Innovation, culture & the evolution of work

Innovation and doing things differently have been hallmarks of our approach to recruitment and to our business since Harrison McMillan launched in 2013.

But while innovation is a buzz word across industries, technological advancement is only one aspect.

Earlier this month Harrison McMillan co-founders Jodi Walton and Dani Cuff joined Rooster Radio presenters Andrew Montesi and James Begley for a wide-ranging interview about the future of work and innovation in recruitment.

You can listen to the full Podcast now, or read on for an overview of the topics covered.

Jodi Walton and Dani Cuff on the future of work and innovation in recruitment


Key topics covered in the interview

  1. Innovation in Recruitment

In 2016 Harrison McMillan was named Most Innovative Recruitment Agency by SEEK at their national awards. This was as a direct result of the changes we’d made to the traditional business model of recruitment and also our internal staff practices (more on that under ‘Valuing Your Staff’).

The traditional percentage fee for placement recruitment model has often resulted in a ‘race to the candidate’, with many clients perceiving they don’t receive good value for money.  Instead, we charge for our expertise, time and processes, allowing our clients the freedom to pick only the services that they need, much like an á la cart é menu at a restaurant. And, with 90% of our clients seeking repeat services, it’s a model that works.


  1. Valuing Your Staff

Since the beginning, Harrison McMillan have instilled a workplace culture where staff feel valued, resulting in low staff turnover. Last year, drawing on the teachings of Neuroscientist Dr Fiona Kerr, we implemented daily digital detoxes, enforced lunch breaks away from the desk, and flexible working hours, in a bid to boost productivity and reduce stress levels. It’s already working!


  1. Culture Matching

It’s one thing to match a candidate based on their skills, but it’s quite another to make sure they match an organisation’s culture. The cardinal rule of recruitment is to never make snap judgements about people.

Learning about an organisation’s culture and the hiring manager’s values is a key part of our recruitment process. We then employ both direct interviewing and more discrete interview tactics to gain an impression of candidates and ensure that there is a good value alignment between the successful candidate and their new employer.


  1. Advice for Candidates

With the highest unemployment rate on the mainland, the job market in South Australia is tough right now, but there’s plenty that candidates can do to nail the application process.

Candidates should carefully follow instructions regarding the application process, tailoring their applications to the particular job they are applying for, and include a cover letter that addresses the job criteria.  Also, keep in mind that the application process isn’t limited to the interview.  We assess everything from the way candidates answer the phone, to the way they speak to reception staff, so politeness and consistency are key.  Finally, don’t forget to review your life from the outside: google yourself and make sure that there is nothing untoward on your social media accounts that could turn off a recruiter or prospective employer.


  1. The Future of Work

While technological innovation is essential, catering to your workforce’s needs is as much about people as it is technology. Internationally, there is a strong trend towards activity-based working, with workplaces adapting to more hot desks, breakout areas and other added extras for staff.

But with 97% of South Australia’s workforce made up of SMEs with smaller budgets, offering these added extras – the likes of Silicon Valley companies – isn’t always feasible. Instead, employers can ask their employees what they want. Changes could be as simple as implementing daily digital detoxes like we have, or providing fresh fruit for morning or afternoon tea. Ultimately, employees want to feel valued, so consulting your team and measuring staff satisfaction are important.


Listen to the full interview now, or find out more about Harrison McMillan’s approach at