Posted by: Emily Smoothy

Posted on: .

Technology and media – the ugly teenage years

The genesis of this blog resides in the intellect of Alan Turing, the inventor of the computer itself, theorising that ‘A man provided with paper, pencil, and rubber, and subject to strict discipline, is in effect a universal machine.’ Well, as undeniably true as this is, he invented the computer for a reason and my message to HR is this; put down the pen, close the Filofax and let technology do the work. Gone are the days in this industry of the monotonous interviewing process, which taught us the art of communicating our attributes to audiences greater in number than that of the references on our well-rehearsed CVs…and that’s about it.

Just as we evolve, so does technology, but at a much more impressive rate. The ease of an email supersedes our habitual need to compile handwritten notes (illegible ones at that); futile from the off. Exemplary of this, the industries have suitably transformed in the space of a year. Technology recruiters have aided the efforts of small businesses with big potential, strategizing their growth and expediting their world domination (not literally of course, however I’m feeling somewhat theatrical). Of course, the ongoing battle for more of these ‘tech’ recruiters is an exhausting one, and it’s evident that we simply need more. (Not to dwell on that for now though, hang around for a future blog post on the topic!)

Alternatively, there are exciting opportunities for HR Directors to have a true impact on an organisation right from the roots. Although an attractive offer, a seat at the leadership table requires attention to fundamental details, glamour never prevailing over graft.

A year later, of course those opportunities are still that, but a much needed revitalisation has been triggered in that the bigger businesses are recruiting once again. The large, global Technology and Media businesses doing whatever they need to do to remain innovative, competitive and ahead of the competition. The dominance of technology is intensifying the competition between businesses such as The Big Four. This change in the market has turned into a corporate rat race; specialist tech and media businesses must dig deeper as advanced technology is no longer a novelty, it’s an expectation and a standard.

I therefore feel we have reached an interesting teenage plateau, where strong businesses can only excel out of this through the leadership of HR, laughing in the face of common place strategy and building on the basics to deliver a 5* service. Whether the business is a niche/boutique/start up, or a complex, global, matrix organisation, they are all experiencing the ugly teenage years of adapting to something new, and this requires HR to lead more than ever, as well as be resilient and realise you are not going to be doing the exciting ‘strategic’ (completely over used word in my opinion!) work. It is more important than ever that the operations and basics are there, and delivering a 5* service, and then comes the exciting stuff.

I think in a lot of HR functions now, big or small, we are at a time of transition in Tech and Media, the need to think, as mentioned above of the next big thing, and a big part of the responsibility for executing this flawlessly falls with HR.

Ok, so challenge accepted, ugly teenage years in full swing, what do HR need to do? Go back to basics….. what does your recruitment process look like? A lot of companies struggle here, it is one thing for HR to go to a seminar and see a trendy and snazzy new way of doing things, but how do we change a whole workforce and mindsets on these things? There seems to be two extremes, either the old-fashioned competency based interviews, or the trendy let’s just have an informal chat and meet the team - more work needs to be done around this. (*Small plug*) We regularly run free workshops with Paul Marsh who is amazing on such topics! You can learn more about what he does and get in touch via LinkedIn

Looking at appraisals – we all know the old way is not working! But again, stop trying to be too ‘trendy’ and just suss out what is right for your business.

Continue to be open minded with flexible working, almost everyone wants it! There are 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, everyone is more productive at different times, I would say most candidates would flex in salary for the opportunity to have a full-time job that also complimented and supported family life. We are in a generation of smart working and an ever-increasing gig economy.

I think the most important thing for HR in the world of Media and Technology right now is to be patient, don’t expect it to be exciting immediately, the ugly teenage years are leading you on to blossom, independence, driving license and eventually that ever desired ID, but you’ve got to get through the spotty, miserable, disorientating bit first, trusting the tougher times won’t last forever. A more virtually propelled industry may be jumping into the unknown, but it will take recruitment to new heights, allowing us to get more done, in less time. We mustn’t see it as defeatist; merely change. We must embrace the hormonal teenage years of this transition, acquainting ourselves with the prevalent digital identity of recruitment. Accepting, not resisting, the distances we can reach through technological interconnectivity. The most mature versions of ourselves. The best we can be.


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