What is the best recruiter cultural environment?  Of course the answer is not simple because we all respond to different leadership and cultural environments.  Some are more personally motivated and do not need sales pressures – they know and do their job.  Others require a little push to help keep their focus and motivation high.  Neither is better or worse but there is a place where you turn a little push into a hotel environment and that becomes destructive. 

I was reading an article on the 11 Top Worse Companies, and number 7 on the list was Robert Half.  Now I am not picking on Robert Half, I don’t know enough to do so and respect them as a competitive colleague in the industry, but it is concerning to read that “the company's focus on activity metrics and growth expectations over team morale created a ‘hostile work environment.’”

The comments are direct from employees, and the CEO approval rating is only 55%.  So while it may or may not be truth it is a shared perception by some of the employees of a very large and established player in the recruitment industry.  While this is obviously the worst way to build a strong organization in the long-term, it has a profound impact on the industry, the reputation of other recruiters and the respect that sometimes seems to dwindle. 

If the perception is that we are an industry focused on metrics and growth instead of one focused on clients and candidates it continues to taint the reputation carried forth by the “head-hunter” and “poaching” mentality the industry struggles to remove.  Large companies like Robert Half how have a strong influence on the perceptions in the marketplace have to realize that they are not just leaders in their organization but in the industry and have a responsibility because of this need a higher standard of business behavior and ethics. 

As mentioned, I am not picking on Robert Half, but as an example of how we can hurt the industry if we do not have cultures that focus on service instead of metrics.  What is the perfect recruiting culture – a service focused one.  The result of not doing this is declining industry growth which affects everyone, and the largest players have the most to lose.

If you want to read the article on 11 worst…follow the link.



Views: 779

Comment by Reema Hibrawi on August 15, 2012 at 5:33pm

With great power, comes great responsibilities. It's a tough plate to balance; the economy has picked up but not enough, and competition has increased in the recruiting world. At the end of the day, companies need to think strategically and long term. They need to get back to focusing on the relationships of clients AND candidates. 

Comment by Abby Sorenson on August 16, 2012 at 9:04am

As an ex "Robert Halfer"  I must agree with this article.  Robert Half is an industry leader and sets the benchmark in so many positive ways.  However the team morale  is not present and not something that is a focus.  Funny thing about metrics, I met them diligently while I was at Robert Half but it took a long time to see the true results.  In my new role I have much looser metrics and a stronger focus on the service both for the client and the candidate.  Funny thing, I have found much more success.  Far more than I could have ever dreamed about while I was plugging away at Robert Half.  My conclusion, have a standard to go by but focus on team morale and service and you will be far more successful.

Comment by Peter Ceccarelli on August 16, 2012 at 6:38pm

The very best staffing agency that I've ever used and the relationships with those Division Directors who manage my account are from Robert Half (Creative Group, Accountemps, Office Team).  I've been in HR and recruiting for a lot of years, so I've used them all.  They are the very best, customer service included.  Their morale seems fine to me.  They also understand that they have to meet the numbers to keep their jobs.  As do their team members. 


Most large and mid-size staffing agencies are about meeting metrics in order to run your business.  If you don't like that type of environment, then don't work there.  If you're morale is down, then go into social work.  I work for an internet retailer and a lot of our employees complain that the communication is always about sales and driving sales and say it brings their morale down.  Okay..........I'm sorry but we're a freaking retailer.  It's about being as good as yesterdays numbers.  If you don't like it, again..........go into social work.  I'm really tired hearing about employees morale and what it takes to make them happy (recent company survey asked for beer on Friday's!).  Really?  That's going to help your morale?  Go to a bar after work and drink your beer there.  Not going to happen here.  Perhaps it's generational on my part, but until all of us baby boomers are completely out of the work force and you youngsters truly take over, you're not going to get beer on Friday's and it's always going to be about metrics, and budgets, and meeting those metrics so the budgets don't get cut, so when we finally decide to give you beer on Friday's, we can actually afford it. 


I came out of the buying/merchant arena prior to my illustrious career in HR (tongue in cheek!), and started out 3 decades ago.  How did I keep my job as a buyer?  By making my numbers.  If they were crap, then my butt was on the line.  Was it pressure?  Sure it was.  But did it make me tough and realistic about what may come next and how to deal with it?  Sure it did.  So stop whining about morale.  It's up to you to make yourself happy.  There is no ideal in this world.  It's just the way it is!

Comment by Bill Schultz on August 16, 2012 at 7:02pm

Okay..........I'm sorry but we're a freaking retailer

LOL- so true.  I was in retail for 12 miserable years.  

Comment by Amber on August 16, 2012 at 7:07pm

@Peter - there is a lot of truth in your comment! I was in sales and sales management for many years. Metrics, sales, results were the focus. And they didn't always have complete relevance to every single employee, as the top sales performers know what they have to do to be the top producers. The metrics, constant focus on sales, etc. is there because there are a lot of people who are not or ever going to be the top producers. Believe me, when someone is a top producer there is rarely a manager asking them about how many calls they made that day. I don't know if it's all generational, because the folks that seem to have a problem with morale are generally the ones not producing. The top producers who don't like something where they are know they can take their act to another company. Abby's comment above is exactly what those who think "morale" is low should do. Companies who have products or services to sell should focus on giving the best compensation to those who perform best. Most people who thrive and survive in sales are in it primarily for the money, and if it's coming they'll keep performing.

I think the more important issues would be how well is the company doing, and are their customers happy? We all hate to think so, but employees will just get replaced with more employees. If they have managed to grow and keep their clients happy, guess the "morale" and  hostile work environment doesn't matter much to anyone except their employees.

Comment by Peter Ceccarelli on August 16, 2012 at 7:25pm

@Amber............so very true!  I guess my underlying theme to all of this is truly generational.  In reality, with all the books and articles and workshops published and "for sale to attend" about Gen Y and Gen X is that work ethic and metrics drive all businesses in order to be in business or stay in business.  I'm all for making the work place a better place to work.  A place to come and enjoy the work that you do and some employers do it better than others.  However, at the end of the day, regardless of the idealism of Gen Y and sometimes Gen X (they are mostly respiteful towards us Boomers and can't wait for the day when we move into the nursing home), is that work ethic and hard work and putting up with sometimes less than ideal business models are the way of the U.S. workplace and I truly don't think that is going to change anytime soon, regardless of the research that has led to the tons of data on what it takes to engage Gen Y and motivate Gen X.  Perhaps one day after I'm long gone it may come true, but if someone really wants an "easier" road to walk, then maybe a move to a European Socialistic country may work (but even that is eroding faster than a melting glacier).  Just saying!!!!!

Comment by Peter Ceccarelli on August 16, 2012 at 7:26pm

@Bill..........glad you got out of it because you found it miserable.  I've been at it for 30+ years, and even being on the HR side of the fence for a long time, it's still the same pressure.........it's retail and I love it.  You gotta love your industry in order to be happy and successful.

Comment by Bill Schultz on August 16, 2012 at 7:34pm

yes it was/is  miserable.  i'm happy and successful because i got out of retail.  you're right to push the people who don't like it out the door. 


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