Blimey, recruitment can be a tough business can't it! The last year or so has been a real challenge and having seen the use of recruitment agencies decline over the last 10 years (proportionately) - despite the overall growth in the market up to 2008 - its been on our minds that their must be a better way.
Given our business model hasn't changed since I popped out of the womb 40+ years ago I'm convinced it is time for change. For sure, continuing to try and compete in our existing form in the shark infested waters that make up the UK recruitment market (Its nowhere near as bad in mainland Europe) has limited potential and, if I'm honest, limited appeal.
So inspired by two great books - Good to Great
by Jim Collins and Blue Ocean Strategy
by W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne - we have embarked on our own journey of reinvention. And I'm not talking about tweaking our existing service. We are already working hard to drive more efficiency and effectiveness through the business. I'm talking about real Blue Ocean stuff, to be so different that we don't simply steal a march on the competition, but we actually make our competition irrelevant.
The process started just over a week ago with 10 colleagues from around the organisation gathering for a day off site to start the process. Now, normally when we do these things we try and re invent the wheel in one day with the result that we all come out feeling pumped, but nothing really changes. And on reflection, the proposals are not that different from what we are already doing. In summary, its usually about trying to offer more for less - which is only a one way street.
So this time we have established clearly that this is a journey. And on the first day of that journey we decided we would focus on one thing, and one thing only - our current situation. More specifically, the real, brutal facts of our current market and the factors on which we currently compete as an industry and business. It doesn't seem like much, but I can tell you we were totally absorbed for the whole day. And totally energized at the end of it. There is something strangely cathartic about performing an honest and detailed post mortem of the industry you are in!
And in case you are interested, at the end of that day we had reached rough agreement that the list of things on which our industry competes were, in no particular order:
- Reach - geography/sector/industry
- Candidate - Acquisition, processing, experience
- Client - Acquisition, service
- Jobs - Acquisition, Advertising, fulfillment
- Fill rate
No surprises there I hear you say! And you would be right. But, the really interesting debate started when we began to consider which of these we could eliminate.
On the day we never got beyond suggestions, followed by raised eyebrows, laughter and sharp intakes of breath, as we ran out of time. But that very question will be the centre of our next session in a few weeks time. I'm anticipating a very, VERY lively session!
How long will the journey take? 3 months, 6 months, a year? Who knows. My money is on at least 6-12 months, possibly longer. 6-12 months of research, debate, reflection, conversation, creation, destruction, planning, execution, failure, success. Whatever the outcome, It promises to be a damn good ride!
I'll keep you posted!