Wave’s Compass and our 2021 vision
Prior to Covid I was well underway with rethinking and realigning what and why Wave does what is does. We’ve been around for 20 years and although, ironically, we are now engaged in broadly the same areas as we were back at the beginning when it was just me, we’ve done an incredible amount in between. In some respects, we’ve been on a grand tour and have now returned to where we started from.
I don’t regret all the various iterations of Wave. We were responding to market needs and, from a personal point of view, I was discovering what I was interested in and enjoyed doing. I call them eras now and, yes, there have been a few. We’ve been a media buyer, which would have today been described as a flat fee recruiter, a traditional recruitment advertising agency placing hundreds of print recruitment ads and public notices. We built an ATS many, many moons ago – it was actually really good but I couldn’t commit much time to it, although in hindsight I should have done! We’ve been a full-on creative agency winning awards inside and outside of recruitment (these I have to say were amazing times), and we’ve been an employer branding agency.
Each era lasted somewhere between 2-5 years. It wasn’t all flip-flopping around though, we had to change in a world where change was omnipresent. We had the growth of the internet, the dot com crash, the ‘death’ of print advertising, the second rise of the internet, the growth of the likes of LinkedIn and Facebook, mobile use and the rise of the employer brand to name just a few. With the world continually fluctuating, we had to change with it.
Some of these eras weren’t always ‘me’ and I will fully admit to experiencing imposter syndrome at times. Some eras worked really well and were profitable, others not so much so we had to move on and continue to evolve. But I’m tougher and more resilient for it. I’ve also enjoyed 95% of it all and had some amazing experiences. I guess one of the burning ambitions was always to be bigger – more employees, more turnover, more offices. Some of this motivation came from the days when as a small ad agency we frequently lost our best clients to a bigger agencies. It drove me nuts so I wanted to be the bigger agency. The world has changed a lot since and boutique businesses are now just as powerful but this inferiority complex stayed with me for a while.
We now find ourselves in 2020 and I think we’re about 6 years into our new era. The recruitment technology era. We’re not a recruitment advertising agency or a branding agency. In fact, we don’t call ourselves an agency at all anymore. The irony is that this era is the closest we’ve been to what I set up 20 years ago. In 1999 our raison d’etre was to help people to advertise jobs in the most efficient manner in order to find the right people.
Attracting more talent
Back then, there simply wasn’t the technology to be able to effectively do this. We used circulation data and estimates from job boards, most of whom had no idea either. We used our learned knowledge to try and advise where to advertise. It was a bit hit and miss but we did our best. Today, we have that information, we can see what candidates are doing and when, we know what they apply for and even what they look at. We can finally start to connect the right talent to the right opportunities. I say ‘start’ as we have a way to go still and it will only improve with time. In a world that now offers so many opportunities (even with the Covid related recession) it is hard to match everyone but with better technology we can help candidates and recruiters successfully connect.
It’s not about being bigger anymore, it’s not even actually about what you do. It’s about why you do it. If you understand why you do what you do, and actively enjoy that, I believe you will achieve so much more. Why I do what I do has always been to help people. That is where my greatest joy originates. I like to see people do well and prosper. Employees, clients, candidates. Understand your purpose and enjoyment in what you do increases 10-fold.
It’s a Sliding Doors moment (one of my favourite films), in which sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time or your life will go in a completely different direction. When I realised our tech can influence that, that’s when I knew we were in the right era. We’re trying to make sure that the right people are looking at the right opportunities at the right time. This means more jobs filled, more happiness in the careers people find themselves in, and greater achievement all round. This means that economies and industries will grow, creating a more sustainable future for our next generation.
From 1999 to 2020…
Our 1999 vision remains but has evolved to:
“Creating a world where talent is never missed”
We might be in the recruitment technology era but for me we’re so much more than just a recruitment technology company – we want to help people prosper and be all they can be. And with all the eras that Wave has been through, this is, for me, by far the most exciting era I have worked in and the one that I think I was supposed to be in all along.