Granite Consulting Quarterly Review – Q4

25-July-2014 in General by Lucy Thomson

It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of the year again, with a new Financial Year upon us as we reflect on the very busy year that was. There was little sign of slowing in hiring activity across all our clients as the year end approached, and that coupled with plenty of legislative changes, such as those to superannutation, kept us on our toes right to the end.

Happy Birthday to Us!

July 1st marked Granite’s 5th birthday, and what an action packed few years it has been. From humble beginnings under the DB Group umbrella, Granite Consulting is absolutely thriving, serving a large portfolio of clients across Australia, as well as in NZ and Asia.

With Dave Webley at the helm since day one back on St Kilda Rd, Granite took its name as the result of a competition among the team and aside from steady stream of junkmail from Chinese marble factories offering discounted granite headstones and bench tops, the company has gone from strength to strength (pun intended) ever since. The company’s success has been forged from foundations built on honest, long-lasting relationships with clients and a high level of transparency with candidates.

So what have been the highlights so far? There is little doubt one of the most notable achievements was being awarded third place in last year’s BRW Fast Starters List recognizing Australia’s fastest growing young businesses – a highly acclaimed accolade from a renowned organisation. One of just two Victorian businesses in the top ten, we were immensely proud to share the podium with other innovators and disruptors from across the country.

A few words from Director Dave Webley:

“Looking back over the past five years whilst it seems that Granite has been around for a long time, being now firmly established as a national business with an international footprint, in some respects it has also gone by in a flash. Setting up post GFC and having planned the business in the midst of the GFC it is a real credit to the whole team in the business for the resilience and competitive spirit shown in establishing Granite in an ultra competitive market. I feel immensely proud of the team at Granite and it’s a real privilege to work with so many talented people. Of course we wouldn’t have been able to build the business without the opportunity people gave us which is certainly in keeping with the Australian appreciate of people who ‘have a go.” From day one we viewed improved service as a way to clearly differentiate in the market and we continue to strive towards innovation and excellence through such initiatives as our professional development series. Of course you still need to focus on finding the best talent but we believe passionately in the importance of creating real value in what for many competitors is now a commoditised, transactional approach. So as we celebrate five years of Granite we pause to say thank you and have never been more excited about what the future holds.”

World Stage

Undoubtedly the most talked about world event (until recently) has been the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Australia put up an immpressive fight, and while England’s early defeat left several in our office somewhat disinterested beyond the group stages, the tournament provided for some great viewing. With several unexpected results (including the aforementioned one) the world’s most popular sporting event didn’t fail to entertain, providing a great reason to get up in the middle of the night, causing some tired eyes at work but a healthy source of banter among our network. Now with the final behind us, there is one less distraction from the business of a new financial year and all the things that come with it – although the Tour de France, Golf Open and Commonwealth Games fill the void nicely.

There is no question the devastating loss of 37 Australian citizens and residents (1), and of course the lives of 298 people in total is being felt internationally, bringing world attention on the horrifying actions of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The effects of this tragedy will undoubtedly be felt for years to come, with a number passengers reported to be researchers travelling on to Melbourne to attend the International AIDS Conference this week. Canadian HIV researcher Trevor Stratton had some words that hit home for the community, “What if the cure for AIDS was on that plane? Really, we don’t know.” (2). As the investigation slowly progresses the relationship between Australia (and other nations) with Russia is visably strained with questions raised over whether Vladimir Putin will be welcomed to the G20 Summit in Australia later this year. One thing that is certain is that for so many Australians, both young and old, to be caught up in a war so far from home is truly sobering.

Local Market

Closer to home, the recruitment industry received unwanted press during recent weeks, with a deceitful candidate duping a number of parties. Issues such as this, while very rare, highlight the importance of using trusted and reputable agencies with which you have a good relationship and who truly understand your needs as a business. We pride ourselves in the depth and breadth of our business relationships, regularly upskilling our talent pool with a range of professional development opportunities, and checking in with them on a regular basis. Many of our contacts have worked with us for several years and from both sides, as a candidate and as a client, which we believe is testament to the level of integrity we conduct ourselves with – we have worked hard to build rapport with our network, and are always doing our best to add value to the services we provide.

News with Granite

As mentioned, Quarter Four for Granite Consulting proved to be a busy one, with little sign of the usual EOFY slump in hiring. We experienced high activity levels across a number of clients and industries, with our PSA clients keeping the work coming at a healthy pace week in and week out. Branching out into a widening spectrum of specialist areas we are working to create strong foundations for a great FY14/15.

We have been doing a considerable amount in the executive space with several search assignments complete and underway. A pleasant wind-change to the usually rapid pace, exclusive work provides a great opportunity to do an highly intensive and extensive search and really strengthen business relationships.With our comprehensive series of well-attended professional development events, we are fortunate enough to have particularly strong relationships with a solid community of dynamic, senior professionals in the Melbourne market. These events provide a strong source of differentiation to our competitors and help ensure our community is best of breed, by creating a platform for discussion, ideas sharing, and exchanging lessons learnt. Having this excellent, highly skilled network, who we check in with face-to-face on a regular basis, allows us to deliver fantastic results.

Another exciting project for our community is our Executive Interview Series, which you may have spotted on LinkedIn and our blog. Taking inspiration from the Sunday Times, we aim to showcase some of Melbourne’s ‘movers and shakers’, how their career has developed and what makes them tick. Our inaugural piece last month featuring Executive Director of Message Media, Grant Rule, talked about his journey from a self-proclaimed woeful student in Adelaide to being the co-founder of Australia’s largest SMS provider. You can view the piece HERE.

If you would like find out more about this feature, or would be interested in being a subject, please give us call to discuss the opportunity.

Professional Development with Granite

We have had another busy schedule of professional development events throughout the quarter, broadening our community of attendees even further with events across all groups. The following topics featured:

The Secrets of Mastering Distractions and Getting Things Done That Matter, 18th June 2014
Wendy Cole of i-Mastery led a practical discussion on time management and productivity at work, giving us an insight into the neuroscience behind procrastination, along with some real truths about “multi-tasking”. Speaking to a large group from our HR Professionals Group, Wendy was able to convey her wealth of experience in behavioural sciences, entrepreneurship, recruitment and training. With some constructive tips on how to reduce distractions at work the session was well recieved, and caused an instant flow of positive feedback.

Leadership: From the Battlefield to the Boardroom, 11th June 2014
Andrew Tully, previously at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, ran a great event for our IT Leaders Group relating his experiences and skills gained during a ten year stint in the South African Defence Force to his professional career. Andrew pointed out some unexpected likenesses in the principles of team work, planning and patience demonstrating just how time sensitive and precise IT operations can and need to be.

Leadership Insights from the PMI Global Conference in Rio De Janiero, Brazil, 14th May 2014
A seasoned speaker at our professional development events over the years, Annie Sheehan presented a detailed recount of her experiences attending the PMI Global Conference in Brazil. As the Melbourne Chapter Board Director of PMI Global, Annie was invited to attend the event which featured keynote speakers well known to the PMI community Eduardo Braun, Mark Langley and Ricardo Triana, and was kind enough to share the highlights with our Project Leaders.

Transforming Business with an Integrated People & Process Approach, 7th May 2014
Greg Curcio, Improvement Support Manager from Metro Trains spoke to a group from our Business Process & Change community, on their approach and how the art of Japanese manufacturing inspired the continuous improvement journey in his workplace. With all guests having been a customer to Metro Trains at one time or another, this was a particularly candid event, and of course included a few gags from the crowd about why they had arrived late.

Getting the Most Out of Your Teams, 16th April 2014
A long time friend of Granite Consulting, Leigh Coutie, ran an impassioned session on the topic of high performin teams to our HR Professionals Group. Leigh ran an interactive workshop taking a look into team dynamics and attributes of high performing teams, presenting some practical ideas on how to utilise the resources at hand to create a culture of success.

Breaking Down the Barriers: Communities of Practice and Cross-Silo Communication, 1st April 2013
An accomplished business transformation leader, speaker and author, Evan Leybourn facilitated a discussion on skills-sharing, collaboration and cross-silo communication to our Project Leaders early in April. Evan provided useful insights into how to overcome these barriers and how to utilise Communities of Practise in the workplace to improve communication between business and technical functions.

If you would like more information on the opportunities, wish to attend or facilitate an event, please contact us for a discussion.

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Once again we would like to thank you all for your support during the entirety of the 13/14 Financial Year, we appreciate your business and look forward to continuing the relationsip throughout 14/15.

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1) Syndey Morning Herald (2014). Australia’s MH17 Death Toll Rises. Retrieved 20/7/14. Link here

2) The Independent (2014). Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: Was the cure for Aids lost along with Joep Lange and 100 top researchers? Retrieved 20/7/14. Link here