Tomorrows Weather lots of Peaks and Troughs


Much like the weather forecast, the global economy is experiencing turbulent times. Where some areas are Hot, others are Cold, some are Unpredictable and for others a little more Stable.

In Melbourne the phrase “4 Seasons in a Day” rings true. Your contingency is to never travel without an umbrella or jacket, or at the very least be prepared with alternate arrangements. So how do organisations cope with a global economy experiencing ‘4 seasons in a Day”?


You might first drag yourself along to #ATC2013. This year the Australian Talent Conference brings Local, National and International speakers together to discuss Agile Talent Management. International Pundits include;

Richard ‘Just Do It’ Lishewski – Global Talent Acquisition Director @ Nike. Nice gig you say, but previously he was the Snr Director of Global Recruiting and Sourcing for the NBA!

Gerry”Akubra” Crispin – Acknowledged as a Global Guru (GG aka Thought Leader) in the field of Staffing

Nationally we have Robin Shreeve – CEO Australian Workforce & Productivity Agency, Mas Bianchi – Group Sourcing Manager Monadelphous, as well as a number of RPO experts in Kimberley Hubble – Hudson, Tara Knobel – Alexander Mann Solutions, and Paula Buskus – Harrier.

Thats just for starters.

So why am I blogging? What are my thoughts on this topic?

For me, it’s all quite appropriate and even more timely unlike last weeks showers in Perth. I work for a construction contractor in Australia who like the majority of others within the Resources (by Resources I refer to Mining, Oil & Gas etc) sector are experiencing a sector with Peaks and Troughs. It’s business planning time for 2013 – 2014, and I am having to forecast our resourcing requirements and budget for the upcoming financial year and part of this strategy is to increase our contingent workforce which goes against the current approach my employer takes. I am being asked to do more with less. Some interesting discussions ahead.

My previous and current employer has taken the approach of long-term (permanent or project max term) engagement for the majority of hires. Only a small portion of contingent workforce exists in a sector dictated to by global economics. Compare this to the IT sector where what I see as majority contingent workforce in what is essentially a less volatile environment. Rarely do you hear of mass redundancies unless there is an organisational change in relation to off-shoring.

What impacts Construction Contractors? Delays in Government approvals, Mineral Price, Decline in Global Economies, Client Budget/Profit/Raising troubles, Transitional Governments, Productivity and Labour Market issues, Government Infrastructure Investment, and the list goes on.

My observations through my own experiences as follows:

  • Organisations with large permanent workforce’s usually have large support services. OVERHEADS
  • Employers with larger permanent workforce’s spend far more on agency fees in relation to permanent hire fees.
  • Redundancy rumoring creates a drop in morale, productivity for extended periods of time (Pre & Post regardless of fact or not)
  • Turnover/Churn (Voluntary) rates increase
  • Company brand can be damaged (Inability to attract talent)
  • If listed, company share price may be impacted
  • Permanent workforce’s can become complacent and not as productive (perception of job security through permanency, extended notice periods etc)
  • A good contractor performs better as this is their livelihood. Perform poorly and you soon get a name in your industry and are no longer able to secure work
  • A contractor provides a diverse range of experiences and skills gained from working in numerous organisations, and industries, imparting knowledge to your business
  • A well-balanced business uses core teams of permanent employees supplemented by contractors to deliver projects, injecting new experience, maintaining productivity, ensuring quality, whilst maintaining culture and brand
  • An ability to demonstrate to clients your experience in rapid deployment and downsizing whilst maintaining deliverables can secure you more work

There are many more examples I could list but you get the drift or should I say disturbance in keeping with our weather topic.

So how will a larger contingent workforce be of benefit to an employer?

I guess that comes down to a number of factors and approaches.

  • Do you consider Outsourcing
  • Take on a Managed Service Provider/Partner
  • Develop a pro-active sourcing solution

You may be able to reduce support service overheads, increase your ability to upsize and downsize to market requirements. Maintain culture and brand, productivity, quality, and safety. Get all this right and maybe, just maybe the supposed ‘seat at the table’ we all talk about, might come to fruition.

All this and more will be discussed at #ATC2013 Agile Talent Management. “So be there or be square”. Horace, Trevor and the Gang would love your participation as will the hundreds of other attendees.

I’m still on my journey towards Agile Talent Management, with so much more to learn.

These are my own experiences and opinions, they do not represent those of my past or current employer with whom I wish to help grow their knowledge and acceptance of the benefits of a larger contingent workforce.

The age of Aquarius

I’m living with my in-laws with limited internet connectivity, my second son has arrived just three weeks ago and my partner and I are about to undertake some house renovations hence the dossing at the in-laws. Life as of late has been rather busy.

Work on the other hand has been very interesting. After my last blog, the market here in Australia stalled somewhat, and we unfortunately lost half the recruitment team. Now its a case of doing more with nothing..not less! Cue business planning for the coming financial year. 

So what does 2013 have install for me? Opportunity to truly impact our business in relation to talent attraction and engagement through the basics. 

Part of this is to make the recruitment team more available to talent. I thought this would be easy to do, get a phone number on the careers page or contact page of the corporate site. Allow potential applicants to directly engage the recruitment team! Only one other competitor currently does this. Makes you wonder doesn’t it. Here we are complaining about not having talent, whilst preventing them from contacting us by the good old telephone! I’ll let you know how I get on, but so far it looks like a road block.

Transparency of process. My aim here is to provide prospective talent with a better understanding of our recruitment process. Our focus on culture and values over technical skills, the actual process and a commitment to customer service such as those offered and expected at 5 star hotels around the world. My career began as a Night Porter at what was the Parkroyal Perth. 

Educate the business in relation to hiring skill improvement, interview etiquette  and something called transferable skills. Hiring for cultural fit, succession, and capability. Educate our recruiters about the business. Great to know about the roles with which you recruit, but to truly understand how the business operates will provide far more benefit to the candidate, and the recruiter.

Shift our reliance away from Job Boards such as SEEK, LinkedIn, Referrals and Agency. Whats that you say, Linkedin and Referrals! Am I mad? Perhaps I really am sleep deprived. But here me out. These are the only current avenues with which we recruit from. We have no other presence and its unlikely we’ll get any budget to truly engage with prospective talent even though the business is pushing for a more proactive resourcing function. 

I’m also aiming to have in place by years end several talent communities across a handful of disciplines in both White & Blue Collar roles. This might be difficult to do with the reduced resources in our team, but with a bit of planning and organisation we will get it going and be able to demonstrate some success to hopefully get recognition for resulting in an increase in budget allocation. 

Replacing out ATS. We are paying for what I consider to be a VHS product in an age of Blue Ray. And its basically the same price. I mean seriously having to pay for an enhancement such as having access to candidate history once a position is closed or filled… come on. No email parsing. Hello…… 

All this with less budget, less people and increasing workloads. Who says I dont love a challenge. 

Stay tuned… hopefully the next blog wont be to far off.. baby crying.. gotta run!