Louise Foster joins Baltimore Consulting as our Head of Talent and Development – here’s what she has to say…
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE – WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN AND WHERE ARE YOU NOW?
I started in my first recruitment job after I graduated from university, working for Computer Futures (part of the SThree group), where I quickly progressed up to Principal Consultant and billed over £1million.
Upon my return from maternity leave, a job came up at the SThree group for a Performance Coach in the Learning and Development team. It was the perfect opportunity to move into a new area of the business, develop my skills and pass on my years of knowledge and passion for recruitment.
Fast forward 2.5 years, I was made redundant and very quickly joined Opus Talent Solutions. I went from a business employing thousands of people globally, to working for a company that was just 18 months into trading, in one office, employing approximately 8 people.
My initial focus was on trainees, and hiring and training some big names in the business who have now gone onto directorship and even started their own brands.
I built up the training team, so we covered our global operation, identifying training needs and delivering training from top to bottom within the business.
So where am I now?
It’s time for a change and time to try something new! I’ve been lucky enough to work with Baltimore Consulting previously and feel even luckier that they’ve chosen me to set up their Learning and Development and talent function for the business.
I’m looking forward to working with some familiar faces again and getting stuck into enhancing and creating a top-class training programme for Baltimore that will not only be for new trainees, but for existing staff to help build, develop and achieve their career goals.
WHY HAVE YOU JOINED BALTIMORE CONSULTING?
Charmaine inspires me! She makes me feel that I can take on the world! I also know that she massively values my skills and experience and believes in me! Together with the Baltimore Consulting Senior Management Team, we’ll put together something bespoke that really enhances every employees’ skills – I’m excited!
WHY IS A LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT FUNCTION SO IMPORTANT IN A RECRUITMENT COMPANY?
Good training needs to be at the heartbeat of any business. You can receive great training, but if you never put it into practice or if it isn’t followed up, you may as well not bother.
For me, training is about two things; learning something brand new – I love using my brain and learning new things, and a reminder of what you should be doing. It’s easy in recruitment to get complacent and start cutting corners but eventually that will start showing in your results. If you’re an experienced Consultant and you come into training, you might not learn something new, but it will remind you of the things you used to do. It will tighten the process and get you stronger results and probably quicker!
Investing in Learning and Development is massive for a company, especially smaller businesses. But what that screams to me is how important it is and how valued training is to a business like Baltimore Consulting.
It’s a luxury to have a dedicated Learning and Development professional on board but it makes perfect business sense to me. It’s difficult to calculate actual return on investment in a role like mine, but without a doubt, there are millions of pounds of deals over the years that have happened with the Consultants I’ve worked with that will be the result of training they’ve had over the years.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT AT BALTIMORE CONSULTING?
Lots of fun, laughter, classroom training, on the floor coaching, and a tailored programme for trainees, consultants and management. I’m going to be looking from the top to the bottom to create something super exciting that takes everyone in the team onwards and upwards.
I also love that Charmaine is pro training and open to innovation, so I’m hoping to look externally for new ideas, what’s hot in the market and bring life and passion (and a little bit of craziness) along the way.
HOW CAN LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT NURTURE TALENT IN BALTIMORE CONSULTING?
There are already some very established and very talented people in Baltimore Consulting, which is great to be surrounded by. But over time we all need coaching and training. Even if it’s just for a pat on the back to hear we’re great at something or a little reminder of what we used to do and to improve on it.
I’m hoping to be a fresh pair of eyes and ears on the business! Try new things, bring in new exercises, short sessions, longer programmes and much, much more!
Then there’s nurturing brand new people, who’ve never recruited before – I love working with these guys. Taking them from zero to hero and teaching them how to do the job brilliantly so that they can provide an excellent service to candidates and clients alike.
I like to think I support people. I challenge them, I provide great knowledge, usually with a story or two along the way, normally followed by lots of laughter which makes learning fun. I try to make people as relaxed as possible and get to know people first.
We’re all different and we learn in different ways; it’s my job to work out the best way in order to ensure that training is received well, goes in and is actually put into practice.