Technological advances have made it easy to hire employees without investing much in candidate selection and recruitment. Today, advanced hiring firms utilize online resources like internet job boards, applicant tracking systems, resume databases, online testing, and assessments to hire the best employees for their organization. Some recruitment providers combine all of these technologies for a simple, streamlined recruitment process. Keystone Employment Group specializes in online recruitment and Talent Bank solutions which help organizations across the UK to attract and manage the very best talent. Their bespoke Talent Bank solutions provide a technology platform customized to meet your talent attraction and management needs along with optional support services tailored to your requirements. We had a word with Malcolm Paice, the Managing Director of Keystone Group. Here are a few excerpts of the interview:
Q. How and why was Keystone Talent Bank born?
Talent Bank was originally born from Keystone’s legacy recruitment business. The company was once a traditional recruitment firm placing thousands of temporary and permanent workers. The business model was increasingly hindered by a lot of manual processes for finding workers, communicating with them, and paying them. When Keystone built the first iteration of Talent Bank, it was really to streamline its own business- for example, turning an extensive payroll process from two days to just a few minutes. Automating the system employers can find and hire workers was a natural progression, and within a couple of years, the tool we had built for our own internal use was setting the standard for Talent Bank engines across the world.
Q. How do you keep your team motivated despite conflicts and obstacles?
Well, firstly, I believe in assembling a very self-motivated team- that’s proven even more valuable over the past year when people have had to work from home. Our business is relatively frictionless, so there’s not much in the way of conflicts or obstacles, but daily there are challenges and new problems to solve. Our team will ask questions, work it out and figure a way through. If you hire good people and empower them to make decisions and sometimes mistakes, they will always figure it out and learn for the next time.
Q. How do you align your organization with your vision and mission?
You just have to reiterate the business’s focus: to deliver a solution and service the client wants and thus ensure your business remains profitable. If you give customers what they need and want, your revenue will take care of itself. As long as you make sure your team has those simple objectives in mind, remind them of that simple focus or mission, then they will stay on point.
Q. What are the important attributes of successful leaders today?
Honesty and clarity. You have to be brutally honest, through good times and bad. Sometimes you just have to grasp the nettle, be realistic and then do what needs doing. Sometimes that means stopping, pulling the plug – giving up even. Sometimes that means hunkering down and grinding through a painful situation to get to the endpoint. Either way, you must accept the case for what it is and not pretend to yourself or others any differently. Be clear on what the business has to achieve to be successful and not deviate from that clarity.
Q. What’s the most crucial risk you took and why?
For me personally, it was deciding to leave a very large and successful multinational business and join a very small but exciting firm in the form of Keystone. There is a perception of security in big firms, but often it can be hard to make a difference, and sometimes internal bureaucracy can stifle innovation and creativity among people. But I can honestly say I have never been happier or more energized, and the success Keystone has had provides a great deal of gratification to our staff and our customers. The results are there to see every single day- so that risk paid off well.
Q. How does Talent Bank make it easier and ensures a good hire of casual workers?
In short, it reduces the manual element of effort involved down to very simple automated functions. Finding a worker with certain key skill sets of experience is done in just three clicks, and hiring them is one more click. By automating the big-ticket functions such as worker compliance, offering a job, and getting them started, the employers can then focus on the essential bits such as the interviews, inductions, and training.
Q. Tell us about Keystone revolutionizing universities and other educational institutes.
There are two main ways we have achieved this. The first is in bringing the hiring of student workers within the university into the modern era. A lot of universities would like to use their own student base whenever possible, but temporary staff agencies would instead make a hefty fee by bringing in an outsider, who would often command a higher salary and thus drive up the agency fees. We recognized this and instantly put students front and center in the talent pool. The number of students getting valuable work experience rocketed, meaning they would graduate with more experience, and the university could ditch costly recruitment agencies.
The second big revolution has come in giving universities complete and direct control over all of their contingent workers, making it faster to link workers with jobs. We have even helped some universities create their own recruitment service, which they have monetized and turned into a profit center.
Q. What is Crown Commercial Service (G Cloud)? How does it make the process seamless?
The UK government created a digital marketplace for anyone within the public sector to procure cloud-based solutions directly from a framework rather than going through the slow, convoluted process of a full tender. This has helped countless public bodies move to digitize their outsourcing and quickly make a move to safe and secure cloud-based services. More than £40billion has been spent within G Cloud, which is growing at a tremendous rate. By allowing public bodies to rapidly procure the services they need to reduce cost and manual effort, the UK government has set in place a fantastic rate of change, and now anyone can get access to Talent Bank far faster and easier than ever.
Q. How proud is Keystone for being ranked No.1 for Procurement For Housing (PfH)?
This was the first time Procurement for Housing included provision for bank worker solutions in their extensive range of lots for procurement, and because we knew our solution lends itself so well to the housing sector, we were keen to make the cut. Just getting onto their framework was exciting, and getting the No.1 Ranked Supplier Spot was really something that marked our arrival. PfH doesn’t just count the housing sector as their clients either, they have expanded into many more areas of public sector recruitment, and we are thrilled to be part of that growth.
Meet the Managing Director
Malcolm Paice is the Managing Director of Keystone Group. He has over 25 years of experience in managing technology-driven businesses in sectors as diverse as transport, recruitment, and telematics. He has earlier served as COO for CityFleet Networks Limited, a Singapore-based global transport group, before joining Keystone in 2014 to oversee the business transformation from a traditional recruitment business into a SaaS operation. Malcolm has held several directorships, mentored new start-ups, and ensured businesses could meet certification standards such as ISO certification in quality, information security, and environmental management.