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Uncategorized blog posts by Kevin Dee, Chairman at Eagle — Canada’s premier staffing agency.

CANADIAN JOB MARKET – Mini update Feb Mar 2011

 CANADIAN JOB MARKET – Mini update Feb Mar 2011

General Observations:
 
In February Canada added 15,000 jobs which means 115,000 jobs added in Canada in the last three months.  The unemployment rate stayed steady at 7.8%, same as last month.

The events of the past couple of months have had a significant impact on the markets … the tsunami and subsequent nuclear fears in Japan, coupled with the popular rising in the middle East have caused a fair bit of uncertainty, reflected throughout the markets. 

Canada’s relative stability, resource based economy and recent performance through the recession makes it a fairly safe bet for investors … so the Canadian Dollar remains very strong, still close to parity and as we speak it is trading at 99c U.S. The TSX is down about 300 points at 13,718, from this time last month, which is not so bad given the world events!   The price of oil means a lot to Canada’s Western economy and with it hovering around $100 a barrel and expected to be $116 a barrel this year the oil companies, and Canada’s Western economy, should have a good year.

For Eagle, February is normally a short month from a billing perspective and thus always impacts the revenue numbers.  As expected the numbers were lower, however, we did see an increase in the number of billable resources which is indicative of a steady increase in demand for skilled resources.  The number of orders from clients was also up about 10% over January, with approximately the same number of resumes coming in the door from people looking for work.  All of this is consistent with a continued steady growth in resource demand in the marketplace.

More Specifically:

The GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is the largest economic centre in Canada, has the most “head offices” and therefore can be expected to be a big demand market for people.  In February (the) we saw an increase in the already heavy demand from our clients … with the financial services sector and telecommunications industries leading the charge.  In addition, we are seeing an increase in demand from most industries, the system integrators, media, retail and insurance are some that are picking up the pace.

In Toronto we are reaching that “tipping point” where finding resources is becoming a major challenge, and with many people now receiving multiple offers … which shifts the balance of power a little.  Clients need to make their decisions quickly if they want to get the best people.

The types of people in demand cover a broad spectrum, with a big demand for “niche” industry skills such as banking or telecommunications specialties, in addition to Architects, Business Analysts, Project Managers, Senior & Intermediate accounting staff and even an increase in demand for developers. 

In Western Canada, as previously mentioned, the price of oil being almost $100/barrel means that many Calgary based companies have money to invest in their systems.  This creates demand throughout the “systems” of suppliers, and ancillary companies supporting that economy.  So Calgary is booming and Edmonton is busy, but expecting to get busier as a part of the booming oil economy.  In Alberta, like Toronto, we are seeing the pendulum swing to being a market where the skilled resource can pick from several jobs.  This makes it tough for companies to get the people they want unless they move very fast!   February was a month were we started to see some signs of increased demand in the BC market too, a market that never seems to have the same torrid needs of a Calgary or Toronto but increased demand is always welcome . and a good sign that things in general are picking up.

Eagle’s Eastern Canada region is mostly Ottawa and Montreal, as we spend less time focused on the Maritimes … however we are seeing signs of increased demand for people in the Maritimes too.  Ottawa is not extremely busy but there is a continuous demand as departments plan for the future and change their means of accessing resources.  We saw a big shift at Canada Revenue Agency, with CGI the loser of a large contract and a number of small companies are now supplying contract resources there … which creates demand and activity.  Montreal remains quite busy, and it is still largely driven by the financial services and telecommunications clients.
The following are some facts/indicators we are watching as of time of writing:

> The price of oil skyrocketed with the middle east disruption, and is currently at $100.80 a barrel, with a one year forecast of $116.

> At 13,718 the TSX lost about 300 points from last month’s reading of 14,027.

> The Canadian dollar continues to be strong and remains north of 99 cents US.
> Prime remains at 3% however there continues to be talk about when this will go up again!
> Canada added 15,000 jobs (322,000 in the last year) and the unemployment rate remained steady at 7.8%.

> Eagle experienced growth again in February, in the number of candidates applying, in the number of orders received from clients and in the number of people billing.

 Summary:
  Canada’s economy, like any other in the 21st century, is affected by world events.  If companies are doing well and feeling confident then they can invest, which creates jobs.  Currently Canada is doing well on the world stage, is a stable economy as reflected in a strong dollar which continues to hover around parity with the US dollar (when we started Eagle it was about 60 cents US!).  The unrest in the Middle East has affected oil prices which benefits Canada’s western economy resulting in investment in projects and jobs there, the largest market being Calgary but affecting most of the Western provinces.

 

All of this means that despite the terrible events in Japan and the upheaval across the Middle East, Canada is still in a recovery/growth mode.  In fact, its two largest markets (Calgary and Toronto) are seeing very active demand and signs of skills shortages.  The demand across all markets is generally up and we are moving from an “employer driven” market to an “employee driven’ market.  Hence my “standing advice” to ANY company needing people  (a) Start the process now with a strong PLANNING phase; (b) develop very clean processes to find, screen, choose, hire and onboard these new resources; and (c) know that you will have a lot of competition and therefore speed in decision making will be critical!

That was my monthly look at the Canadian job market and some of its influences.

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
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CANADIAN JOB MARKET – Mini update Nov/Dec 2010

General Observations:

In November Canada had a net gain of 15,000 jobs and the unemployment rate improved quite significantly to 7.6% from 7.9% in October.  The Canadian staffing index in October was up again at 94, as it continues its long road back from the recession low of 65 in May 2009 (meaning the staffing industry shrank 35%).  

The Canadian dollar continues to be strong, approaching parity at 99.3c US at time of writing. The markets continue to react to the events playing out on the world stage, but despite political situations like WikiLeaks, countries like Ireland accepting bailouts and escalating strife in Korea the markets have fared quite well.  The TSX has managed to show a decent gain with a current reading of 13.172, up about 500 points for last month’s reading of 12,657. 

For Eagle, November was a continuation of the hectic pace we have seen since September.  November marks Eagle’s first quarter and it was a very busy quarter … indicating that the Canadian economy is still doing well in its recovery! 

More Specifically:

The GTA (Greater Toronto Area) continues to be a very hot market for Eagle.  November was no different with the banks, telecommunications companies, retail clients and the system integrators all busy.  There were even signs of life from the Ontario Government, which has demand but struggles with its finances. Having been busy for some time now we are definitely seeing some signs of skills shortages, many instances of candidates getting multiple job offers and as always it is the clients who can “pull the trigger” quickly who are getting the best people.  The demand seems to be strong for both contract and permanent resources, as companies prepare for what should be a continued period of growth (according to an RBC report just today).  

In Western Canada, Calgary is the hottest market once again with increased demand for both contract and permanent employees.  The other Western markets have all seen an increase in demand too, if not at that same torrid pace.  There is more optimism, leading to hiring staff and starting projects.  The biggest challenge from here on will be finding talent and the best people are in big demand.  With Alberta’s GDP up more than 3% in 2010 and expected to do better in 2011 there is an expectation we are in for a busy time! 

Things are picking up a little Eagle’s Eastern Canada region.  Montreal continues to be an active market, particularly in the financial services sector.  The Federal Government in Ottawa has however started to pick up a little.  Investment in infrastructure renewal has become a hot topic as a result of the Auditor General’s report plus a need to compensate for the growing exodus of retiring “boomers”.  The demand is a little mixed across government departments as some struggle with the impending “hard stop” on stimulus spending money, and what that might do to budgets.

The following are some facts/indicators we are watching as of time of writing:

> The price of oil rose to $88.20 meaning oil companies in the West are investing in projects again.
> The TSX had a good month currently sitting at 13,172, up 500 points from the last month reading of 12,657.
> The Canadian dollar continues to be strong and is currently at 99.3 cents US.
> Prime remains at 3% after three recent increases, and is not expected to rise again soon!
> Canada added 15,000 jobs and the unemployment rate improved a significant .3% to 7.6%.
> November was another great month for Eagle, ending a bumper quarter.  The drivers of growth were primarily in Toronto and Alberta, however other markets also chipped in.
> The Canadian Federal government market is picking up as they look at renewal of aging systems, and ways to address the “boomer’ brain drain to retirement.

 Summary:

An unemployment number of 7.6% would typically mean that the professions are starting to struggle to find people.  Certainly this appears to be the case across the staffing industry.  In a world where Canada has lost blue collar jobs to lower cost offshore solutions this may be the new unemployment norm as we build our knowledge based economy and rely heavily on the resource based economy of Western Canada.

For some time we have talked about a slow recovery, however this last quarter we have seen an increased pace in that recovery … and Eagle enjoyed a very strong quarter.  The staffing index continues to recover and we expect November to continue that trend, getting closer to that pre-recession benchmark of 100.

It appears that almost all markets are picking up the pace in terms of needing talent.  Toronto led the way and Alberta has been catching up for some time, but now we are seeing demand across the board and in most industries.  Even the Federal Government has been a little busier, but tempered with some uncertainty about budgets once the “stimulus” dollars are cut off.

The global economy is a little scary, but every month Canada seems to fare well and we get a little stronger.  The financial markets are good, the dollar is strong, unemployment is the lowest in almost two years, the oil patch is doing well and there is increased demand for people across the board.

My very strong advice to any companies considering hiring would be (a) start the process now; (b) develop very clean processes to find, screen, choose, hire and onboard these new resources; and (c) know that you will have a lot of competition, so don’t procrastinate!

That is my monthly look at the job market across Canada and some of its influences.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Subscribe to News from the Nest for updates about job market trends, industry news, and more.
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Life is Busy … Take Charge of it!

businessman with 6 arms all doing something representing busy-nessThe economy is recovering and in the staffing world we are VERY busy … clients are ramping up on projects, preparing to implement their next growth plans, executing on plans that were held up by the recession and they are also replacing retiring boomers!   This is all good for our industry, allowing us to bring real value to our clients because every company needs great people in order to be successful … and we find those people!

It is nice to see the business thriving after a tough economic period.  The energy needed to keep up with the increased workload is a positive energy, unlike the “willpower” needed to keep pushing through the tough times.   However … it IS busy!  For me that means I need to be very organised, I need to practice what I preach in terms of time management (personal productivity) and I need to understand what my goals are today because they help me to prioritise the tasks at hand.

Back in January I wrote a blog entry called 2010 – What Will You Make of It?  The idea was to set goals for 2010, and they would help to determine (a) how to prioritise time and (b) become a measure of how I had done for the year.  If you did that exercise then by now you would have some sense of what worked and what didn’t … are you on track for where you want to go and if not, then how can you adjust to get back on track.

It is a reality that things change over time so goals can change too.  I had a fitness goal to get my weight down and to exercise 4 or 5 times a week.  Things changed … in August I returned to soccer after a three year “retirement” and enjoyed it so much that my new goal is to get fit enough to play again next year.   That involves seeing a doctor regularly, about my knee and a ton of massage therapy, but I am on track although it always takes longer than you want.   A little while back I volunteered to take part in a charity boxing event next March, which entails five months of training in order to get ready for it.  I have been, and intend to,.  stick to the plan … but there are repercussions (a) negatively, on my time and other priorities and (b) a positive impact on my soccer fitness program.  Its all good … I just adjust my priorities to accommodate.

So its OK to modify the plan as you go … but it is very important to have a plan.

We are in the final few weeks of 2010 so its a great time for people to (a) look back at this year to understand if goals were met, and even whether goals were set; the other thing to do is to look forward to 2011 and start to plan now.  What do you want to achieve in 2011?  What will your priorities be?  Where will you spend your time?  This is a subject i have written about a number of times and one particular blog entry might be a useful guide, because it also references several other relevant entries.   The blog entry is called Personal Productivity but reference information with time management tips, ideas for goal setting etc.

One of the things I try to do is to “Move My Agenda” every day towards my goals … whether they are personal goals or professional goals.

Anyone who has followed my blog will know this is a one of those subjects that I am passionate about … and I credit any success I have had in my career as much to my ability to “get stuff done” in an organised way, as to any other single factor.

Try it … it works!

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
Gain a competitive edge!  Join Eagle’s Executive Consulting Network!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
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IT Industry News – November 2010

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for November 2010. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

I think its interesting to look back and see what was news in previous years, and how it might affect news today. Perhaps one of the most noticeable things I see is that some of the most successful and largest companies have a track record of growth through acquisition, and with practice they get very good at it!

Three years ago in November 2007 the big news was IBM’s $5 Billion purchase of Cognos.   There was a fair bit of M&A activity, with AOL being very active, Telus buying Emergis, Randstad buying Vedior to create the second largest staffing company in the world and DELL making a couple of acquisitions.  Two years ago in November 2008 the big news was the economic maelstrom that took the world by storm.  There was some M&A activity with AT&T paying $944 Million for Centenial Communications and Fujitsu paid $575 Million to buy out Siemens from a joint venture but the biggest “noise” was about layoffs and the general impact of the recession.  Last year in November 2009 there was still a “hangover” from the recession, but the general mood was more optimistic.  There were still layoff announcements, Adobe (680), Microsoft (800), and Rogers (900) all announced layoffs and Right Management told us that as many as 80% of employees may look to change job as the economy recovers! Employment figures were not good but GDP projections for the US and Europe were positive.  The big news in M&A saw HP buying 3-Com for $2.7 Billion and Nortel continued to sell off its assets, this time its Metro Ethernet Networks business to Cienna for $769 Million.  Google also made a couple of acquisitions, including paying $750 million for AdMob. 

That brings us to November Twenty-Ten and while there is still considerable financial pain around the world in places like Ireland and Greece, the recovery continues and some countries are doing particularly well.  There was plenty of good news this month, in and amongst all that “global chatter”.  In Canada we added jobs and the unemployment rate improved a little to 7.9%, as opposed to a blended EU unemployment rate of 10.1% and a US unemployment rate of 9.6%.   The US also gained jobs and there were several positive reports about prospects for growth and continued recovery … including a global snapshot looking at jobs for professionals and managers; a Canadian IT hiring trends study from IBM and Sapphire; and a positive outlook from the Global Purchasing Managers Outlook.

In other news the Chinese were in the press for a couple for reasons … they now have  the world’s fastest supercomputer, plus they hijacked the internet for 18 minutes, causing great consternation in US security circles!  Facebook continues its march of dominance and apparently accounts for a quarter of all page views and 10% of all internet visits (Hi Mom!)! 

Some companies in the news include Verizon that agreed to pay back $52.8 million to subscribers who had been overcharged … plus a $25 million payment to the US Treasury.  Dell moved off the blackberry in what could be an uncomfortable time for RIM, especially when coupled with the growth in Android phones … taking market share from all other suppliers.  Yet the biggest news was likely the $1.3 Billion judgement against SAP for piracy of Oracle software … through its subsidiary TomorrowNow.

On the M&A front it seemed to me to be a quiet month looking back BUT actually there were some BIG deals.  That perennial acquirer EMC paid $2.25 billion for Isilion;  Attachmate (I thought that was a tool company) bought Novell for $2.2 Billion;  Oracle paid $1 Billion for Art Technology Group; and apparently Japanese company NTT paid $1 Billion for Keane.  In the “below $1 Billion camp”, Amazon paid $500 million for Quidsi; ABRY Partners paid $84 million for Comforce; Juniper Networks bought Trapeze Networks for $152 million and there were a few smaller deals too. 

Overall November seems to have been quite an interesting month … and with all the positive reports that keep coming I don’t understand why the negative “stuff” is so prevalent.  Keep positive, walk fast and smile!  That’s what caught my eye over the last month, the full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website. Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the December 2010 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Let Eagle find your next Finance and Accounting Professional anywhere in Canada?

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Tough Year for Charities … Dig Deep!

We have been through one of the toughest recessions in living memory and generally speaking Canadians have fared way better than most other countries.  One of the ways that we do this is to cut back on non-essential spending … we watch the expenses and work hard to keep the dollars coming in.  Sometimes one of those expenses that we cut back on is charitable giving, and that is tough on the charities.  I am involved with a number of charities … and right now the United Way is in the middle of its annual campaign and it is tough going. 

We NEED some help.

I get involved and am willing to help out where I can, a little while ago I blogged about my efforts to help out on the cancer front.  I asked the question Are You Willing to Give Blood? for charity … and I was talking about the fact I have volunteered to jump in a boxing ring and go three rounds for charity next March in the Fight for the Cure.  I will be looking for volunteers to buy tickets and cheer me (or my opponent) on nearer to that date!

Just a couple of days ago I suggested that If You Have Been Lucky in Your Life then Help Someone Else Out … I also talked about the surprising number of people that need our help!

The United Way helps out so many agencies each year that its influence in our communities is huge.  If  the United Way fall short in donations this year then it is the poorest members of our society that will be hurt.  So here are some ideas for helping out …

1.  Increase your gift this year, just a little bit … 5% or 10%.  That would make a huge difference.

2.  If everyone gave a dollar a day to the United Way it would be huge.  Can you afford a dollar a day?  A $365 donation that is tax deductible.

3.  Many people have their favorite charity, heart, cancer, humane society etc.  Thank you for helping out … because that gives back to our society in exactly the same way as those who support the United way.  My question to you is could you dig just a little deeper?  Could you find it in your heart to give an extra few dollars to support the needy in your community?  Don’t give your dollars to the guy on the street so they can feed a habit … give it to the agencies that provide them with the necessities of life!

When I first got involved with United Way I was astonished by how many people are touched by this agency.   YOU WILL know someone who is helped or has been helped by a United Way agency … whether it has to do with poverty, addiction, mental health issues, seniors, troubled youth etc. this organization is helping to make YOUR community a better place.

Enough sermonising … please help!  Give a few EXTRA dollars to the United Way and help make our community a better place.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective)VirtualRecruiter service?

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CANADIAN JOB MARKET – Mini update Oct/Nov 2010

General Observations:

In October Canada had a net gain of 3,000 jobs based on 47,000 new full time jobs and the loss of 44,200 part time jobs.  The unemployment rate improved slightly to 7.9% from the 8.0% reading in September. 

The Canadian dollar has flirted with parity to the US dollar over the last month or so and at time of writing was at 98c US.  The markets continue to show some volatility but having said that there has been no precipitous drop or huge gain over the last month.  The general trend remains positive and the TSX was basically the same as last month with a reading of 12,657, after a 500 point gain the previous month.

October for Eagle was a VERY busy month and we are definitely seeing increasing demand almost across the board.  The GTA (Greater Toronto Area) continues to lead the way, but not far behind is the Alberta market with Calgary getting very hot and Edmonton heating up too.  Montreal and Vancouver continue to show signs of life but the National Capital region is just not a hotbed of opportunity at the moment.

More Specifically:

The GTA (Greater Toronto Area) has been Eagle’s busiest market for most of this calendar year.  It was the first market into the recession, probably because of the financial sector, and for that same reason was the first market out of the recession.  Demand does not seem to be abating and we are experiencing as busy a period as we have encountered in many months … yippee!  Our observation would suggest this boom is affecting the large system integrators too, who are winning their share of business too in addition to the staffing players.  This makes Toronto a great place if you are looking for a job and happen to have the in-demand skills … the biggest demand being functional experience in the financial or telecommunications sector.  Technically the demand seems to be across the board, developers to project managers and network analysts to business analysts.  This spike in demand again means our clients MUST act fast to get the best people, who generally all have multiple opportunities.

In Western Canada, the demand for people in Calgary continues to boom and the Edmonton market has also heated up.  In Calgary, employers have found that they need to make hiring decisions quickly in order to get the best talent because people are getting multiple offers, and decisive hiring wins the day.  Business analysts with pertinent industry experience are still an in-demand resource, but companies are ramping up across the board looking for everything from developers to project managers.  We are also seeing a growing number of demands for accounting resources from junior positions through VP roles.   Edmonton has seen a spike in demand for full time resources, the integrators seem to be getting busy here and there is a general buzz in the market.  While Vancouver has gotten a little busier there are still good candidates “out there” looking for their next job.

Eagle’s Eastern Canada region remains a little slower than the rest of the country although Montreal is the bright light here with an increasing demand, most particularly in the full time space.  This demand, like Toronto, is coming mostly from the banking and telecommunications industries. The National Capital Region seems to remain slow, with no big initiatives starting and most of the opportunities being hotly contested at very low rates.  There is also a continued pall from the CRA’s focus on the “independence” of incorporated contractors, government reviews on the use of temporary help and a procurement process that appears to be having serious challenges.

The following are some facts/indicators we are watching as of time of writing:

> The price of oil is back down just a little at $80.78, but with HST those in Ontario are paying more to fill their tanks.
> We continue to hear about volatile markets, international concerns about debt and inflation/deflation but the bottom line here is the TSX is about where it was last month, a healthy 12,657.
> The Canadian dollar has flirted with US dollar parity several times recently, but at time of writing it sits at 98cents US.
> Prime remains at 3% after three recent increases, and is not expected to rise again soon!
> Canada added 3,000 jobs net based on 47,000 new full time jobs and the loss of 44,200 part time jobs, and for the second month running there was a slight improvement in the unemployment rate to 7.9% from 8.0%.
> Eagle continues to see a pickup in activity in most sectors, banks, energy companies, and telcos in particular.  Clients are recognising the need to develop recruitment and retention strategies, in addition to having smooth efficient hiring practices.
> The Canadian Federal government seems to have slowed spending and reduced its employment ranks.  Suppliers in this market are all hurting a little.  The focus on independent contractors and the staffing industry is particularly painful.

 Summary:

The story has been the same for some time now … the recovery is slow but steady, however it IS a recovery.  The Staffing Index is only 6 points off its benchmark 100 points which was set pre-recession, and across the staffing industry I am hearing that almost everyone is busy.  Companies are still very conscious of containing costs however, so we still hear that outplacement companies are busy … which means that there are still some good people “out there”, for now!

For some months it has been the financial sector and telecommunications sector that have been hottest, with insurance, retail and government all “picking up”.  The GTA remains the hottest job market in Canada, followed relatively closely by the “getting hotter” Calgary.  After them we are seeing lots of activity in Edmonton and Montreal, some increased business in Vancouver but still a little slow in Ottawa. 

The financial markets have been relatively steady if viewed month by month, rather than hour by hour which is what seems to get the press “excited”.  World “crises” such as economic problems in Ireland, Greece et al will get brought under control.  The perceived economic imbalances created by an artificially low Chinese currency for example will get resolved and our global economy will get back to the reality that “we are so interdependent in this 21st century, that we just have to make it work”.

That is my monthly look at the Canadian job market and some of its influences.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Let Eagle find your next Finance and Accounting Professional anywhere in Canada?
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If You Have Been Lucky in Your Life then Help Some Else Out.

I am a very lucky person.

I live in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.  Its a beautiful city with high employment, lots of green space, museums and galleries, beautiful neighbourhoods and low crime rates.  We are very close to ski hills (5 smaller ones within an hour of the city and Mont Tremblant just 2 hours away).  You can get to the US border in less than an hour and visit upper New York state, you can be in cottage country in minutes, you can party in Montreal in about 2 hours.

I am truly a very lucky person.

There is another side to this beautiful city that I live in.   Nineteen percent (19%) of children under the age of 6 live in poverty.  One in four families with single moms lives below the poverty line.  Somewhere close to 8,000 people need to use the shelters and about 9,000 teens are using drugs.  Twelve percent of our community live below the poverty line.

I am a lucky person.  I don’t have any of those problems … personally.

BUT, those are my neighbours.  They are the people I pass on the street, they might be related to people I know.  They are part of the community in which I live … that same community that has given me an opportunity to live a full and rewarding life to date.  So … it is my responsibility to help those people, and all the others in our community who need a hand.

This time of year is when the United Way runs its big campaign, and it is one of the charities that I personally believe is making a huge difference in my community.  I give money to the United Way, I give my time to the United Way and I am doing what I can to encourage everyone to get involved with helping our communities … and the United Way is just one of the great ways to do that.

I wrote a blog entry not too long ago about why we should all give back … check it out if you want a reminder.

I wrote another entry a month or so later about How Much to Give … which is worth a read if you are struggling with that thought.

Be a part of fixing those parts of our communities that are broken … the world will be a better place for it.

I am a lucky person … and I’m doing my bit to help others be lucky too.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Eagle finds GREAT Technology Resources for our clients across Canada!
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Communicate …You Will Likely Find Common Ground!

I was part of an event this morning organised by one of our industry associations of which I am a board member … NACCB (Canada).  We had three very senior government technology executives talk about their challenges and how they might relate to our industry.

I was struck by a number of things …

1.  This was a sold out event, and the feedback from everyone i spoke to was that it was excellent information and a great way to learn about three different government departments in one place.  So … why don’t we do this more?

2.  The public sector guys spoke about all of the same “stuff” we talk about in the private sector … productivity, return on investment, value etc.  So … we are more alike than most think. 

3.  These senior people get bombarded with requests for meetings to the point where they need ways to handle it (one has a specific number of meetings a week rule).   They gave good advice … call the relevant person in my organization, not me “I am not involved at the level of detail that makes any sense!”  So  … despite the old sales methodologies teaching us to start at the top and work your way down, the word from “the horses mouth” is deal with the appropriate person!

4.  There are perceptions that civil servants don’t work hard and have a stress free life.  All three of these executives had private sector experience and, today as senior civil servants all are under tremendous pressure to deliver, from their client base, from the politicians who drive departmental direction and with scrutiny coming at them from every corner (Auditor General, Program reviews, the press etc).  It is a great reminder that in order to serve our clients well we need to understand their pain … today some of us in the room learned a little about their pain.

5.  Generally I was reminded that communication is a GREAT thing.  The more we talk, the more we understand and so often the more we find that we agree about!

It was a good event, the speakers were great and it was time well spent for everyone.

Special thanks to Mostafa Zommo from HRSDC, Peter Bruce from Agricuture & Agri-Food Canada and Fil Gagliardi from Fisheries and Oceans.

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Let Eagle find your next Finance and Accounting Professional anywhere in Canada?

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Push Your Company!

I used to work for Andersen Consulting, now known as Accenture.  One of the things I most admired about “the firm” was the fact that the company never stood still, it was always looking to reinvent itself.  In addition to admiring that quality it was also something that drove many employees nuts!

Fast forward to today and as a business owner I value that lesson in business, as much as any I have ever had!

Even when things are going really well we need to be looking forward, anticipating the coming changes that will affect us and developing the strategies that will make us a successful company “in the tough times”.

Eagle started life as a pure IT Staffing company and enjoyed good success from day one.  I can vividly remember sitting with a friend of mine who had also worked at Andersen Consulting and him asking me, “Is Eagle successful because it is really good at everything it should be, or are you successful because the market is hot”?

Ouch!  I was a little flippant with my answer, but Bob was a guy who was not going to let me off that easily!  I replayed that conversation again and again.  He was right!  I was very happy that things were going well but the success was masking underlying issues, and fixing those during the good times was the right thing to do!

The last blog entry I wrote was called Push Yourself … and it opened with the following statement.  Sometimes we need to be reminded of lessons that we learned some time ago … and forgot.

Well the same thing applies to managers and business owners.  Are you complacent?  Do you push to be better?  Do you think that just because things are going well today you can “take a breather”?   If you answered yes, then you are living dangerously.  This is a very competitive world and victory goes to he/she that earns it!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Let Eagle find your next Finance and Accounting Professional anywhere in Canada?

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There is More to Sales than Selling

In sales the primary focus is always about “closing business” …rightfully so, because that is the lifeblood of any organization. Having said that, it is possible to be “brilliant” at “closing business” BUT still a liability to your company!

Sounds counter-intuitive, but here are some examples …

1.  If you sell something and the client doesn’t pay you … then you are worse off than not selling it at all.  Your company incurs all the costs associated with delivering, but does not get paid. 

How can that happen?

a.  You circumvent a client’s procurement process.
b.  The client is not solvent and you bypass your own company’s qualification process.
c.  You screw up the paperwork such that the client doesn’t get billed, (big clients lose paperwork too … if you send it to the wrong place).    Try billing a “system integrator” for work done on a project after the project is ended and all of the accounting is done!

2.  Your attention to detail is so bad that your company doesn’t make any money on the deal.

a.  You negotiate multiple levels of discount into a deal … resulting in zero margin at the top end!  Crazy as it sounds I have seen procurement try to get there!
b.  You mess up the legal paperwork and your company ends up paying out the equivalent of the margin in legal fees to protect themselves.
c.  You cause such a mess in paperwork that multiple senior managers and executives need to devote their time to cleaning up your mess.   

Don’t get me wrong … I’m a sales guy and I understand that sales people are not always the best at paperwork and process.  HOWEVER … your company has checks and balances in place for a reason and if you don’t “play by the rules” it will eventually bite you.

Some other things salespeople “forget” … or don’t place enough value on!

1.  Salespeople can’t do anything without the “delivery” side of the shop … treat them well.
2.  Developing relationships internally (the same way you do with clients) will go a long way to helping with many other potential issues.  Buy the donuts/flowers/chocolates for the support staff, proposals, accounting etc.
3.  Set aside time to get the “little things done” … at least you think they are little, but when you don’t get them done you cause a lot of grief for those around you.
4.   If you display the “big ego” when you are having success, people will take great delight in your fall … which is inevitable at some point.

So, the lesson here is … focus on the selling and the close BUT (a) bad deals are BAD deals (very profound) and (b) look after the people who help you to be successful!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Let Eagle find your next Finance and Accounting Professional anywhere in Canada?
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