As the coronavirus spread invisibly across the globe, HR professionals’ role changed to ensure the safety of employees and hire the right candidates. Also, they have to focus on safety procedures, sanitation measures, emergency numbers, quarantine and isolation guidelines, and much more. Understanding the importance of these elements and the evolved role, Natasha Makhijani, CEO and Founder of Oliver Sanderson Group PLC, believes that it is essential to work with clients to understand their mindset and be a sounding board of knowledge, compassion, and advice during these challenging times. She also states that tenacity, lean thinking, creativity, and innovation are the core ingredients to make a value-add service for their clients and candidates.
Natasha’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Natasha began her professional career with Hays Logistics on their graduate scheme. She set up the Victoria office with her manager and managed the Victoria office and eight employees (the country’s highest-performing office) within two years. The industrious leader was then given the opportunity to work with Michael Page Human Resources and was their top HR biller in her first year. She helped set up their office in St Albans and then moved to London to set up permanent recruitment for the Public Sector. Natasha proudly asserts, “I believe this helped to shape me into a somebody who is vibrant and enthusiastic and with a keen interest and passion for business.” A desire for something more led her to set up her own business.
Today, as a Founder and CEO, Natasha has numerous responsibilities to perform and oversee. She has to make sure that their P&L is successful, but it also about working with the accountants, the consultants, and the business NEDs to ensure a successful growth journey. Together with her team, she has been reshaping their business strategy and forecasts to accommodate the changing times.
A Dynamic Brand In The Recruitment Space, Maintaining A United Culture
Oliver Sanderson is a dynamic brand in Executive Search & Selection who look after Permanent and Interim assignments to FTSE 100 & 250 clients. The company offers retained and the contingent end to end recruitment in various disciplines and serving major UK sectors. To deliver the perfect recruitment and consultancy solution, it offers access to new products such as its mobile job app, including candidate attraction, Drag & Drop, and a 1st stage video interviewing platform, all accessible through its sister company Snapp CV Group PLC. Furthermore, the expert team of Oliver Sanderson ensures there are strategies created around new topics matters, IR35, BAME, COVID-19, to satisfy client and candidate needs. Developing an alternative recruitment approach through their technology strategy has helped them move forward in the recruitment space. They are eager to develop the digital recruitment side by using Artificial Intelligence.
At Oliver Sanderson, the culture is close-knit, where everyone is supportive of each other. This culture encourages creativity and innovation and has created individual development plans tailored to each consultant and their goals when home working. To sustain this culture during the pandemic, the company has regular drop-ins, communications, and engagement via video platforms and kept traditions such as team lunches, coffee breaks, and even drinks on a Friday. Natasha states, “Our culture is one of inclusivity, trust, partnership and is an enjoyable one, it is important we retain that – even through a computer screen.”
I firmly believe that a leader should have passion, drive, energy, honestly, integrity, and humor, to name a few!
According to Natasha, employee safety is of the utmost importance to Oliver Sanderson. Therefore, the company has created a working from the home policy under which all employees will remain home until January 2021. Along with her team, as a successful businesswomen she has adapted the business to the new needs of their clients and candidates and encourage them to operate via virtual tools such as SNAPP InView to carry out interviews. In addition to psychometric testing, Natasha has been able to provide 3 stage interviewing processes and guidance on virtual onboarding and remote work to ensure that their clients and applicants get the closest possible experience to the “old way” of recruiting. She also provided strategies and practice on socially distant interviews when a face-to-face interview is required and accommodated their office space and board room. During this process, they have ensured that candidates did not rely on public transportation by verifying the offices’ local parking sites and ensuring their protection by providing air time for the room and being cleaned for each interview.
Natasha has ambitious plans in 2020 to expand its interim company in the right spaces. This involves launching their new division Justinterims.com powered by the Oliver Sanderson Group. Along with this, the company will lay the groundwork for establishing offices in the Netherlands, India, and America for expansion in 2021. It is also expanding its reach and working with Associate Directors in their specialist areas to heal grown and expand its knowledge and impact on the market. “We are currently in talks about a potential investment with a Venture Capital firm and have also spoken with companies about potential joint ventures. Despite the current climate, it’s all go at Oliver Sanderson,” says Natasha.
CEO’s View Point On Pandemic
“There is no denying that the Covid-19 pandemic is forcibly reshaping global economies, companies, and industries. While some may look at this phenomenon negatively, opportunities are also right around the corner. Although companies tend to freeze-hire and downsize to reduce costs, now is the best time to hire. There are less competition and a growing pool of talents, from diverse backgrounds with transferable skills,” says Natasha. She believes that this is a perfect opportunity for visionary business organizations to make the best out of this predicament: seeking the right applicants to fill executive roles and who are capable of coping through this crisis. Business organizations are now engaged with their recuperation and development of strategic planning. As such, new jobs are sprouting, with interim projects in between to mitigate the risks and minimize the loss brought about by Covid-19. There is an immediate need for companies to fill these empty roles if they want to survive the pandemic onslaught’s troublesome outcomes. The only problem with conducting an executive search during this time is the limited opportunity for interviewing an ideal candidate face-to-face. To overcome this, Natasha suggests, “There are recruitment apps that use special algorithms to match hiring managers with ideal applicants such as our Snapp CV mobile app already launched and our OS Executive App launching shortly.”