December 27, 2023

Q&A with Jurga Baltram: tips for talent management professionals, creating Minds & Finds and making time for leisure

Q&A with Jurga Baltram: tips for talent management professionals, creating Minds & Finds and making time for leisure

MELP is expanding activities in international markets through our group company MELP B.V., established in the Netherlands and Benelux is one of our target regions. It is great to become part of the business community Benelux Baltics in Business (BBB), which connects both parts of Europe so dear to MELP – building local networks is an important part of our growth journey.
So happy to get to know the co-founder of BBB Jurga Baltram – a counsellor and senior-level talent management professional who has been living in the Netherlands for more than 10 years now.

Tell us more about your background & path in the HR industry. What led you to pursue a career in this field?

Life redirected me from intention to study psychology to sociology, the discipline which explores patterns of human life and examines the development, structuring, and organization of societies in all their historical and current diversity.  Studying societal behaviour has equipped me with insights into how people live, think, feel, and shape the ongoing processes that influence society and culture.

Sociology empowers me to be analytical and reflective, to see why and how things are as they are, and how everything could be otherwise. Over the years, I served as an in-house HR professional, also experienced the perspectives of a candidate, a client, and now, as a consultant.

Sociology and executive search share common ground, requiring intellectual curiosity, the ability to connect concepts, make comparisons, and approach problem-solving with a rational understanding of societal (including organizational) habits.  

Executive search consultancy mostly is about understanding client and candidate experiences, seamlessly shifting between tasks, managing workload and stress. While executive search can be quite demanding, it also provides moments of psychological insight, offers numerous learning opportunities, practical sessions, and, importantly, moments of joy and laughter, potentially forming the basis for a future book recounting amusing anecdotes from the field.

You’ve recently founded a new business – could you tell us more about the mission and vision of  “Minds & Finds”

Minds&Finds was rebranded and set for growth after long years of serving and supporting other executive search brands. By reflecting on years of experience, I have discovered that finding the perfect match between leadership and company culture requires a holistic understanding of both, and that’s where Minds&Find’s expertise lies.  

Today talent search is more transactional, hiring process is under push and pressure,  everyone is in the same playground – LinkedIn, so what sets Minds&Finds apart:

  • Human2Human (H2H) Credo: Businesses do not have emotions. People do. Approach based on understanding people, and their needs, because, first and foremost, we deal with people every day.
  • Talents Mapped, Finds Secured: The search process ensures that hidden gems are uncovered within the talent pool, considering not only qualifications but also alignment with the company’s values and aspirations.
  • Global Reach, Local Touch: With a friendly human network that spans industries and geographies, a global perspective is at the short reach of talent acquisition. Yet, the importance of local dynamics is understandable, the approach is tailored to fit the unique needs of the business market.
  • Partnership and Transparency: Collaboration is at the heart of what Minds&Finds does. There is a strong belief in open communication and transparency, fostering a strong partnership that drives successful placements and long-term relationships.
  • Fueling Client Business Growth: Minds&Finds success is measured by Client success. The commitment is to not just fill positions but to provide businesses with talents who will drive innovation, steer growth, and lead the company into the future.
  • Sharing Is Caring: Minds&Finds is an integral and powerful supporter of a professional networking platform Benelux Baltics in Business. By giving an assignment to Minds&Finds, you also support them.

How do you approach identifying and assessing executive-level talent for your clients? Do you have some tips for our readers?

I am quite a fast pace learner, proactive, creative. Start and change are my biggest motivational drivers, however sometimes less convenient for the outdated, lost in ineffective and inefficient communication, sometimes too corporate and often too slow organizations.  

Often, the process is also challenging for candidates as I can clearly see what skills, abilities, traits suit best the hiring needs of my Client.

As an  outcome, in the hiring process I am quite selective and strict for both sides – Clients and Candidates. For Clients – they need to have a real common sense on what they are looking for to hire, for Candidates – I ask them to be ready with the answers on what value they bring at the table and how they are ready to “own” their new role.

Some highlights from hiring process (applicable for both sides as in these days everyone is hiring or/and are in the hiring process):

  • Hiring is a constant struggle. Same as one of the top competences – People Management – either you have a given skill for it, or you are learning all your life to understand others.
  • You’d be surprised where good people come from – it could be a comment, it could be Google, it could be direct network reference, or a networking event, etc. LinkedIn is just one of the source.
  • Be creative, stand out from being usual, traditional. On other hand, an exceptional competence stands for itself.
  • Wrong hire (or wrong career choice) does more damage than good; do not just fill in  (or apply for multiple) positions, be patient and prepare for the right one.
  • Interns are awesome. Find promising ones and turn it into a win-win situation.
  • Surround yourself (when hiring or by applying to) with those who understand today’s reality better than you. And trust them.

Are there specific tools or technologies you find particularly valuable in your work?

I do experiment by employing some of technologies to my hiring and interviewing process, however I cannot much say in their favor yet. These are the trials based on the natural and intellectual curiosity to study other people behavior rather on the actual need to make executive search work process more efficient.  

I believe that the response from techies “thanks god you are human and not a bot” speak a lot for the situation reality as well as your question itself.  

The real need for human connectivity will stay above of all technologies for many years ahead. One can learn a lot about human behaviors patterns and influence behavior. Yet the human mind is is unique and unpredictable, and it is not possible to predict unpredictable.

How do you see the future of talent management evolving, especially in the context of changing work environments and global dynamics?

I believe the future of talent management will be characterized by agility, technology integration, a focus on skills, and a commitment to fostering diverse and inclusive workplaces. Organizations that proactively embrace these changes are likely to be better positioned to attract, retain, and develop top talent in a rapidly evolving global landscape.  

We are already challenged by significant changes, driven by evolving work environments, technological advancements, and shifting global dynamics, like following, but not limited to:

  • Flexible Work Arrangements: The remote and hybrid work models will continue to impact talent management. Companies will need to adapt their talent strategies to effectively manage and engage remote and distributed teams.
  • Borderless Talent Acquisition: Organizations will increasingly tap into global talent pools, facilitated by remote work capabilities. This require a global mindset in talent acquisition and management.
  • Crisis Preparedness: There is no year without a crisis. Talent management strategies will incorporate elements of adaptability and resilience, preparing employees and organizations for unforeseen challenges and disruptions.
  • Holistic Approach: Talent management will evolve to incorporate a more holistic approach to employee well-being. This includes mental health support, work-life balance, and creating environments that foster overall employee wellness.  

I have witnessed early in my career that good leaders must fill their cups before they can pour into others. If you don’t prioritize self-care to maintain mental, emotional, physical well-being, then it is a struggle to accurately perceive situations, build relationships, make decisions, manage stress. Investing in self-care gives an energy and mindset to care for those we lead.

  • Team Dynamics: Talent management will focus on building collaborative and cross-functional and cross-cultural teams. This involves assessing not only individual skills but also the ability to work effectively within diverse teams, withing diverse cultures.
  • Continuous Learning: As the skills required for jobs evolve rapidly, there will be an increased focus on continuous learning and upskilling. Talent management will need to prioritize identifying and developing the right skills within the workforce.
  • Digital Tools: The integration of advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics, will enhance talent management processes. These tools can help in many areas, and as people are curious creatures, therefore exponential technology application will be massive at some point.
  • Leadership change – it will continue to be valuable and important to show who you are and what makes you distinctive – your brand, what you’re driven to achieve, the magic, the strengths and passions you bring to the table no matter where you’re seated. The weaknesses what you able to recognize and reflect on them yourself. I believe today’s society is too academical or too transactional and calls for an action – execution leadership; if that is not enough, inspirational leadership might be of help.  
  • Connectivity: in the growing social isolation and social distancing world it will be a time for rebirth – meaningfulness –  where by connecting values, beliefs and purpose, meaningful goals can link the present with the future.

How do you find time for out-of-work activities & what are your favourite things to do? 

Background in sociology serves as my foundation for understanding institutions, organizations, societal behaviour, social policy, inequality, privilege, social problems, and change. It unlocks my potential to pursue ambitious projects that may seem undoable but hold the potential to redefine the present and leverage exponential developments. This led to the creation of Benelux Baltics in Business, a professional networking platform.

My recent focus is around the magic trio: Learning, Passion, and Making Impact. This approach serves as my self-care strategy, allowing me to lead by example, experience real-life leadership, build a supportive circle, and maintain a balance by focusing on what I can control and influence.

In a society often driven by material success and competition, I recognize the importance of life beyond the race for the top. Creating a legacy, giving back to the community, and caring for others contribute to my own content as of individual.  

Golf is my daytime mental yoga, and my recently discovered love for raking leaves in autumn garden obviously reflects my commitmentfor order and organizationn of ongoing matters in my life😊