Ephram Stephenson is the CEO and Founder of Collar Group, a recruitment and staffing company specialising in providing tailored recruitment solutions to businesses of all sizes. Ephram’s exceptional leadership skills have played a pivotal role in the rapid growth of Collar, transforming it from a mere startup to a highly esteemed recruitment agency within just 2 years. What sets Ephram apart as a leader in any industry is his unyielding passion for people, a remarkable trait that has enabled him to not only build strong relationships with his team but also foster a culture of excellence and teamwork within the organization. His unwavering commitment to his team’s professional development and growth has earned him the respect and admiration of those around him, making him an exceptional leader and role model for aspiring leaders in any field.
Throughout his career, Ephram has successfully placed over 10,000 people into permanent jobs and over 25,000 people into temporary assignments across various industries, including Mining, Oil & Gas, Engineering, Construction, Aged Care & Health Care, Facilities Management, and Building Industries throughout Australia.
Ephram’s notable recruitment expertise encompasses a wide range of areas, including executive searches for high-level professionals and the intricate nuances of recruitment in all its forms. Having lived in England, Jordan, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Australia for several decades, Ephram has gained valuable insights into recruitment practices across different regions.
The Inspiration for Starting Collar Group
In July 2021, Ephram founded Collar Group from scratch. He was an investor in another successful recruiting firm. However, after learning that he and his wife were expecting their first child, he immediately returned his equity to the firm. The next day, he founded Collar Group, intending to leave a legacy for his little boy. With his vast experience and passion for recruitment, Ephram is poised to take Collar Group to new heights.
Ephram, a veteran of the recruiting industry and a serial entrepreneur, has founded a dozen successful recruitment agencies, eleven of which are still operating. With his first recruiting agency started 18 years ago from his home, he has since expanded it to offices in four Australian cities and London. One of his most successful startups generated a turnover of A$62 million in 18 months.
Leveraging his vast experience in building agencies, Ephram has equipped Collar Group with an unmatched database of more than a million candidates, a significant competitive advantage in the recruiting sector. In addition, he is well-positioned to lead Collar Group to success based on his extensive experiences and successes with previous startups.
About Collar Group and Its Services
Collar Talent Group is a leading provider of talent acquisition solutions with a team of experts specialising in recruitment services across Australia. Their recruitment services exceed clients’ expectations, ensuring a comprehensive suite of services catering to their unique needs.
Collar Momentum is an extension of the Collar Talent Group brand, providing national recruitment, employment, and training services. The company aims to bridge the employment gap, creating more opportunities for Indigenous talent to enter and thrive in the Australian workforce. The service offerings include industry-leading group training programs that are flexible, supportive, and designed to help candidates, apprentices, and trainees upskill and stay abreast of the latest industry trends.
At Collar Momentum, providing training and education is critical to unlocking the full potential of Indigenous talent in Australia. The company’s approach focuses on providing comprehensive training solutions tailored to each candidate’s unique needs. The programs offer job-specific training and develop essential communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills.
We understand Indigenous job seekers’ challenges in accessing employment opportunities and provide a pathway to sustainable employment. By providing training and education, we aim to create a pool of qualified and skilled Indigenous candidates ready to take on the challenges of the modern workforce.
Besides training and employment services, Collar Momentum also offers support for employers seeking to diversify their workforce. We work closely with employers to identify areas where they can improve diversity and inclusion in their recruitment processes and provide guidance and support to help them achieve their goals.
At Collar Talent Group and Collar Momentum, they provide exceptional services that meet the needs of our clients and candidates alike. Working together can create a more inclusive and diverse workforce that benefits all Australians.
Growth and Success Story of Collar Group
Collar Group’s expertise in several key areas has contributed significantly to its growth and success. First, the company’s talent acquisition expertise allows for informed decision-making and identification of overlooked opportunities, which is especially crucial in an industry that moves quickly and demands innovation. Expertise has also fostered innovation and creativity within Collar Group.
Ephram says, “In the case of Collar Group, I believe that the expertise of my executive leadership team, as well as everyone in the company, has played an important role in Collar’s growth and success.” This collective expertise has enabled the company to attract and retain top talent and cultivate a positive culture that supports growth and development.
Culture of Integrity and Innovation
Collar Group places great importance on establishing clear expectations and standards of behaviour for its team members. The company prioritises values such as collaboration, accountability, and respect to upholding these values. To build a culture of integrity and innovation, Collar Group provides ample opportunities for open communication and feedback.
The company encourages team members to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns and actively listens and responds to employee feedback. The company recognises that rewarding behaviour that aligns with its values of integrity and innovation is essential.
Collar Group encourages its leaders to celebrate and acknowledge their team members when they demonstrate these behaviours, contributing to a positive team culture. In addition, it helps foster a work environment that values and prioritises the company’s core values, thus leading to the growth and success of the business.
Role & Responsibilities as CEO & Founder of Collar Group
Ephram, the CEO and Founder of Collar Group sets the company’s strategic direction and oversees its operations. In addition, he manages the finances and resources of the company, motivates the team, develops partnerships, and fosters a culture of innovation and growth.
His daily routine involves a mix of internal meetings with the Executive Leadership team, collaborating with team members on various projects, networking with potential partners and clients, and staying up-to-date with industry news and trends using LinkedIn. He also spends a lot of time planning and setting goals for the company’s future growth.
Ephram’s passion for the industry and drive to succeed make him a highly motivated CEO and Founder. His commitment to exceptional client services and dedication to his team’s success is evident in his daily work. His primary goal is to help Collar Group meet the evolving needs of clients and the industry while maintaining the company’s core values and mission.
Ephram’s leadership style is focused on collaboration, transparency, and empowerment. He values the input and feedback of his team members and encourages them to share their thoughts and ideas. He believes fostering a learning and continuous improvement culture is critical to achieving success and staying ahead of the competition.
Ephram’s dedication to his work and vision for Collar Group’s future growth has earned him recognition in the industry. He is well-respected for his leadership and innovation. However, if he had to define himself in one word, it would be “driven.” As a CEO and Founder, he understands the importance of being motivated, passionate, and determined to succeed.
Leading and Impacting the Next Generation
In any industry, leadership can be challenging as it demands balancing competing demands, making hard decisions, and adapting to changing circumstances. However, in the Recruitment industry, in particular, the pace of change is rapid, and thus, industry leaders like Ephram must possess qualities like flexibility, innovation, and forward-thinking.
Ephram believes that leading by example and prioritising values-driven decision-making, diversity, inclusion, and social responsibility are vital to influencing the next generation of leaders. Ephram enjoys coaching and mentoring aspiring recruitment leaders, providing ample opportunities for growth and development, and cultivating a culture of learning and continuous improvement.
Ephram aims to impact the next generation of leaders by sharing his experience and industry expertise through thought leadership, actively participating in opportunities like podcasts and industry events, and maintaining an active presence on LinkedIn.
Definition of Success
For Ephram, success is a concept that goes beyond the traditional notion of achieving specific goals or accomplishments. Instead, he views it as a combination of personal growth, happiness, and positively impacting the world. While financial benefits and industry recognition are undeniably great, Ephram believes success is more complex and multifaceted.
In his view, personal growth is an essential aspect of success. He believes that to achieve true success, individuals must be committed to continually challenging themselves, learning new skills, and expanding their knowledge. He considers this growth process critical for both personal and professional development. Ephram views setbacks and failures as opportunities to learn and improve rather than obstacles to success. For him, every challenge is an opportunity to gain new insights, knowledge, and skills, which he can use to grow and become a better version of himself.
Another critical element of success for Ephram is happiness. For him, true success is not just about achieving professional goals or financial success but also about finding joy and fulfilment in life. He believes happy and content individuals are more likely to achieve their goals and positively impact the world. Therefore, Ephram places a significant emphasis on maintaining a healthy work-life balance, pursuing hobbies and interests, and spending quality time with family and friends.
Finally, making a positive impact in the world is also an essential aspect of success for Ephram. He believes successful individuals are responsible for using their skills and resources to make a difference. Whether it’s through charitable giving, volunteering, or other means, Ephram is passionate about using his success to impact the lives of others positively.
Valuable Lessons Learned in the Professional Journey
Ephram acknowledges that encountering challenges is an opportunity for personal and professional growth. Overcoming obstacles cultivates resilience, sharpens problem-solving skills, and bestows valuable lessons contributing to self-improvement. Ephram admits that handling failures and setbacks has been a common challenge throughout his professional journey. These experiences have been daunting and discouraging, but they offer opportunities to learn from mistakes and improve for future endeavours.
Ephram believes that leaders who possess a growth mindset and regard failure as a chance for learning and growth are more likely to surmount obstacles and accomplish success in the long run. Navigating change and uncertainty has been a significant challenge in Ephram’s career. Given that the business environment is in a constant state of flux, leaders must be able to adapt to new technologies, emerging trends, and shifting market conditions. Ephram emphasises that those who remain flexible achieve a better position to flourish in an ever-changing landscape, embrace innovation, and take calculated risks.
Balancing Personal and Professional Life
Maintaining a work-life balance is crucial for a CEO and Founder like Ephram. He believes in establishing clear boundaries and prioritising extracurricular activities that are meaningful to him, which he can pursue outside of work. For instance, Ephram recently started taking Kite Surfing lessons, which allows him to unwind and learn new skills.
At Collar Group, Ephram centres his leadership style on a solid sense of purpose and mission. He believes in regularly posting updates on LinkedIn to promote both the Collar brand and his brand, which helps in effectively conveying the company’s vision to the team. In addition, Ephram ensures he is accessible to team members throughout the company and remains present as a leader to inspire them to deliver exceptional services at Collar.
Recognition & Awards
Ephram’s career as a startup executive reached new heights when he was awarded the prestigious ‘Startup Executive of the Year for 2022’ by CEO Magazine. This outstanding achievement is undoubtedly one of his most significant professional milestones. The recognition, honour, and validation that came with this renowned award were truly humbling for him.
Ephram attributed this accomplishment to the collective effort and commitment of the entire Collar Group team. The award acknowledged their hard work, dedication, and contributions toward delivering exceptional client and candidate results. He believed this recognition would further motivate them to strive for greater heights.
“I am excited about what the future holds for the Collar Group, and I look forward to continuing to lead our team to even greater success in the years to come,” says Ephram. He was confident that with the team’s continued hard work, collaboration, and innovation, they would overcome any challenges and capitalise on opportunities to create a lasting impact in the recruitment industry.
The Future of Work at Collar Group
Ephram’s vision for the future of Collar Group centres on the company’s motto, “Recruit a Better Way.” With this in mind, he plans to expand Collar Group’s services, ventures into new markets and industries, and invest in technology and innovation to maintain a competitive edge. He believes adapting and evolving are critical to achieving long-term success for the company while focusing on its core values and mission.
To achieve this, Ephram intends to lead by example and encourage his team to continuously learn and grow, emphasising the importance of staying up-to-date with industry trends and customer needs. He envisions Collar Group as a trailblazer in implementing cutting-edge technology and tools to streamline recruitment processes and provide exceptional customer service.
Ephram understands the importance of maintaining strong relationships with clients and candidates and plans to prioritise this aspect of the business. In addition, he commits to providing personalised services that cater to each client’s needs, whether a small business or a large corporation.
Message to Aspiring Business Leaders
Ephram believes in continuous learning and growth as an accomplished entrepreneur and leader. He encourages aspiring business leaders to approach challenges and setbacks as opportunities to improve and evolve. For Ephram, a strong sense of purpose and values is paramount in decision-making at Collar Group. The safety and well-being of his team members, customers, and the broader community are always top priorities.
Ephram recognises that leadership is not solely about achieving success but also about cultivating a positive culture and fostering innovation and growth. He emphasises the importance of building a diverse and inclusive team that empowers members to take ownership of their work and contribute their unique perspectives and talents. This approach has been instrumental in driving Collar Group’s success.
Ephram’s ability to communicate a clear vision and inspire his team to work towards it characterises his leadership style. He values transparency and encourages open communication to foster a collaborative and supportive work environment. He understands that investing in his team’s personal and professional development is crucial for the organisation’s growth.
In his message to aspiring business leaders, Ephram emphasises the importance of being purpose-driven, values-led, and community-minded. He believes that by prioritising these aspects of leadership, one can create a successful and sustainable business that not only achieves financial success but also positively impacts society.
“Leadership is not just about achieving success but also cultivating a positive culture and fostering innovation and growth. It’s important to build a diverse and inclusive team and to empower team members to take ownership of their work and contribute their unique perspectives and talents,” says Ephram.
Ephram Stephenson, the CEO and Founder of Collar Group has founded and co-founded several successful recruitment businesses within the last decade. Ephram’s leadership qualities are evident in his passion for people and ability to communicate his vision. He focuses on sharing his vision with his team, setting clear goals that support growth and development, and ensuring high levels of employee engagement to drive the organisation forward. He is an articulate and passionate leader who is highly effective at expressing the values and mission of the organisation to maintain high levels of employee engagement. Ephram’s persistence, tenacity, and enthusiasm are admirable traits that have enabled him to work toward his vision with dedication and focus.