Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Resilient Recruiter

Jul 28, 2020

Recruitment is a tough job. High pressure and long hours are the norm, combined with extreme emotional highs and lows.  It’s no wonder that burnout has always been a big problem in our industry.  Now the issue is compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought increased anxiety and feelings of uncertainty.  How do you build a high-performing team while taking care of your employees’ mental health and well-being - especially in this time of crisis?

My special guest, Paul Hallam is a founding member of Six Degrees Executive, Australia’s leading independent, specialist executive recruitment consultancy.  In this interview, he shares how they grew to net fee income of $25 million AUD a team of 85 people in 3 offices, while placing mental health and well-being at the heart of their people strategy. 

Listen as Paul reveals Six Degrees Executive’s holistic approach to ensuring that their employees’ well-being and mental health are protected.  Hear simple yet effective practices that they apply to ensure that people in their recruitment business are “doing OK.”

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [1:20] Paul shares how they are dealing with COVID19’s impact on their business.
  • [6:00] A holistic approach in addressing your employees’ health and well-being.
  • [14:50] Paul shares three key success factors that enabled him to scale his business to 85 people and $25M.
  • [26:05] Paul’s valuable insights on people retention and diversity and inclusion.
  • [37:02] Best practices for planning and creating business strategies.
  • [40:49] Specific investments in technology that enabled Six Degrees to amplify their success.

A Holistic Approach to Addressing Mental Health

For Paul, the mental health and well-being of his people is the most paramount thing. 

Paul shares, “The hardest and toughest day of my life in Six Degrees’ history was when I had to tell people that one of their team members… had taken his own life. We had always been conscious of people’s mental health, but when something like that happens, mental health is probably the most important that we look at when looking after people.”

At Six Degrees, they make sure that people are not worked to the bone, not working too hard but have a really good balance in life. They would even enforce vacations if people haven’t taken the holidays they’re entitled to.  

In Australia, annually on the second Thursday of September, they hold what they call R U OK? Day which encourages Australians to connect with people who have emotional insecurity, address social isolation, and promote community cohesiveness.  For Paul, it is “not just asking are you okay, but asking second and third questions and also educating people to make sure they see the signs that when people are not okay. In Six Degrees, every day is R U OK? Day. not just one day a year.”


When Scaling Your Business, Diversity and Inclusion Contributes to People Retention

“One of the things we are very proud of is in our business, we are a diverse organization. Historically recruitment companies hire like-minded people. We have great diversity and representation of females and females in leadership positions as well. We also have very progressive policies when it comes to maternity/paternity leaves...We also have a father and mother with the same child in this office and they have flexible working arrangements to make it work for them.” Paul proudly shared how they value diversity and inclusion when talking about scaling their business and retaining valuable employees. Additionally, they ensure the learning and development of their employees while being engaged and actively listening to their needs as well.

Paul Hallam Bio and Contact Info

Paul is one of the founding directors at Six Degrees, an equity shareholder and board member. Paul’s recruitment and search career began in 1996 and he is widely renowned as one of the most connected executive search consultants in Australia. He manages executive search engagements for Retail, Consumer Goods, and Healthcare industries, recruiting General Manager, CEO and Director and C Level roles.

Prior to establishing Six Degrees, Paul spent eight years with Michael Page International, establishing their newly formed Sales & Marketing Division in the Victorian market. In 2002, he was promoted to the Australian Board of Directors with responsibility for the National Sales & Marketing Division, as well as managing some of the company’s major preferred supplier relationships.

Paul’s philosophy in life and in recruitment is: “look for three things in people, intelligence, energy, and integrity. If they don’t have the last one don’t even bother with the first two." - W. Buffet

People and Resources Mentioned

Connect with Mark Whitby

Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy


Subscribe to The Resilient Recruiter