Nakama Melbourne at Pause Fest 2016 – Highlights from the day


Pause Fest 2016 – Overview from Nakama Melbourne

Last week Nakama Melbourne visited the city’s premier Digital, Tech & Design innovation event Pause Fest, where our very own Social Media and SEO Specialist Consultant, Maggie Partsi was representing her side project “VibeDate” among the start-up exhibitors.

Pause Fest brings together Australia’s brightest minds in the digital space to showcase over 3 days ideas, knowledge, thought leaders & products that are putting the land down under among the forefront of the technology – in essence a creative environment to foster new ideas! We were able to get a few shots of the day and attend some great sessions delivered by the likes of Sina Krisse from Yoke, Tony Lees from Ntegrity and Gavin Becker from Clemenger BBDO.


Envato’s HR Director, James Law hosted a presentation around ‘People Power’ and creating experiences your talent will love. It was great hearing how a company voted ‘Coolest Tech Co. 2015’ and ‘Coolest Co. for Women 2015’ attract and retain staff.

Three key take away points from his presentation were:

  • The only thing that matters is relationships
  • Place focus on trust this needs to be the “default” and flow through the entire business
  • Focus on output not input



Presented by:

  • Sina Kresse, Yoke
  • Tony Lee, Ntergrity
  • Mark Cowan, Acorn Brands

Sina said perfectly that “Digital business transformation is not that hard” and the adoption of it should be approached with this mindset.

They identified that businesses fall into three groups when it comes to digital transformation:

The Dead (or laggers): This defines more than half of Australian businesses (67%), this can be mostly attributed to not having the right culture in place.

The Try Hard (or barely surviving):

“Most business’ fail at digital branding”

It’s a digital jungle out there and to be successful you need to self educate, be proactive and be hungry to learn.

You have to keep learning, educate the leaders in your business, become industry experts and give back and share the knowledge.

The Savvy Operators (or the thriving)

What sets the Savvy apart from the rest?

Robust strategy = Drives innovation = Success

These companies are humble and are not scared to go back 3 steps if something is not working.

Focus for the stage of transformation is to create a shared language!

A brilliant point made by Sina, something that really resonates with me working in the digital space, I too believe that we need to standardise the language, titles and roles in digital to avoid confusion and replication of titles and roles.

Tony Lee of NTegrity also gave an excellent overview of the digital space in Australia, from pace to adoption, to how the space can respond to the digital talent shortage:

“In the last two years we have seen more change in marketing then in the last two decades”

“Digital is moving and evolving faster then the industry can keep up”

My favourite quote of the day was “Digital Distress” – I absolutely love this and have been using it a lot this week – it’s my new buzzword (for anything digitally distressing…)

Tony also spoke about the talent shortage in the market and how we should be educating the teachers not just the students, which I agree with 100%.

How Creativity is driving innovation in Australia

BBDO clients were among the open table discussions, with big name clients on board like: Mars Petcare, Drinkwise, Visit Victoria and TAC.

Moderator was Gavin Becker, Creative Technologist at BBDO spoke about the importance of creativity in producing solutions and customers today having a ‘voracious appetite for new content’.

It was great seeing and hearing from BBDO’s clients on how the campaigns were successful and the results they achieved for them. I really loved the Mars Petcare app ‘Found’, a brilliant use of mobile tech that helps owners find a lost pet – the uptake by owners was incredible and subsequently they won a lot of awards and received recognition for the app – of course I downloaded it while I was listening to the presentation, and it has my seal of approval.

Julia Falcone, MD Nakama Melbourne 

If you wanted to know more about Digital Recruitment Specialists Nakama Melbourne visit our website Nakama Global


Nakama News – Our Group CEO speaks to Shortlist

Nakama Group plc CEO, Rob Sheffield speaks to recruitment publication Shortlist on the HR challenges of growing a business.

Read the full article here:

Short list:

Top recruitment executives share their hindsight regrets

The Global Recruiter – No stone unturned

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 10.34.59

Nakama Global CEO, Rob Sheffield talks to The Global Recruiter about the challenges and response to the skills shortage at play across Australia.

Follow the Link to read the full article

The Global Recruiter – No stone unturned  

Flight mode: Simple steps to disconnecting







We are in the age of the notification. That silent but deadly little red icon that makes you aware that someone in your personal or work life has reached out to you and of course, you must immediately respond or risk harming your relationship, or appearing like your sense of urgency is lacking, or fear you might leave that person feeling like you just don’t give a damn. This thought process could be hugely damaging to not only your own mental well-being; but also that of other people in your life.

The Internet of Things has led to our lives being pulled at from every angle, at all hours of the day. Phone, iPad, Laptop – I am always online. I wake up, check my work emails, check Facebook, check Instagram, check Snapchat, check Whatsapp check my gmail. This ritual is then repeated throughout the day and generally again before I go to sleep at night. Often I end up feeling like I don’t know where to start when it comes to replying and leads to feeling a sense of exhaustion towards people in my life who are important. It isn’t their fault – it’s technology.

Why haven’t they replied to me? How could they have forgotten – they would have seen my email! How many times a week does that thought go through your head? If I replied to every single digital/social notification I’d never make it to work or actually have a real conversation with anyone, and this feeling; I am sure is reciprocated.

My solution was empathy and ironically – communication. Learning to switch-off respecting when others want to do the same. This isn’t about not answering that work email, or being lazy, or cutting people out – communication is what develops relationships, ensures people don’t feel neglected and keeps the everyday elements of our jobs and lives ticking along.

This is about communicating your right not to communicate. Unfortunately, going stone cold silent at work isn’t an option. But there are a few simple solutions to maintain a little more balance in your life and subsequently eliminating what I call ‘communication distress’ outside of hours:

  1. Let your nearest and dearest know you are going off the grid so they don’t think you’ve been kidnapped or arrested.
  2. Prioritise – Will that person really mind if I don’t get back to them straight away and does it need a response right now? Leave a time in your day where you get back/respond where necessary.
  3. Notification centre – that’s right you can turn those little silent alarms off! Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Whatsapp – determine when you want to check them by turning off notifications – feel the immediate sense of relief.
  4. Detox days: once a week decide to have a day (more practically done on the weekend) where you don’t connect digitally.
  5. I’ve even taken to banning my phone when I’m in the kitchen – create spaces in your home where it is a “phone free zone”.
  6. Building solid relationships won’t come down to double-tapping an Instagram post (while it’s nice to share the love) – ensure you are still maintaining real human interaction. Have a coffee for an hour, go browse a gallery or grab a juice with your friends.
  7. For god’s sake turn your phone on flight mode! That’s right switch your phone on flight mode a few hours before bed and until you get to work (if possible).


There are initiatives and resources where you can find out more about “switching off”. Be Kovert is a great site dedicated to streamlining your digital touch points and being mindful with your approach to technology. Another one of my favourite sites is Mindful who’ve also shared a brilliant article with simple tips on taking control of your tech habits.

Organisations are even starting to recognise the effect of technology is having on their employees mental well-being; Volkswagon have implemented “digital dams” to stop employees checking emails after-hours and the country (yes country) of France even brought in a labour agreement where employees are allowed to switch-off after hours.

We want to know how you’ve taken to switching off after work? Share your tips with us in the comments or Tweet us @NakamaGlobal 

Courtney Walker – Marketing at Nakama London

What now for China?


China has experienced unprecedented growth over the past decade and during its long and colourful history there has rarely been a problem the Chinese government could not fix. However, as stock markets in the US, Europe and Asia tumble after lacklustre Chinese data, many are now going from asking the question around a Chinese slowdown to considering what that impact might be on the global economy.

China’s manufacturing sector has shrunk at its fastest pace since 2009 over the space of four weeks. Many believe this is another example of the malaise that has stunted growth in Asia and fuelled Latin American growth. US stock markets saw sell offs as trading opened. The Russell 2000 index (an index of smaller US groups) slid into what is termed a technical correction and the S&P had its worst week since 2011. The FTSE 100 fell 2.6% and the benchmark dropped 5.5% over a week, which was its worst performance all year. It didn’t stop there, with equities in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Indonesia entering bear market territory and US oil plunging below $40 a barrel. This is the first time this has happened since the financial crisis.

All of this came after the closely watched independent survey (caixin-markit China manufacturing purchasing managers index) dropped to 47.1 in the first three weeks of August, down from 47.8 in July, which was its worst reading since the depths of the previous financial crisis. These figures were released five days after the devaluation of the renminbi. This, coupled with a Chinese stock market in supposed free fall, has led the press and many others to question the health of the Chinese economy and their forecasts for growth.

So is it all doom and gloom or is it just the world markets and the Chinese market correcting itself? The PMI index released by Markit showed the US manufacturing growth has slowed to its weakest pace in 2 years. The traders argued that the falls in US stocks were a direct result of people fearing that China is facing its worst domestic slowdown since the GFC and as we have seen over the past few days this, helped by the press, has spread into other developed and emerging markets.

To put in into perspective, the global market is down 7%. In the crash of ‘87 the market was down 28%. The real issue for China is that the government is caught between its role as cheerleader and regulator and has shown a lack of trust in its own market. The devaluation of the renmibi was explained as an incremental change to China’s financial liberation. The reasons for this were poorly communicated. The real challenge for China is how they manage employment, which is more politically sensitive than GDP. The official unemployment rate is 4%; most believe this is fiction. China has to find work for 7 million graduates a year, which casts doubt on China’s reported statistic of unemployment.

As the press release headlines of doom and gloom, it is worth remembering that the level of sustained growth China has experienced has been the envy of many, even at its so called ‘reduced rate’. China’s economic transition was never going to be easy. The press would have us believe that events this year demonstrate that things are not going to plan; that by pursuing an anti corruption campaign they are preventing initiative and growth. It is true that no economy can be kept on an unrealistic path of expansion by unending stimulus.

It is time to understand and accept that a lower growth rate is ever nearer. This will no doubt stress, test and strain the legitimacy and appetite of China’s leaders for reform in ways that could shape and determine the country’s political and economic path for years to come. China’s economy is okay, in fact it’s better than okay! The Chinese government is not.

Rob Sheffield is NAKAMA’s APAC CEO based in Sydney.

Why Management Doesn’t Get Millennials


So here we are, Generation Z ‘mobile only enabled’, Millennials, Gen Y, Generation Slashie and the Yuccie all co-existing. In a period where consumers are more confused than ever (see PepsiCo CEO: We’ve never seen consumers so confused) you can’t help but feel sorry for the manager of the truly diverse work force. At a time when the global workforce and economies face two key issues – a labor shortage and an ageing population – the contingent workforce is set to be over 50% contract globally by 2020.

Your average worker in the next decade could have over 7 jobs. It’s an increasingly common view and one held by Anton Andrews, Director of Microsoft’s Envisaging Lab, that the jobs of the future will involve a series of interactions over an increasingly short space of time. To put it more succinctly, it’s not just the workforce and consumers that are struggling, it’s the management teams and leaders of today and tomorrow.

The workforce around the globe has found it increasingly difficult to balance the demands of work and life. Many of us are working longer hours than ever before, delaying starting families or struggling to understand how their children are going to cope financially. Herein lies one of the key issues; the multi generational workforce is now so fragmented and different that management are faced with the task of engaging a workforce with multiple priorities. This raises the question, ‘does a company vision and culture suit all, or does today’s workforce require multiple visions and sub cultures to function?’ …A question for another time.

Back to the initial idea, the millennial workforce has been more affected than perhaps the newer generations entering the labour market specifically by the economy; workers in companies that shed employees are still doing the work of multiple people. Salaries have not increased in line with costs of living. This is certainly a contributing factor, however an important point to make is that most bosses just don’t get Millennials.

Research suggests that over 80% of Millennials are engaged in a dual income situation, with both individuals working full time. With Generation X, this figure drops to 70% and out of the generation of baby boomers born just after WWII, who incidentally occupy over 60% of top management jobs, only 45% have a full time working partner. More typically, this partner will work part time and will be responsible for taking care of home life duties. This leads to what Karyn Twaronite, EY global-diversity and inclusiveness officer, sees as an empathy gap in the workplace. Her view is one that I agree with: “when there’s frustration about work-life balance in the workplace, and you think your boss doesn’t get it, that very likely could be true.’

One of the key shifts in the workplace moving forward will be around real time communication and real time tools; responsive networks creating dynamic participation. In short technology, in the eyes of a modern workforce, frees them up to work from anywhere. The traditional management, who are more accustomed to work cultures with more face time, may start to see only empty cubicles. Crazily enough, at a recent Microsoft talk the audience of leaders were informed that 60% of desks in any organisation are empty at any moment!

The modern workforce are more about social, physical face to face moments, with 96% of people wanting a community and co-working human relationships, as a community increases productivity by 20%. For companies that are desperate to hire workers, specifically Millennials, the group that is apparently the one companies are desperate to attract and retain, is the most dissatisfied.

There have been multiple surveys from the likes of EY and BCG that show what Millennials most want is flexibility in where, when and how they work. Most would take a pay cut, turn down a promotion or be willing to move to manage work-life demands better. Only in Australia does the pay issue buck the trend. As a result, a key reason for moving in Australia is increased pay in line with work life balance.

Old school management styles have led to the millennial workforce feeling that having a flexible schedule leads to negative consequences. A lack of flexibility has been regularly cited as one of the top reasons in this generation for workers to quit their jobs.

Working in recruitment in a variety of different geographical areas, one of the key requirements from the millennial workforce we see focuses around work-life balance. This was increasingly uncommon in Asia until 18 months ago. The mindset of management needs to change from seeing flexibility as making an exception to the norm. The reality is that a large proportion of management are still managing the way they have been for over a decade, and a large proportion of companies and management teams have been slow to realise that the Millenials are feeling burned out; they seek a balance that a large proportion of the newer generational workforces demand.

Today’s management teams need to navigate a tricky environment, however they also need to realise that the workforce of the future and the work of the future will be technology based, require trust, empathy, collaboration and flexibility, and that if they want to hire and retain a millennial workforce the focus is on flexibility, health and relationships in equal measure.

Rob Sheffield is Nakama’s APAC CEO and is based in Sydney.

Creating a high performance culture.

At the recent Vivid talks in Sydney I had the privilege of listening to a variety of industry experts talk about a range of topics, from the multi generation work forces that employers are now dealing with to leadership, C21 talent and culture. Speakers ranged from the engaging Dr Fiona Kerr, Paul D’Arcy and Rahaf Hafoish, to name a few. The emphasis on most talks that day was around leadership, change and culture going hand in hand.

This struck a huge cord with me especially, based on what we are doing at Nakama and being able to observe many of the organisations we work with. For our clients and for us, finding good talent is key and the word culture gets used a great deal. What makes a great culture? How do some organisations quickly align with a common set of practices while others don’t? Being a multi geographical organisation, how do we continue to coordinate and integrate efforts globally? We are well on the way to setting clear values, expectations and processes, but how does any organisation prevent them from falling behind, or in some cases, operating behind the curve every step of the way.

Leadership within an organisation is the driver for culture. What interests me is how and why some organisations and leaders are able to achieve significant and lasting performance that catapults them ahead of the competition (or falls flat). What is the criteria for success vs. failure?

One of our training partners has continued to do great work with us on what defines our Nakama culture. Most of you will remember the breakout session, looking at how we define culture as “the way things get done around here.” This drives behaviour and ultimately performance. If a business, no matter how large or small, is able to define and set very clear and aligned values and processes, it has been proven that it will consistently outperform those that cannot. That does not mean that we should not look to evolve. One of the take home points for any leadership group is that you need to understand what you need to do to stay relevant – when to pivot according to the environment you operate in.

So what does a business and leadership team in today’s environment need to deliver high performance? There are numerous opinions on this. The 4 that resonate the most with me are:

  1. We must understand that we don’t work the way we used to and that we need to lead and manage differently. The workplace is changing and that includes traditional business models. We are now in a commercial environment where adoptive leadership is increasingly important. Agile workplaces are quicker to grasp this than traditional business models.
  1. Businesses and leaders within must have the ability to identify and to let go of the existing behaviours and practices that are no longer contributing to success. Getting people to acknowledge and understand that certain ways of doing things are no longer effective and actually getting them to change is a challenge all businesses face. Businesses that get this right take the time to change behaviours that are no longer supporting the desired goals. A common failure is that management dictate change and this in nearly all cases leads to failure. It is a big deal for people to be comfortable with giving up the way they’ve always done things. Some take it as what they’ve been doing all along was wrong.  Fear is a huge factor: “I might not be able to succeed if asked to do things differently!” Most importantly, leaders need to be role models for the behaviour and expectations, as if they don’t, then nothing will change.
  1. The ability to include all relevant stakeholders in the conversation is key. You cannot build a culture that is not centred on a collective concept. Leadership within an organisation has a huge responsibility for developing and demonstrating the culture, however it is not all down to them. Stakeholder input is key and if you have an environment that develops trusting relationships then you have a much stronger chance of the collective contributing to, and creating, the culture.
  1. Last but not least, everyone needs to be able to take a long hard look in the mirror. We operate in a world where we are constantly bombarded with information and the speed of business and change is moving faster than ever before. If you cannot take stock, pause for a moment to think and answer the simple or difficult questions, then you run the risk of continuing to do things exactly the way you always have. The challenges that businesses face now have changed and evolved over time, just as the culture of an organisation needs to. If you are able to pause then you are going to be far better positioned as an individual or organisation to identify the need to change or not, in order to keep pace with the market and drive results.

Leadership within organisations needs to navigate and change or overcome deeply rooted assumptions and behaviours within the environment that are preventing success. This can only happen if you are willing to take a long hard look in the mirror, ask the difficult questions and dig deep into what needs to change. That is the only way you can encourage people to let go of the traditional behaviours that, in many cases, no longer serve the purpose and goals of the organisation.

Rob Sheffield is Nakama’s APAC CEO and is based in Sydney.