Louise Haines is the Head of Research for Hays Executive, the dedicated search and selection arm of Hays PLC. Louise talks about her experiences with the Executive Research Association (ERA) and how being part of this network has benefited her as a manager and impacted the development of her team.

Louise-HainesWhat is your background? Quick snapshot

So as a brief background, I have over 10 years’ experience working for search firms, from small boutique organisations through to working for Hays PLC, a FTSE 250 company with over 7,800 staff. Hays Executive specialises predominantly in Non-Executive, Board and Senior Management appointments within the public, construction, property, engineering and energy sectors and l lead the in-house team that delivers the critical search campaigns – essentially finding those needles in large haystacks!

When and why did you join the ERA?

I joined the Executive Research Association over 3 years ago as an individual member to understand a little more about what the ERA can offer in-house search teams. I initially joined to attend the annual ERA Conference due to the relevant industry speakers and panel members that were presenting.  These ranged from Client speakers, Heads of Research, Independent researchers and trainers from the UK and internationally. I thought what a great opportunity to hear about the wider search market, perhaps learn some new techniques and to network with my peers – were my peers facing the same challenges and opportunities as myself? And YES – they were!

What are the benefits as a Research Manager being part of the ERA?

The opportunities and benefits have been many for me as a Research Manager of an in-house research team. From gaining a wider prospective of the search market, to networking with my peers and essentially learning new research skills and ideas about how to develop the Research function for Hays Executive. These experiences  have been invaluable in a fast changing market. Technologies and the internet are changing daily and the ERA keeps you informed of new systems and techniques to build knowledge. The ERA has also provided a forum for me to share ideas and knowledge around training and improving Hays Executive’s service offering to internal Consultants, Clients and Candidates. The network can also help with the recruitment of researchers into your team and provide links to external professional research support if required. The ERA keeps me on my toes and pushes me to keep progressing; promoting best practice and adapting to the market changes.  Additionally it helps to professionalise what we do!

What have been the benefits to your team?

Hays Executive have since joined as a company member with the full Research team in the UK being part of the ERA for the last two years. My team have different levels of experience, from recent graduates to Principal Researchers with over 10 years’ experience and the ERA offers support for both.  Time is of the essence for in-house research teams and the ERA holds annual webinars for members which are a great way to have training at work over lunch or a cup of tea. Additionally, over the last 12 months all the new researchers within my team have attended a 3 part training session arranged by the ERA geared towards the novice and an essential back to basics revisit for the more seasoned researcher. These training sessions, led by Carol O’Driscoll, who was previously the European Research Director for Russell Reynolds, provided the opportunity to gain first hand external training with an industry expert across critical areas such as getting past the gatekeeper and getting the most out of your approach calls. The training experience was invaluable and the researchers brought new ideas and techniques back to Hays Executive! The training events also helped promote the fact that “Executive Research” is a profession to new researchers and that standards and best practice are required. The training also provided a wider training support network for my team to turn to if struggling on a campaign or assignment.

Benefits also extend to more experienced researchers with my Principal Researcher attending an excellent training course around business development for Researchers, helping to be more commercial and proactive when it comes to lead generation and intelligence gathering.

What are you looking forward to in the next 12 months?

The next 12 months are exciting for my team within the ERA. We have built a solid foundation over the last year with the help of the ERA and we are looking forward to attending further training for more experienced Researchers, to network and understand market changes at the conference and to develop our connections and share knowledge with its growing members. As our team grows new researchers will be able to gain the external support received over the last 12 months that current researchers have received. Additionally we will look forward to keeping informed of what is happening within the sector and to keep an eye on new search techniques to improve the way we work! Plus – the ERA holds some fantastic social events such as the up and coming Summer Party!

This is a free event and will provide you the opportunity to hear a little more about the ERA. For further information please see the events page.