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European Games solves recruitment challenge

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The leadership team organising the inaugural European Games is being recruited on a “one degree of separation” principle, according to the organisation’s HR director Rob Clarke.

The games will be held in Azerbaijan’s capital city Baku throughout June 2015. By then around 1,600 paid employees will be working on the event.

Without the luxury of a long-term approach to building culture, having the right management in place becomes even more crucial, said Clarke.

“Our approach is simple,” Clarke explained. “Good people follow each other. To ensure we integrate the best values we recruited on a one degree of separation principle for the senior management. ”

The “unprecedented” speed with which the team has to organise and co-ordinate the event means every member of staff needs to “hit the ground running”, said Clarke. The organising committee was only put together in April 2013, meaning it has a little over two years to organise the event from scratch.

One thing Clarke has in his favour is the large number of employees with experience of running similar events in the past. He estimates that 95% of the European Games’ team have been involved in similar projects, including the 2012 London Olympics and 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The organisers behind the games are also hoping to leave a significant employment legacy in Azerbaijan.

Senior manager, capability building Anna Falconer hopes to build a “skills and knowledge” legacy. A graduate programme is being run to develop both local talent and young people throughout Europe. There is a place reserved for each of the 46 nationalities competing.

“We want to give people the skills to become future leaders of events teams,” she said. “The roles we offer are very hands-on. We’re using all forms of social media to make sure we’re connecting with the young talent in the country and throughout Europe.”