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Balancing the Grind with Lorenzo Spina, Head of Talent at Peak

Lorenzo Spina is the Head of Talent at Peak, a Decision Intelligence platform that enables users to rapidly deploy multiple AI-powered solutions on a single platform.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I am Head of Talent for decision intelligence company, Peak; a fast growth scale-up based in Manchester, UK. 

We’ve achieved a lot since we were founded in 2015 – and we have some pretty big goals still to achieve! Hiring amazing people is core to that success, and I work with a team of nine (soon to be 11!) exceptional Talent Managers split across the UK and India (US soon).

My role is to build out our in-house capability, empowering the talent team to go out to market and find great talent directly; we hired 200+ people globally last year, and 93% of roles were sourced directly – I’m really proud of that! 

I’ve always worked in recruitment and have had the fortune of working in agencies, RPO (resource process outsourcing) and now in-house. It’s given me the opportunity to understand the end to end lifecycle of recruitment and pull upon my passion for building great relationships and teams. 

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

It’s cliché (but true) to say no two days are the same at Peak. I’ve just got back from probably one of my favourite days at Peak – our inaugural Leadership Summit, which was held in Switzerland (definitely part of the attraction!). 

It was an opportunity to come together as an extended leadership team, assess where we are as a business and discuss how to empower our teams, establish best practices and effective ways of working.

Peak has a world-class inclusive culture and as part of this the whole team were able to enjoy two days of activities and team building in Switzerland. It was the first time I’d met many of the India team outside of Zoom and it was an amazing opportunity to spend time with all teammates and build memories. 

But on a normal day in Manchester (where it is admittedly not quite as sunny as Switzerland) you will find me in the gym before work. My days are generally a combination of team meetings, huddles where we discuss our challenges, priorities and blockers, and interviews with candidates.

As a scaleup that’s expanding into new markets, establishing our Talent Brand also takes up a good chunk of my time – it’s one of the perks of the job, actually. I really enjoy working on campaigns to showcase Peak and the company we’re building. 

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Peak doesn’t have offices, we have Clubhouses; these are inclusive working spaces with different areas for deep thinking, collaboration and independent work. 

The majority of the team tends to do three days in the Clubhouse and then work from home the rest of the time. For me, it provides a great balance between collaborating with the team while having some days at home for admin, reporting and strategising. 

Many of our lives and routines have changed over the pandemic and flexibility of when we work has become key for many of us, not travelling at busy times, exercise and wellbeing classes or taking children to school are more important than ever.

Equally as we move towards being a more global business working across multiple time zones we will need to be more flexible when we work. So removing traditional “office hours” suits everyone.

Balancing life and work is a big focus at Peak. We’re all stakeholders in the business and we’re all empowered to make our own choices, so there isn’t a fixation on hours worked or being present at certain times throughout the day. The priority is getting your work done to a standard you are proud of.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

For me, it’s about sustainable high performance. I love what I do, I’m incredibly passionate about it, so it can be really easy to work over my core hours, but I need time away to switch off and recharge if I’m going to operate at my best. 

Work-life balance is about prioritising the things that make me happy and healthy. When I’m not busy recruiting, drinking coffee or pulling reports you can normally find me dining out or balancing this with the gym (the weight seems to pile on easier in your 30s).

I try to encourage my team to take the same approach and prioritise down time. One of the best examples I’ve found for this is self development – very often it gets pushed into weekends or evenings; which means people never really switch off.

When it comes to my team, if there’s a book they want to read that will help them at work, or an event they want to attend, then I encourage them to block out time during the day to do it. I trust that they know what they need to do to be effective at work – and outside of it. 

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

The last 12 months have been challenging but it has allowed me to focus on mindset and being more present and positive. I have enjoyed getting out more, walking and now that the world has started to open up travel more. Next stop on the cards is Cyprus. 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

The Chimp Paradox by Steven Peters really resonated with me and I often find myself referring back to it; “what’s my inner chimp trying to say?” A great lesson in understanding how the mind works and how to control mindset.  

Hung Lee’s Recruiting Brain Food weekly newsletter is also interesting and very topical and allows me to keep on top of industry trends. 

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

Rightmove! I’m never off that app at the moment – house hunting. I’m also a big fan of Spotify. I’ll listen to everything – chilled, house, historic rap (that’s 90s and early 2000s). James Arthur and Ed Sheeran make the occasional appearance, as well. 

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

There are some really interesting things happening in this space at the moment. I’m enjoying reading the early findings from companies trialling four day working weeks, and how different businesses are tackling the increased focus on work-life balance post pandemic. 

Richard Branson talked about how he switches off from work when on holiday / vacation, however, for me it should be all about balance and leaders should promote flexibility around wellbeing and switching off for all employees when the time is right for them. 

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Balance is really important from a wellbeing and performance perspective, you can only fulfill your potential if you’re well rested and passionate about what you do.

For me, responsibility is key. I need to feel empowered and accountable for what I’m working towards, it gives me the freedom to put boundaries in place and not just clock hours. Also, make sure you have fun along the way. 

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.