Developing the next generation of Scottish entrepreneurs

Jordan Talent Solutions founder LeighAnne Jordan talks about the ongoing collaboration with Filament STAC, the smart IoT tech accelerator which supports the scaleup of startups in Scotland.

How did the partnership with Filament STAC come about?

LAJ: Grant and I have both known Paul, the CEO of Filament STAC, for a long time. Paul was very supportive when I started Jordan Talent Solutions and this was an opportunity to collaborate which started as me becoming a mentor. I was excited at the prospect of being part of an initiative that develops homegrown talent and provides a platform for these businesses to go global. That’s what attracted me to their mission.

As a mentor, which aspects do you lead on?

LAJ: My role as a mentor focuses on the Talent and HR aspect of the programme, specific focus areas include working through the attraction of talent and implementing the best-in-class process to ensure delivery. Having worked in the recruitment industry for 20 years now, I draw on my expertise and share best practice, utilising my network to support too. The HR aspect covers compliance which gives me the opportunity to partner with Scottish Enterprise and legal partners, Burness Paull, to ensure all aspects of the programme are met.

Our cohort have the natural entrepreneurial instinct to focus on getting their product to market as a priority, however, recruitment and talent can often be further down the line of their priorities so by engaging and sharing with the cohort we work on bringing the talent piece in line with their priorities. To attract talent, they need a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and must be clear on what their brand stands for and represents. I try to instil in them that if they get the fundamentals in place early, so understanding HR and the legal framework, this will create a solid foundation and launchpad for them to evolve and grow.

Give us an overview of the programme syllabus.

LAJ: There are four key pillars – Propose, Create, Grow and Lead – which have several ingredients. In the first two stages, we look at HR, talent, statutory and compliance, so covering contracts and all the employee HR administration, creating your employee handbook and compensation and benefits. We then look at defining a hiring plan, the pros and cons of inhouse resource versus outsourcing and maximising their talent attraction strategy. A key part is looking at how they can make their EVP more competitive. I then focus on the recruitment process and onboarding, job descriptions, interview skills and the legal HR aspect.

How do you prepare the startups for their next growth phase?

LAJ: We then go into more detail around management and leadership roles in the Grow phase. Even if they haven’t got there yet, it’s important for them to visualise what their next phase will look like. For example, we produce an organisational chart so that they can see what would be required for their business to expand. I then go on to cover areas such as performance evaluation, HR processes, how to manage staff and the benefits of outsourcing HR. The Lead phase takes it to the next level, so performance management system implementation and training, ensuring that systems and structures are in place around compliance, management, compensation and benefits etc. Once they’re ready for the growth strategy, we re-evaluate the plans to see if there is anything they want to change. Each founder has to complete each phase before moving on to the next.

Mentoring the cohorts must very rewarding…

LAJ: I’ve learned a lot about myself as I have never worked as an external mentor before. As we’re coming to the end of the first cohort, I’ve been able to reflect and it’s been an amazing experience, supporting in a coaching capacity [LeighAnne is an accredited coach], learning about the challenges and offering a listening ear. We also collaborate with Scottish Enterprise, who provide insight and resources and they also for example provide innovation workshops. As a mentor, you have to validate each specific area in line with the programme’s senior leadership team. While what I cover applies to all the businesses, there are some specialist areas that require a more one-to-one tailored approach which are supported by a specialist HR consultant and legal firm.

Jordan Talent Solutions is now a Filament STAC partner/sponsor…

LAJ: Yes, that happened in October 2022. At that point, I had been a mentor within the STAC community for a year, so it seemed like an obvious opportunity to continue our own journey as a startup business. Sponsorship creates opportunities for us to attend events, network with the STAC community and promote Jordan Talent Solutions and the services we provide to our clients. We’re a young business and this gives us greater exposure and visibility, which is important for our growth! It’s also exciting for us to be part of the future – there are so many exciting plans in the pipeline, such as a new STAC jobs portal.

Tell us more about the ‘STAC Jobs’ portal.

LAJ: It’s a job board that connects employers to candidates but specific to the Internet of Things (IoT) market. It will be the first dedicated IoT channel where startups can showcase their brands to attract the talent they need. STAC jobs will support Scottish organisations by promoting both their jobs and companies. The aim is for it to be the destination where tech employers can go for talent and candidates for jobs direct. It’s being finalised, so it should be up and running in the first half of 2023.

It has also led you to diversify into tech recruitment…

LAJ: The exposure that being part of the STAC community has given us has created opportunities for Jordan Talent Solutions to diversify into the wider Scottish tech recruitment market. It is a new market for us but one we’d like to grow alongside our HR and Investment divisions. So far we have partnered with clients within the STAC community to source tech project management roles as well as software and hardware engineers. It’s such an exciting market to be involved in and we feel we can make a difference and provide a talent solution that can help companies find the tech talent they need.

In the news…

Jordan Talent Solutions’ involvement with Filament STAC and the upcoming STAC Jobs platform featured in The Scotsman (January 2023). Read more here…

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