Archive for the 'War for Talent' Category

What Are You Doing To Keep Your Staff?

We’re coming out the other side of a recession but the 1st question I like to ask every employer is what are you doing to keep your staff?

During the recession the Oracle job market turned from a candidate driven market to a job led market, this gave the employer power and inadvertently  a lot of employers took their eye of the ball in an effort to reduce costs and stay competitive they handed out redundancies, froze pay, withdrew bonuses, increased hours, took away benefits which has now left a feeling of discontent among employees who have not forgotten what has happened in the past 18 months and now have their eye on the job market.

37% of IT professionals have admitted that once the recession is over they will be seeking a move, so what are current employers doing to make sure that when the recession is over that they will be able to keep hold of their staff?

Key employee retention is critical to the long term health and success of every business. Organisations know that by retaining their best employees ensures customer satisfaction, increased sales, increased morale, knowledge retention and effective succession planning. However why do employers historically put attracting new staff ahead of retaining their best staff?

By retaining your employees you cut costs via less time invested in training new staff, save money in recruitment costs in attracting replacements and save money via unquantifiable costs such as the knowledge gap left behind and the low morale left when close colleagues leave an organisation.

Also if your company has a reputation that they do not look after their best staff, word will spread quickly in the market place which will make finding a replacement altogether more difficult.

I have personally recruited for companies who have had a bad reputation of not looking after their staff or being (un)professionally rigid when dealing with employee issues that arise. The result is people talk and the word spreads to the point where everyone has heard a story about that company’s culture and then potential employees are no longer interested in working for them. To tell you recruiting for companies like them are a nightmare and to be honest why would I want to offer a candidate an opportunity in a company I know treats their staff poorly?

Top 3 Reasons why Employees leave

  1. 53% seek a better salary and benefits package (Money)
  2. 35% are unsatisfied with the opportunities for Career Progression
  3. 32% are seeking a new experience (Challenge)

So are you going to do to keep them?

Companies have to think long-term when it comes to retaining their employers and this has to be embedded in their organisational culture.

Employer Brand – Building and maintaining your corporate brand  what does your company look like from the outside? This makes sure you are hiring the right staff the first place.

Offering Competitive Salary Packages – Do not wait for an employee to get disgruntled and leave them with no option but to go to the job market before giving them their worth via a counter-offer. By this stage its usually  too late, the relationship has already been strained.

Communicate Goals –  Keep your staff informed and avoid a situation of circles within circles. Internal communication is paramount to a happy workforce.

Corporate Identity –  Have a company ethos and celebrate its unique culture and identity. This is one of the areas which makes your company different, so why be like the rest?

Fun –  Is working for your organisation fun? We all know it’s about bottom line at the end of the day but how you get there is the difference, a happy worker is a more productive and more enthusiastic worker. What is the average working day culture like in your organisation?

Involve in Decisions – Are your employees involved in the decision making process at your company or they simply told what is happening? By involving employees in the decision making process that can affect their jobs or the overall direction of the company gives your staff a sense of empowerment and belonging.

Respect – Don’t treat your staff like kids unless you want them to behave like kids. Respect should be mutual and makes for a professional working environment.

Balance Work and Life – We’re in the teenies, the invention of the internet gives us all the opportunity to work from home and/or benefit from flexible hours if your business model allows it. Give staff the option to work remotely this also shows your employees that you trust them to work at home and along with responsibility is an attribute that makes employees more loyal.

Recognise Performance –  If you don’t reward excellent performance, then excellent performers will go to an organisation to where they are recognised.

Clear Progression – Offer opportunities for career and education development, packages such as study days, compensation, advice. Also offer the chance for cross training into other areas of the business. People like to know that they have room for career movement.

Bonus potential – Lucrative bonus structures calculated by combining individual targets, department targets and corporate profits and make it limitless within company parameters.

Manage time –  It’s necessary to work long hours sometimes to reach important deadlines however make sure long hours are not embedded in your organisation culture. Sometimes an employee can feel emotionally forced to work long hours because everyone else is.

So what are you doing to keep your best staff, because if you’re not doing it your competitors will be!!

How to work with your Recruiter!

It’s widely reported that the employment market on the whole is on the increase. The UK is now officially out of recession 6 months behind the French and German markets and also job opportunities are on the increase for the 6th month in a row across all of Europe.

In the Oracle market non critical projects and fresh implementations, upgrade and customisation projects will be on the rise and we also have the emerging markets rising rapidly to give an overall more competitive market place with greater opportunities across the globe.

So what has the last 12 months been like?

I personally know candidates who have not had one opportunity over the past 12 months and that is through no fault of their own but the conditions of the market they were looking for an opportunity in. I have also spoken to plenty of professionals who have told me they have sent CVs to 100’s of job advertisements that they had all the skills and previous implementation experience to do and have not even had the courtesy of a reply to their application let alone a telephone call. In addition when they have phoned the recruiter who advertised the job they could not get hold of them and never get their telephone calls returned.

So what can be done about this?

Firstly, I always state to job seekers and contractors that they first have to understand what a recruiter’s job is like. Let’s forget about the bad recruiters this relates to good recruiters. A recruiter has to spend the majority of his time identifying new opportunities to present to his candidates, he also has to meet his clients to be able best represent his clients to those candidates, a good recruiter is also likely to have a large number of contractors on their books and they have to manage all the issues that each contractor faces, then when they have an opportunity from their client, that recruiter will have to find a candidate for this opportunity before his competitors do, as most of the time recruiters work on a contingency basis. This creates a job which is very fast paced in order to work faster than your competitors and is highly pressurised as there is no second prize. A recruiter will also be doing this with multiple opportunities simultaneously and at the same time seeking new business for all the applicants that sent their CVs in for their previous position. A recruiter will then have to interview his candidates as a primary screen, reference check every candidate, then they will have to manage the negotiation process and on top of that get back to every single candidate that is not relevant to a role as well as meet corporate activity targets. The bottom line is though that a recruiters worth is valued on the business they bring in to their company not their customer service and consultant skills. This is why a lot of the time getting back to unsuitable candidates who are not relevant to a job comes very low down on their list of priorities.

Once you come to terms with the above you have to think to yourself how can I make the recruiters life easier and how can I be more relevant to their opportunities.

You have to think how can I make it easier for the recruiter in every stage in the process of finding a job?  I think every person who is actively looking for a job opportunity in the Oracle market or elsewhere should be thinking about the below questions.

How can I make it easier to work with me?

How can I make it easier for the recruiter to find me a job?

How can I make myself stand out from the other candidates with similar skills?

What do I want from my recruiter?

What does my recruiter want from me?

So what do you do?

1)      Make a fantastic CV – Skills clearly displayed, core module strengths easy to identify, secondary modules identified, Industry sectors easy to identify, types of projects explained, bullet points rather than long sentences, achievements, qualifications. We will go deeper into this in a separate topic.

2)      Find a recruiter that knows your market – a specialist recruiter is likely to offer more in terms of advice and knowledge then a generalist recruiter. They’ll also have similar opportunities on a regular basis.

3)      Know what you want – It is very easy to have an attitude that you will take anything just find me a job. But this can waste valuable time further down the line when your recruiter presents you with an opportunity which you do not want when previously you said you would do anything. As a minimum you should know what location(s) you are willing to work in, what salary (rate) you are looking for, what types of position(s) you are looking for. If you don’t know what you want, how can anyone help you?

4)      Be Honest – Don’t lie about your work history, salary, job search, previous interviews or personal background. Honesty is essential in building this relationship. If you have any perceived issues, please divulge them up front so the recruiter can assist in addressing diffusing them.

5)      Keep an Open Line of Communication – Recruiters typically see hundreds of CVs a day and speak to a multitude of candidates a day about multiple opportunities. Being patient, positive, and persistent will help you tremendously in your job search. Also when finishing a call make sure there is some sort of action plan or time for a return call otherwise you do not know where you stand. Also let your recruiter know what the best time is to get in touch with you and vice versa.

If you do all of the above then the minimum amount of time will be wasted and your recruiter will appreciate it. Furthermore it will give you the opportunity to build a relationship with your recruiter which is key and once you do this anytime a relevant opportunity arises your recruiter is likely to think of you first and work harder to get an opportunity for you.

Understanding each other is fundamental.

Understand what a recruiter can do for you – Offer advice interview technique, tips on tailoring your CV, knowledge on current market conditions, who you competition for positions are etc.

Understand what a recruiter cannot do for you – Find a position out of thin air

Remember the bottom line is if a recruiter can find you a job he will because that’s when he gets paid, so you’re both on the same team.

Wish you the best of luck looking for your next opportunity and if you’re an Oracle professional looking or thinking about looking for an opportunity don’t forget to send in your CV to: origin@originforward.com

Global War for Talent in a Recession!

There’s a war going on right but do you know which side you are on? It’s not your ordinary war either so you can forget about sergeants, missiles and choppers and climb out your bunkers. This war is a global corporate and region war. The War for Talent!

According to a yearlong study conducted by McKinsey Co., the most important corporate resource over the next 20 years will be talent. It’s also the resource in shortest supply.

Now it may seem strange to be talking about the War for Talent in the midst of a recession but this recession in the grander scheme of things is likely to be a short term phenomenon and in the long-term in the Oracle IT sector there is still going to be the need for professionals on a large scale.

37% of IT professionals have admitted that once the recession is over they will be seeking a move, so what are current employers doing to make sure that when the recession is over that they will be able to keep hold of their staff?

War for Talent

In an attempt to deal with this problem before it arises, the European Union recently approved the Blue Card program, which is basically the same as the US Green Card System. The Blue Card (named for the colour of the EU’s flag) will allow skilled foreign workers to work and live anywhere in the EU’s 27 member countries.

55% of highly skilled immigrants head for the United States and only 5% to Europe. With the Blue Card, the EU hopes to dramatically change this imbalance.

So the European market is set for increased worker competition and when you combine the Blue Card system with the Intra-company transfer system which allows workers into the country without going through the same checks under immigration rules you can see how the competition for jobs and for talent in the future is going to be critical.

Unfortunately, the Intra-company transfer system has had the side effect of generating a number of dodgy companies from abroad claiming that they are consultancies but in effect are supplying workers in an agency format and paying those workers about 50% of what the standard rate of pay is for the type of work that they are doing. Also these companies will then hold on to a workers work permit restricting their ability to work elsewhere.

In the long-term this piece of legislation would have been beneficial to business as they would’ve still been able to find, “difficult to find”, talent to deliver their projects however with the unforeseen recession upon us the short-term effect is now over competition for jobs which is artificially driving down contractor rates.

This is probably what free trade and free movement of labour is all about and I am sure most Oracle IT professionals know it’s fair game if there’s someone out there who can do the job better then they can for cheaper. But with these companies masquerading as consultancies now supplying Oracle IT workers at stupidly low prices for consultants who only got into the country because of a loop hole in legislation I expect for some professionals this is a bitter pill to swallow.

This is in effect a similar scenario to where you are trying to sell your own car and a thief steals a car that is exactly the same model as your own car and puts their car on the market at half the price of your car. Leaving you with a choice of either to drop the asking price for your car or do not sell your car. This is the exact situation that certain contractors are experiencing here in Europe and especially within the UK.

Narrowing down this issue even more I know of one particular consultancy that is delivering a project to a central government operation in the UK. Now in attempt to drive costs down and maximise their profit margin, they have outsourced the Oracle Financials part of this implementation to another so called consultancy. This so called consultancy has no history of delivering projects but can get their hands on resources and transfer them internally to the UK and will then supply Oracle Financials Functional Consultants for an all inclusive rate of £210 per day. This is at a time when your average Oracle Financials Functional Consultant would normally expect around £500 per day. Even if the current consultants wanted to drop their rate by £200 per day to say £300 per day which many of them wouldn’t. They would still cost £90 per day more and that is even before the agency has included it’s margin. I can assure you this is horrible and has led to many uncomfortable conversations.

Hopefully this gets resolved and the government does something to cover up these loop holes. There are plenty of excellent Oracle professionals all over the world and if things are done right the global war for talent can be a win-win situation for everyone.


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