it, you borrow it by taking on temporary or flexible people or bot it by automating processes.“Or you can build it. Building your own talent pipeline has been less focussed on in recent years and probably underinvested in, so we’re looking at what you can to increase that.”Mac Giolla Phádraig recalled the story of how President John F Kennedy visited NASA for the first time in 1962: “As he toured the facility the President met a janitor, and asked him: ‘What is it you do here?’ and he replied: ‘I’m helping put a man on the moon.’ That is being purpose driven. With the HR director of NASA we will be taking a deep dive into the driving force behind that level of purpose-driven followship and how it drives discretionary effort, the holy grail of performance.”Many technology companies, he said, had relied on a “seven-star kind of office experience” as a symbol of their culture, but now it is all about mission. “When tech companies lost that competitive advantage of the office experience they doubled down on a deep sense of purpose, their nobility in solving major problems and trying to create a kind of family feel by supporting their people’s wellbeing and so on,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said.“But we’ve had a bit of a wake up call and maybe people feel (because of redundancies) that employers aren’t family, performing well trumps wellbeing and many of their causes are a little less noble perhaps.”“When decisions are made based on the profit and loss account a business can lose its soul somewhat. I think a lot is being played out right now and it will be interesting to see where we end up over the next 12 months.“The golden handcuffs of share options were one of the main challenges in headhunting tech talent for companies who are in growth mode. But as valuations plummeted last year, we saw them change to bronze handcuffs.”People power“Talent Summit has become of the largest HR conference series in Europe.”Employees, he said, were more prepared to move, and this offered more opportunities to Irish-owned companies and startups to hire good people. “It isn’t all bad news, as indigenous tech and earlier-stage companies can now get access to international talent based in Ireland,” he said.Inflation was putting pressure on employers to increase pay, but again there was tension as the jobs market was not as buoyant as it was. “It’s another tug of war,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “Some employers are saying ‘We can help and support you with your financial well-being, but our job isn’t to match inflation.’ It is up to the talent market to decide who wins or loses in these battles.”Traditionally, the route to becoming chief executive officer is often via becoming chief financial officer or chief operating officer first. Talent Summit however is talking to two of Ireland’s most respected CEOs – Eddie Wilson of Ryanair and Noel Keely of Musgrave – who both came from a HR background. “The answer to the financial crisis was very much the CFO,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “The Chief People Officer was the answer to the people crisis and really came to the fore during the pandemic, and they’re still there.”“We’re starting to see how the perception of that function and its impact has changed,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “There is a new trend of the CPO moving into the CEO role, so that’s why we have two former heads of HR who have made that journey talking about this.“A lot of the problems to be solved in business are to do with people. HR has a really big impact on organisations especially when they are undergoing transformation. That’s why chief people officers are becoming of ever greater importance as leaders in companies.”Wanting something moreIn September 2022, the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard gave up his ownership of the company to a trust dedicated to fighting climate change. Head of People and Culture Evelyn Doyle is going to talk about the impact this has had on Patagonia.“She is going to talk about what it means to be a ‘for planet’ business – what challenges it has brought, and how they create a unique sense of purpose and belonging in their company. Not every company is going to go as far as Patagonia but I think it has ideas that a lot of HR leaders can adopt, and help them to think about impact in a greater way.”The Talent Summit also has a panel discussion on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) with speakers Laura Matthews from Bank of America and Joe Creegan from Zurich. “We want to understand what ESG means to different people in the room?” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “In any talent decision – hiring, retaining, leading – it is about winning hearts and minds.“We want to explore the conversation not just between the employee and the employer but also the customer and society. There is a lot of talk about this, and some of it is window dressing.”He added: “We want to talk about how to create real, material, impactful strategies. HR leaders really showed up for their teams during the pandemic, but now the call to action is what impact can they have on society and making the planet a better place.”Talent Summit aims to combine access to the best HR executives, as well as thought leadership.Dave Ulrich, an author of over 30 books and one of the most influential people in the world in HR, is delivering a keynote speech on “Unleashing human capability for stakeholder value.”“Dave is the godfather of modern HR,” Mac Giolla Phádraig said. “The current HR model is the one he developed and what he is going to talk about is remodelling it post the pandemic. He will be sharing his latest thinking on what we need to do to be more competitive and how HR can have greater impact on all stakeholders.”Ireland, Mac Giolla Phádraig said, had shown it could attract the best companies and talent but it couldn’t afford to be complacent. “We have been a great home for multijurisdictional companies for over 30 years,” he said.“We do have challenges like housing and the cost of living, but we also have an innate sense of storytelling that can build and lead teams. Talent Summit has become of the largest HR conference series in Europe, and we want to make HR better and give Ireland a voice as a great place to work and build a business from.”The Currency is media partner of Talent Summit. It will be producing a series of podcasts with executive and thought leaders in human resources participating in the event. The Currency’s podcast stage is sponsored by Employee Financial Wellness a financial education and advice company supporting Talent Summit. For the full line up, tickets and more visit www.talentsummit.ie