Off The Shelf

Winning the War for Talent By Mandy Johnson

October 21, 2016

I have long followed and for most of their trading history, been a shareholder of Flight Centre. Their co-founder and CEO, Graham (Skroo) Turner has always inspired me as a grounded, balanced and inspirational leader. Hence, I had already read Top Deck Daze by Bill James and Family Village Tribe by Mandy Johnson.

When I heard through a colleague that Mandy Johnson (ex-Flight Centre) had authored a new book, highlighting her journey from struggling to recruit and retain talent at the first Flight Centre shop in London through to running ‘Flight Centre People’ I felt compelled to get a copy.

At the time I read the book, we were struggling to attract the right talent for some key business functions. An example that comes to mind was for our company accountant, we had 17 interviews. This was both costly and time consuming and clearly an unsustainable scenario. Thankfully, we got a great appointment in the end, but I was committed to never again face another 17 interview process to secure to the best candidate.

Mandy’s writing style makes for an engaging, informative and entertaining read. Her frustration in not getting the advertising right to attract the right talent in her early days at Flight Centre UK resonated with me. Equally, applying what she learned from various recruiting successes and failures helped create her secret formula.
I drew specific value from Mandy’s step-by-step system with checklists, KPIs and templates which we could easily integrate into our recruiting process, and did.
Reading Winning the War for Talent triggered us to engage Mandy (who conveniently resides near our Gold Coast HQ) to audit our recruitment advertisements and processes. Mandy highlighted throughout her audit process that we simply weren’t selling ourselves. We had not evolved our messaging about the business in 20 years, when in fact we had plenty to attract top candidates with.

When Mandy identified through conversation that our technology is relied on in the Opera House, the Whitehouse, most corporate HQ’s in Australia and NZ, mission critical Defence sites, Australia’s mega-churches, several of Australia’s largest Convention Centres, the majority of Universities and many teaching hospitals, we started promoting this to prospective employees.

We now hire with SPEED, sell our positions and quickly identify high performers in the process. All aspects of our recruitment process where we were certainly underdone previously.

We have since engaged Mandy as a keynote speaker for our Channel Partners at our annual conference last year and more recently she addressed the InfoComm Women in AV breakfast.

In summary, Winning the War for Talent had an immediate and sustained effect on our recruitment process and subsequent results. Getting it wrong and not changing our approach was costing us tens of thousands of dollars in recruiting incorrect candidates and countless hours across our business. Getting it right is empowering!

GEGraham Evans | CEO



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