Change Management Recruitment expert Tracey Petrie gives insight into how Change Management can help your business

Tracey Petrie
Tracey Petrie

Tracey Petrie has a passion for improving businesses and ensuring that they are able to connect with their customers more effectively. When changes of any kind occur within a business, Tracey at White Cloud Recruitment can help you find the perfect person to oversee these changes and ensure that they run smoothly.

This is an essential service for businesses and can make a drastic impact on how effectively they run. Tracey speaks to us about exactly what she does and what makes her so passionate about change management recruitment.

Hi Tracey, can you start by giving us a bit of background on you and how you got your start as a recruitment specialist?

I started working at 16 years old in an IT Company in Auckland New Zealand and worked within IT until I was 29.  I moved to Wellington and was interviewed by a recruiter who said – you would be great in recruitment ever thought about it?  Because my passion was to improve things and I loved people it felt like a natural fit to me.  I worked on all facets within IT – from help desk, network engineers, solution architects to CIO’s.  The whole time during this I felt IT was missing something – the connection with the people – the end user.  When I interviewed people who had change management experience I realized this was an area that was missing from a lot of IT Programs.  I found my new love.  Change Management!

What made you decide to develop your business White Cloud Recruitment?

I moved to Australia from New Zealand with my 17-month old son by myself in late 2012.  I started with a boutique agency in 2013 and took over their existing Change Management Recruitment Practice.  I also built up the Project Services and technology Practice by hiring two awesome individuals.  After almost 6 years and some management changes at the firm I decided that managing a team, running a single parent household and recruiting full time was just getting too much and now was the time for change.  Because I had built up such a great network of candidates and clients, I felt confident I could do this by myself and in June 2019 I launched White Cloud Recruitment.  I’m coming up to two years now and loving every minute of running my own company – the flexibility it gives but also able to work with small to medium size clients that have not had change management on their projects before.  It gives my candidates a chance to also work on exciting projects and also flex their skills in building change management frameworks and methodologies (bespoke) to clients.  Something they were not given the chance to do in the larger corporates.

Can you explain to us a bit more about what Change Management Recruitment means?

Let me start by explaining what Change Management is first.  Change Management is essentially managing change within a business.  That change could be system, process or people related.  They ensure the change initiatives meet the objectives on time and on budget by increasing employee adoption and usage.

An example could be a company is changing its processes and systems around products that they market and sell.  All processes from the initial first sales call through to invoicing are changing.  A new system is being implemented to track and manage this.  Because of this process re-engineering “transformation” their organisational structure would also be changing.  A Change Manager would work closely with all impacted stakeholders around what this would mean for them (at an individual and business unit level). A Change Manager will work to maximize the employee adoption and usage (new system and ways of working) and also minimize any resistance.  They do this by implementing change management strategies and plans.  Change done well these improvements increase benefit realization, return on investment and ultimately the results and outcomes the company was seeking.

So back to your original question about Change Management Recruitment, I source candidates who have the necessary and relevant experience for clients who seek either contracting (day rate), or fixed term contractors or permanent Change Management Practioners.  I always say “culture fit is key” and often MORE important than their project experience, and I try to ensure a client gets both. The experience needed and the right cultural fit and work ethic.

What services do you offer exactly?

I consult to clients around what they require and source them the necessary talent around Change Management.  This could be from a day rate contracting point of view, a fixed term contract employee or a permanent employee.

The types of candidates within change management span from a Change Analyst through to a Head of Change.  I have helped clients build up Change practices by ensuring we hire staff that have complimentary skills and fit the type of culture they are keen to build (or have already built).  I have placed day rate contractors with clients who just need a Change Management Audit and Strategy to be done and I have placed Senior Change Consultants within organisations where their Leadership Team need further coaching (on who to lead their own teams through massive transformation and change).

I also have a number of expert Learning and Development people whom I work with to place into client sites.  Organisational Development and training is a specialized skill set and although Change Managers can to training needs analysis and facilitation as well some clients have projects which are heavy from a training point of view and I source them Instructional Designers and Trainers for their projects – particularly if the Program is huge and a Change Manager cannot do the training themselves and more specialized skills are required such as Learning and Development.

What is your process when engaging when a new client? What can people expect when working with you?

I am my brand.  So each client gets one person to interact with – end to end. I get a thorough brief on what the client is wanting and really get to know what they are trying to achieve and what their culture and stakeholders are like.  After almost 10 years here in Melbourne specializing in Change Management Recruitment my network is extensive (in fact not only in Melbourne, but Sydney and Brisbane as well).  I have interviewed thousands of change Practioners and know whom is available immediately or passively or actively looking.  I don’t “take an order” I really consult with each client around what type of change skillset they do require and also what the market is like in terms of renumeration etc.  I also ensure I am touching base regularly with both clients and candidates to ensure things are working well.  I see my clients as partners – I do end up having long term relationships with them and seen as a trusted partner.  I care a lot about my candidates so want to ensure they are also put into roles that see them not only grow their own skill set but really integrate with a team and love going to work each day.

How important is it for business undergoing a change to have a plan upfront?

Critical!  For success on any transformation or change initiative a business needs to have a committed sponsor (CEO is preferable).  Someone who really advocates and leads from the top.  Then of course at business case level – ensuring that not only is a Program / Project Manager assigned to a project in the initial business case phase, but also a Change Manager who is able to do a high level change audit and give input to what change initiatives will be taking place and how big the change scope really is.  How much budget needs to be put into the business case for Change Management.   Often clients panic when a project is almost finished and I get a call “OMG we forgot the people need to be using this system and don’t know it’s coming and we haven’t done training – can you find me someone to do training and comms”.  Well by then the engagement of stakeholders is not there and its catchup.  Not ideal and typically makes for a very messy project and lack of engagement and usage of that particular system.  Getting things scoped and planned up prior to business case and getting the right sponsor upfront really is critical to a successful project. Change Management is not just “training and communications” yes that is a part of the skillset but a very small part!  Change management should be brought in early on so that things are well prepared upfront.

What kind of industries are you able to work with?

Any industry.  Change can impact any organisations. I work with various clients from Not For Profits, Financial Services, FMCG, Utilities (Oil and Gas), Education sector, Aged Care.  I am even working with a company that maintains cemeteries.

Change Management is a career and a specialized skill set.  Just like a Communications or a Marketing Manager has a career and specialized skill set.  All industries undergoing ANY type of change that impacts their processes, their people or their systems should engage the services of a Change Manager.  It could be a massive transformation or a smaller project and therefore the number of change resources that client would need would also change.  That is where I can help a client in terms of determining if they really do need a more junior Change resource or if they are really expecting too much for one person and need a more senior resource or multiple people.

Finally, are there any other key tips you would share with a business undergoing a change of some sort?

Talk to White Cloud Recruitment first.  To discuss the type of change that you are undergoing and I can consult to you on what (if any) change management expertise may be required.

Thank you Tracey for your time!

You can follow up with Tracey Petrie at https://whitecloudrecruitment.com.au