Celebrating 20 years at Swisslinx: An interview with Director Colin Tivendale

Posting date: 06 March 2020
Swisslinx is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, and to celebrate, we’re speaking to some of the people who’ve helped make Swisslinx become the business it is today.

Colin Tivendale started his career working in journalism and event promotion before entering the recruitment industry in 2002, where he’s remained ever since. Working within the recruitment markets of Digital & Technology and Change & Consulting, he’s worked his way up to Director level at Swisslinx and is looking forward to seeing the company continue to grow into the future. Here’s his story:

“I worked in multi-lingual call centres before moving to recruitment”

After moving on from his work in call centres, Colin first gained an insight intro recruitment when he worked at S3 in London on one of their Swiss desks. As an English, French and German speaker, Colin was able to further develop his multi-lingual skills during these early days of his career, before deciding to venture into more of a business development role.

“I wanted to be based in Zurich at a company that placed a high value on the customer experience”

Colin had his sights set on a boutique company where he could make a meaningful impact and commit to a long-term career. Swisslinx fit the bill – he joined in 2002 to specialise in technology, finance and business support, and has since added executive search, program resourcing and consulting to his skillset. His journey has seen him touch on most sales topics, including business development, research and account management across technology, corporate functions, finance and executive search, spanning the regions of Zurich, Geneva, Dubai/Abu Dhabi and London.

“I manage a team of four in a space that is ripe for disruption”

Colin’s team’s focus is primarily developing the business lines of the future for Swisslinx, which he believes to be Consulting/Professional Services and Executive Search for CIO/CDO and CTO functions. These spaces are primed and ready for disruption and Colin says better service levels can be delivered to customers by providing more transparency, a shorter timeline from engagement to hire and a more direct and delivery-focused execution style. 

“There have been so many highlights since I joined the company”

Swisslinx has grown enormously during Colin’s tenure. When he joined the offering was mainly banking, and he’s proud of helping hedge this portfolio by introducing two large key accounts, one in reinsurance and one in industrial, garnering CHF 20-30 million per year spends. He’s also worked on the majority of the firm’s largest fee generating searches and placements.

“I never thought I’d enjoy management as much as I do”

Having seen the company grow from fewer than 10 people in one office to a 50 person company with offices around the globe, Colin says Swisslinx’s development has been significant – but there’s still a long way to go. He’s grateful to have who he believes are some of the most talented people in the local and international markets on his team and says their potential to grow and develop is unlimited.

“If I ever start feeling too comfortable in my chair, I ask for a new project”

Colin remains stimulated in his work thanks to the autonomy he is afforded at Swisslinx. He says he’s been given the freedom to develop business lines and add new elements to existing areas, which has resulted in the introduction of the Commodities and Natural Resources business and the recent focus on Consulting and Professional Services. The former was instrumental in Swisslinx moving away from being a generalist recruitment agency towards the highly specialised boutique model of today. Meanwhile, the Consulting and Professional Services offering provides customers with a sustainable and credible alternative to the established management and tech consulting firms.

“Good recruiters are at their best when they are the broker directly communicating with the client and candidate”

While Colin counts himself lucky to have started in recruitment in the early days of LinkedIn and new technology platforms, he maintains that the personal touch of a recruiter cannot be digitalised. As client needs continue to evolve at pace, Recruiters and Swisslinx as a business must be proactive to keep developing. 

“Here we are given enough freedom to innovate and create, coupled with just the right amount of support to succeed”

In addition to having the autonomy and ability to craft, design and implement business plans, Colin loves working alongside people who are passionate about what they do. From the partners who have been with Swisslinx since day one to the management team and new joiners, he believes the most important elements are in place to continue to exceed expectations. 

Interested in learning more about what it’s like to work at Swisslinx or do business with the company? View our blog to find out more, or click here to meet other members of the team

How to maintain company culture while working remotely

Remote working has become a way of life for many employees. Businesses throughout the world have to adapt and become more agile, with many taking on a hybrid work model. While there’s likely to still be organisations that want employees to get back into the offices permanently, there’s now a much greater demand for remote working and flexibility. There’s certainly a widespread acceptance that remote working is the future. And as organizations have taken to the post-pandemic world, maintaining company culture has become all the more important. Since employees don’t need to be physically in an office to work, companies will need to pay extra attention to their culture and ensure their teams are happy and fulfilled. Reinforce company values With remote teams, it’s even more important for managers and leaders to acknowledge the values of a company. This is particularly crucial when onboarding new hires remotely. For example, the way problems are solved within the business in a remote environment need to be reinforced to employees, as well as how core decisions will continue to be made. All of this should reflect aspects of the company culture. When leaders relay information about the company’s policies and practices, it reminds employees that culture and structure still exists. Due to remote working, the boundaries of culture can be difficult to define – so companies must focus on establishing expectations and promoting a strong work ethic to help maintain culture. Establish trust One of the best ways to maintain company culture while working remotely is to build trust and transparency throughout the organisation. Thanks to digital tools, it’s never been easier to stay connected with people and build relationships. With a remote team, managers need to show confidence in their team and maintain the trust that was built back in the office. For example, leaders and managers should be always open to collaboration and sharing solutions to problems. That way, everyone will feel connected and part of a team, which can remove any feelings of isolation that can come from working from home. Create a sense of accountability In the remote working world, it’s important to empower your team members to be proactive and take initiative. When managing a remote team, you need to avoid simply delegating tasks but instead create a workflow for your team that allows them to take a lead on projects. This creates an environment of accountability which helps maintain the culture you may have had back in the office. Personal responsibility is an important part of many businesses, so translating this into a remote environment is an excellent way of maintaining culture. Set new targets Companies must set all employees new objectives as priorities change. In a remote environment, there are likely to be some significant changes to company goals. Setting monthly and weekly targets is a great way to foster company-wide motivation and it creates a strong work ethic across teams. As in the office, employees will be driven to achieve company goals if they understand what they are. That’s why setting a vision for the work is essential and understanding how people are feeling with regards to meeting their targets in the new normal. Also, leaders should continually share what the company has achieved through communication tools, as well as business goals, all of which cultivate a sense of company culture. Swisslinx can drive your recruitment forward At Swisslinx, we have an excellent track record of providing the best recruitment solutions to companies in a range of sectors, from financial services and digital to healthcare and life sciences. As a leading recruitment agency in Swisslinx, we have access to an array of talent to help your business grow and develop. We pride ourselves on building effective relationships with clients and candidates. Contact us today if you would like to find out more about how we can help your recruitment. Also, please keep reading our insights page for more interesting articles.

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Why internal mobility is crucial for engaging and retaining talent

Internal mobility is all about the movement of employees from one position to the next within an organisation. Now more than ever, businesses need to build a growth-oriented and flexible workforce to improve retention, leadership and engagement. Organisations in Switzerland today need to be open to new challenges and make sure their employees always have opportunities to take on new responsibilities and move up in the company. It’s no secret that employees who are happy and engaged will be more motivated to do their best work, so development opportunities should be taken seriously by all companies. Internal mobility is an effective way of filling skills gaps and delivering seamless talent acquisition – and it’s essential for the success of any organisation. Here’s why:   Nurture high-potentials   Internal mobility is hugely important when it comes to nurturing high-potential employees. Having an internal mobility strategy enables businesses to take advantage of the most promising talent and ensure they remain at the company. It’s widely understood that millennial workers change companies more frequently than older generations. That’s why taking an internal approach to moving employees to new roles and adding responsibilities shows you’re invested in the people that work within your company, which is key to retainment. When you identify and nurture the best talent in your organisation, you can create an agile workforce with a team of professionals with cross-functional knowledge and expertise.   Builds a culture of learning   One of the key benefits of focusing on internal mobility is that it builds a culture of continuous learning. First of all, it’s a change in mindset that asks leaders to support a culture of challenge and growth and encourages employees to plan for the next stage in their careers. A learning culture is crucial to securing employee productivity, engagement and enthusiasm. The best employees want to keep expanding their knowledge and learn new skills quickly for their professional development. An internal mobility program can pave the way for a strong learning culture, which can make a more adaptable organisation. In a learning culture, employees actively share each other knowledge, which means problems can get solved more quickly. In this way, employees will be more engaged and more likely to stay at the company for longer.    Business development    Without retaining employees and keeping them engaged, it’s difficult for a company to develop and drive internal growth. Organisations need to think strategically about why people join their companies and why they choose to stay. Often, it’s the work-life balance, culture and learning opportunities that make people enjoy their roles and feel valued. Internal mobility feeds into all areas of business development and growth. An internal mobility strategy can help companies find potential leaders who can empower their businesses in the future. Above all, companies should have an internal talent pipeline ready to fill new positions when needed. Hiring externally takes time and there’s always the risk of a candidate leaving the role prematurely. Therefore, investing in internal mobility is an effective way to empower your workforce, which in turn, can future-proof your business.   Swisslinx has the expertise to help your business grow   Swisslinx is a recruitment leader in a wide range of markets, including financial services, technology and healthcare and life sciences. Our team of dedicated consultants have years of experience in delivering quality recruitment expertise and sourcing the best candidates on both a permanent and contractual basis. We’ve established excellent consultative partnerships with our clients and candidates, and we pride ourselves on our quality service, built on insightful knowledge and experience. If you’d like to know more about our service, contact our team today.  

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