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Future Of Work Series: Featuring Peter Rabey

In our latest blog series on ‘2021 and the future of work’ we spoke with several forward-thinking businesses and founders to gain insight into how their team has dealt with all of the abrupt changes that 2020 sent their way, along with foreseeable trends for 2021.

Next up is Peter Rabey, Experienced Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of the X4 Group, an award-winning multi-brand recruitment business employing over 150 people in the UK, USA and New Zealand.

His purpose with the X4 Group is to empower people to succeed and for over 10 years has been connecting extraordinary talent with businesses across the globe.

Over to him..

Please tell us a bit about yourself and the business you run.

Our consultants operate globally to identify talent and take pride in specialising in all experience levels, adopting an array of approaches to find the best solution for our clients. We partner with PE backed high-growth start-ups looking to grow their leadership team.

Some of our most recent awards include: FT 1000: Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies, Virgin Fast Track 100, as well as Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work For.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, the business has been able to realign the entire business strategy to keep as many people in work as possible, in addition to hiring 40+ graduates into the graduate training programme. Throughout the pandemic, culture has remained a number one priority.

What do you foresee the trends of 2021 being in terms of remote culture and engagement?

This is a topic I have spoken a lot about this year. Casting my mind back to January 2020 it feels like a completely different world. Many people and businesses who have done things a certain way for their whole working lives now realise that they can be better at their jobs and have more enriched lives by changing things up.

Flexible working - continuing to give your employees flexible working opportunities is going to be key to your success. Gone are the days when you worry your employees’ version of working from home is checking emails whilst binging Netflix. The benefits of flexi and home working have been proven.

Hiring for cultural add, not fit - in contrast to the culture fit mindset, which seeks to hire and retain more of what is already working for you, culture add focuses on gaining valuable elements that your culture lacks. Embracing this can be uncomfortable at first if like me, your company has historically focused on culture fit, but do not shy away from hiring people different to you.

Virtual interview process - fully virtual interview processes are here to stay.

How have you/your business adapted, and will you continue this into 2021 and beyond?

It’s easy for a successful business to lose track of its original mission, but the first step in realigning a business and adapting to the new environment requires a look back at company roots to examine how the business has evolved since that mission statement was drafted.

We have had a huge shift and realignment of our UK target markets, having to move away from construction and engineering and re-focus our resources into what we have been doing for 10 years.

We had to identify the most profitable global regions that represent our biggest markets and grow our headcount to service those areas. This has meant tough decisions, new leaders, new roles, and exciting new career paths. A huge part of the realignment strategy has been ensuring our leadership team remains flexible and understands that we must make certain choices and commit to them in the face of uncertainty.

I have been learning that playing to individual strengths and leveraging those skills and abilities is going to be one of the key areas to maximize potential in the coming months and beyond.

What top 3 businesses do you think have pivoted effectively during this time?

It is almost impossible to pick just three. As a recruitment business we have been working with businesses throughout the technology, life sciences, communications, and construction sectors worldwide since March who have all been able to adapt quickly and continue to grow and invest in their top talent.

Outside of our core sectors, restaurants who have been hit extremely hard have pivoted effectively during the pandemic by doing take-away boxes and other cook it yourself boxes with their ingredients.

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