Thank you 2020!

Thank you 2020!

For the silence on my streets so I can safely walk my dog

For the silence that now exists in my mind to help to clear the fog


For the quality time I have to spend with my children and family

For the quality time to reflect on what this year could have been

… and what it has become.


And thank you to the pessimists in paralysis who opened up the door

For us optimists and opportunists to step in, get on and just do more

Thank you for this opportunity.


For giving us those moments when we could not share a hug or kiss

And so reminding us of all those little things, those people that we really, really miss.

… and that’s for you in particular, mum x


Too many people have faced too much grief this year, and many are still feeling the pain

And we hope we have gone some way to help that with our 10,000 meals campaign


So to everyone out there still suffering, who are lost and not sure what to do,

Remember there are people here now and will always be here, ready to support you.


I’ll never again take for granted those things that I usually forget

And remind myself daily that what I have now is the best I have yet.


Thanks also to my new friends, the strangers, who now stop and say hi

And genuinely care for how you are doing as you walk on by.

Thank you 2020


Thank you for not forcing me to have to commute in the cold and driving rain

To that meeting that might have happened if it hadn’t been cancelled again

… by the time I just got there!


And thanks for the incessant laughs we had as we all looked like technofools,

On that first day in March figuring out those online tools


From sitting in your pyjama bottoms whilst wearing your tie and suit,

To delivering your best presentation with the whole thing stuck on mute.


I have never been so remote from people, so removed and so unseen,

And yet so connected to those little people in boxes on the screen


And if you add all those little boxes together, covid, do you know what we’ve become?

We’ve become bigger, we’ve become stronger, more united as one


So, thank you 2020 for making my business day to day so derailed,

As you’ve actually made my productivity go completely off the scale.

Thanks again.


To the online trolls who’s every dig on social is just another coin in my pot

So thank you, you’re making a positive difference whether you like it or not

… if you know, you know!


To my co-workers, business partners, board members and peers

I am humbled by your devotion, overwhelmed by your strength and lack of fear.


We built this business from the outset to be truly purpose led

To support our members and each other whatever the road we tread.


And like so, so many others, we’ve dug deep, held on, worked harder an-d smart,

But we stayed true to our beliefs and always kept our values at heart


To creativity, resilience, adaptability – they’re Pivots new best mates

That got our backs off from against the wall and stopped us taking covid’s bait.


You didn’t think we’d all just sit here did you and wait for this whole thing just to pass by?

We’ve got no time for that, that’s not our style, we’ve got much bigger fish to fry.


2020 has thrown it all at us but we have thrown every challenge aside

We’re riding this coronacoaster together and we’re taking each turn in our stride.

… thank you 2020 for the ride!


To the experts and scientists for giving us a new form of hope, an end in sight

I don’t quite understand it all, to be honest, but they seem to be getting it right


To the creativity, determination, imagination of the arts

For continuing to bring entertainment to our lounges and to our hearts.

… the show just must go on.


To those delivery drivers who just get on and who you never hear complain

To those flight attendants and pilots who may never again fly planes

… but are now taking off in new ways.


And of course, thank you to all the careworkers, publicans, teachers who are keeping up the fight

And to all the small high street retailers doing whatever they can to keep on the Christmas lights.


Lets’ go out, each one of us now and spend, on gifts and Christmas wrapping

And then join together as one on new years’ eve and restart all the clapping.


To say… “thank you!” to those who have given everything this year

To say… “thank you!” to those who through their actions have made one thing very clear…


Covid, you turned up at our party unannounced and particularly badly dressed

And I have to say, looking at how you danced this year, I have been very unimpressed.


But you have given us a trigger, a unique moment in time

A time to reflect, a time to adapt and a time to re-align.


An opportunity to take what we have learned this year and start a 2021 reboot

Oh, and by the way covid, your mic is now on mute!


Merry Christmas everyone!


Productivity Efficiency and Profitability from your business. Getting Peak Performance from your Business.

Productivity Efficiency and Profitability from your business. Getting Peak Performance from your Business.

The Peak Performance summit hosted live at the beginning of September is one of the many virtual summits we have hosted on our growing TRNWorld platform over this year, from leadership & bouncing back to marketing and sales. We have a fantastic array of value packed interviews and talks from some of the best minds in the market. 

The Peak Performance summit has been hugely relevant with its content in that it gives our members the opportunity and insights needed to review the real life data and lessons from both inside and outside the recruitment sector as to how to drive incremental improvements, significant gains and create a new level of peak performance in your business. 

In this article we share the experts and their talks with links through to all the amazing content from the Peak Performance Summit 

Our expert speakers, the data we are collaborating, the real life stories from recruitment business leaders we will be sharing, will ensure you can raise the bar in what are deemed minimal standards in your business and push your expectations of what is possible to new levels.

I cannot praise The Recruitment Network enough for the excellent content of their latest ‘Peak Performance Summit’. Leadership Lessons from the world of Formula 1 (for an F1 fan) was insightful, informative and made me realise that it’s not just about the machines! Thank you Gordon Stoddart for facilitating such an interesting and useful discussion.

The Peak Performance Summit is included with our TRNWorld package alongside countless hours of additional content in our library, a fully packed toolkit for recruitment professionals, a support network of like minded leaders, free unlimited training for your consultants and so much more, see all the benefits in our pricing plan list here.

Jamil Qureshi

The Optimisation of Our Potential 

Jamil Qureshi is one of today’s foremost practitioners of performance psychology and is an expert in high performance. As the co-founder of several change agencies Jamil has enjoyed working with a rich diversity of the most talented business and sports people and teams in the world.

Jamil joins James Osborne with an unpacking on peak performance what it means and how his lessons from performance psychology can be used in your business. This video contains thought provoking insights that will really help you take the extra step in your business and beyond. 

View the talk here

Ann Daniels

Inspiring Leaders to Achieve More

A record-breaking polar explorer and a renowned international speaker, Ann Daniels is the first woman in history, along with expedition teammate Caroline Hamilton, to reach the North and South Poles as part of all women teams.

Ann is a great believer in living life to the full and taking opportunities as they appear. Not letting the fear of failure stop her having a go, with no previous outdoor experience and as a mother of 18 month old triplets, Lucy, Joseph and Rachel, she beat off fierce competition from over 200 other women on a tough Dartmoor selection weekend and was chosen to join the first team, of the McVities Penguin Polar Relay. A unique relay expedition of women sledge hauling to the North Pole. The first team of four women with two guides were tasked with crossing the toughest sections of ice, in the coldest weather, to give this record breaking expedition the best possible start.

This unique expedition was the start of a number of world record breaking expeditions that would see Ann rise in the field of Polar Exploration.

View the talk here:

Mark Gallagher

Leadership Lessons From the World of F1

Mark joins us for a very in depth interview with Gordon Stoddart to discuss what peak performance looks like to him from his vast experience working in senior leadership roles within Formula one motor racing for the last 30 years. This video is absolutely jam packed with insights and knowledge that will help you create a high performing recruitment business.

Mark’s management career in Formula One included more than a decade on the management board of the highly successful, race winning Jordan Grand Prix team, running the world famous Cosworth engine business and establishing the commercial arm of Red Bull Racing which went on to become 4-times World Champions. During his career he has worked with many of the sport’s leading drivers, including former World Champions Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button. Today he works closely with a number of the sport’s major stars including David Coulthard, Mika Hakkinen and Jacques Villeneuve. 

View the talk here:

Toby Babb

Peak Performance from the World of Business and Sport

Successful Fintech recruitment business founder of Harrington Starr, Toby Babb joins James Osborne in an in-depth discussion on what peak performance looks like in recruitment. Toby shares his biggest insights and the lessons he’s learned from his fascination with what makes exceptional people exceptional whether it’s in sports, business, military, recruitment, and more.

View the talk here:

Thonda D’Ambrosio

Titanic Thinking

Rhonda is Founder of Mental Health In Recruitment, Champion for workplace wellbeing and creator of self-help tool Titanic Thinking with a passion for Tech. Long time advocate of flexible working/flexible working practices in order to reach diverse talent and improve mental health and adoption behaviours in the workplace to subsequently improve discretionary effort, peoples lives and business.

Rhonda strongly believes that our understanding of personal resilience can lead to better Performance, Management and Leadership in the workplace.

View the talk here:

Zoe Lane, Angharad Jones, Louise Bibb

Panel Session

As part of our Summit we interviewed three top consultants to understand how they create peak performance in these challenging times. In the panel session we asked them their opinions on the following questions;

  • What are the ingredients for peak performance? 
  • How do you turn it around when it’s not going to plan? Mindset, activity etc. 
  • If you had a 5 minute lesson with yourself 3 years ago, what 3 tips would you be giving yourself to achieve peak performance? 
  • What’ll be the knack to recruiting in a difficult market?

View the talk here:

Is 2020 the best time to set up a Recruitment Agency?

With a global recession announced and the world in the throes of a global pandemic, some might assume 2020 is the worst time to start a business. But with unemployment rising, new markets emerging and businesses scrambling to rebuild, this may be one of the best times for entrepreneurial individuals to begin their own personal empire. 

So, if you think you’ve got what it takes to start a business this year then read on as we’ll explain why this may be the best time to start, business that succeeds during recessions and some things you need to think about if you want to get started. 

Why is a recession a good time to start a recruitment business? 

Growing unemployment but also businesses rebuilding their teams means an opportunity for recruiters to find talent. 

With layoffs and professionals in furlough, the job market has been heavily affected by COVID with the Bank of England warning unemployment will hit 2.5m after COVID-19. But with any dip the return to normalcy will need businesses to slowly rebuild and hire talented professionals in which you’ll be able to assist. But, be warned it will be highly competitive so only the most tenacious of recruiters will survive. 

Talented recruiters are going to be available. 

Recruitment was one of the hardest-hit industries by a collapsing job market and economy. But this means there are a wealth of talented recruiters out there in the market looking for new opportunities. This will be beneficial to you in building your new team, finding hungry recruiters who want to get back to what they do well.

Remote working is the new norm, no office costs. 

COVID has taught the industry that remote working is an acceptable way of running a team. It seems that many enjoyed this new way of working, increasing their levels of productivity. An office and everything that comes with it is an expensive outlay so perhaps taking your team remote may be a great option. 

More support networks than ever before. 

The industry is now filled with fantastic support networks to help you and your new venture succeed. Recruitment Startups™ is one such initiative that helps new entrepreneurs set up, launch and scale their new recruitment venture. It’s a smart decision to surround yourself with experienced and knowledgeable individuals vested in your success. 

Less competition

A sad fact of all of this is that many recruitment businesses have had to significantly scale back or close. But, for you this means many businesses starting from scratch or not at all. Less competition means opportunities to find clients and find candidates roles. 

Successful Businesses that started amidst strive/recessions. 

If you needed any proof that setting up a business in a critical time of economic downturn can be a fantastic opportunity for a business then have a look at these successful ventures that turned into huge billion/trillion dollar companies.


Microsoft set up shop in 1975 in a period of deep recession in the western world. But, despite this it grew into one of the largest technology companies in the world. 


Founded in 1994 a year after the notorious dot com bubble burst a year before, in which the stock market crashed due to excessive speculation and investment into internet startups; many which failed to deliver to expectations. Regardless, founder Jeff Bezos now enjoys a 193 billion dollar net worth and runs a trillion-dollar company for his global giant Amazon.


Everyone’s favorite workplace communication app was started in the midst of the ‘great depression’ of the early 2000s. Despite this Slack has enjoyed continued growth especially due to increased demand over COVID-19. 

Where there is hardship, striving and desire for change there is a wealth of opportunity for those who are prepared to put in the hard work and reap the benefits. Is this you? If so then read on we’ll give you some pointers to getting started right away!

What to think about when starting your recruitment agency?

Find a strong network to learn and grow from

Doing this alone can be tough. The smartest of leaders will find themselves mentors and support networks in which to lean on and grow. We recommend this as your first action when starting a  new recruitment business. Recruitment Startups™  is one such initiative which can give you a helping hand with your new venture. 

Plan. Create a business plan and set goals for the next few years. 

One of the most critical aspects of getting your business ready for the upcoming journey is to have a clear and concise plan of action, with actionable goals to reach. This gives you purpose, milestones, and vision for the next 12 months and beyond. TRN World supplies a fantastic business roadmap tool to get you started immediately. 

Deciding on a name, branding, and a website. 

This one can be important, it’s going to be the first interaction any business may have with you. So it’s important you decide the name of your business, phase 1 of our recruitment startup plan has a perfect section on this. 

Then, you’ll need to think about branding and building a website that aligns with your service offering, client base, and candidates’ interests. We also have a fantastic guide on getting this absolutely right in our Recruitment Startups™ course for new business leaders on TRNWorld.

Decide whether you want a physical or virtual office

As we discussed before with COVID changes the rules of working from home for the better you know have the choice of whether to go find an office space, or whether to build a crack team from across the country and all work remotely. This will all depend on your potential clients and affordability but it will be a big decision to make. 

Effectively Evaluate yourself and your business

Every move we make, in career or life, should be in line with your personal purpose. You exist for a reason – what is that reason? Ultimately you will look back on your journey and your past and reflect on what you have achieved in line with your purpose.   

Use our Personal Goal Setting Template to define your purpose, your personal vision, strengths, weaknesses, and development priorities.

Figure out funding 

Staff, offices, technology, website, marketing, resources and everything in between required capital. If you don’t have the required funding yourself to start up it’s always possible to find funding to make sure your business had the required financial foundations as your start up. 

Again, our Recruitment Startups™ course has an in depth guide covering everything you need to know and our recommended contacts to find funding for your business. Read more here.

Get yourself insured

If you didn’t know there are some very specific risks associated with placing candidates that are not covered by most standard business insurance policies. As well as securing standard business insurance for your new start-up it’s important to look up specialist cover for staffing businesses. 

We cover everything you need to know in the first module of our Recruitment Startups™ course. Read about insuring your business here.

Making sure your business is compliant 

It’s important that your recruitment business is full compliant as well as insured. This is an indepth subject including things like correct registrations, company documents, agreements and much more. Luckily again we cover this within our recruitment startup initiative. The link to the module is here.

Develop a marketing plan. 

Many businesses unfortunately treat marketing like spaghetti, they throw it at the wall and hope it sticks. This can cause wasted time and time is precious for startup business owners. It’s essential you build yourself an initial marketing plan before you begin your business, so you can find new clients and make a splash when you go to market. 

We have an in-depth guide on getting the best out of your marketing efforts, with a library of resources on topics like social, ads, content, strategy and more. All in our recruitment startup course. 

Recruitment Startups™. The definitive resource for agency startup owners.

One of our many initiatives within TRN world is to bring ambitious and entrepreneurial start-up agency owners the insights, tools and most importantly the blueprint that they need to build a business that stands the test of time. 

With 90% of recruitment startups failing within the first 12 months, it is absolutely essential that owners build a business that stands the test of time and prepares for all eventualities, and that’s where we can help. 

We already know the mistakes recruitment start-ups make, and we can provide you with the support network and guidance to help you overcome any obstacle while you’re building your agency. 

How much does Recruitment Startups cost? 

Recruitment Startups™ is included in the base TRN World membership which costs £145 a month. For that price, you get access to the full Recruitment Startup course a 19 part journey which will help you get your business absolutely ready to succeed in 2020 and beyond. 

But, you will also gain access to everything else TRN World has to offer:

  • Thousands of hours of content designed for recruitment leaders. 
  • 6 Online summits a year filled with content for every aspect of your recruitment business brought to you by thought leaders and speakers across the globe. 
  • Daily powerplay videos from industry leaders and experts giving you unparalleled tips and advice for your recruitment business.  
  • Jam-packed toolkit filled with tried and tested tools perfect for supercharging your startup business. 
  • Access to the TRN World Guild an online collaborative network where you can exchange ideas and ask questions from hundreds of TRN members and experts. An invaluable resource for any new business owner!
  • 1% series. Best practice videos from fellow recruitment business leaders who have built a profitable business. Learn from the best and use their tips to succeed. 
  • And so much more, see our plan list for more information.

Find out more information about Recruitment Startups™  then please visit the link below:



Should I Stay or Should I go? A Checklist for Relocating your Office post-COVID-19

Should I stay, or should I go? The question many businesses are asking regarding their city office locations post-COVID-19. With remote work becoming a prominent feature of the ‘new normal’ working day, businesses are questioning the need for large city-based offices.

Our recent webinar with Site Selection and Incentives professional, Tom Stringer, discussed the reasons why businesses are considering relocating their office post-COVID-19 and states they should consider.

If you are one of those businesses seeking to seize opportunities in the U.S. by considering different office locations during this time, make sure you follow this checklist before cementing your decision.

1. Know your business and what drives it

The most important factor is knowing your business, your industry, and what really drives it. Before you consider moving you need to understand what your business needs are, maybe it’s access to talent, access to a particular university program, or culture. You may find that the atmosphere in New York or Washington is too intense, but want to be in a place that has the cosmopolitan benefits of those regions, but less intense and costly.

Firstly, ask yourself what is the core of your business in terms of driving revenue? Then evaluate the importance of your business culture. It is also important to factor in your customers and their needs. For example, do you need to be located in close proximity to suppliers? Also, does the state/location you are considering have the talent factors you need?

2. Consider cultural issues and quality of life

If you are considering relocating your office post-COVID-19 after being confined to your city apartment for months, you should consider the quality of life and culture available in different states. Think about what your workers want and which locations provide them with access to a wide range of factors that may improve their quality of life. For example, for parents, you may consider locations that are in close proximity to universities and offer other family benefits.

You should consider cities that are starting to develop such as Las Vegas, Boise, and Jacksonville. Conduct your research on up and coming areas, for example, Houston is set to become one of the mega city’s of the United States for the next 50 to 100 years. All of these cities are very unique and differ in what they offer. So understanding what makes your business tick and more importantly, what makes the people in your business satisfied matters significantly when you are making decisions on office relocation.

3. Re-evaluate office locations

Keep your eyes peeled for significant opportunities set to arise in corporate real estate in terms of vacancies, office locations, and refinancing. As some businesses have fled or not renewed their office lease in cities, paired with the surge in remote work, the demand for new office space is decreasing. As a result, corporate real estate prices are set to drop significantly. Despite this being a significant issue for the economy, it presents itself as an opportunity for business owners willing to take risks and set up an office for the future.

We are also witnessing job vacancies with the option of remote work pop up constantly on job sites across the country, in fact, remote job offerings are up almost 29% from last year, and one in four jobs advertised in the U.S. have no location. These are huge indicators that remote work is becoming a permanent fixture within the workforce.

This shift in work style means it is highly unlikely all your workers are going to fully return to city offices this year, meaning now is the time to evaluate your office location if it is based in the city. This in itself creates a domino of problems; smaller footprints in cities mean fewer tax revenues and less reliance on public service which may result in price hikes for your business. Furthermore, it is worth considering the current political situations present in cities and safety issues.

4. Do your research on incentives states are offering businesses to relocate

There is a growing trend to shed commercial office space, especially in high-density areas as a result of COVID-19. If you are considering moving your office to a different state it is important to undertake your research to figure out what location best suits your business, industry, and workers’ needs. If you are considering relocating your office you must be aware of economic concerns. Some U.S. states have extremely aggressive economic development programs, meaning incentives, not just for the companies, but some are actually incentivising people. Certain states are actually writing businesses and employees checks as an incentive to relocate to their area.

For example, Savannah Georgia is offering 2,000 dollars to people who have the right tech background working remotely to relocate to their areas in the midwest. By doing this, they know if they secure a talented workforce that they will contribute towards their economy locally in terms of purchasing a house and sending their children to their schools. Find out the main states businesses are relocating to which we discussed in our webinar here.

Check out states with the best income tax rates
Another important factor to consider when reevaluating states is the income tax. For example, Florida’s lower cost of living combined with the lack of state income tax are very strong incentives for businesses considering relocating.

5. Timing, is now a good time to move?

Ask yourself if it is the right time for your business to move in terms of finances and future plans. Now may be your chance to capitalize on the decreased rental costs and seize the incentives different states are offering businesses and residents to relocate.

Blog courtesy of TRN Gold Partner Precision Global Consulting. Contractor Payroll and Management in the USA & Canada.

10 Powerplays you need to watch to get your Recruitment Business Post COVID-19 ready

There’s no denying it COVID-19 has struck a massive blow to the recruitment industry. You as a recruitment business owner or billing manager may be looking at your strategy, business, marketing and more besides looking for the answers to get back on track. 

That’s where TRN world can help; which you can get for free right now. TRN Powerplays are going to become one of your lifelines once you get acquainted with it. And, are just one of the many benefits of our exclusive library of content. 

So what are TRN Powerplays exactly? 

Powerplays are videos from market-leading experts globally that impart their specialist knowledge to you. From leadership and strategy, to marketing and self development. And the best part? There’s 3 new videos every week from new experts in multiple disciplines!

We’re now up to 94 Powerplays on our system and growing every week, but remember these are part of the premium TRNworld subscription. You can access this for free for a limited time during COVID-19 so don’t hesitate to sign up today to get the insights you need before your chance is gone!

So, with 94+ Powerplays waiting there for you it can be a little overwhelming, so we’ve listed 10 essential Powerplays you need to watch to help get your business post COVID ready.

1: Workforce Planning

Get to grips with your resources and make the best use of them.

Workforce planning is what organisations do to work out what resources they need where – as talent acquisition partners and true consultants we should be asking the questions that they should be asking themselves.#

2: Winning Retained and Exclusive Business

Secure the next few months by landing retained and exclusive clients.

Identifying and selling retainers can be easy once you have mastered the basics in order to turn it into an art form, including:

  1. Knowing what you need in order to sell a retainer or pre-payment
  2. How to avoid the confusion with your choice of language and solutions
  3. Knowing what to listen out for to identify a retainer solution
  4. Clearly differentiate between your service offerings   

3: Power Pitching

Learn how to land those clients in an increasingly online world.

The secret to converting more opportunities from video pitches and client meetings.

4: How to Find Contract Opportunities

Find new opportunities in these strange times.

In the next few months, perm opportunities may be thin on the ground, but companies will increasingly consider contract staff as a way of executing change programs without committing to permanent cost. 

In this video, Russell will give perm recruiters the questions to ask their clients to understand more about the client’s contract usage and identify opportunities to cross-sell and offer a wider range of solutions to their clients.

5: The Power List

Turn up your ‘power’ in these next few critical months and get your business back on track.

How to coach yourself to really step up into your full power.

6: LinkedIn Activity

Master LinkedIn and engage with prospective candidates and clients.

Do you want engagement on LinkedIn but never engage with others?

7: 5 Steps to Shape your Recruitment Marketing Strategy

Supercharge your marketing strategy before your competitors have a chance!

The key things recruiters can do to create a unified sales and marketing strategy and put strong foundations in place to help you grow your client acquisition strategy as we return to our new normal.

8: Adding Value During a Hiring Freeze

Don’t waste time during one of our toughest times, learn how to add value.

When faced with a hiring freeze or slowdown, it’s important to demonstrate your personal value in your organisation. Take some time to reflect on your position, how it’s changing and how you can use this time to add value to your team, clients and candidates.

“Little did I realise that my desire to add value to others would be the thing that added value to me” – John C Maxwell

9: Positively Courageous

Learn how to score non-customers in your biggest customers with Blue Ocean thinking.

Use Blue Ocean Thinking to find ways to get non-customers to become your customers. 

10: A word on content

Finally get a grip on all that content you know you should be producing!

As recruiters, our role is to attract the right people to our jobs and a great way to do that is through the posts we share each day. But we are recruiters not marketers, so what are we supposed to share? Well, it depends on who you are looking to recruit, but here are some ideas and a few tips on etiquette! 

TRN Powerplays are being produced and brought to our community every single week. Giving them the insights and answers they need to be the absolute best version of themselves. 

The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity.

Since the covid19 lockdown really kicked in I have been absolutely fascinated, you could almost say obsessed, with one thing in particular over these last 9 weeks, and that is how people have responded to what is going on around them and more notably, what has driven their response.

Having never experienced the trifecta of a Brexit, global pandemic, downturn before, the majority of us are sort of making this up as we go… and I think on the whole most of us are doing a pretty good job of it, all things considering!

However, the bit I find truly fascinating right now is the link between people’s thought processes and the resulting realities we end up facing. There is no doubt in mind that a large part of the situation we currently find ourselves in socially, economically, even down to the actual number of cases / mortalities from Covid19 itself would have all been very different had people’s responses to all this had been different. Hindsight is always a beautiful thing, of course!

I am by no means calling into question here how anyone has reacted over this time.  I am not sure I really have a right to do this as my experience of the current situation will be wildly different from many others’ experiences and we all have our own, deeply personal journeys to go on right now.  This is not what this is about.

What this is about, and the question I think we all need to ask ourselves now more than ever, is to what extent are we aware of our reactions that are being driven by certain triggers that surround us?  In other words, do we realise how much our personal behaviours change because of the resultant effect of other people’s responses to a perhaps completely disparate situation?

We’re seeing this right now with the whole Dominic Cumnings situation and how this is currently playing out…

  • An event happens as it did with his trip to Durham (you may think what he did is right or wrong, or you may be indifferent).
  • The media comment (appropriately or inappropriately, you decide).
  • People respond to how the media respond (generally in one of two different ways).
  • People respond to how other people have responded to how the media commented (go with me on this!).
  • People change their behaviours accordingly (again, generally in one of two different ways).
  • A resultant situation occurs that will trigger a new reality (with new belief systems and new responses to future events).

The fact of the matter is, that with all that is going on around us, the way in which we respond to everything now will ultimately determine what each of our own personal outcomes will be coming out the other side of all this, from both a personal as well as a business perspective, and what our journeys will be like on the way.

I’ve been intrigued recently by the work of Ryan Holliday (check out his book The Obstacle is the Way) and how different people over history have responded to the different obstacles they have faced, and importantly the methods they have used to be able do that.

The process Holliday describes in his book can be broken down into three distinct parts, that I believe should make up our strategies moving forward to how we deal with the situations, obstacles, adversity we currently face.

  • Part One – Perception: What is your attitude towards the situation you are facing (remember, this will ultimately determine the outcome)?
  • Part Two – Action: taking each problematic situation, each obstacle, and turning them into an opportunity (this nicely ties in nicely with some of the Blue Ocean Strategy work we have been doing).
  • Part Three – Will: Building up levels of perseverance to help overcome any obstacle

What we have before us right now is not only the ultimate challenge for many of us, but also the ultimate opportunity, and how we respond to what is happening, how we respond to other people’s response to what is happening, will determine what our own personal outcomes will be from this.

Spend less time concerned about what other people are doing, how others are behaving, and more time understanding how you are responding so you don’t miss out on the huge opportunity that will naturally derive from situations like this.  As Holliday concludes in his book:

“The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this.”

Proact, don’t React

I’ll be very honest, I wasn’t actually sure if the verb “proact” was a real word until this morning! I have heard about being proactive, of course and I have heard a lot over the last few weeks about being reactive and reacting, but right now, with all that is going on, if this word PROACT is not in your dictionary, then it absolutely should be.

Let’s put some perspective to all this.

For many recruitment businesses, for a huge part of the global staffing market, things are just tough – a period in time that very few have ever experienced before. This is not a typical economic downturn that we are facing right now, but an event led downturn, fused with high levels of emotions, fear, uncertainty and concern for the health and wellbeing of colleagues and loved ones.

Quite simply, this is extraordinary.

But extraordinary times require an extraordinary response from an industry that I have always classified as extraordinary and that is just what, in part, we are seeing.

In short, there two options here for recruitment businesses, and both options are needed if you want to navigate through this, survive and ultimately thrive.

Option One is a Defensive strategy, about putting in place immediate processes and structure today to secure the long term welfare of your current business tomorrow, and that includes the people you have working in that business. Not everyone needs to do this, but most do.

This is about planning for the worse with your budgeting and cashflow forecasting for the next 9 months, stockpiling as much cash as you can to weather any drop in business, taking back full control of your outgoings, reducing your workforce to those who can add the most direct value to your cash position right now using the government furlough lifeline, squeezing every business opportunity there is available today, setting up your structure to make these unusual working conditions for many to be “business as usual” for the short term and more (you can access a complete toolkit for free to do all this at www.trnworld.com).

None of this is different from what a recruitment business leader should be doing anyway in typical market conditions, but only exasperated by what is going on right now.

Option Two comes next, and you should be well on top of this already.

This is all about what you are doing today to both capitalise on the market when it bounces, but also to ensure that you are 3 or 4 steps ahead of everyone else (competitors and clients) to take a steal on the market when that bounce does come.

Based on some of the socioeconomic studies we have reviewed, I am fairly confident that we are getting to the lower peak of a V-shaped downturn right now (everyone has an opinion, so do make up your own mind on this), so a steep return to some semblance of business normality is not that far around the corner. That is good news for those who have managed their defensive strategies well (option one above) but even better news for those who are now gearing themselves up for the bounce already.

Your consultancy led conversations with customers should centre around “pre-order recruitment”, and developing retained embedded talent solutions today to ensure they are ahead of their competitors when the bunfight for talent kicks back off after the bounce.

Your BD and Account Penetration activity across your non-furloughed workforce should be at an all-time high, albeit adjusted for the current situation (let empathy, common sense and humanity lead your sales approach here).

Your focus should pivot towards current and future niche hotspots within your markets. Never before will a quick PESTLE analysis of your markets be so paramount to determine which areas will bunce back the quickest, the highest and with the greatest need for your products and services when we hit the other side of the “V”.

Your internal workforce planning should not only be focused on training them hard now whilst in furlough to have the skills they need for tomorrow (consultancy, sourcing, talent planning, strategy, social marketeers etc.) but also how quickly and ahead of the pack you can get your team off furlough and back in the game. We’re having some great tactical conversations with TRN members about different ways to increase billing headcount now to be +30 days ahead of their competition when the markets turn.

… and so it goes on.

I liken the offensive part of all this to playing a game of chess – you have to pre-plan what the next few moves are going to be even though you can’t guarantee what the opposition will do; you can only control what you can control and influence where you can and only you can determine how bold your next move will be.

At the end of the day, a crisis is defined as a time when difficult or important decisions must be made. We are currently in a crisis, an extraordinary crisis, that needs pragmatic thinking, controlled decision making, calculated defensive strategies and bold offensive plans.

Now is not the time to react to what is going on around us, but a time to take control, look forward and power our businesses through to the other side.

Now is the time to proact.

Find out more at www.trnworld.com – free to all during these extraordinary times.

Are you looking for opportunities where the starts aren’t?

I wanted to tell you very quickly about a cool story that I thought that has always sort of, stuck home with me over the years.

Many years ago I was involved with a program working with underprivileged children where we used to use scuba diving and sailing as a backdrop to help children unearth their real talent, their potential, and stretch their comforts zones.

One of the exercises we did with some kids that we worked with in Australia, is that we took them up to the Whitsunday Islands, and we took them to one of the islands to do some stargazing at night. We decided to take a professional stargazer with us to show us some of the key constellations and different sorts of star patterns out there. As we were looking, the stargazer was showing us all these different constellations and things, but then towards the end, he said, now, I want you to see if you can find the Platypus. 

So I spent about 15, 20 minutes with these kids looking up, just trying to see, where’s this Platypus, I couldn’t see this Platypus anywhere. Then what he said is, just stop for a second and stop looking at the stars, and start looking where the stars aren’t. 

That was interesting because then after about five minutes of looking where there weren’t any stars in the sort of, the dark patches or the patches where there weren’t any stars visible, you could slowly start seeing almost a perfect formation of the shape of a Duckbill Platypus.

What a wonderful analogy I think, to take with you as a child, as an adult, and in business, when it comes to things like business development, and penetrating markets because I think we spend a lot of time working with what we know, but actually what a wonderful way of looking at it, to try and find opportunities, unearth opportunities where the stars aren’t.

Now if you think about anything recruitment, I was making a list of some of the areas where I think, there’s some much opportunity here that we’re just missing, that we need to focus on because we’re too busy focusing on the stars and not necessarily where the stars aren’t.

We’re doing a lot of work recently around Blue Ocean Strategy, there is a document link here (Blue Ocean Strategy)  With a whole load of information about how to get Blue Ocean Strategy in your thinking and your business planning for 2020.

As recruitment leaders, we need to be thinking around things around penetrating our customer base.

Are we cross-selling?

Are we upselling as much as we could be?

Have you mapped out how much market share you have within each of your existing customers?

Have you identified what your customer lifetime value is? And what percentage of that do you currently have?

Have you identified how many of your products and different service lines, if you have multiple products, multiple service lines, are your existing customers buying?

What is your strategy, your innovation, your incentives within your business to make sure that people are cross-selling and upselling a lot more than potentially they are today?

I think that’s a massive opportunity that we’re missing.

Also, from outside of your existing customers, looking at your product mix, we talk a lot about the Boston Matrix, the types of products that you should have in your Matrix, but certainly thinking about the types of products you should be developing or taking to market, in tomorrow’s markets, especially in 2020.

You’ve done all that work to get that business, how do you get more out of them?

So I think it’s a wonderful analogy to think about as your looking for strategies for 2020.

It’s not just looking up at the stars and thinking where are the stars, but also looking where no one else is looking where the stars aren’t.

Flexible working – the question of choice is no longer a question of choice!

Look at any of the multitudes of data that has been produced around the subject, and the message is clear – the jobseeker of today, the jobseeker of tomorrow There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, having worked in the staffing and recruitment industry now for over 25 years, that the world of work has not only changed significantly but is also continuing to evolve at a breakneck speed… many businesses, however, just haven’t kept up or aren’t responding at the same pace and this is having a clearly detrimental impact on their ability to stay agile, competitive, profitable and ahead of the curve.

Simply put, jobseekers today, wants flexibility in terms of where they work, when they work and how they work.

Evolutions in technology, changing skill requirements, the live and uninterrupted access to behavioural norms through social media, global talent shortages and more, all play their part in ensuring that the ball falls perfectly back in the court of the jobseeker when it comes to what they want from an employer and how they want work to be.

The choice for employers is simple – either ignore the reality and hinder your growth potential as a business, or adapt to what is going on around us and develop alternatives ways of providing work solutions, in ways that we are being asked to provide.  And this is pertinent right across the board…

In my experience, there is definitely the perception that evolved, adapted worker solutions are only really applicable across senior skilled roles – the idea that we can only offer alternative ways of working to white collar, corporates at the higher end of the pay scale. That is just wrong.

The common thread across all workers today is flexibility – they want to have fluidity and agility in their work, whether they are a chef, a software developer, a mechanic or an banker – and if businesses aren’t offering that flexibility then they are risk of missing out on attracting the best talent in the market (which can stifle growth), of not retaining their workforce (which can squeeze profitability) and in many cases harbouring non-engaged workers (which can wipe out productivity).

I have always been a big fan of the concept around creating “non-customers” in constricted markets, something that many organisations are currently experiencing in what is becoming an ever more prevalent talent short market – the idea that if we have to fight against heavy competition in a market for a share of the pie then we are always limiting our scope and potential for growth.

Equally, I am convinced there is a huge amount of skilled talent out there that companies are just not getting anywhere near, simply because they are “non-candidates”.  In other words, these are jobseekers who simply would never work (even consider working) for your business because you don’t offer an attractive enough proposition that meets their needs around flexible working conditions.

So, what can the leader of a profitable and successful business do if you want to remain relevant, competitive and agile?

Training and developing new skilled workers is a great way to, in essence, create the talent you need, but that is both time consuming and costly and often a distracting, non-core function for many business owners – partner with experts who know how to deliver this efficiently and profitability as an outsourced function or recruit someone internally to focus 100% on this.

Instead, create a structure within your business that both enables and embraces flexible working by following these five simple tips:

  • Create flex with your flexibility – you don’t have to have one singular way of working for everyone. Let the flexible working model evolve around the people in your business so keep reviewing it and getting feedback from your workers as to what works for them.
  • Forecast your workforce planning – the agility a flexible workforce can create for your business is immense when it comes to managing peak periods, not over employing when you have quiet periods, dealing with last minute contingencies, so wherever you can, pre-plan and pre-empt when these peaks and troughs are likely to occur to maximise the benefits.
  • Promote what you do – if you are a forward-thinking business that has built an environment that is clearly attractive to today’s jobseekers, then make some real noise about it. Build social campaigns to get your message out there, get your compelling proposition in front of the people you want in your business, use a specialist partner to help take you and your business brand out to the jobseeker market.
  • Treat all your workers in the same way – even though you may end up with a blended workforce of perm, part time, gig workers and so on, consider them equals in how they are dealt with / your processes so you don’t lose the philosophy of being one, unified team (even if they are disparate).
  • Trust your instincts – if you are going to go for it, then go for it. Don’t go half-hearted into creating flexi working but instead trust your instincts, trust your workers (you may feel a little less in control – that is ok) and trust your processes / technical infrastructure to keep order.

Recruitment businesses today understand the jobseeker market better than anyone else – they spend all day in it, talking to the market and creating solutions that support the needs and challenges of their customer base.

Partnering with a specialist recruiter who understands your specific market and working with them to build an appropriate outsourced talent solution that is not just about finding talent but about creating a total talent solution – flexible, agile, progressive and fit for purpose for your growth plans – is something I would suggest all business explore in detail. With the right recruitment partner in place, you can literally transform your potential and remove one of the biggest barriers to growth.

For any business owner that wants to attract and retain the best talent in the market, who wants to enable the growth of their business, who wants to increase profits, then the question of choice is no longer a question of choice – it is business critical.

Less Portal, More Personal

So over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working on a number of tender documents for a number of The Recruitment Network members, I’ve been helping them put together their proposition to send through to different organizations, to win their business.


Something I’ve been amazed about is how impersonal these have been. I find it incredible

in today’s day and age that businesses are still trying to develop relationships with suppliers and customers or companies are trying to develop relationships with recruitment companies, based on tick boxes on documents, as opposed to really getting to understand how a partnership could be formed.


Obviously, we’ve written these proposals, and we’re going to win a couple of them, which is great news, and they were obviously worth quite valuable sums of money. So we’ll carry on doing that and we’ll carry on helping our members win proposals, public sector, private sector, etc.


But I do think it’s really important as recruitment organizations that we spend more time with our customers trying to build up the personal relationship side of what we’re doing.


I’m still fearful that recruiters spend a little bit too much time hiding behind emails, hiding behind InMails, almost delivering a bit of a portal-driven service, in essence, because sometimes it’s easier to do that, sometimes maybe we’re a little bit lazy, or maybe you don’t even have the time to do it.


Whatever the reason is, I think it’s happening more and more at the moment. I can’t help thinking that whilst technology is there to make us more agile in how we do stuff and I certainly get that and I certainly embrace that. I do think recruiters need to get out and spend more time in front of customers to develop proper relationships, to be able to tender and pitch for business

based on building a partnership proposition that is fit for purpose and best in class and best practice for both parties, not something that just ticks a number of boxes on a tender application.


So, I think that a lot of this is down to us as recruiters to spend more time developing minimum standards and targets and objectives based around what I’ll refer to as touch time with customers.


So, I don’t know, in your business, how much time you’re spending as a recruiter, how much time you’re spending in front of your customers, talking to your customers, getting to know them properly, but if you’re not doing enough of it, then I suggest it’s something that you need to think about.


Otherwise more and more we’re going to end up being in a very portal-driven relationship, which based on this tender, 60% of the weighting was based purely on the price, as opposed to the quality of the delivery or the quality of the relationship.


That, to me, is quite scary and quite frightening. Certainly, a question mark whether you want to go for a business like that or a partnership like that, but more importantly, I think we need to try and help our customers move away from that mentality as well.


It’s up to us as the recruiters to become more personal and less portal.

Goal Setting 2020: Ships in a harbour are safe…

Where has the year gone?!


With just 9 weeks to go until the end of 2019, recruitment business leaders should be focusing on 3 things:


Ensuring the year finishes on an absolute high –


There is still time to make 2019 your best year yet – a big chunk of the work / effort you and your teams have put in these past 43 weeks is still yet to be realised, so close off October, then rally the team together and get everyone to commit to the next two months.


Make everyone pledge to what they will contribute to the Big end of year Push – a nine week sprint to the end of 2019 – no excuses of distractions (aka the Christmas parties!).


We’ve just posted all of ours on the walls in our office, so everyone is accountable for what they have to do, no hiding.


Celebrating the successes, and the failures –

As the year starts to draw to a close, it is the perfect time to reflect back and celebrate your W3 (what has gone well in 2019, what hasn’t gone so well, and what will we do differently in 2020?).


If you’re planning an end of year awards, then use the good news stories to remind people on all the good things they have done (back office to front office) and use the bad news stories and learning points to build on.


This needs to start happening now, as the data and insights this gives us, enables us to properly…


Set Stretch Goals, that everyone wants to achieve –


Well ahead of the end of the year, your 2020 goals need to be defined, agreed, signed off and shared.


Everyone in the business should be doing this from operations, to leadership, to recruiters, to BD, to marketing – this is not just a Directors’ thing behind the closed doors of the Boardroom.


In recruitment, your 2020 year starts in November 2019, as a two-month lead time keeps the cycle of BD and talent pooling ahead of schedule, so give your people a simple goal setting template (ask me if you need one to use as a template) to complete in their own time and present that back to the management team to mutually sign off in the next couple of weeks so they can start working towards them already, well ahead before the new year kicks off on Jan 2nd.


The key here is to make sure the goals that are agreed for 2020 are in the stretch zones, not the comfort or panic zones.


If the goals are genuinely unrealistic, that puts people in a Panic Zone which in turn creates negativity, fear and actually shrinks the size of someone’s original comfort zone.


Similarly, staying in a comfort zone does not create growth, learning or even aspiration.  It is safe and boring, and that is not what Goal Setting is about. Never forget, “a ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”.


So, what are your goals for 2020?  How far will your stretch yourself, your business to make next year the best year yet in your business?  Now is the time to decide…

Flexi working in Recruitment, are you embracing it?

There was a lot of chat in the #TRN Members Whatsapp group this weekend about how to manage flexible working within their teams. Here are a few top tips for managing your team, keeping them engaged and firing on all cylinders!


  • Make time for small talk – continue to build rapport with your team even if they’re not office based, this is essential to keeping them engaged.
  • Provide them with the right tools – Making sure your employees have access to all the files, information, and updates they need. Tools like Slack, Trello and Asana are great for this.
  • Use video as often as possible when communicating – Research shows more than half of human communication is nonverbal. When you don’t get to see someone in the office every day, having any type of visual clue to what someone is thinking is essential. 
  • Have longer 1 to 1’s – Open door policy fails when your remote team don’t know if you’re in the office, at your desk or in a meeting. Make sure you take extra time for any ad-hoc issues that may be happening.
  • Trust in your team – You hired this person for a reason, it’ll soon be apparent from their KPI’s and targets if they’re not doing a good enough job.


Flexible working is coming, and as recruitment businesses, this needs to be embraced, there’s plenty of benefits to allowing your employees more freedom – give it a try with some of your proven billers and watch them grow!


What are some of your top tips when it comes to flexi working in recruitment?