The recent email that has gone viral regarding a recruitment boss in Sydney losing his temper with staff has struck an interesting chord with the industry. My first thought on reading the email was that this person was going to take a lot of heat for his comments, but in reality, not all are slamming the recruitment boss, in actual fact, many it seems, are on his side!
There are three things with this situation that strike me:
Firstly, the obvious one, the major lesson for all: don’t write emails in anger
More accurately, don’t send emails in anger. The rule I have set for myself and have passed on to my employees, is wait 24 hours. Write the email if it helps you to feel better. By all means, get your rant down on paper, but wait 24 hours. If you still think it’s a good idea to send it then go for it and own it. What I tend to find, however, is that after 24 hours, once you have calmed down, you are extremely thankful that you did not allow a “rush of blood to the head” to make you go public with your temper tantrum.
Secondly, I totally understand where this recruitment manager was coming from
The culture of the recruitment industry has drastically changed from when I first started out. I began my career in Sydney in 2000 and came in seemingly on the tail end of horror stories from years gone by. I thanked my lucky stars that I had what you would now call a micro-managing boss, non-negotiable KPI’s, strict targets, dress code, long and set in stone hours. This was a walk in the park compared to the anecdotes of the wooden spoon award for the worst performance, not being allowed to sit down each day until you had “pulled your first job”. In the early days of recruitment, management seemingly went along the lines of using fear and humiliation to get results and I was thankful that I had joined the industry when it had seemingly matured, and bosses had decided to treat consultants as human beings.
Fast forward to present day. We operate in a competitive and talent short market. Recruitment companies have had to adapt, look at how they present to the outside world and how they can create working cultures which will attract todays recruitment consultants. USP’s and benefits packages are all aimed at staff attraction and retention and the lists are ever increasing to include table tennis tables, flexi-time, gym memberships, time off during the day to exercise, expense budgets, casual dress, kitchens overflowing with tea, coffee, breakfasts, snacks, beer and wine. The benefits list keeps getting longer and longer as companies try to out do each other and increase their attractiveness. I get it, in fact I advise on it. I am constantly talking to agencies about their “look and feel” and first impressions to potential staff members. However, here is the problem: These benefits and USP’s will start to cause cultural problems if they are not managed effectively and ring fenced by clear boundaries.
If I think back to my 20 something self in recruitment and had today’s temptations in place like games in the office, gym whenever I felt like it, flexible working hours, unlimited booze etc, I would quite honestly have struggled to keep myself in check. In my experience, most people feel a lot better, happier and productive when clear boundaries are in place. At BMR are culture has changed over the years, it’s a lot more relaxed and casual. However, my team are very clear on the boundaries. It’s “work first and play second”. The benefits of working at BMR are “not a given, they are earned”, and everyone understands, abides by and agrees with this policy. We celebrate when things are going well, we knuckle down when they are not.
Thirdly, today’s recruiters need to understand that they have been hired to do a job and to produce results.
Many company cultures are influenced by the tech brand names such as LinkedIn and Google. If you have seen their offices, you will know what I mean. There is not a corporate benefit invented that these guys don’t offer. Some of their offices resemble more of an amusement park than a corporate work place. But don’t be misguided. These guys are not just swanning around in trainers drinking free coffee and beer. Underneath this slick exterior are results driven businesses who have hired a skillset, attitude, and self-discipline all aimed at keeping them at the top of their game. They expect results.
Now. I’m going to hit save, wait 24 hours, re read this blog and then decide whether I want to post this to the public domain!!