I'm the culture you can't leave

I'm Robert Walters

Having first joined Robert Walters in 2017 and then rejoining in 2021, I’m one of the Robert Walters returnees.

It almost feels like coming back to Robert Walters was inevitable. There are so many aspects here that draw you in. Most importantly, it’s the company culture – there is a character to this place which makes it very human – and this is something I missed the most when I worked for another company. Despite its long history, Robert Walters continues to have one eye on the present and one on the future. The culture is dynamic, agile and keeps evolving with time. Another big reason why I came back is the importance given on structural training and opportunities to help us to upskill. As I said, as one eye is always on the future, the same is applicable to our career paths as well. The culture promotes progression, growth, collaboration, and purpose.

There is a well-established corporate blueprint that defines culture at Robert Walters. Not only does it flow from top to bottom, but it also flows from our global office in London through to every office across the world. Something that I absolutely treasure here in Hong Kong is the transparency in communication and expectations. There is always an avenue for an open dialogue with the management – employees can feel safe and comfortable to speak their mind, whilst being assured that management will be all ears. One value deeply engrained in the Robert Walters’ principles, and something I personally resonate with is – integrity. Our KPIs, approach, commission model and other systems in place are very transparent and set in the fabric of integrity. What I learnt here is that there is no short cut. For good quality service, it’s important to do work in good faith and with due diligence.

In a typical day, I have a lot of meetings lined up – right from collaborating internally with the team to meeting clients and talent. But these are something I really look forward to as these conversations charge me up. Having interactions through emails and calls are helpful but only have so much impact. When you meet people in person and hear their stories, is when the human side of recruitment seeps in and shines through. It is so enriching to hear perspectives and learn from people from different walks of life, backgrounds, professions, and everyone having their own careers and aspirations. Honestly, I find this very fulfilling as I have also evolved as a person. I listen more, I don’t make assumptions, have more empathy and have overall become a very patient person. All of this makes me feel like this not a ‘job’ per se, it’s like social work – to listen to people, to help them with career advice.

At Robert Walters, team collaboration takes place in its truest sense. With our non-commission model in place, the team’s collective efforts are all channeled towards providing exceptional solution delivery to our clients and talent. Unlike many other places where there is fierce competition, here, the culture fosters sharing knowledge, resources, and nurturing relationships internally as well. For example, if we attend a client meeting and feel that another consultant might be able to provide a better solution, we introduce the contact to them – there is no feeling of competition. The idea is to be transparent and for true Robert Walters service take precedence.

Colleagues are more than willing to give advice, share their experience, and best practices. It’s very encouraging and reassuring to know that the team is there for you and act as soundboards. As a result of which, our interpersonal relationships have evolved from being just colleagues to being friends. Even when I re-joined Robert Walters, my teammates and other consultants came to me and asked how I was doing and if I was comfortable – a true sign of how caring the culture is.

After I joined Robert Walters, I found meaning and purpose in my job beyond financial terms. I feel my work has the ability to empower people and help them with their career path by giving guidance on finding the jobs they find meaningful. It’s not always making placements, it’s also about painting the right picture of where a candidate is in their career journey and what the next steps are that they should be taking to assist their career progression.

For example, I recently placed a 58-year-old candidate who had lost his job as a result of his company moving out of Hong Kong. Usually, companies are more open to younger talent as they are assumed to be more agile and quick to learn. It is often forgotten that seasoned professionals, who come with tons of experience, can be a beneficial addition to the company’s growth. My colleagues and managers gave me all the encouragement and told me that no talent is bad talent, you just need to find the right environment for them, and they will fit in. The day he got an offer, I was the happiest man. These kinds of rewards, go beyond financial gains and has added on to the purpose I have found in my career.

Here I have seen that managers and leaders are invested in placing consultants on leadership track. It’s like individual growth is equally important as the company’s growth here. They help me set goals and paint a vision which in turn helps me reach the next level in my career. In the due course of work – be it making placements or getting new client meetings or bringing in new business, I get immediate appreciation and feedback and that keeps me very motivated.

On a personal front, I have seen a lot of positive change in myself. With every client or candidate meeting, I become more curious. I want to know more, learn more so that I can deliver even more. Additionally, I have developed a great sense of resilience and empathy – all important traits for a leader. To thrive as a potential leader, I am given the autonomy to plan my work and have the guidance and support from my managers at every step of the way, without micromanagement but instead feeling fully valued and respected.  

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