As a Global Business, Salt has gone through many changes and evolutions to adapt to a perpetually changing and disruptive digital landscape. But not just in terms of markets and specialist skills that we recruit; we have naturally grown our UX Community, our Big Data strengths, Cyber Security capabilities and Artificial Intelligence – but it is the cultural evolutions that have shaped Salt to rise to new and enhanced levels.
In 2013 when we were just one office in London (and 3 years before partnering with Salt in New Zealand), we were a male dominated environment with a work hard play hard approach, offering all the typical recruitment incentives of big nights out and trips to party-based destinations. But as we eyed international locations we were very aware of the diversity in digital required to be successful; many companies we were working with from an EY, Accenture, Tesco and American Express, to the cool start-ups, were looking at the challenges of skilled digital staff.
We had also started to partner with Diversity & Inclusion Groups such as Stemettes, Diversity Jobs and Edit Development, hosting panels and round tables on the diversification of the workforce. We took these learnings into Salt and over the last 4.5 years have gone from 20% female to 41% female across Salt Recruitment Group, that now includes offices in London, New York, Auckland, Sydney, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Dubai.
Salt’s network of offices has provided great challenges for diversity and cultural evolution in that London was an integration of a Tech and Exec Search brand, before organically building Sydney, New York and Dubai; whilst Auckland was founded in 2003, before Jacqui and Shaun Barratt (founders of Salt in New Zealand) acquired the Aquent/Firebrand offices in Asia. So, we’ve have not only had to adapt to new countries and cultures, but also the merging of brands, systems and methodologies, culminating in Jacqui Barratt joining the London offices for 6-months to lead our “Creating Futures” Programme – an initiative to harmonise and systemise our employee lifecycle globally. This has also coincided with hiring our HR Manager in the UK, as clear investment into our people.
When we first created our network of 8 offices we created new global values that aligned to all the offices and cultures, or with aspects of the operations set the vision for how we wanted to behave and represent the Salt Global brand; these are integrity, dynamic, expertise, achievement and synergy. Further to this we used our quarterly launches (global communication meetings across our offices in the first week of each quarter) to introduce “Mindfulness” as a key initiative in the workplace. We have used a mix of spiritual and medical quotes and facts to explain its benefits and smoothed the introduction into the working environment, whereby this week we hosted our first Mindfulness Workshops in London.
Having been seeing a Mindfulness Coach for the last 15 months, having experience of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), being married to a Yoga Teacher, as well as practicing mindfulness and meditation myself, it was a joyful moment to roll-out our first sessions with the Creative, Marketing and Product Teams in the UK office. We started with an intro video by the fast becoming globally renowned Jay Shetty, who I first had the pleasure of meeting at London Tech Week in 2014 when we were official Diversity Partners of the event (thank you Sarah DeSilva). After an insightful presentation, masterminded by our very own Ricky Burns, we finished with a mindful eating exercise by Kirsty Pearce-Perkins (our HR Manager).
Following our Mindfulness Workshops kick-off, we plan to host them across our 8 offices where I’ll be with the team in Dubai later this month, New York in May, Jacqui Barratt will lead across Asia and Australia, and Angela Gichard (our New Zealand Country Director) for Auckland. As we have with our other training modules at Salt on The Recruitment Lifecycle, we will invest in the ability of our leaders to host such workshops and continually evolve to the cultural advance of our business, investing in our people and attracting future stars of Salt.
If you would like to find out more about Mindfulness please feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or access the plethora of great information there is online; whether you are spiritual, practical, medical or cynical, mindfulness touches us all each day, whether we acknowledge it or not. For those already on a mindful journey I am attending “The Mindfulness Project – Mindfulness For Work” event on the 16th March in London, hosted by Mike Grindle, a trained MBSR (Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction) teacher from the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University. He has a particular interest in integrating mindfulness into everyday life, including into our work lives. He has a long-term and ongoing meditation and yoga practice and follows the Good Practice Guidelines for teaching mindfulness-based courses. He is also an accredited Executive Coach and teaches mindfulness and emotional intelligence in workplace settings and to individuals one-to-one.
Why all this focus on mindfulness? With mindfulness practice we have more focus; with more focus we are more likely to achieve our vision and taste success. Our mission is creating futures: that all our staff at Salt are successful and the various methods used through mindfulness will help reduce stress and promote better well-being. With staff that are at the best they can be, we may continue to create futures for our customers globally that will positively impact the digital economy.
“Most of us are rarely in the present moment. We focus on past experiences and emotions. We are constantly thinking about what might happen next. Humans are ‘bundles of habits’. We are often ‘on auto pilot’. We are often unaware of what we are doing”.