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Akhil Yerneni

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Akhil Yerneni

Associate Consultant - HR

I am an Associate Consultant within the Pro-HR team, and specialise in recruiting HR professionals primarily within Higher Education, Public Sector, Charities and Not-For-Profit organisations. 

 

The nature of the clients I work with allows me to truly enjoy my work, from world-renowned Russell Group Universities to International Charities with valuable causes. Visiting these organisations and conversing with their HR leaders has allowed me to gain an in-depth understanding of exactly what and who they are looking for, as well as forge lasting relationships.

 

I particularly enjoy finding and building relationships with candidates who are lateral thinkers, shapers and influencers, and I look forward to shaping the rest of my career at Pro. 

 

I enjoy live music, rock climbing, photography, sailing, cinema, exploring hidden gems and getting involved in anything creative. I also love to travel and look forward to spontaneous experiences!

 

One thing that's top of my bucket list is that I’d like to travel all of East Asia, especially Japan because of my interest in their food, culture and cinema.

akhil's latest roles

  • Talent Acquisition Partner / Recruitm...

    Up to £38000.00 per annum + excellent benefits

    Role: Talent Acquisition Partner Location: South London Salary: Up to £38,000 Contract: Permanent Profile: Are you a pro-active and energetic Talent Acquisition Partner with proven experience of partnering w...

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  • Interim Head of HR (3-6 months initia...

    Up to £55000.00 per annum

    Role: Head of HR FTC (3-6 months) Client: International Charity Location: Central London Salary: Up to £55,000 (some flexibility) Duration: 3-6 months with an opportunity to go permanent Profile: Are you a s...

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  • Senior HR Manager FTC 12 months

    Up to £50000.00 per annum

    Role: Senior HR Manager FTC 12 months Client: International Charity Location: Central London Salary: £50,000 (some flexibility) Duration: 12 months, with an opportunity to take a different role at the end Pr...

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What people say about Akhil

Throughout our discussions, he was understanding and considerate, and I was, therefore, left with only a positive experience during the whole process.

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Companies Akhil has worked with

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Tower Hamlets Homes is an award winning ALMO (Arm's Length Management Organisation). A not-for-profit company set up in 2008 to deliver high-quality housing services.

City & Guilds are a global leader in skills development, providing services to training providers, employers, and trainees across a variety of sectors to meet the needs of today’s workplace.

Jisc's vision is for the UK to be the most digitally-advanced higher education, further education and research nation in the world. They provide UK universities and colleges with shared digital infrastructure and services, an example would be the Janet network.

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akhil's articles

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Top Tips for Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Posted by Akhil Yerneni

Maintaining a good work-life balance can be difficult, but there are ways you can make sure that pressures of the UK’s work culture don’t negatively affect your life outside of work. Creating a good balance between time allocated for work and leisure is important to our overall wellbeing and happiness, yet research has shown that almost one-third of UK employees feel they don’t have a good work-life balance. The recent sophistication in personal technology has blurred boundaries between the office and home life, and this combined with the expectation in some workplaces to remain “switched on” makes it more difficult to “switch off” from work mode and have a separate life outside. However, there are various ways to achieve a positive work-life balance - we’ve listed some helpful tips in this short read below! 4 Tell-Tale Signs Of An Unhealthy Work-Life Balance Regularly working long days and feeling unhappy about the time you spend at work A study by the Mental Health Foundation found that as weekly hours increased, so did the unhappiness of employees, with 27% of respondents reporting feeling depressed, 34% feeling anxious, and 58% feeling irritable. Neglecting aspects of your life outside of work The same study also found that nearly two-thirds of respondents experienced a negative effect on their personal life as a direct result of work, including physical and mental health problems, poor relationships and poor home life. Regularly taking your work home with you If you find yourself checking work emails regularly at home, or working on the weekends this could be a sign of a poor work-life balance - research even found that 44% of employees did some form of work while on their annual leave. Constantly feeling physically or emotionally drained A noticeable increase in both physical and emotional fatigue and in your intake of caffeine, alcohol or nicotine could indicate being overworked and unable to concentrate properly at work or relax in your spare time. 4 Things You Could Do To Improve Your Work-Life Balance There are no set guidelines to follow when achieving a healthy work-life balance, but we can offer you advice on what to consider - it’s up to you to prioritise and work out what’s best for you! Take personal responsibility for your work commitments Switch off and leave your work behind when you leave the office, and avoid doing too much overtime. Also, try to be vocal where possible to your employers and speak up if your work expectations are beyond achievable - if you make them aware of any problems you can work together towards a solution. Take advantage of any benefits offered to you at work You should try to take advantage of any flexible working benefits available to you and take proper breaks throughout the day. A Glassdoor survey found that the average UK employee only uses 77% of their annual leave a year. Make sure you use up all your holiday and take the opportunity to unwind and recharge! Make time outside of work for relationships and leisure Put time aside for your friends and family outside of work, and don’t neglect your interests and hobbies - include them in your weekly routine. Do what you can to look after your own wellbeing Whether this means relaxing after work or trying new activities, don’t be afraid to be selfish in your own time, and exercise regularly! Research conducted by the NHS has shown that exercise reduces stress and the risk of mental ill-health, therefore making the time you do spend at work more enjoyable. Here at Pro, we believe a healthy work-life balance is key and we offer everyone in the Pro family flexible working arrangements as well as countless benefits, while encouraging everyone to pursue a good work-life balance. As a result of getting the environment and the culture right at Pro, the by-product is happy employees and company-wide success. For more information about this article, or to speak to Akhil about your recruiting needs or HR jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 02072696350 or akhil@pro-recruitment.co.uk.

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Challenges of moving sectors for HR Professionals - Solutions from Aytan Hilton

Posted by Akhil Yerneni

I speak with HR professionals every day and one of the topics of discussion to always arise is the challenges of moving sector within HR. I wanted to get a better insight into this matter and so I asked for the advice of a few senior HR professionals who we work with, who have successfully navigated multiple sector moves within their extensive HR careers. It seems that on the candidate side, the concern tends to be that they feel ‘pigeonholed’ and must follow the work, rather than be able to work in a variety of sectors and diversify their experience. On the client side, the view may be that they want candidates who are able to hit the ground running, who understand the challenges of the sector, and despite having empathy for the candidate’s position, the clients have their business needs to consider. Here, I speak with Aytan Hilton, Director of Cub3ed Consultancy - to get his thoughts on how to best navigate a move in the HR sector. How have you managed to move sector effectively? Do you have useful tips for application or interview? I am in total agreement with your initial notes and observations about challenges with moving sector in HR, I have been fortunate enough to be recommended and referred for a lot of my cross-sector opportunities. These warm introductions help to overcome the inertia of being stuck in one sector and opens doors to using my skills across different sectors. Do you have any advice for candidates who feel ‘pigeonholed’? My advice would be to have the confidence to challenge those who are pigeonholing you. Get them to focus on “what” you have achieved and are good at rather than just “where” you might have done it. Remember, as a HR professional, your skills are highly transferrable, bothin terms of soft skills and technically. There is a stereotype that public to private sector movers would struggle to adapt to the pace of work and in turn, that private sector to public movers would feel frustrated with the red tape, bureaucracy and different nature of stakeholders. What is your experience this? To an extent I would agree with this statement (as a generic stereotype) but with the caveat that there will always be exceptions on both sides of the fence. When I worked for the Government Digital Service, the pace was frantic rather than fast but then I’ve also experienced a lot of wasted time in the private sector when projects or activities are shelved for no real reason; with a sense of time and money being wasted as a result What change would you like to see from a client perspective – whether it is what you’d like to see from potential employers or what you as an employer would like to see in a candidate wanting to move sectors? I would like to see clients being true to their values and employer value propositions that state they are innovative, forward-thinking, diverse and inclusive, yet so many are not when it comes to candidates moving sector. A diversity of mindset for me is as important as aesthetically diverse workforces and this will tend to come by having more talent genuinely coming into an organisation from different sectors and industries. Having worked in several sectors and industries, the common challenges shared by organisations are a lot more closely aligned than they realise and therefore need to overcome the stigma that they always need to hire from within a smaller community of like-for-like individuals. Hope that helps! I hope the above has offered some guidance and reassurance to HR Professionals in this position, and perhaps offered a new perspective for employers. I look forward to sharing more insights in this series. For more information about this article, or to speak to Akhil about your recruiting needs or HR jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 02072696350 or akhil.yerneni@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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Challenges of moving sectors for HR Professionals - Solutions from Sheena Macdonald

Posted by Akhil Yerneni

Having spoken with candidates and clients over the past couple of weeks, one of the pervasive topics was the challenges of moving sector within HR. I wanted to get a better insight into this matter and so I asked for the advice of a few senior HR professionals who we work with, who have successfully navigated multiple sector moves within their extensive HR careers. It seems that on the candidate side, the concern tends to be that they feel ‘pigeonholed’ and must follow the work, rather than be able to work in a variety of sectors and diversify their experience. On the client side, the view may be that they want candidates who are able to hit the ground running, who understand the challenges of the sector, and despite having empathy for the candidate’s position, the clients have their business needs to consider. Here, I speak with Sheena Macdonald – previous Global Head of Talent Management at British Council, Current HR Interim/Consultant - to get her thoughts on how to best navigate a move in the HR sector. How have you managed to move sector effectively? Do you have useful tips for application or interview? Great questions. I’ve worked in retail, travel, mining, local government, charity/third sector & most recently a membership organisation. My top tip for those who want to diversify their experience (whether to have a wider range of future opportunities available or for learning and professional growth or both) is to use interim assignments to build your experience. I’ve found that, depending on how specialised the skills needed are, the employer’s criteria can be a bit different than with a perm role. If you are immediately available, have at least 75% of what they need, are willing to operate outside your comfort zone for the rest, and they perceive you to be a good fit for their culture & immediate team, there is a chance that you will be able to pick up interesting and different work. Having a mix of perm & contract assignments has helped me to broaden my experience, even though it would probably have been more psychologically comfortable and financially predictable to go for long term perm roles in the sector I started off in. Obviously, not everyone is able to leave the safety of a job to up and do this but if you are between roles, interim could be an option you wouldn’t normally consider. If so, your application and interview need to really sell the transferability of your skills, as you may be up against people already working in that sector, and employers are understandably inclined to minimise the perceived risk of things not working out, by sticking to what they know or what has worked in the past. What I have always done in this situation is pick out the aspects of my skills & experience which would not only be a strong fit for the role but could give me an advantage over people already in that sector. The obvious one is promoting commercial and business skills gained in the private sector, for public sector roles where other candidates may not be able to offer this. I've also tried to make full use of my network (Linkedin is helpful here) by talking to people I know (or even approaching connections of connections) about what it’s like to work in that organisation/sector, what advice they would give someone seeking to move into it, how could your kind of experience be an advantage etc. You just won’t know this unless you ask, as we all suffer from various stereotyped notions. Do you have any advice for candidates who feel ‘pigeonholed’? Make sure your CV/LinkedIn profile (including what you post about, like and share) highlights your transferable skills/experiences/credentials/interests so that you are not defined purely by the organisation or sector that you work in (and the preconceptions that may go with it). Go to events and meet people from other sectors, read widely so that you can ’talk the talk’ and genuinely know what the big issues are. It is hard to talk persuasively in an interview about the value you could bring to this new environment if all you have done is a little bit of research just beforehand. There is a stereotype that public to private sector movers would struggle to adapt to the pace of work and in turn, that private sector to public movers would feel frustrated with the red tape, bureaucracy and different nature of stakeholders. What is your experience of this? Although there's some truth in these stereotypes, I have found them misleading. It depends on what kind of public or private sector organisation you find yourself in, at what stage in its development it is, under what kind of leadership, even how large it is. I have seen very bureaucratic private sector organisations and fast-paced, decisive public sector organisations. I would urge candidates to keep an open mind. If clients have a perception that a public sector candidate would struggle to adapt to the pace of their private sector organisation, there is a lot that a candidate can do to counter this, using examples which demonstrate pace and tangible outcomes, asking great business questions if interviewed What change would you like to see from a client perspective – whether it is what you’d like to see from potential employers or what you as an employer would like to see in a candidate wanting to move sectors? I've always seen a great temptation among hiring managers to use past sector/employer experience as a shorthand for how easily the candidate would ‘fit in’ and be effective. This is a form of unconscious bias that I fear legislation will never reach! A candidate seeking to move sectors will probably have to offer something compelling to overcome this. It could be (as mentioned above) immediate availability along with a strong if not perfect fit. It could be a very well-articulated case for why the skills they have are not only transferable but offer an advantage over the more familiar sector skill set. When announcing a new hire, a hiring manager will normally be expected to give some details about their professional background (the more senior, the more this is the case). A more risk-averse manager may, therefore, gravitate towards 'no-brainer' candidates whose past CV makes them appear a 100% safe bet, even if they don’t turn out to be. A smart manager (assuming they have a decent candidate field) will choose someone who can bring not only what’s needed but maybe something new. In this situation, the candidate could help them understand what this is - maybe even give them the language to express it. Then, of course, they must perform well and justify the relative risk that the hiring manager may have taken! A cross-sector hiring fail could reduce future confidence, and at worst, turn into an organisational cautionary tale - which will only make the situation worse. I hope the above has offered some guidance and reassurance to HR Professionals in this position, and perhaps offered a new perspective for employers. I look forward to sharing more insights in this series. For more information about this article, or to speak to Akhil about your recruiting needs or HR jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 02072696350 or akhil.yerneni@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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A Career in HR Recruitment

Posted by Akhil Yerneni

Looking for a new career? Here’s a 3-minute read of Akhil’s experience of being a graduate looking for a job and deciding on a career in HR recruitment Turning a new leaf: Following my graduation with a degree in Law and Economics, I jumped into a legal career, working in a fee-earning capacity as a paralegal. Whilst I found the work interesting and stimulating, it didn’t feel like what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. We spend a substantial amount of our time at work, I thought I may as well enjoy it! I threw caution to the wind and joined Pro soon after. Below are my thoughts on the experience so far. After an intensive 6 weeks of training, I graduated from the Associate Consultant programme at Pro-Recruitment. Whilst I had done interesting work within all the sectors that Pro specialises in, I gelled with a couple of sectors in particular – due to the emotional intelligence of the teams who work within them, the nature of the work and the quality of candidates I worked with. I ended up choosing to work exclusively within Pro-HR, as much as they chose me! Fast-forward to January and I am well settled within the HR team, with no regrets. I’ve learned a substantial amount within a short period of time which is a credit to the duality of the team’s coaching approach; nurturing and supportive, yet constructive and fair in their criticism. From soft skills such as negotiating, influencing, listening and understanding a client or candidate’s needs, to technical skills involving efficient use of Applicant Tracking Systems, understanding the HR sector in depth, headhunting, matching and the entire end-to-end recruitment process, I feel eager to learn more. Why I chose HR: I took to HR as a sector naturally, having worked closely with my colleague Richard Grove (an experienced senior consultant in HR), during my initial training. The nature of the clients we work with allow me to truly enjoy my work, from world-renowned Russell Group Universities to international charities with noble causes. Visiting these organisations and conversing with their HR leaders allowed me to get an in-depth understanding of exactly what and who they were looking for, as well as forge lasting relationships - based on professionalism, accountability, commitment, and trust. These values extend across Pro-Group as a whole, with different teams specialising within Marketing, Tax, Legal and Finance, as well as HR. At Pro-HR, we pride ourselves on specialising in senior end recruitment, primarily within Public Sector, Higher Education and Charities, allowing us to provide a precise and personal service to both our candidates and our clients. In time, with the growth of the team, we will look to diversify to the Private Sector. This ‘quality not quantity’ attitude gives me real satisfaction and I particularly enjoy finding and building relationships with candidates who are lateral thinkers, shapers and influencers. My aim is to build a robust understanding of the HR sector, with particular respect to the issues it faces and match-making candidates who are positioned to provide solutions with forward-thinking organisations. Emotional Intelligence and recruitment: I spoke briefly about emotional intelligence earlier and I’d like to discuss my thoughts on its value in recruitment a little more. Emotional Intelligence is defined by Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, in their influential article as “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions’ Whenever we meet anyone, we go through active and subconscious thought processes, where we gauge mannerisms, measure responses, amongst other qualities. Possessing innate emotional intelligence and developing it actively, in my opinion, will always allow us to provide the best service to clients and candidates – and therein lies the value of what we at Pro-HR and the wider Pro-Group do. Especially within senior end recruitment and my experiences in HR as a sector, it’s clear to me, even in the infancy of my recruitment career that a candidate is not just defined by their qualifications or their CV, nor is an employer defined by their job descriptions. To this end, we endeavour to only work with clients and candidates we have personally met, to allow us to dig deeper and get a shrewd insight into motivations, culture, and fit. Meeting our candidates and clients personally allows me to build a rapport that allows me to identify who stand out, and who I want to pro-actively work with. For more information about how I can help with your career in HR or recruitment, feel free to give me a ring on 020 7269 6350 or email me akhil@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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6 Staff Retention Tips To Improve Your Business

Posted by Akhil Yerneni

Are you supporting a high growth business in the UK but also one who suffers from 15% or higher staff turnover rate? As recruitment specialists, we know that a key goal of yours is to keep your staff happy, so your business can flourish. According to Glassdoor, the average employer spends about £3,000 and 27.5 days to hire a new worker. We work with businesses who are working really hard to improve their staff retention. This speedy 2-minute read will give some insight about how you can improve your employee relations and your staff retention. 1. Certainty 2. Variety 3. Significance 4. Connection 5. Growth 6. Contribution 1. Certainty Job security is one of the key aspects that you need to promote within your company to improve staff retention. Whether you are a HR Director or a Recruiter, all employees need to have confidence in the security of their job. Doubts over the company's success will have a big impact on performance and your bottom line. If employees feel stressed, their work will suffer and this will have a knock-on effect on the team. How do you prevent uncertainty and negative gossip? Keep your staff informed on how the company is performing. Keeping your team in the know will build trust and develop strong employee relations. If your staff can see how well your company is performing then they'll feel more certain about their job security. Also, reassure your team of their value to you and the company. Employees like to feel wanted and needed. 2. Variety Variety is the spice of life! Talent and skill utilisation is another factor your key employees seek in your workplace. Often, when candidates register with us they want to try something new but are unable to do so in their current firm. Motivated employees want to contribute to work areas outside of their specific job description. Think about offering work that wouldn’t fit into their portfolio. How many people in your business would value from working in another team or on a different project? You need to know their skills, talent, and experience, and take the time to develop this to your advantage. 3. Significance Everyone loves to feel important! However, With 69% of workers polled saying their boss didn’t support their career goals, it seems as though this point is being overlooked by many. We like to think that our actions have an impact in the world and that we add real value. If someone is doing a good job, ensure that they know about it. Making sure that your team know that they are valued will go a long way in the company. Frequently saying ‘thank you’ goes a long way. As recruitment experts, we head from candidates looking to move and there is a common theme that people don’t feel valued. Your staff members must feel rewarded, recognised and appreciated. This can be reflected by pay rises, job titles or heaping praise on someone in front of others. No member of staff should be made to feel like an unnecessary cog in the machine. 4. Connection Team rapport is essential for any company to be successful. Team building activities, nights out and regular meetings are great ways to ensure staff bond. The change of scenery can only add to this positive feeling. This is something many companies miss out on and it does make a difference. We at Pro-Group pride ourselves on our family-feel office and this team-bonding time is essential in maintaining a happy workplace. The saying “You spend more time with the people you work with than you do with your friends and family” is very true. That's why creating a welcoming place where people enjoy their environment is imperative. Don’t get us wrong, employees are there to work but you must strike a healthy balance to create a conducive environment. 5. Growth People like to feel that they are growing/progressing in life. To achieve growth, they must be challenged, do not let someone stagnate! According to a survey by totaljobs, 68% of employees have changed jobs because of a lack of learning and development opportunities. Your best employees, those you want to keep, seek opportunities to learn and grow in their careers. Without the opportunity to train, attend seminars and courses employees feel they will stagnate. A career-orientated and valued employee must experience growth opportunities within your organisation. They also need to see a space that they can grow into; otherwise, they won’t grow. When was the last time you asked an employee if they felt they were developing or asked them what else you can do to help develop them? 6. Contribution This is tied in with several other points in this guide to staff retention. You need to remind your team of how they're contributing to the company and how well they are doing! There are a lot of points above that feel very obvious, I’m aware of a number of companies that don't install the simplest of these policies. Try to implement just one or two of the above suggestions to retain your best staff, or stop and ask yourself, do you do this for your staff already? Some of these suggestions cost you nothing but a little time and effort. The outcome - You will be more likely to keep your superstars with you for the long haul. It’s essential to take a step back sometimes and ask yourself - How happy are your staff?. Are you meeting all their needs? If not, why not!? If you’re struggling with retaining your staff and seeing your attrition rate creeping up, speak with one of our experienced recruitment experts who will give you an insight into the current candidate market. For more information about this article, or to speak to Akhil about your recruiting needs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 02072696350 or akhil.yerneni@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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