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Staffing Industry Ethics

Sometimes I wonder what will become of our industry. There are many very professional companies that work extremely hard to raise the professionalism within our ranks, and then there are "the others". I wrote a blog entry about the value our industry brings to clients, which I think is a very compelling argument ... but we still have companies trying to give our services away!

In an economy that is going to be hammered with demographic pressures there is lots of business to be had ... IF, as an industry, we can demonstrate our value to clients. One problem comes when the "bottom feeders" feel the need to cannibalize the existing good business. Going to a client and saying, "I will do that for a dollar less ... just move all their people over to me", is the kind of activity that creates an expectation in the client base that our service is just administrative in nature. I am also appalled that clients can feel comfortable in just taking a hundred people and "moving them" to another supplier! The legality of this move is also extremely questionable, particularly where restrictive covenants are in place, but once it reaches that stage a client relationship is already damaged!

I operate my business on a set of principles that govern our decision making. I would not make a decision that would treat someone else in a way that I would not like to be treated myself. It's a pity that our industry is populated with a few companies who are totally focused on making a couple of dollars, at whatever cost, even if it is bad business!

The other activity that I have seen recently is the willingness for some companies to sign anything! It doesn't matter that the financial terms don't make sense or that the contractual conditions are nonsensical! Their approach says that they will wait it out and things will get sorted out, which brings no value to their client and paints our industry in a very poor light. We need to be bringing value to the clients at every stage in the process and that means educating them about why we need to earn reasonable fees and why we need reasonable contract terms!

My message to the staffing industry is to be proud of our service, value what you do appropriately and don't settle for a lousy deal and then do a lousy job for your client because that account doesn't pay enough! Educate the clients and earn what we are worth, we all win in the end!