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  • Writer's pictureAndy Goram

Why This Recruitment Company Rebranded to Focus on Retention

Two smiling men on a podcast talking about recruitment and retention
Darius Matusiak, MD Partnerships, Macildowie (left) and Andy Goram, host (right) talk recruitment and retention

Does the struggle of attracting and retaining top talent sound familiar? Have you been told to simply offer higher salaries or better benefits, only to still be facing high turnover rates and recruitment challenges? The frustration of pouring resources into traditional solutions that don't solve the underlying issues can be disheartening. It's time to explore new, effective strategies that address the root causes of recruitment and retention challenges, and ultimately build a thriving workforce. Right?

Well that challenge also existed for established recruitment firm, Macildowie. And as a result of the changing landscape of work, the seismic shifts in the labour market and a need to fix what some see as a broken industry, they've recently pivoted and rebranded as a Recruitment and Retention business. But what does that mean, and why do it now? Host of the popular Sticky From The Inside Podcast, Andy Goram, speaks to Darius Matusiak, Macildowie's MD of Partnerships to find out.

You can listen to the full conversation on the player below, or read the following full transcript to find out what the pair uncovered.

Podcast Transcript

00:00:10 - Andy Goram

Hello and welcome to Sticky from the Inside, the employee engagement podcast that looks at how to build stickier competition-smashing consistently successful organisations from the inside out. I'm your host, Andy Goram, and I'm on a mission to help more businesses turn the lights on behind the eyes of their employees, light the fires within them, and create tons more success for everyone. This podcast is for all those who believe that's something worth going after and would like a little help and guidance in achieving that. Each episode we dive into the topics that can help create what I call stickier businesses. The sort of businesses where people thrive and love to work, and where more customers stay with you and recommend you to others because they love what you do and why you do it.

So if you want to take the tricky out of being sticky, listen on.


00:01:10 - Andy Goram

Okay, in a world where the only constant is change, the workplace is no exception. From the seismic shifts in remote working to the growing emphasis on work life balance, the landscape of employment continues to evolve right before our very eyes. And with these changes come significant challenges in both recruiting top talent and, crucially, retaining them. I've recently sat on an international panel of employer branding experts to try and answer the question, recruitment or retention? Which, to be frank, was a deliberately broad and ambiguous question, but elicited such a diverse range of opinion and insight depending on where in the world you were based, it's clear we're not all facing the same issues. But the common threads throughout the discussion were that things are changing and a focus on understanding where your business is headed, what culture is needed to get there, and how you recruit, retain and grow your people all need to be joined up.

The Shift To Balance Recruitment & Retention

Now today we're delving into a fascinating angle of this evolving question of balancing recruitment and retention. I'm joined by Darius Matusiak from Macildowie, a firm that's not just observed these changes, but has actively rebranded in response to them. That's right, they’ve transitioned from being solely a recruitment firm to a recruitment and retention company, addressing head on the challenges businesses face in this new era. Now, what does this shift mean? Why do it now? How does a company renowned for recruitment pivot to emphasise retention as well? Is this what's going to fix what many have referred to as a broken industry? And most importantly, what could we learn from their journey that applies to businesses and employees alike?

These are just a few of the tantalizing questions we'll be exploring. So, whether you're a business leader, an HR professional, or just someone passionate about the culture and dynamics of the workplace, this is an episode I don't think you'll want to miss. So, stay tuned as we unravel the secrets to successful recruitment and retention in today's rapidly changing work environment.

Welcome to the show, Darius.


00:03:28 - Darius Matusiak

Andy, thanks for having me. It's a privilege to be part of the conversation and I love the work that you do.

00:03:33 - Andy Goram

Oh, bless you. That's very kind of you. Well, I'm fascinated with what you and Macildowie have been doing, and I want to find out more. But before you let me kind of crawl all over that and you tell us what's what, do me a favour, my friend. Just give us a little bit of information about who you are, what your background is. And actually what would be really interesting is why is this topic that we're going to talk about today so important to you?

Introduction To Darius Matusiak & Macildowie

00:03:59 - Darius Matusiak

Okay, cool. So, fast approaching 14 years with Mackle Dowie. Joined the business as a finance recruiter where I operated a desk across Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes for around about 18 months and then moved over to build our HR markets. It was something that was very new to the business at the time. So this is back in 2011, twelve ish. And I was fortunate enough to be able to work with some fantastic organisations where I developed relationships. That meant we were able to build kind of a consistent stream of revenue that afforded me the opportunity to build a team. I was then in a position where I was able to manage that team officially, then manage the whole division. And then I was given a chance to actually become a director of a couple of different divisions.

That went well. So the extra division that I took on there was sales and marketing, and then it would have been about five or six years ago, I was able to step up again and be the managing director for the south offering of Macildowie. So all of our offerings, all of our divisions, should I say, across the south geographic. And then about just over a year ago, I moved over to become MD of our partnerships offering. So our partnerships offering is essentially everything that sits outside of the recruitment side of the business. So we help businesses from a retention perspective. And that's done really through three key streams. The first being that we help them to actually build and change and develop their cultures. The second being that once you've got a great culture and set of behaviours and sense of purpose, you want to articulate it. So we help define what the EVP looks like for those businesses, creating all of the assets and the marketing material. And then you've got to go out to market and promote your brand. And the final stream that we help our customers with is employer branding.

The Importance Of Recruitment & Retention

So, I think the second part of your question was, why is this topic so important to me? I think it's important to me for many reasons, and most of it is actually born out of the time that I've spent working in HR recruitment, learning about organisations and the importance of getting behaviours and purpose and culture. And predominantly, I think it's born out of the fact that so many organisations struggle with it. There's very much a mindset around if a business wants to make investment and it's a piece of machinery, and they can see that that machinery will spit back a return within three years. The CFO has got no issue signing that off. But when it comes to something that is a little bit more organic, and soft and fluffy, and arguably at times not as measurable, although I really would push back on that thought process these days, that it becomes harder for businesses to buy in, shall we say, to that level of investment and really focus on having a people first culture. But I think predominantly, if you can do that, your organisation will be more successful. Businesses run on people, customers stay loyal because of the people that they deal with, and profits grow as a result of that loyalty. So, for me, it is born out of helping our customers be the best version that they can be and having an engaged and happy workforce that produces results not only for the business, but for their customer base.

00:07:39 - Andy Goram

Yeah, I mean, I just think it's fascinating because traditionally, solely recruitment focused as a business, and then the three pieces of building a culture, defining an EVP and then promoting that on an employer brand basis, they're big things, they're big topics. And to pivot from that recruitment piece to recruitment and retention, I just think is fascinating. And hopefully we will get into some of the nuts and bolts about that as we go on with the conversation, I just want to cover off maybe a bit of the context here, which may explain some of the reasons why the company changed and where your focus is now put. I mean, I wasn't incredibly polite at the start when I talk about the recruitment industry being broken. Now, look, some of that comes from my own experience, but I don't think I'm alone in sort of saying those words. But where do you think…? Well, firstly, ask the right question. Is that fair? Where do you think it comes from? If it is, or why do you think it's not fair, if it isn't fair? Explain a bit of that for me. Darius.

Is The Recruitment Industry Broken?

00:08:56 - Darius Matusiak

Wow, that's a big question. So is the recruitment industry broken? I think it's more broken than it has been previously, but I don't necessarily think it's ever been unbroken. And I think there are reasons for that, because when you think about why a company might need to keep going to market, very often it stems from the relationship the individual might have with the line manager, and therefore that's why they leave. It might stem from a lack of belief in the leadership team. Do they trust them? Do they get a sense of direction? And is that direction inspiring? Are they in a position where they feel that they have got a visibility of where their career is going, when it's going to get to where they want it to get to, and what the key milestones are for them to hit, to be able to keep moving forwards within the organisation. And very often, unfortunately, the answer to those questions are falling on the negative side of things. So is recruitment broken? I think it's largely broken because the relationship between the employee and the employer is lacking an element of equity, if you like, for some of the reasons that I've mentioned.

And I think what we've seen happen in the run up to Covid and then be accelerated after that, is this real emphasis on people wanting to work for businesses where they can align with the purpose of the organisation, or they feel that there is a cultural empathy towards what the values are of that business and how people do business together within the company, how they communicate, how they give feedback, how they disagree on things as well. And therefore, I think as a result of us being in a position as recruiters, where an organisation might come to us and say, we need somebody now, they're on a month's notice, they've got two weeks holiday to use, we've got to get a bum on a seat. I think the argument for recruitment being broken comes because it becomes such a reactive exercise.

So I think the big thing is that businesses really could be investing more effectively in essentially workforce planning, talent planning and so on and so forth. And unfortunately, business needs very often become higher on the list, shall we say, of the agenda, I. E. Urgent and important. And that kind of talent planning generally sits underneath that as important, but never gets to the top of the list. So we're in a position very often as recruiters where things have got to move quickly, there's a panic. Potentially the compromise might have to happen with regard to either behaviours or skills. And generally, I think you can then get into the psychology side of things with regard to line managers being loaded with bias, particularly ones whereby people like to recruit in their own mould. Right. And I think all of these things have an effect. So there's no silver bullet answer to your question.


00:12:28 - Andy Goram

Okay. I mean, I think it's really interesting, a few things that you sort of said there. I think the planning issue. Yeah, I can understand the planning piece causing then a, I guess, concentrated effort to fill a vacancy, which may lead to the bit that I think people experience, and which is why it's fascinating, I think, with the switch or the pivot that you've got here is that maybe that pace is driving a lack of personal human connection in that recruitment cycle. Maybe it feels like you're being fed into a machine, and out you come the other side, unless you're in some sort of high level executive search where there's a different number of people being looked at. And yet the things that you talk about and the pivot that you're making into the retention side of the business and the language that you've used so far today has been very much about connection and people and behaviour and certainty.

All these kind of great things I'm a massive advocate for. And I think this is the thing that's really piqued my interest in what you guys are doing in blending something that perhaps, to some has felt a little impersonal to the other side of, I guess, the more personal agenda at work about, well, what does it really take to retain talent? And that hits on a lot of the notes that you've already talked about, and I'm sure we'll hit on more as we prepare to think about what the cause for the rebranding was and where the focus sort of came from and what that looks like today.

When you look at the changing dynamics of the sort of labour pool, if you like, or the dynamics of the workplace in general, Darius, from someone who's actually in it, trying to help people find the right place to work, and now trying to find ways to help businesses properly engage with their people and have an assemblance of an authentic employer brand, what are those changes? What are the difficulties and hurdles that businesses are really facing, from your perspective?

Understanding Workplace Generational Differences

00:14:34 - Darius Matusiak

So I think one of the big things that we hear consistently from a whole range of organisations, regardless of size or sector, is difficulty in actually keeping engaged the sub two year cohort. So in a very generalized sense, these might be the people that are classed as Gen Z. And when you actually look at their belief systems, what's important to them? How do they view the world? What's the relationship that they have with an employer? It differs hugely from those that are in leadership roles. So perhaps your Gen X's and certainly your Baby Boomers. I guess on one side of the fence in those leadership roles, you've got a cohort that have been used to a command and control style. And then in the Gen Z pool, you've got this desire to be coached. You've got this need for autonomy. You've got a view of… because they're so technologically proficient, what on earth is this nine to five concept? Why do I need to travel to an office? I could do this from anywhere at any time, within reason. Obviously, it doesn't stand for every organisation. So I think what we're talking about here maybe is kind of a lack of understanding between these two generations of those that run the business and those that have got informational power and over time will obviously become more influential within the organisation. I think a pretty big thing. Sorry, you're going to say something?


00:16:19 - Andy Goram

No, I'm just sitting here. I ran only last week, a generational cohort theory kind of workshop with people. And I think it's really interesting what you say, and this is becoming quite a thing, I think, for some businesses to try and understand the relationships. Whether or not you're fully bought into the theory of generational cohort theory, it cannot apply to everybody in those cohorts, but it gives some indications. I think the real thing is using it as another lens to see people as individuals. But having said that, I thought what was very interesting about what you said and what the guys were saying, and there was a lot of Gen Z's in this session alongside a mix of other generations, was this sort of paradox within Gen Z of wanting to be driven by purpose, connected by values, but also recognising, I'm not here forever. And actually, this is just giving me some cash right now. And, I mean, this was a Hospitality sector conversation at the time, so there's some biases within that. But there does seem to be this sort of paradox that's fascinating. I wonder about other things that are generally in the ether, right?

The Impact of A.I. On Work

00:17:35 - Darius Matusiak

Yeah, I mean, there are some big plays, in my opinion, that are going on. Obviously, there's AI, and that's the hot topic on everybody's lips at the moment. But I think the key consideration that we need to give to AI, particularly on the backdrop of some of what we've just spoken about with regard to Gen Z's working preferences, is that as this gains momentum and becomes more embedded in everyday operations, the thought process is that

by 2026, AI will save an average of two days per week for every employee. 

Now that doesn't mean to say that we're going to be dropping to three day weeks, but it does mean to say that the focus of what people do will shift. So, I think the likelihood of the administrative side of the job will remaining is going to be somewhat minimal. AI will be able to sweep up a lot of that lower level, kind of repetitive task types, types of work. So you've got that piece at play potentially running parallel to that. You've got more momentum, I would suppose, around the four-day week.


00:18:57 - Andy Goram

I was going to ask you about that because I wanted to know whether that was real or not. Because you can never tell with the headlines around these things. There are times when four day week seems like it's going to be inevitable. There's guys who've been doing it for years. There's people I've had on the podcast who have only ever done a four day week, and it works brilliantly for them. But is it one of those things that's a headline grabber, but is it really gaining traction? So what do you see on the inside?

The 4-Day Week

00:19:26 - Darius Matusiak

I would say it's still at concept stage, largely, but the adoption rate is increasing in momentum all the time. Can I say hand on heart that we've seen it with a lot of our customer base? No, not yet. Are they asking questions about it? Yes. Is it the majority? No. Is it the minority? But is it growing? Absolutely. And just to put some meat on the bones around the four-day week piece, I've had the privilege of meeting with the CEO of the four day week global chap called Dale Whelehan. Fascinating guy. And in the conversation that I had with him on my own podcast, he gave some pretty big insights to me that started to convince me that this is going to go somewhere. And what he spoke about was, you've obviously got the carbon targets that need to be hit in the future, and the government are showing a real interest in the four-day week with a view to that. Plus, flexible working being a way of helping us achieve the numbers that we need to hit.

He then talked about, if you actually look at the spending data across different times of the year, people spend the most in local economies, and therefore local economies do their best over the summer periods, when people are on school holidays, out of work, going on trips, et cetera. And obviously, if I'm in the office five days a week, I've got my Amazon Prime, I can order things that way. Might be able to buy a bit off eBay, but none of that is putting money back into the local economy. Whereas if I've got a day off and I walk to the park, I might stop and get a paper, I may pick up a coffee, a loaf of bread, so on and so, so forth. And you've got this piece there around helping the smaller organisations get back on their feet, post Covid, get the money circulating and so on and so forth.

And then the third piece that he spoke to me about was taking a view on the healthcare system. And when you look at the strain that that healthcare system is experiencing at the moment, many of the reasons that patients are in hospital are born out of lifestyle choices that are made as a result of being burned out, stressed, overworked, et cetera. And when you look at the studies of those companies that have been involved in the four-day week and what that's done for the well-being of their employees, you can see the potential weight that would be taken off the healthcare system if it became a thing. So for me, hearing those three big things, coupled with the savings that AI are going to make on the working week, I don't know when it's going to happen, but we've gone from a seven day week, to a six day week, to a five day week. I don't see any reason why we don't go to four, to three, et cetera. But whether it's in my working life or not, I have no idea.

Why Retention & Culture Are So Important

00:22:34 - Andy Goram

It's fascinating, isn't it? I mean, there's a big context of change, and the things you've just talked about are symptomatic of that, and which is why it still feels a bit messy and there generally feels like still a lack of confidence in business to make definitive decisions on some of these things going forward. And 2030, we've still got that skills and people gap globally. That's coming with the shift of boomers and what have you. So, my goodness me, what a context we've got. So I think this plays to. I'd love to think it plays to my passion around… Look, this is why the importance of culture and retention is incredibly important, because if a labour pool is shrinking, if business context and landscape is changing, it's going to be harder to recruit, I think, going forward. Right. And certainly recruit for specific talent that you want, with the skills that you need, which is wherefore, growth, development, retention, I think, become even more important. Which is why I'm fascinated with the move that you guys have made. And also, I can't lie, Darius, and maybe we've got a kindred spirit here with a marketing background, but it's hitting another button of mine. So, as well as all the cultural buttons, it's hitting my brand button right, which I'm fascinated by. So, this rebranding decision to go from solely recruitment to openly saying recruitment and retention, where's it come from? Why make the shift?

Shift From Solely Recruitment To Recruitment & Retention

00:24:06 - Darius Matusiak

So for us, this is a trend that preceded the pandemic where EVP and employer brands were becoming more important and more prominent. And during the pandemic, if I get really specific with this, it will paint the picture. In March 2020, we got sent home. In April 2020, our business generates circa 100 jobs per week. We had, I think it was eight jobs on in the whole of April. So, there's nothing like that kind of situation to shape the mind, to force innovation and to really create a sense of urgency. So, I would like to think that whilst we'd had informal conversations, idea generation sessions, this was always in the pipeline. We very often, and please take this in the right way, have the conversation. Thank God for Covid, because it forced us to move more quickly.

So why did we actually do it? Well, when you think about what an organisation needs to improve, if you can hold or hire and hold and develop great people, ultimately you'll be in a position where you can charge the customer more because you've got more expertise in your workforce. You should be able to gain greater levels of loyalty from your customers, which obviously result in repeat business, increased spend, extra market share. Clearly your retention levels will improve because people feel that they have got momentum and a sense of direction with where they are staying. And ultimately, if we're going to talk to the CFOs of the world out there, the bottom line is going to look more pretty. So, our utopian vision, if you like, is that we want to help our customers to achieve those things.

If you look at it through the lens of ourselves, selfishly, what we want is for our customers to recognise us as the go to, most trusted talent partner in the market. A company that are ingrained in their people strategy and business strategy conversations, a company that really understand the purpose, behaviours and cultures, and a company that have got foresight as to where and how they're likely to need to recruit, so that we can give a better level of service. The counterintuitive piece with all of this, I guess, is that it's better for us for businesses to hold people and grow than it is for them to keep needing to recruit. Because the likelihood is we'll be recruiting more often for those companies that are growing.

HR Focus Is Now On Retention

00:27:04 - Andy Goram

I mean, that is interesting, isn't it because in some assemblance of history you could look back at this and go, this is what we should have always been focused on. Or wow, are we changing the bias of where revenue comes from for the business going forward? There's a strategic decision here about where the balance is. I mean, interestingly enough, where is the balance with clients right now between recruitment and retention activity?


00:27:36 - Darius Matusiak

In terms of where the focus is? The HR focus is definitely around retention right now with regard to what's keeping them awake at night. They are seriously worried, as I said earlier, about the sub two year cohort. They recognize that they've got a whole host of people that are towards the latter stages of their career that are potentially looking at and going to take early retirement and hit retirement age and...

00:28:05 - Andy Goram

Leave a skill gap behind them.

00:28:06 - Darius Matusiak

And leave a skill gap behind. And we've all seen the data around the lack of 16 to 24 year olds that are coming into the workforce. So, retention is kind of a real strategic play for businesses right now. But the reality is that on a day-to-day basis, it's still really bloody hard to recruit people. You only have to look at the longer-term graphs of vacancies to see that we are still well above pre Covid levels of the number of job openings out there. And obviously unemployment is still really low. So that, coupled with technological developments and therefore the creation of skills gaps means that this is a bit of a diplomatic answer. But actually, I think the two things are real kind of front and center when it comes to what's keeping HR teams awake at night.

00:29:03 - Andy Goram

So when we compute this mix of there's still been plenty of vacancies, maybe not at the boost peak that we had before. The story that it's harder to recruit people for roles, and the fact that we're saying, listen, recruitment is really, really important because there's going to be less people to recruit, it's almost counterintuitive. It's suggesting to me at least, that we've got people in jobs just present just hanging on, not necessarily doing what they want, not necessarily committed to an organisation. So maybe we haven't got the right focuses. If recruitment is tough and retention is key, but we've got people in jobs and we’re finding it hard to recruit, that just doesn't compute to me. It doesn't make sense. How do you make sense of it?

What’s Really Going On In The Labour Market?

00:29:57 - Darius Matusiak

So here's my view. What a lot of businesses find themselves in the situation of is, before COVID they started to become aware of and buy into the importance of the creation of an EVP. They recognise that values sit at the centre of that. And therefore the values that were created were created in a completely different context to what we find ourselves in now. So what we're seeing is a lot of organisations are running across sorry, running with an old set of values in a new context. As a result, you've got this disillusionment of what this business talks about doesn't speak to my heart and mind. And therefore you've got some of this narrative potentially around quiet quitting, I think that you were alluding to there. Which is come in and do the minimal on the job. I think on the other side of it, on the recruitment side of the fence, because of what we've just spoken about with regard to the volume of vacancies out there, you've still got a really strong play from the candidate versus the organisation, i.e. the candidate has got options to look at.

And one thing that we've not touched on so far is this RTO narrative, the return to office piece, which I think there's a difference between what we're seeing in the news and what we're seeing as a recruiter firsthand. And I'd say. I'd describe it as follows. The news has oversimplified things. When I read the headlines and articles, to me it implies 95% of businesses are back in the office five days a week. When I speak to customers and when we speak to customers as a wider business, we're obviously getting questions about that because most people's source of news is the news channels. What are other businesses doing? How's it working? But if I had to put an anecdotal percentage on the number of organisations that have shifted the needle,

I'd say it's probably somewhere between 15 and 20, maybe 25 at the most.

And the shifting of the needle looks different for everybody. For some businesses it might be we were fully remote, we're now asking people to come in for meetings. For others it might be we were two days in the office, we're now asking people to do a third. And for the rest, it's somewhere in between, or something that resembles the two examples that I've said.

The Impact Of The Financial Crisis

So, with that in mind, you've got a pool of talent that is having the conversation with themselves of,

“I proved for three years that I can be as effective and as efficient, working from home, working from a coffee shop, having autonomy. And now you're saying to me I've got to spend 40 minutes driving to the office to come in and sit on teams calls for most of the day and then drive home. So I'm going to lose, call it between an hour and a half and 2 hours a day. I'm going to be spending money on petrol that I didn't spend for three years. I might have to pay for parking. I'm only coming in and sitting in meeting rooms anyway for periods of the day because most of the stuff is now on teams. Oh, and by the way, my mortgage has gone up 400 quid a month, my car lease is about to expire, and what used to get me a car for, I don't know, let's make it up 400 pounds a month will now cost me 650. Oh, my food bill's gone up 20%.”

So I think the play here is that people are aware of that and they're picking and choosing wisely based on the culture that they see and the reality of the volume of autonomy that they may or may not have within a role.

00:34:05 - Andy Goram

Yeah, I mean, it sounds to me like we've got this retention being because in the main, we're losing people through a lack of relevant purpose, value, connection, maybe growth. I'm sure salary will be in there because businesses are constrained at the moment because a lot are still, I think, in survival mode. And then from a recruitment perspective, it sounds like it is in the candidates favour, which is why businesses find it hard. But flexibility is more important than ever because people have made big changes in the last few years to their lives.

00:34:42 - Darius Matusiak

Yeah. Flexibility is right up there with pay. I think the one thing that I've maybe not mentioned here, and it is on the subject of pay, is that we all anticipated the great resignation back in 2021 because we'd seen it happen overseas. And what we saw most of our customers do is dish out pay rises to try and stave off the risk of losing their top talent. And you've obviously now got a situation where you've had 21 and 22, which were the wonder years for most organisations. You couldn’t not make money, regardless of what sector you were in. And in 23 businesses, well, 23. 24 businesses set their budgets for growth, obviously. Inflationary pressures, recalibration of the economy, et cetera, has meant that many organisations are behind on their budgeted revenue, but they've increased the cost basis. So you've got this view from businesses to their employees, of,

“We paid you more, where's our return? We're getting pressure from our shareholders. You haven't stepped up in terms of delivery, but we've given you more money.”

 And I think maybe some of that's what's driving this return to office conversation as well.

00:36:01 - Andy Goram

Well, I think this will rage on and continue, I'm sure, until we find our way forward.

If I can just pull us back to the changes that you've seen internally, right. With a focus on retention. So, what's that really meant for the business focus? And what do you see as the benefits for Macildowie going forwards, but also for clients?

The Benefit Of Now Focusing On Retention

00:36:26 - Darius Matusiak

Yeah. So, the kind of key differences from our consultant population that we've seen are a differentiation versus our competitors because unfortunately, the recruitment industry is quite one dimensional in the way that it generates revenue. And the conversation that you very often hear internal recruiters being on the end of is, have you got any jobs? Have you got any jobs? Have you got any jobs? Have you got any jobs? Crikey. You're the 15th person to call me today asking that. So, the differentiation piece being that we're able to have more strategic, high level, business focused conversations that aren't just, can I take something from you? There's more value in there. There's more of an information share around what we're seeing in the market, what other organisations are doing. I suppose the key being in the job title recruitment consultant. We're being more consultative. Yeah. So I think that's a key part of it.

The benefit to the customer is that the relationships are deepening and the level of empathy is growing and therefore the trust is being enhanced, which allows conversations to happen which are a little bit more future focused with regard to which jobs might need to be talent pipeline for and when and what type of people could be suitable for them. So there's more of, I would say, a proactive approach that we're able to give to our customers, which essentially alleviates that level of stress of, and I alluded to it earlier, somebody handing in the notice with a month's notice and maybe having one to two weeks holiday to use. They're almost gone out of the business straight away in that scenario. And it becomes panic stations.


00:38:23 - Andy Goram

Absolutely. Now you're sort of like, I guess, deepening your relationship with clients and you're having a look and in many cases trying to help them with retention efforts, do you have a sense of how many companies are really on focus with the retention thing and doing things effectively? And how many are kind of like, “Oh, my goodness! We need to focus on retention. What do we do?” What's the split that you're seeing?

What Percentage Of Businesses Are Focused On Retention?

00:38:49 - Darius Matusiak

Wow. Good question. What I would say is you tend to find that those with deeper levels of resources are further ahead and those with deeper levels of resources tend to be the bigger players in the market, blue chips, plcs, large organisations, and that obviously creates a ripple effect because they are seen as best practice. So those businesses that are small and medium in terms of their enterprise size will very often model the way that they're working on those bigger businesses, but have to do it on a shoestring budget. So if I was to put a percentage on it, I would probably say that you're looking at about 5% of the market doing this brilliantly and about 15% starting to do something with it. And the rest are in that position of going, we've got to do something about retention. Where do we start with this? What does our focus need to be? What are the questions we need to answer and how do we go about ensuring that we're improving the situation?


00:40:00 - Andy Goram

Well, in some respects that's good that people are focusing on it and now starting hopefully to make some headway. It's a shame that it's taken an environment like we're living in now to kind of, I guess, bring it into more focus. And before I sort of try and pull all this together, what's it felt like inside Macildowie then for you and the rest of the guys there, Darius, in having made this switch from being the one focus to a much wider focus now? What's it actually done? How has it changed?


00:40:40 - Darius Matusiak

Do you know what, and this is a soft and fluffy answer, but I think it's become more fun and enjoyable and it's created more of a learning experience for certainly those that are at the beginning of their career. With Macildowie, I was always of the view when I started out that I would learn most of what I needed to learn through my customer base. And I think this shift is only going to enhance that and improve the capability of our people. So fun is the word that springs to mind.

Summarised Thoughts On Sticky Notes

00:41:17 - Andy Goram

A bit of diversity always adds a bit of fun. Now then, my friend, we get to the bit in the show called sticky notes, right, where I'm asking you to sort of like summarize some of the things that we've talked about today. So if we hone it in and I ask you to put three little bits of advice that you could fit on three sticky notes that you would give to anyone looking at dealing with the current recruitment and retention challenges, what bits of advice would you leave for them?


00:41:47 - Darius Matusiak

We haven't touched on this in our conversations so far, so I’ll throw a slight curveball out there, but I think organisations need to start asking their people, how they feel, what's concerning them, what's important to them, what do they care about? And they need to start doing something with those results. Part of that piece that we touched on with Baby Boomers and Gen Z is this lack of understanding, lack of communication, command and control style. And I think that will go some way to building levels of engagement and trust. But the key thing is, and I mentioned it, you have to do something with the results. So that would be a great starting point for me.

I think secondly, you've got to be in a position where you've got alignment with your leadership team. And I think businesses should be doing work on that. And as part of that piece of work, they need to start looking at what their new world vision, mission, values, purpose and behaviours look like and start articulating that both internally and externally. And I think that's the one big thing that's very often missing when it comes to the EVP. People think it's all about going out into the market and they forget about repeat, repeat, repeat on the messaging to those that work with the business. So I think that's a real critical part as well.

And the third piece is really to understand that from the perspective of when you go out into the market to recruit a role, you are still in a very competitive landscape where the candidate has got and is looking at other options. And this isn't The Apprentice, where you're going to sit down and grill them and decide whether you want them. I'd argue it's more like a first date where you've got to have an open and honest conversation and you've got to look for commonality, shared vision, an appropriate set of differences to decide whether there's a sense of a working relationship there before you start to get into that kind of skills and capability analysis. So, I think they'd probably be my three things.


00:44:12 - Andy Goram

I love that. Well, I love all of them. I particularly like sticky two because that's good for me, selfishly, because that's some of the best work that I get to do. And I think that whole shaping that background for an EVP can be easily overlooked. We get into all the packages and salaries and everything else, but if we don't know who we are, where we're going, why people should stay with us, and we're really strong at communicating those things throughout the organisation. I think you get  yourself into a whole load of hot mess as a result, and that's why we're losing people - lack of connection. So, thank you for those three. my friend. If people want to check out a bit more about Macildowie, where should they go?


00:44:58 - Darius Matusiak

The website, My LinkedIn profile. I'm on LinkedIn. I'm there every day. I also run a podcast called the Happy Workplace Project, which is all about sharing insights into how organisations are creating great cultures and the lessons that they've learned as leaders along the way. So they would be the three areas that you can find out more. I would say brilliant.


00:45:22 - Andy Goram

I will put all of that stuff in the show notes, my friend. Darius, thanks so much for coming on, mate. I mean, I'm really genuinely interested in how the company has kind of made this move and what it's doing. Well, I suspect we'll see more following suit. I don't know. We will see. But thanks so much for coming on.


00:45:40 - Darius Matusiak

And thank you for having me. I've really enjoyed the conversation and keep up the good work. The podcast is fantastic.

00:45:46 - Andy Goram

Oh, bless you. I appreciate that, my friend. Well, you take care.

00:45:48 - Darius Matusiak

Cheers, Andy.

Podcast Close

00:45:49 - Andy Goram

Cheers. Okay, everyone, that was Darius Matusiak from Macildowie. If you'd like to find out a bit more about him, or any of the things we've talked about today, please go ahead and check out the show notes.

So that concludes today's episode. I hope you've enjoyed it, found it interesting, and heard something maybe that will help you become a stickier, more successful business from the inside going forward. If you have, please like, comment and subscribe. It really helps.

I'm Andy Goram, and you've been listening to the sticky from the Inside podcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.

Andy Goram is the owner of Bizjuicer, an employee engagement and workplace culture consultancy that's on a mission to help people have more fulfilling work lives. He's also the host of the Sticky From The Inside Podcast, which talks to experts on these topics from around the world. 

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