Be wise

Experts advise on Australian staffing industry

In its third advice line live session, Association of Professional Staffing Companies, Australia (APSCo) live streamed an impressive panel of industry experts this morning to Members.

Greg Savage, Nigel Harse, Rod Hore and Nicholas Beames answered a whole gamut of questions from recruitment agencies eager to hear how best to navigate these uncertain times, keep teams productive and use the current crisis as an opportunity to reset business policies and processes, ahead of the anticipated recovery.

As questions arose around the prospect of a new norm and what kind of world we all might expect in the future, all four panelists agreed now is the time for business owners to create the new normal they want, rather than sit back and wait to see what comes.

“My feeling is that corporate memory sits somewhere around between 3 and 5 years, so when business picks up again and things recover businesses naturally forget times like these and very little changes, said Rod Hore.

Nigel Harse agreed, heeding recruitment owners to ‘not waste a crisis’,

“It might sound awful to say this but for some companies this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to change all of the things they may have wanted to change but perhaps hadn’t dared.

‘In fact, it may well be that in order to survive you have to take on changes that you may never have wanted to before. ”

Savage echoed the sentiment, going on to say that the expected return in temporary and contract hiring is a great example of how businesses can harness the opportunity to re-think their terms.

“What will happen is companies will hire temps and contractors first and then at some point want to hire them on a permanent basis. So many recruitment agencies have terms that are highly advantageous to clients in the temp to perm scenario.

“Well now is a good time to change your terms forever, where we don’t convert people at a great discount – because there’s no logic in that. Why would we give a good asset away? Now, in fact, is the time to change those terms to charge a full rate”

As a Non-Executive Director of a technology recruitment firm, Nicholas Beames said the business was in fact in the throes of doing exactly that.

“We took the opportunity over 3 weeks ago to look at cash flow and we actually switched off 35% of revenue from retail clients, knowing full well that is was likely to dry up at some point and invested since in rebuilding the tech stack from the ground up.

“We are reinventing the future now because we’ve got an opportunity to do so. It’s really tough to make those calls but we have to make them.”

The panel went on to discuss the M&A market, with Rod Hore advising those in trouble to move quickly rather than wait too late and end up selling for little more value than that of their database.

Managing Director of APSCo Australia and host of the event, Lesley Horsburgh said,

“There was an extraordinary amount of practical advice shared this morning and we are incredibly grateful to Rod, Nigel, Greg and Nick for their time.

“While there’s no guaranteed outcome or indeed timing for how and when we all get out of the other side of this, there’s no doubt that sessions like this and all of the other great resources we see industry sharing right now, are key to keeping one another buoyant in these difficult and sometimes dark moments.”

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