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One Year With Xpand

15th Jan 2016

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This month marks the first anniversary of Xpand Hong Kong (and as a direct correlation, my one year anniversary with Xpand!) I agree, it’s not like the US presidential election, but it’s still a big deal to us, and, from what I gather, for our clients and candidates as well! 

I was just reading again a note I posted early last year on our blog, sharing some of our (now) clients’ feedback on the lack of a trusted recruitment partner they could rely on locally. I am not pretending we have fulfilled all their needs, wishes and even more, but we certainly have found our space in the competitive Hong Kong market fairly quickly… and if you consider the invisible hand and the law of offer and demand from this good old Adam (Smith), then we can conclude, without any disrespect for our beloved competitors, that there was definitely a need on the market for a proposition like ours! 

But let’s look back for a second… 

Xactly a year ago, Xpand Hong Kong basically consisted of me, with my laptop (with no sticker) in my living room, and a small serviced office space confirmed on the 9/F of The Hive in Wanchai from the end of January… 
I was hired by Xpand to build from scratch and run the Hong Kong office. I can say it has been quite a journey, and hard work, but I am not afraid to say that I am VERY proud of what we have achieved collectively up here! 

People, people, people. Recruitment is a people’s business. So to be a successful recruiter, you need to care about people. So, building up our team, I wanted to make sure that we were on boarding not only the best recruiters in the market, but also the ones who would get the way we work and fit well in our culture. So, what does it look like now? Well, we have a team of 9 on the ground here, all up and running and profitable. And I am not afraid to say that I love my team. Quite a diverse bunch of individuals and personalities, different backgrounds, senses of humour, etc. And with PRC, HK, Ireland, England, the US and (last but not least…) France represented, we are probably as multicultural as it gets! 

After that first week in my living room, I moved in our first small serviced office in Wanchai. With the team progressively growing, we moved 3 times within The Hive to land in our new (and huuuuuuuggeeee… well, as per Hong Kong standards…) home about 3 months ago, in The Hive’s biggest office they have designed just for us. And I am quite happy with the result… Moving offices is good to keep you on your toes and, at the same time, to avoid keeping too much useless crap to be honest… I am still moving everybody around desks every couple of months, as it’s proven to be beneficial for productivity. And I am myself “hot desking” in our office, sitting next to everybody on a regular basis. 

Needless to say, A LOT happened in 2015 on the marketing front as well. Building up and installing the Xpand brand locally was one of the main challenges. We have sponsored a number of events, of all scales and across our verticals (Media360Summit, CloudForum Asia, etc.), we have built strong partnerships with General Assembly (workshops, events, mentoring, etc.), Women Who Code, ProductHunt, etc. 
And for the first time in Xpand’s history, there was a Hong Kong team at our annual Xpand sales kick off in Bali. 
So, let’s be honest, in 2015…. we had a lot of fun! With many laughs in and outside of the office, countless number of Spotify playlists played in the office, team drinks, lunches, dinners, etc. 

Deals are obviously important to us. To achieve that, we have implemented and are benefiting from the Xpand framework, with a “candidate-first” model, building talent pools within candidate short markets, and marketing these talent pools to our clients. This is not to say that we don’t care about our clients, pretty much the opposite, but we want to make sure we make the experience valuable and enjoyable for everyone involved: clients, candidates.. and us! 

Happy Xpanders! I have been very lucky to be given the opportunity to build the team I wanted. I have told every candidate I have met (in particular our current HK Xpanders) that the way I was seeing my job was to make sure they were happy to come to the office every morning… I know, it may sound cheesy, but recruitment is by no mean easy, so the least I can do is to make sure we give them a good and supportive work environment as well as a strong framework for each of them to develop, learn, and ultimately perform, achieve their full potential and grow professionally. Long story short, setting them up for long-term success. Bearing in mind, having fun while doing all this is mandatory… 

Killing it in 2016! So, long story short, I am a happy and proud Xpander, and the proud manager of the one year old Xpand Hong Kong office. No doubt 2016 will be an interesting year, with more Xpanders joining, more happy clients and candidates, more contractors, one more office (stay tuned…), and more fun! 

I often refer to an analogy to describe our development stages: early last year, we were kids, I think we became teenagers around the latter part of 2015, so no doubt we will become adults in 2016! 

Here’s how it all panned out…