Where competition is intense, Advent is your ally
Who We Are...

Martin Boyle, Advent's founder brings a wealth of experience and ideas, together with a huge bank of knowledge and contacts after 20 years in the industry.

Martin began Advent having gained early experience with KPMG and Norman Broadbent, prior to spending 18 years as Partner at Howgate Sable.

His track record includes appointments across all the primary job disciplines at main board and senior executive levels and working with a client portfolio that includes FTSE 100 companies, international groups, and independent and private equity backed businesses.

Article published in the Yorkshire Post Business Section, by Martin Boyle.

Location is everything.  A consistent theme in every executive search that we handle is around location and working arrangements.  Will the job holder need to relocate? Will a midweek commute be acceptable?  To what extent will the person be able to work from home?  Whilst the answers largely depend on the level and nature of the job in question, it is usually company policy that decides.  


Some organisations now actively promote home-working as a virtue, citing “trust” in their employees, increased productivity and the use of technology as being the main drivers.  Such statements will often be accompanied by a stock picture of a crowded underground station in Central London.  You can see their point; why waste time and effort travelling, when technology can apparently enable the job to be carried out at home?  Increasingly, work is something we do, rather than a place where we go.


I have to say that I am a fan of technology; it enables me to work wherever I happen to be, stay in contact, respond immediately and keep search assignments moving, whether at home, in the office or even when away on holiday.  


However, in the context of working with people, there is a line to be drawn.  In our business, a professional and persuasive representation of the client and the opportunity is critical.  The people we approach are usually not actively in the job market and in this regard, actually meeting them is essential.  It’s a warmer and more productive form of interaction, where you get to know the person better.  


By comparison, Skype-type video conferencing for interviews is no substitute and sends the wrong message.  Aside from the potential security issues, the format is restrictive and rather distant.  If you want to professionally engage a senior level candidate, it’s a turn-off from the outset.


Home-working does of course have its place, particularly for when sustained concentration is required, such as report writing or detailed business analysis.  However, prolonged periods of solitude do little to energise or inspire.  Being with a team of like-minded colleagues can lift the spirits and promote ideas and creativity. Will your employees go that extra mile whilst working from home?


Telephone conference calls can also be very effective when covering a single item requiring a swift decision.  However, most of us will have experienced the mood-draining effect of the dreaded prolonged conference call, involving several participants and multiple agenda items.  There is often that awkward moment when a question is raised and it’s apparent that no-one was actually listening at the time. 


We are a sociable species, drawn to being with and around other like-minded people.  In a working context, a good example is East London Tech City, now a major technology hub of leading high-tech companies.  It was formed out of the Old Street roundabout, which housed run-down, low rent office space following the financial crash in 2008.  Its remarkable success has been driven by the momentum of people, attracted to a physical location by the presence of other would-be technology entrepreneurs.


Flexible working arrangements are clearly an integral and positive aspect of working life; a pattern that will surely continue.  However, looking to the future, it’s my view that those businesses who can find a way of getting their key people working together in one place more often, will be more successful than those that do not.  


So focus on the people, the place and the proximity and boost the bottom line.