It’s “Counter Offer” Season…

… and I reckon it’s a mugs game for both the employer and the employee.
The counter offer is a knee jerk by employers to suddenly show their respect to an employee by promising the world will change and here is some money to accompany the promise. For the employee it’s often either a bargaining chip for a few extra dollars or a last chance extension of their tolerance for the employer. The fact is that it only has a 20% chance of success for either party. 80% of the time the employee and the employer have parted ways within six months, FACT!

So don’t get into the ‘counter offer’ war as it’s more about ego and winning or losing than addressing the real issues.

Why is it happening now?

Well in my opinion its because as we see more opportunity in the market employees will feel the urge to move as the last 18 months of battling through the GFC havn’t been very rewarding in most organisations. Remember that Reward and Recognition are the top two reasons people leave their jobs.

If you’ve got a beef with your employer deal with it before you enter the job market and don’t be fooled by empty promises at resignation discussion. As employers we need to reward and recognise our people now not on the day they resign!



2010 has got off to a busy start in terms of increased new job listings. The rhetoric is also pointing towards a busier recruitment marketplace.
I am getting the sense that organisations are committed to getting on with projects and growth plans by locking in new key people with much more urgency. State Sector is lagging this trend but certainly they too are in advanced planning for significant projects.
Our sector should be optimistic and keep our focus on relationships and quality delivery.

Actions speak louder than words!

I have to give a wrap to a colleague of mine this year as he has had his best year ever. The simple truth is that he has totally ignored any talk about the GFC and just got on the with basics. See people, listen, build relationships and deliver results.

As the Xmas break nears and we reflect on the year thats been I bow my hat to someone whom has had a fantastic year by setting goals and just doing it!

Great example for me and others… I like it!

Game Changing!

“09 is Game Changing?”

In my 21 years in the IT recruitment industry I think we may be just be coming out of the most ‘game changing’ period I have seen. Sure 1990 was tough post the ’87 crash and Y2K created huge opportunity, then a following lull, but this may be different!

1. The flexible workforce is now a reality!
2. Price transparency and value is for real!
3. Social networks is the great technology enabler!
4. “people are our most important asset”… this Mantra will now be tested like never before!

Flexible workforce: Yep. Short-term, fixed term, part-time, job share, hourly rate, fixed rate, daily rate, work from home, virtual workforce, webcasting, crowd-sourcing or cloud. Whatever it takes and whatever is affordable is driving very creative workforce solutions. This is now a reality and is a change that must be embraced by employers, recruiters, candidates, HR professionals and consultants. Whilst the rhetoric has been around a while we are now genuinely seeing these solutions being deployed with greater acceptance.

Price & Value: Perhaps it the stark financial reality everyone has needed to face that has finally cut through cultures of excess and lack of accountability. This has demanded an honesty amongst executives and suppliers that has driven price down where value didn’t equate. From this moment I reckon that value will be much more closely aligned to price especially in the services and consultancy supply community. People will still pay well for value but won’t accept excess.

Web 3.0: Social Networks are growing at such a rate that embracing it is the only option. Relationships, trust and knowledge will always underpin ultimate success but online branding and community development will drive our sourcing strategies, brand recognition, reputation and ultimately our effectiveness. Think price and value as above! Relevance to our audience and tools to reach them is extraordinarily challenging yet exciting for our industry. We’re all ears at this stage as we navigate forward trying out new tools and techniques!

“Yeah Right”: As green shoots appear company cultures will be tested like never before and lip service to employee engagement practices will come at a hefty price. Opportunities offshore will begin to open up again and a candidate short market will re-appear sooner than some think. Corporate behaviour over the last 12-18 months may just determine their success over the next 24 months. Some of the brutal treatment dished out by some large multi-nationals could come home to roost as people once again have choice.

Overall we see much more positivity than we did even 3 months ago. Unemployment forecasts and being reduced and most companies are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead. Have a happy and safe Xmas break.

Mark Chote
Managing Director
920 career agents

DIY Recruiting

Had yet another interesting discussion with a client reluctantly advising us that they were going to do their own recruitment last week.
Whilst this DIY ethos is prevalent at the moment it’s almost always reluctantly implemented by the person who is tasked with the assignment.
For this reason I know that the policy is flawed.
Whilst anyone can buy the short term cost saving argument, companies must understand that finding the right person is neither a task that can be undertaken reluctantly nor is it simply a case of advertise and they will come.
Great recruiting requires effective and continual use of multiple sourcing channels.

  • Job Boards
  • Referrals
  • Head hunting
  • Social Media
  • Talent pool management
  • Deep web searching

Equally the best candidates are mostly fully engaged therefore the knowledge of their whereabouts and requirements is a large part of what recruiters are paid for. This requires a significant investment in time and expertise.
It surprises me that many clients ignore this reverting to “cost down” as their primary objective over quality. Both objectives can co-exist when properly planned.
For some organisations “people are our most important asset” has become a Tui billboard…

The Art of Laying People Off

Caught this on …

Posted in: Management

I hope that you never have to lay off or fire people, but the reality is that you will as you advance in your career. If you are scoffing (“Guy, you are clueless: We’ll never downsize, because we’re growing so fast, and I’ll never make a bad hire”), then you’re my intended reader.

  1. Take responsibility. Ultimately, it is the CEO’s decision to make the cuts, so don’t blame it on the board of directors, market conditions, competition, or whatever else. In effect, she should simply say, “I made the decision. This is what we’re going to do.” If you don’t have the courage to do this, don’t be a CEO. Now, more than ever, the company will need a leader, and leaders accept responsibility.
  2. Cut deep and cut once. Management usually believes that things will get better soon, so it cuts the smallest number of people in anticipation of a miracle. Most of the time, the miracle doesn’t materialize, and the company ends up making multiple cuts. Given the choice, you should cut too deeply and risk the high-quality problem of having to rehire. Multiple cuts are terrible for the morale of the employees who have not been laid off.
  3. Move fast. One hour after your management team discusses the need to lay off employees, the entire company will know that something is happening. Once people “know” a layoff is coming, productivity drops like a rock. You’re either laying people off or you’re not—you should avoid the state of “considering” a layoff.
  4. Clean house. A layoff is an opportunity to terminate marginal employees without having to differentiate between poor performers and positions that you’re eliminating. It’s good for the marginal employee because he’s not tainted with getting fired. Finally, it’s good for the employees who remain because they will see that you know who’s performing and who isn’t.
  5. Whack Teddy. Most executives have hired a friend, a friend of a friend, or a relative as a favor. When a layoff happens, employees will be looking to see what happens to Teddy. “Did he survive the cut or did he go? Is it cronyism or competence that counts at the company?” Make sure that Ted is dead.
  6. Share the pain. When people around you are losing their jobs, you can share the pain, too. Cut your pay. In fact, the higher the employee, the bigger the percentage of pay reduction. Take a smaller office. Turn in the company car. Reassign your personal assistant to a revenue-generating position. Fly coach. Stay in motels. Sell the boxseat tickets to the ball game. Give your 30-inch flat-panel display to a programmer who could use it to debug faster. Do something, however symbolic.
  7. Show consistency. I cannot understand how companies can claim that they have to cut costs and then provide severance packages of six months to a year of salary. You would think that if they wanted to conserve cash, they’d give tiny severance packages. Typically, there are three lines of reasoning for generous severance packages:
    1. Cutting head count, even with severance packages, is cheaper than keeping the employee around indefinitely, and we don’t want any lawsuits.
    2. We have lots of cash, so our balance sheet is strong, but we need to cut heads to make our profit-and-loss statement look better.
    3. Wall Street (or your investors) is expecting dramatic actions, so we need to do this to show the analysts that we’ve got what it takes to be a leader.

    None of these reasons makes sense. If you need to do a layoff to cut costs (and conserve cash), then provide minimal severance packages, cut costs as much as you can, conserve as much cash as you can, and deal with your guilt in other ways. If nothing else, it’s a consistent story.

  8. Don’t ask for pity. Sometimes managers go to great lengths to show the person they’re laying off (or firing) how hard it is on them. Th is reminds me of the old definition of chutzpah: A boy murders his parents and then asks the court for leniency because he’s an orphan. The person who suffers is the one being terminated, not the manager.
  9. Provide support. Usually, the people getting laid off aren’t at fault. More likely, it was the fault of top management—the same top management with golden parachutes. Hence, you have a moral obligation to provide services like job counseling, résumé-writing assistance, and job-search help. There are firms that specialize in helping employees during “transitions,” so use them.
  10. Don’t let people self-select. We had a joke at Apple during the dark days of the late eighties that went like this: We would announce that employees who want to quit should come to a big meeting. Those who want to stay at the company should not attend. Then we would let the people go who didn’t attend the meeting and keep the ones who wanted to quit—because the latter were smart enough to know that we were in bad shape or that they had better opportunities elsewhere.

    The point is that if you let people choose to get laid off or retire, you might lose your best people. Deciding whom to lay off is a proactive decision: Select the go-forward team to ensure that you never have to lay people off again. Do not leave this to chance.

  11. Show people the door. With few exceptions, all you should do is let people finish the day, maybe the week. (My theory is that Friday is the best day to do a layoff because it lets people have a weekend to decompress.) Showing people the door seems inhumane, but it’s better for both the people leaving and the people remaining.
  12. Move forward. Let people say good-bye and then get going. This is when leadership counts. In bad times, you separate the men from the boys and the women from the girls. After the layoff, this is what the remaining employees will be wondering about:
    1. Guilt: “Why did I survive the cut and my colleagues didn’t?”
    2. Future of my job: “Will I survive the next round if there are more cuts?”
    3. Future of the company: “Will the company survive at all?”

    So you set—or reemphasize—goals, explain what everyone needs to do to get there, and get going, because the best way to move beyond a layoff is to get back to work.

Immediately after a layoff, you might want to retreat to your office, turn off the phones, stop answering e-mails, and avoid everyone. These are the worst actions to take. This is the time for you to motivate by walking around. Employees need to see you, talk to you, and get your help and advice. They don’t want to think their leader is cowering in some foxhole. The brave face that you put on may be a charade, but it’s an important charade.

Reprinted by permission from Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition. In other words, I asked myself if it was okay. If you liked this chapter, there are ninety-three more where this came from.

You have to love APPLE!

I recently visited the Apple store on Regent St in London and WOW! They really have cracked it with their retail vision. Over 50 free internet kiosks were you can try out the macbook air, a lecture theatre, a ‘genuis’ bar whereby you can spend time with a expert, live training sessions etc, etc. Service staff all over both floors they really leave you loving everything about an Apple experience. I reckon a visit to the new Sydney shop could be on the agenda or better still hopefully they open one in NZ soon!!!