Meet our Relationship Manager Frida Malm!

We are happy to introduce our relationship manager Frida Malm who with pace, passion and impeccable social skills manages the Agentum network.

Frida, tell us about yourself and why you decided to take on the position as Relationship Manager at Agentum.

After graduating from the Service Management program at Lund University, I started my career with an internship at EF Education First. Eventually, that lead to the position as sales intern and later product manager, where I stayed for a couple of years. When I was recommended to the position at Agentum, it felt like a great chance to step into a smaller and more agile organisation. The position also allowed me to maintain focus on relationships, people and meaningful exchange; not too far away from what a position within sales offers.

As a person I am enthusiastic, outgoing and adventurous but also have a considerate and calm side. I think that is the reason I enjoy a people-focused, high-paced job but highly value exercise and nature for balance. I am a big fan of skiing and I spend most of my free time either up in the mountains or training for the next time I go. It is my happy place.

What does your position entail?

Agentum has two main pillars. The first one is the recruitment agency, which is the part of the organisation that is more available to the public. The other pillar is the network, which consists of approximately 1500 professionals that we call our ‘agents.’ With our business model, these professionals are key to the recruitment process. As a relationship manager I am responsible for the network and I make sure that the agents are heard, seen and engaged. It is about maintaining a balance of mutual giving and taking; it is my job to make sure that the agents benefit from and enjoy their membership in the network, but also to make sure that the network benefits from the agents. In this sense, one could say that I have a position within management.  Two other main factors are social interaction – face-to-face conversation, feedback and meaningful discussions – as well as developing the network and hence the ‘product’ we are selling.  In this, my position falls within the intersection of business and people, which is exactly what I find exciting.

My goal is for agents to think of Agentum as an inspiring complement to their current colleagues, as we provide cross-industry contacts, opportunities to create new bonds and of course a chance to help people in ones’ surroundings. If the network is not sufficiently engaged, or if they feel neglected, the business idea falls. In sum, my position as a relationship manager enables me to work with people in a way that generates a win-win situation for agents, Agentum and the recruiting companies.

What is your vision with the company? 

A vision that I have is to create a generous and giving environment within the network, where agents can share knowledge, create new connections and feel equally included. I am amazed by how inspiring the people from the network are, and I am working on enabling them to meet each other more often as well. Our breakfast seminars are a good place for that; they provide an opportunity for agents to share, discuss and learn from each other’s different skill sets. Ultimately, I believe that the referral business model is a forward-thinking way of approaching the traditional recruitment industry. I hope that Agentum becomes the top-of-mind recruitment agency and network for finding great people.

Lessons From A Digital Nomad

The past few months, I have been able to live in Indonesia while working remotely at Agentum. Being my first time as a remote worker (or as many like to call it, a “digital nomad”), I was surprised by how easy it was to adapt to the new lifestyle and carry out my work in a reasonably normal manner from across the world. But I also learned some lessons about myself and about remote working in general, which I have summed up below.

Lessons for the remote worker

  • Your discipline will be tested.

Although I had confidence in my discipline before heading off to the tropical life, remote working showed me wrong. First, it took time to get used to the climate, the jetlag, the lifestyle, co-working spaces and the heat. Second, it took discipline to develop routines that worked in that environment. Getting there, life quality peaked and I managed to find a work-life balance while staying on top of both work tasks, my master’s thesis and surfing classes. Lesson learned: Don’t expect to be your normal, disciplined self the first week or two. Adaptation takes time.

  • Pick a place and settle down.

Remote working – great. But I do believe that all kinds of work require at least some sort of office; a calm place where you can focus, have your coffee and a functional desk (or at least a table). Coworking spaces and some cafés are great for that. But once you start to compromise your routines with a “I’ll finish this on the go” mindset, your work will start to suffer. Neither mind nor body understands how to travel, focus and experience a new environment simultaneously and especially not when it is supposed to be part of your ordinary life. If you want to travel or experience the surroundings while away, try to make it a vacation from the vacation. Lesson learned: Plan ahead and get things done before you go on adventures. Don’t underestimate the energy it takes to travel.

  • Understand the importance of efficiency.

You most likely don’t do remote working for the sake of the working, but for the change in lifestyle. Suddenly, there is so much to experience outside work that the importance of efficient working hours becomes extremely evident. As I didn’t want to compromise neither quantity nor quality of my work, every little pause became time that I could have spent at the beach or exploring the city. In other words – inefficient time was narrowed down to a minimum. In that sense, I believe remote working is actually more efficient than office working. Lesson learned: efficiency.

Lessons for the company

  • Communication is key.

Don’t cut down on communication while your employee is away. Although it might be easy to think in terms of ‘he/she is so far away, I’ll ask X instead’ – try not to. In fact, emails, phone calls, video chats and all other means of communication enhances discipline and efficiency for the remote worker. It makes us feel that we aren’t that far away. Constantly updating on the tiniest details brings us closer to our teams and more dedicated to our work. Use Google Hangouts, Teams, Skype, Trello or other platforms to communicate at least once per day, even if it’s only a three-minute call. Lesson learned: Communication is key.

  • Develop clear working policies.

Freedom to work remotely requires knowledge of exactly what needs to be done and in what timespan, so a clear working plan is essential. Further, the employer needs to lay down some policies for availability: what hours the office can expect to reach the employee, when to have team meetings or group chats and what exact time to expect the next delivery. Also – if you need to have a group meeting between time zones, the remote worker will probably be fine dealing with some inconvenient meeting hours in exchange for freedom the rest of the day. Lesson learned: Communication is key, again.

  • Give it a try!  

Finally – don’t be afraid give it a chance. If it doesn’t go well, your employee will have to return to the office. If it does work, both parties will benefit: the employee will feel more content and trusted, thus improving performance while create a lifestyle that he or she desires. The company will improve employee satisfaction and hence lowering employee turnover, attract talent that demands flexible work arrangements (read: millennials & gen Z) and gain more efficient working hours. As a bonus – if you can’t compete with the big companies’ salaries, remote working could be your hook: studies show that 36 percent of employees would choose the ability to work from home over a pay rise. Lesson learned: none, until you try for yourself.

Text by Alexandra Teorell, Project Manager and remote worker at Agentum

Meet our new CEO Madeleine!

We are excited to introduce our new CEO Madeleine Celander, who joined the Agentum team in October. With a customer-focused mindset and a hands-on approach, Madeleine has delivered a brand new Agentum 2.0 in only a few months.

Madeleine, tell us about yourself and why you decided to take on the position as CEO at Agentum.

After graduating from Uppsala university, I started my career as management trainee at Modern Times Group. I then continued working within media at MTG for a couple of years before heading into the position as sales manager at EF. With EF, I got the opportunity to move to Switzerland, where I have been located the past couple of years. Last summer I was recommended to the position as CEO for Agentum and I felt that it was a great next step. I moved to Stockholm and since then it has been fast-paced and super exciting.

As a person I’m outgoing, energetic and passionate about people. I love networking and the whole concept of trying to find the best fit for a certain position via contacts. This interest of mine was established already during my time as head of Uppsalaekonomerna, where I spent a year doing exactly that. My passion for people has always been a driving force, and now I get to work with it on a daily basis. I’m often fearless in the way that I put myself out there and expand my comfort zone when presented with a new opportunity, especially with a cause that I believe in. Considering how much time people spend on their careers, I believe that finding the right position is essential for one’s wellbeing and personal development. Therefore it feels great to be a part in the process of matching great people with their futures.

What is your favorite thing about Agentum? 

The simple but brilliant business idea, and how it generates a win-win situation for all parties. It’s an easy process: We have a network of credible and trustworthy professionals – the Agents – who recommend people to open positions. Companies inform us when they are looking for new employees, and we ask our network for recommendations. The agents know their fields, they have relevant sector-specific networks and they are high-achieving in their lines of business, which makes them great at finding the right person. Being in the midst of an otherwise recommendation-based society, I think it’s only a matter of time before we apply this line of thinking to colleagues as well. Besides recruitment, our agents are able to connect with each other via our internal agent network. Running a professional network on top of the recruitment function gives my position as CEO an extra element of meaningfulness and sociability.

What is your vision with the company? 

My vision is to become leading in the recruitment industry, primarily in the Swedish market but eventually the Scandinavian or even international market. Our model is smooth, efficient and easy to scale so I’m really looking forward to this journey. We want our network to thrive with inspiration, new connections and great people. Also, it is hugely important for me to create a positive and encouraging corporate culture in which our own employees flourish!

Three HR Essentials of 2019

A recent survey found that 60% of employees plan to look for a new job in 2019, leaving HR with a clear chance to up its game in attracting and retaining the best talent.[1] It becomes more and more common to switch from one job, or even industry, to another. The global remote workforce is growing by the day and top talents are demanding benefits that previously were ‘nice to have’, but now are essential. As Forbes provided their HR trend report for 2019, we have listed our three main findings below.

  1. Understanding the importance of corporate culture.

It is said that HR joins Marketing in defining the company brand, as customer satisfaction and top talent go hand in hand. Your brand is to a large extent defined by your employees, who ultimately build the company’s culture. Therefore, you attract the people you are looking for by creating a culture that conveys the right message. In today’s transparent environment, you have to walk the walk. Implemented corporate values, a clear mission and vision, internal communication platforms, mentorship programmes and events are key in creating a corporate culture that shines from the inside and out. People value purpose – and corporate culture provides just that.

2. Redefining ‘diversity’.

Funnily, the terms “diversity and inclusion” have become more inclusive in themselves.[2] Diversity no longer refers to gender, race, LGBTQIA status or religion; that kind of diversity is obvious, and taken for granted. A diverse workplace now also incorporates factors such as:

  • Geographic location. Diversity includes an interaction of remote workers and onsite team members. Flexible hours, digital projects and private responsibility are key words in this kind of environment. [3]
  • Generational diversity. For the first time in history, the modern workplace embraces up to five generations and their respective skills sets and communications. [4]
  • Education levels. Modern companies, especially tech giants, no longer require a four-year university degree. Rather, they look for the necessary skills and personality traits that suits the position.

3. Supporting a flexible work culture.

Connecting the two abovementioned points, a modern corporate culture that includes geographic diversity inevitably involves a positive attitude toward a flexible work culture.

As technology evolved, work pivoted from 9-to-5 to a 24-hour cycle, in which employees have the liberty to design their own preferences based on their lifestyles. Of course, this is based on a steady communication between employees and managers to arrange meetings, deadlines and division of work. All in all, however, the individual is free to decide his or her own hours, whether that’s the ability to work remotely or work during off hours.

Allowing remote work has shown to attract more top talent, with higher engagement rates and more employee satisfaction. [5] A recent study found that 78% of employees feel more productive in a flexible work arrangement.[6] Ultimately, your employees will stay longer, provide you with better outputs and lower office costs. The price? Using video call instead of face to face meetings.

By driving initiatives that address and anticipate the team’s needs, and pays attention to each individual, HR will play a pivotal role in developing a modern, successful workforce.

Author: Alexandra Teorell, 19/3-19


Sources:

Balkhi, Syed. Want to Find the Best Remote Talent This Year? Here Are the 5 Best Job Sites to Try (2018). https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/309994

Noyes, Jesse: 7 Big Statistics About the State of Flexible Work Arrangements, (2018)https://www.zenefits.com/blog/7-big-statistics-about-the-state-of-flexible-work-arrangements/

Harte, Zoe: The Future Is Now: Three HR Trends That Will Transform Your Organization In 2019 (2019)https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2019/01/30/the-future-is-now-three-hr-trends-that-will-transform-your-organization-in-2019/#69897b85e9ce

Fry, Richard. Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force (2018) http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/04/11/millennials-largest-generation-us-labor-force/

Farrer, Laurel. Remote Working: Is It More Than A Trend? (2019) https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurelfarrer/2019/02/01/remote-working-is-it-more-than-a-trend/#50cb22f37fdf


[1] Harte (2019).

[2] Harte (2019).

[3] Farrer (2019).

[4] Fry (2018).

[5] Balkhi (2018).

[6] Noyes (2018).