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November 2013
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Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Rise of the ‘Mumpreneur’

Posted by: Alex Linley, Director, Capp

 

Entrepreneurs see opportunities where other people see problems. It’s therefore both hugely exciting, and also no surprise, to read regularly about the rise of the ‘mumpreneur’, female entrepreneurs who are mothers. See, for example, this article from The Sunday Times.

 

With a business mindset, combined with a mother’s instinct and first hand experience of the perennial challenges, unmet needs and hence market opportunities that raising children presents, so-called Mumpreneurs bring their capabilities and personal experiences to the fore in meeting needs that they and the people like them face every day.

 

If ever there was a case for diversity in business, this is it. Imagine trying to design a product for mothers if you had no understanding of what it was like to be a mother.

 

I once heard an apocryphal story of a retailer that wasn’t selling as many children’s coats as they thought they should. Nobody sat around the table had any idea why. Then they asked a colleague who had young children.

 

“Because they don’t have hoods” came back the immediate reply. “Mums want to buy coats with hoods for their children, to keep them warm.”

 

How much wasted investment could have been saved, and how many more hooded coats sold, if this perspective had been part of the discussion from the outset?

 

The great thing for me about this story is that it illustrates the fundamental essence of entrepreneurship:

 

That anyone, anywhere can spot unmet needs through their own experience. Then, as long as you have the wherewithal to do something about it, anyone can be an entrepreneur.

 

Unlike being a lawyer, doctor or accountant, there are no qualification requirements to entrepreneurship. Just aptitude and appetite.

 

Go on – what’s stopping you!

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You’re An Entrepreneur? You Must Be Mad!

Posted by: Alex Linley, Director, Capp

 

When we started Capp, we got a lot of responses along the same lines of this blog post title. Tens of thousands of strengths-based interviews and tens of thousands of completions of Realise2 later, people now take a different view. It’s always easy to see success after the event; far harder to predict it ahead of time.

 

It’s this that Global Entrepreneurship Week is all about supporting. The people who see things differently, who are prepared to take a chance, who believe in themselves and their ideas even when almost everyone else around them is doubting.

 

These perspectives are the theme of one of the best books on entrepreneurship I have read in a while. Worthless, Impossible and Stupid (by Daniel Isenberg) describes the perspectives of the people who don’t see the opportunity for the product (Worthless), who overestimate the challenge to bring it to market (Impossible), and who criticise and doubt the people who dare to think differently and give it a go (Stupid).

 

Thankfully for us all and for society as a whole, entrepreneurs fall for none of these traps. Instead, they see value where others don’t. They match their skills and strengths to the challenges and opportunities they face. And they take the right judgement calls to make it all happen to deliver success.

 

There’s a great line in Oliver Stone’s 1987 film Wall Street that sums this up brilliantly. It’s not the “Greed is good” quote for which Gordon Gekko became famous. Instead, it’s this almost throwaway line that describes the entrepreneurial process in a sentence:

 

“Money isn’t lost or made. It’s simply transferred from one perception to another.”

 

This is the entrepreneur’s gift and raison d’etre. To see inefficiencies in opportunities and markets – and to fix them. When the entrepreneur succeeds, we all benefit – by definition, since if the entrepreneur was not creating value, they would not have customers, they would not be succeeding.

 

So, especially here in Global Entrepreneurship Week, let’s raise a salute to the outliers, the weird ones, the people who see things differently.

 

But above all, here’s to the people who not only see, but do; to those who feel the risk but take it anyway.

 

Here’s to the entrepreneurs. Your country needs you!

 

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Innovations in Graduate Recruitment at The FIRM’s Winter Conference

Posted by: Gurpal Minhas, Senior Business Psychologist, Capp

 

Capp at The FIRM's Winter Conference 2013

 

Last Friday (15th November), the Capp team attended and presented at The FIRM’s Winter Conference 2013. As proud gold sponsors, it was a joy to be part of an event that drives such thought provoking and inspirational conversation and knowledge sharing.

 

“An absolute buzz for me, it was a privilege to be there’’
Vernon Bryce, Director, Capp

 

The FIRM (Forum for In-house Recruitment Managers), is a network with over 6,300 members, it was setup as a platform for in-house recruitment managers to discuss best practice, hear innovations in the latest selection methodologies and how to source the best candidates. This in-turn enables recruitment managers to grow more efficiently, effectively and easily.

 

The fast-paced and engaging, multi-streamed day was introduced by Gary Franklin and Emma Mirrington. The opening session, hosted by Guardian Jobs, was a panel discussion exploring the definition of the future of employability; a current undergraduate student, a careers advisor (both from Leicester University) and a graduate recruiter (Mars Chocolate, UK) took to the stage. The discussion had a specific focus on:

  • The responsibility of Careers Services, Students and Employers in the development of ‘employment skills’ versus technical capability at university
  • The opportunity for students to differentiate themselves within an overpopulated workforce
  • The future of employability and the different approaches students are taking to showcase their ability.

Jutta Kremer, from Gartner, shared the role that technology plays in candidate care. Jutta showcased that across 20 recruiters they’ve selected over 1,500 employees with 35% coming via in-house through referrals.

 

Delegates also discussed different routes of reaching out to potential new candidates through LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook breaking away from traditional job boards. Simon Hallard from Lloyds Banking Group shared his leading approach in relation to creating a direct sourcing model for their banking business.

 

After lunch, Nicky Garcea, Capp Director, delivered a lively interactive and engaging session to share the latest innovations in graduate recruitment; Nicky described how trusted Capp clients such as Nestlé, Barclays and EY have embedded strengths-based assessments throughout their graduate, intern and school leaver programmes.

 

Attendees were provided with a business case of taking a strengths-based approach to recruitment and put through their paces with a mock strengths-based interview (SBI), done in pairs. As interviews were conducted, the room erupted with energy and vigour – a real practical opportunity for delegates to understand the way in which an SBI works.

 

For more information on the conference, Nicky’s presentation slides or a demonstration of the interview, please contact gurpal.minhas@capp.co or alternatively call 02476 323 363.

 

 

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Success is a Science

Posted by: Vernon Bryce, Director, Capp

 

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success
if they are dedicated and passionate about what they do”

(Nelson Mandela)

 

A student scanned her university’s psychology reference library shelves. They were full of outstanding studies in delinquency, depression, drug addiction, divorce, debt; many important yet curiously incomplete pictures of human behaviour. Where were the triumphs, joys, adventures, the peaks of human endeavour and success she wondered?

 

In another place and time, a first class coach in sporting team performance, unusually at the time, recorded the winning plays in his team’s games. He then replayed them to his team. Impressively, the team improved its winning performances as never before and, as they observed and learned from their winning plays, their success was sustained.

 

Both had something in common; belief that success and failure, though important, are opposite to each other only in a dictionary. Behaviourally they are not opposite. Focussing on one, in the absence of the other, is neither enlightening nor productive. In business, we are getting better at understanding this difference, the difference between failure and success in terms of turning the master keys to improving performance.

 

Consider this. Some Sales, Leadership, L&D, Grad and Recruitment specialists each ask for £10,000 from their CFO’s discretionary ‘value creation’ fund. Some teams ask for the fund to spend the money on reducing costs, some ask for spend to study failure rates. One team, rather hopefully they thought, ask the CFO for £20 000, asking her to invest in Success. To the amazement of the other teams, the ‘success study’ team won.

 

Here’s what the CFO had to say. “I have often puzzled on why in business we spend an inordinate slice of our precious time investigating why things go wrong and not investing why things go right. We can learn a lot from why customers buy from us, more than why they do not. We learn more from why our successful people stay than why they may leave. In my view it’s the successful people we have now that will make us great in future. So I had no hesitation in investing in Success’’.

 

Opportunity is there for the taking; opportunity to create sharper workforces. Let’s study success, let’s get data on its strengths, nuances, capabilities; then find how to measure success robustly, accurately and reliably. Let’s draw and develop success models. Let’s study the many positive role models out there; also their best plays, in leaders, engineers, art, teaching, healthcare research and front line professions, sales, service, retail, projects, science, technology and design.

 

Some say the “War for Talent is over; Talent won’’. Soon, people will say the “Strengths revolution is over, and Success won’’. Strengths and Success are the new kids on our block; they are more than siblings, they are twins in our quest for talent.

 

“Success is a science. If you have the conditions you get the results”

(Oscar Wilde)

 

 

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Recruiting Diverse Talent – Congratulations to Barclays

Posted By: Nicky Garcea, Director, Capp

 

On October 10th 2013 Barclays Bank received a commended award for Recruiting Diverse Talent by Business in the Community’s diversity initiative Race for Opportunity. This achievement comes after Barclays had traditionally been positioned lower down some diversity league tables.

Barclays have taken a multi-faceted approach in achieving recruiting diverse talent, this has included:

  • Greater integration and co-ordination with partner organisations
  • Lifecycle Mentoring; students gain business knowledge, develop interview skills and build social capital
  • Broadened Outreach; maximising outreach with mentoring programmes, targeting schools and continuing through every year of university
  • Mentors build unbreakable relationships with mentees ensuring talented BAME candidates select Barclays above competitors and guide candidates to their most suitable departments based on personality and aspirations
  • Improved size and variety of internships made available, with a focus on converting BAME candidates
  • Reviewing the selection process to eliminate barriers: no specific mention of UCAS criteria and degree qualification; Strengths-based Interviewing and Unconscious Bias Training introduced to Senior Leaders.

Capp has been a proud partner of Barclays since 2011 when we first implemented the Capp strengths-based telephone and face-to-face interview across early year recruitment in the Investment and Private Bank. Since Barclays implemented their diversity programme they have seen the following results:

  • Moved from the bottom of SEO and RARE’s League Tables to one of the leading BAME recruiters – with a 200% increase in intern offers accepted by SEO/RARE candidates within 2 years
  • The most challenging division, Investment Banking, has seen a 9 – 12% increase in BAME from total candidates for Spring/Summer programmes
  • A 36% increase in applications from black candidates and a 200% increase in offers accepted by black interns
  • Expanded apprenticeship talent pipeline for 2013 from 6 to 19
  • Initiated the 2.5 year Financial Apprenticeship with guaranteed roles for successful candidates, enlisting 12.

Barclays are not alone in finding that Capp’s strengths-based products and solutions improve the diversity of their recruits. In a recent evaluation completed by Capp for Nestlé, the results of the first year of introducing the Capp strengths-based methodology across their early careers recruitment process highlighted that more school leavers from socially diverse backgrounds applied and 50% were the first in their family to attend University. In 2012 the number of women recruited into graduate technical roles rose from 22% to 66%.

In our experience it is a combination of the following six steps that will help ensure a reduction in bias in the application process and secure diverse and socially mobile recruits:

  1. Develop a balance of strengths that are gender and diversity neutral
  2. Ensure that all adverts and candidate communication is attractive to diverse groups
  3. Design candidate screening tools that are free from adverse impact
  4. Create interviews that are validated and scripted ensuring greater assessor consistency and reduction in unconscious bias
  5. Train all assessors thoroughly in how to mark accurately and differentiate high, average and low performance. On average 84% of assessors believe the Capp interviews and exercises are easier to score than competency interviews and exercises
  6. Evaluate continually and always be prepared to learn from every cohort and potential outlier.

We would love to know your thoughts on how you are improving the diversity or social mobility of your recruitment process, please join the conversation and connect with us on Twitter #RecruitingDiverseTalent @NickyGarcea @CappMarketing or to find out how Capp can help you improve ‘recruiting diverse talent’ across your organisation contact me directly on nicky.garcea@capp.co or uk.linkedin.com/in/nickygarcea

 

 

 

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