Recently, we had the privilege of meeting Phillip Ullmann, Chief Energiser at The Cordant Group. Phillip is on a journey to turn his £800m organisation into a social enterprise. He’s a pioneer at an important turning point in our history and is one of a growing number of individuals who realise that something fundamental needs to change in our organisations. With this in mind Phillip is taking the bold step of focussing his organisations on relationships over profit. A significant portion of his organisations are in the recruitment industry and according to him, as one of the largest recruiters in the UK, Cordant Group’s focus in the future will not be on purely making a profit but on getting people into the right role to make a difference.

We support and applaud this aim. Hiring new employees is one of the most time consuming and costly activities in any organisation. Make good decisions and hire the right people with the right impact and you have the recipe for great results. Make poor decisions and hire the wrong people and it will prove costly, both in terms of financial consequences and the negative effect on culture and productivity. But worse are the human consequences.

Research suggests up to 90% of people don’t enjoy their working lives. This means that the majority of us leave work in an evening feeling disenfranchised, unfulfilled and unhappy. People are stuck on a treadmill, spending day after day doing work that doesn’t allow them to play to their strengths, that they don’t enjoy, in environments that limit their freedom for self-expression, creativity and collaboration.

For organisations to be successful in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment, they need to provide employment experiences that allow people to feel potent, make their best impact and bring their whole selves to work. This way, they will create game-changing teams fit for the future.

At Franklin-Hackett (in partnership with The Change Maker Group), we believe that the way organisations currently approach recruitment is one of the key causes of unsatisfactory working lives and poor productivity. And at the same time, we’ve learned that by adding two important elements to the process, it can become one of the key drivers for creating employee / organisation relationships that are fulfilling, productive and healthy.

In this, Part 1 of a two-part series, we will take a look at what’s going wrong in many recruitment processes right now.


You will be familiar with this - when making hiring decisions, we find ourselves hoping the people we choose will have the right impact in the role, team and/or organisation. Moreover, we hope that once hired, they will have the maximum impact possible. And if we are conscientious employers, we generally hope that the new addition to our team will be happy and fulfilled in their new role and that the work will fit with their motivations and expectations.

​The problem is, as statistics betray, there is often a mismatch between the preferred impact of the candidate and the required impact of the role and/or team. At the same time, the motivations of the candidate are sometimes out of line with what the organisation and role provide. All too regularly, people are put into roles that they are not best suited to, where their personal energies, capabilities and motivations are not aligned with the needs of the job. They are placed in situations where they aren’t able to express their true selves and where they don’t share the organisation’s purpose and values.

Is it any wonder that people aren’t enjoying their working lives?

Through our work helping organisations to create Change Makers, we have discovered that there are three key problems that are almost universal and which affect the quality and success of most recruitment processes:

1. Lack of clarity as to the purpose of a role and how it contributes to the organisation’s objectives.

2. Lack of a holistic understanding of the candidate and their impact beyond the common measures of skills / experience / personality.

3. Lack of understanding of the motivations that drive the candidate.

There’s a fundamental reason why these are important. Recruitment, if it is to be a healthy and productive activity in any organisation, should be about establishing and building relationships that allow individuals of like minds to work together collaboratively, playing to their strengths, for mutual benefit and shared purpose.

It’s ironic that in most organisations, we regularly talk about things such as employee wellbeing, work-life balance and empowerment while missing the crucial truth that all three of these are results of a person being in a role that allows them to feel potent, make their best impact and be true to themselves.

So what is the solution? At Franklin-Hackett, in partnership with The Change Maker Group, we have been privileged to have had the opportunity to gain some insight into how recruitment can be moved forward and as a result of what we’ve learned, have set ourselves the mission of helping as many recruiters as we can to make better hires for a bigger impact. So in that spirit, we would like to share some of that learning with you.

In Part 2, we will look at how you can approach recruitment differently in order to make hires that not only produce better return on investment, but also propogate healthy, fulfilling and wholesome working relationships.