I was at the NRF (National Recruitment Federation) Annual Conference last Thursday 23d April in Citywest Hotel and I learned a lot of things.
First and foremost, the Conference was all about positivity and the title of their Conference ‘Facing the future with ease’ demonstrated this. There was an air of optimism amongst the delegates and whilst chatting amongst them, I couldn’t help but ask myself ‘what recession?’
Now don’t get me wrong here, the recruitment industry has not been without its casualties, 5,000 to be precise. That seems a lot of people who have lost their jobs in the past year. But as Lucy Gaffney(Chairperson of Communicorps) so rightly said in her lecture on ‘Triump through adversity’, companies have got to become lean and in so doing have got to get rid of people who are not adding to the bottom line.
This is what has happened recently to the Recruitment Industry and those left in the Industry have to work harder and smarter to gain the confidence of their Clients and Candidates. That can only be a good thing as relationship building has been a long forgotten word in this industry. More and more complaints have risen to the fore where candidates now only see recruitment agencies as only in it for the money.
I sincerely hope that the trimming back of the Industry will leave only the best. The best are those who put both their Clients and Candidates first and will always go the extra mile. Don’t get me worng here. The fee is essential to the bottom line and no business can survive without this, but it is not the sole reason in working with a Client or Candidate.
Another lecture that I found fascinating and really enjoyed was the one entitled ‘Taking it personally: Managing our personal response to stressful times’. This was very interesting as Tempy Cummins (Vision 2 Reality) brought us through 9 persoanlity types and how each of these types respond to stress. Each one of us in the room could identify with the response to stress but I found that it was more difficult to identify my personality type. I believed myself to be a mixture of a few. But my reaction to stress was easy to identify. I won’t say it in public but all those who know me, know which way I re-act!
Another lecture I found most interesting was given by Rowan Manahan (Fortify Services). He spoke about the need for the recruitment industry to ‘evolve’. He said that computers are getting more and more intelligent and that by the early teens i.e. 2013, 2014 and 2015, they will take over the Recruitment Industry. This was not said to panic us but to tell us of the importance of innovation and to move with the times. Our industry will be saved by reputation alone and it is up to each one of us working in the industry to keep that intact.
The importance of having a recession strategy was also highlighted at the conference. This meant that each business owner should look at their business and see if the client mix and product offering could be improved or changed to move with the times. This could mean doing a client survey asking what other services outside of recruitment they would like agencies to offer. This could include outplacement services and CV preparation and Interview advice for employees recently made redundant.
Keeping a very positive spirit in the Conference, Frank Collins (NRF President) was delighted to tell us that 13,000 people had come off the live register in January and that out of every 5 people employed one of these had been placed by an agency.
Bill Boorman (Tin Hat Strategy) was also very pleased to tell us that the ‘green shoots’ of recovery were already showing and that he was very confident that a full recovery will start mid 2010.
All in all, it was an excellent Conference and gave back to all of us the positive spirit and hope that we need to meet the forthcoming challenges.