From Shortlist: Thursday 04 October 2018 2:47pm

Recruitment’s shift away from employing ‘outdated’ 360-degree consultants is potentially the most important transformation the industry will face, according to an advisor.

The 360 model is broken, and has been for some time, says Navigator Consulting MD Tony Hall. “It’s really time to start looking at different options.”

Good 360 recruiters are as rare as hen’s teeth, he says, and he suggests the pressure on recruiters to fit the model is one of the biggest contributors to high staff turnover. “It’s so rare for someone to have all the different skills required to be a high-performing 360 recruitment consultant.”

Agencies are increasingly deconstructing the 360 model, breaking the process into admin, resourcing, recruitment and sales roles, though with varying degrees of success to date, he notes.

Many labour hire companies have been operating in this way for years – “they have business development managers that understand the industry really well… and they might even be from the industry they are selling into, so they’ve got a lot of credibility” – while larger agencies are more likely to succeed with dedicated business development managers, following the US blueprint.

For smaller firms, Hall recommends the most senior people spend their time out in front of clients, and avoid putting junior consultants into “difficult sales situations that are way over their head”.

Small companies should be hiring people into resourcing or account management roles, to start, while senior leaders outsource their resourcing so they are freed up to do the sales part of the 360 process.

(Hall is a big advocate of offshoring, particularly for “very administrative and repetitive tasks”, such as market mapping, database building, database maintenance, and even sourcing. “I think offshoring is one of the success secrets of reducing staff turnover in the recruitment industry,” he says.)

Building the right commission structure

“If there’s no sales responsibility for a recruitment consultant, then their commission structure should be at a lower level than a recruitment consultant that’s required to bring in the business and fill the role as well,” Hall says.

He suggests recruiters on “relatively high wages” are already incentivised to fill jobs. “So you might have more of a bonus structure than a commission structure for people that are not actually selling.”

That said, Hall agrees the 50/50 commission structure adopted by some agencies including Aquent will promote team work – provided leaders monitor placement ratios. “Managing efficiency is really important, because a great salesperson might bring in multiple roles, but if they’re not filled by the recruiter, then the company is paying wages for both… and not getting any return on investment.”

Hall also advises hiring biller leaders with a track record of success (a minimum six years’ experience), rather than looking for potential high performers to train up into sales-focused roles. “Young stars are hard to find,” he says. “[Graduate programs] are so hit and miss.”

It’s certainly unlikely the one graduate will have the 20 or so attributes required of a 360 recruiter, Hall says. “It’s relatively easy to find people that start off their career resourcing, and the good ones can be promoted into… senior recruitment or senior sales streams, or leadership, depending on their attributes.”

Breaking out the recruitment process also provides career progression, which Hall says is sadly lacking in the industry. Then focusing on supporting high performers, rather than underachievers, will keep them performing and encourage them to stay.

Part of this includes regular training, both formal and informal. “Short and regular training can make a massive difference, in terms of business profitability and reduced staff turnover.”

He suggests regular weekly sessions, even for 30 minutes, will bring the team together, foster communication, and upskill even the most seasoned recruiter. “It’s an absolute critical success factor.”

Hall is facilitating discussions on the “obsolete” 360 model, and its alternatives, at upcoming Captain’s Table events in Melbourne (30 October) and Sydney (31 October) for agency owners and leaders.

From Shortlist 30 August 2018

Recruitment agency leaders are meticulous around developing budgets and financial plans, as well as measuring consultant activity, but more work is needed to improve performance across all areas of the business, new research shows.

The Recruitment Industry Business Confidence Index survey (RIBCIX), run by Navigator Consulting MD Tony Hall, reveals many leaders are falling short in implementing marketing, quality assurance, exit strategy and operations plans.


Source: Navigator Consulting

The RIBCIX survey is still collecting data for the current half-year, and recruitment companies are invited to participate here to receive the full report.

By Tony Hall, Managing Director, Navigator Consulting

Great recruiters who bill well and stay for many years are now rare as hen’s teeth. They are unlikely to move from a profitable and happy desk which they probably built themselves over considerable time. Next step for them is promotion into a director role or starting their own business so they can enjoy a higher percentage of the fruits of their labour.

Industry demand for recruitment consultants is huge, with over 1958 jobs currently advertised on Seek. Every agency is after the perfect recruiter who is good at selling, admin, resourcing and recruiting. Furthermore, they must be resilient, persistent, communicate well and bring a network with them and of course fit your current team culture.

It seems absurd that any one person has all these attributes – yet that is what many recruitment firms are still looking for – hen’s teeth. Firms insist the people they hire have all of the above and bill 3-4 times their salary in the first year. Again – impossible. The only source of experienced consultant supply is from industry staff turnover which continues to push 50% due to a suspected combination of poor hiring, training and development. It is time to think differently about business growth and look at alternative strategies for bringing on new talent.

Solution #1Break up the highly complex recruitment process into admin, resourcing, recruitment and sales as it is much easier to find people good at one (not all) of these activities. They can be sourced from within or outside the recruitment industry. A quality recruitment process will have around 50 steps which requires specialist expertise at each stage. It is unique to the recruitment industry in Europe/Australasia that we persist with the 360 model of trying to find consultants who can sell, resource and perform accurate admin despite the proven benefits of the US model which separates sales, recruitment and admin processes.

Solution #2Offshore low-level admin and sourcing tasks to save money and free up your senior staff to spend more time in front of clients and candidates where the real action (and revenue) happens. Our clients who have taken on experienced offshore resourcers have benefited from considerable improvements in client, candidate and staff satisfaction with the added bonus of significant cost reductions and revenue increases.

Solution #3Free up your senior managers to spend much more time in front of clients and candidates. They are much more credible and will find the sales process easier and faster. Forcing inexperienced, junior recruiters to cold call or visit clients can actually damage brand and industry reputation if they are not well trained, knowledgably or have specialist networks. Senior decision makers will always buy more from other senior decision makers and often find it insulting if a poorly trained junior is sent in their place. Also, your senior managers are paid way too much to be stuck in the office running unproductive meetings or administration tasks. Get them out generating revenue and building your brand instead – the return on investment will be so much higher.

Solution #4Appoint your managing director as chief sales officer. He or she will find it easier to secure meetings, easier to close complex sales and will be revered by the team for bringing in large pieces of new business. Great recruiters who are not suited to sales will be happy to fill these new roles and are more likely to stay longer and enjoy higher job satisfaction if they are not forced to do activities they are not good at. It makes no sense for a MD or CEO earning big money to be stuck in the office day in day out performing low level admin tasks and pointless meetings. The real money (and fun) happens out in the market in front of senior prospects, clients and candidates. This additional sales activity will translate to pure profit small, medium or large companies alike.

Solution #5 Hire biller leaders instead of unproven consultants – I believe you will receive a much bigger return on investment with lower risk by hiring proven leaders who can quickly attract clients and staff rather than unproven recruiters with a limited network and track record of success. Leaders with 6 years or more experience are much more likely to grow the business and cover their costs faster.

Solution #6 Develop a graduate program. Here is your chance to shape your own high performing recruiters before they develop bad habits and dangerous short-cuts. It does take time to break-even on a graduate, but time flies and before you know it your best graduates are building and running their own teams. Graduates will require a strong training program and well mapped-out career plan. With such a shortage of recruiters this is an important strategy to mentor and grow your own talent.

Solution #7 – Regularly train the skills you require of great recruiters. Even the most experienced consultants will fall into bad habits and need refresher training. Inclusive training brings your team together, sharpens their skills and allows senior people to help pass on knowledge to rising stars. One of the biggest recruitment company turnarounds I worked on was hugely successful almost solely due to the implementation of a well-run weekly interactive team training session.

Solution #8 Attend a big conference in the US. You will pick up so many new ideas and techniques from recruiters in the highly competitive US market. They are famous for owning their specialties, building very close relationships with their local communities and using a sales driven account management approach to secure new business and grow existing customer bases. For over 10 years the Americans have also perfected offshore resourcing in India and particularly the Philippines. There is a massive well educated and trained recruitment resourcing market in Manilla keen to move out of the US night shift to work for Australian companies in a similar time zone.

Solution #9 Stop micro managing and start quarterly goal setting and planning. Sit with your people, determine their strengths and weaknesses and make sure you are not forcing them to perform tasks they hate and/or are not good at. Instead of confronting old-school performance appraisals, consider individual quarterly business plans that clearly define goals, targets and activities required for success. Staff will own this plan if they feel involved in mutually setting goals and will work harder to achieve results if they feel supported and listened to. Set simple activity targets that will eventually lead to a placement every week – for example 4 unique client/candidate interviews. Nobody likes micro-management (MM), yet many firms still persist in this activity as a misguided form of risk management which counter-actively results in staff dissatisfaction, turnover and poor employee attraction when MM word gets around.

Solution #10 Support the great people you already have. Most managers end up spending all their time trying to turn around under-performers then are shocked when one of their best people resigns. Contrary to instinct, managers must spend most of their time supporting their best performers who are a big loss if they leave and are much more likely to increase performance year on year than the marginal low performers who typically shout out for more attention and cause everyone the most grief.

Solution #11 Establish a commission/bonus plan that is simple, regularly celebrate and reward people who make an additional effort to do more than the job they are paid a salary for. Pay incentives for new business, innovation, efficiencies, cost savings or activities that are over and above what is required by an average performer – even for junior support staff. Avoid over or double paying incentives for work brought in by senior managers or sales people and then filled by non-client facing staff. Incentives should be paid for extra effort and contributions to the over-all business.

Solution #12 Consider part-time and work from home options for proven performers. Experienced high billing recruiters are so hard to find that it is worth providing flexible work alternatives so long as they are productive, have agreed goals and don’t disproportionately draw on company resources. Several recruitment firms have built highly profitable businesses around experienced part-time working mothers job sharing.

For more ideas on business growth advisory, recruitment industry staffing solutions, remuneration structures, offshore resourcing or business and performance planning please make contact anytime.

Tony Hall, Managing Director, Navigator Consulting, E: th@navigatorconsult.com

From Shortlist, Wednesday 22 August 2018
Agency leadership, Research, analysis & reports

Recruitment leaders across the board are reporting record financial results, with staffing challenges the primary obstacle to realising further growth predictions, new research shows.

Some 76% of agencies expect to grow net revenue (after temp and contractor costs) by at least 10–20% in the December half, compared to June, according to the Recruitment Industry Business Confidence Index survey (RIBCIX), run by Navigator Consulting MD Tony Hall.

Participate in the RIBCIX Survey Here

The RIBCIX survey, based on responses from more than 100 recruitment businesses around Australia so far, shows 66% of companies are forecasting net profit (before tax) growth of 10–20% or more for the quarter.

“Many managing directors I’ve been speaking to have said they’ve had one of the best financial years on record, and therefore it’s no surprise their forecast for the next quarter is going to be quite strong,” says Hall.

About 58% of companies will grow their consulting headcount by 10–20% or more, and 42% intend to increase the size of their resourcing teams by the same amount.

The key challenge these businesses will have is finding and adding staff to manage growing workloads, as a marked shortage of quality recruitment talent persists and, Hall says, “the good people simply won’t move”.

As a result, more recruitment leaders are looking at alternative strategies to hiring from within the industry, such as offshore resourcing and hiring graduates, and an increasing number are hiring professionals from the industries in which they recruit, says Hall.

These latter professionals tend to have deeper knowledge of the industries they’re recruiting for and can communicate “at a much higher level with their clients and candidates, with more credibility”, he adds.

Staff training spend is also increasing, although not quite in line with revenue and staff growth forecasts, with 42% of business leaders saying they will increase their investment in that area by 10–20% or more.

And more than half predict spending more on technology, yet 50% of companies expect no change in operating costs, “which is a little unusual because you would think you’ve got to increase costs and [add] staff, and it takes some time for those new staff to become productive”, Hall says.

Temp and perm forecasts on an even keel
The RIBCIX shows a similar proportion of companies expecting to grow their temp/contracting (58%) and permanent (57%) revenue.

Hall says this is unusual – the market usually favours one or the other – and the main conclusion to draw is simply indicates “very positive market conditions”.

The RIBCIX survey is still collecting data for the current half-year, and recruitment companies are invited to participate here in order to receive the full report.

Participate in the RIBCIX Survey Here

From Shortlist Wednesday 25 July 2018

The biggest threat to the recruitment industry is the increasing number of employers bringing recruitment in-house, and emerging technology is the additional impetus for making agencies the second option, an industry advisor says.

At a recent Captain’s Table event, chaired by Navigator Consulting CEO Tony Hall, agency leaders gathered to discuss the biggest threats to the industry, and what to do about them.

Several key themes emerged as attendees discussed what the industry should be doing to counteract the growing number of clients that are bringing recruitment functions in-house.

The first step is to build stronger relationships with clients, Hall says, “so we as recruitment agencies are the first port of call, as opposed to the last port of call, when it gets too hard for them”.

Agencies should also be working better together to solve client and candidate requirements, to ensure the industry thrives, he adds. “If we’re not filling roles that we say we can fill, then we’re providing even more ammunition for companies to say ‘we might as well do this ourselves than pay recruitment fees to companies that aren’t delivering’.”

Filling more jobs is absolutely critical in encouraging companies to use agencies more, the leaders agree.

Leveraging technology well enables better recruitment service delivery, Hall says, and points the way to adding more value for clients, “so we can justify the high margins that we would all like to have”.

Transparency builds stronger relationships
Painting a fuller picture of exactly what it is that agencies do and the effort required to fill a role is also vital, as is communicating that effectively to clients, says Hall.

“Are we articulating how much work goes into a recruitment assignment?” he asks.

This should start in client proposal documents that outline all client services at beginning of an assignment, and be reiterated through detailed invoices that provide a list of services involved, line by line. “That’s just absolute gold,” Hall says.

Hall urged recruiters not to send invoices that simply say, “recruitment fee, $35,000”.

Getting out and meeting clients face-to-face to build relationships is the optimal way to get their buy-in.

“I wonder how much consulting we actually do these days, as recruiters,” says JobAdder CEO Brett Iredale. “All day every day we’re walking around recruitment floors, the pods are all full, and everyone is there tapping away and not out talking to people.”

“Recruitment consultants now are relying on email, phone, LinkedIn, whatever, way too much, at the detriment of relationships, perhaps,” Hall adds.

Collaboration is better than competition
A more organised approach to industry collaboration – rather than purely focusing on competition – is more beneficial to recruiters, says Elias Recruitment CEO Jason Elias.

Efforts to win work on an exclusive basis are a better driver of competition than fighting over the same vacancies simultaneously. “It’s great for job boards [but] candidates get confused when we all fight over the same people,” he says.

“As an industry, we shouldn’t be like seagulls going for little chips,” says Elias.

 

 

Captain’s Table Sydney – Wednesday, 30 August 12-2pm

Venue: Gumtree Australia, Level 18, 1 York St Sydney

Great Value – only $50 including lunch.

– Industry round table for astute owners and leaders of quality recruitment companies.

BOOK EARLY – ONLY 25 Places available – Book HERE Via Eventbrite

Please join us @Gumtree Australia for a powerful discussion with industry M&A specialist Andrew Cassin who shares his insights into building your recruitment business into a valuable asset.

People start their own recruitment company for many reasons – dissatisfaction with a current employer, wanting to try a new way or the desire to build their own company. Many also start one with the aim to build an asset to sell later and retire early. That goal is in reach of every recruitment company but many fail to take the necessary steps to achieve it. The company you started becomes just another job with with so much administration and little time to work on the business itself.

Industry growth consultant , Andrew Cassin will share his practical knowledge gained over many years of experience into how you can transform your company into a powerful asset.

The highly interactive session will cover:

– What are the attributes of a high performing asset
– Why preparing for sale or succession with a buyer’s mindset is so critical
– Where business owners invariably fail to prepare effectively and how to avoid it
– How to apply product development and marketing strategies to succession or exit preparation
– Please book in quickly to gain the knowledge, insights and practical tips to grow your business.

All attendees will receive a FREE copy of Andrew Cassins book “On Your Terms: 101 ways to prepare a business for sale or succession.”

Agenda
12:00 – Arrive, networking and lunch

12:30 – Guest Speaker: Andrew Cassin

13:45 – Q&A and Networking time

14:00 – Close

About Andrew Cassin

Andrew commenced his consulting career in 1993. Since establising Acquisiti, he has been retained as a consultant by dozens of business principals, completed business sales & capital raisings and facilitated mergers & acquisitions for SME clients.

Industry sectors in which Andrew has valuable experience include recruitment, marketing/communications, Information Technology, liquor, not for profit, healthcare and financial services. Andrew’s clients’ requirements have taken him to Hong Kong, Singapore, the USA and the UK to complement his primary base of knowledge in Australia.

About Captain’s Table

Captain’s Table is a professionally-facilitated forum for owners and leaders of recruitment businesses. Attendees are encouraged to share experiences and engage in discussions. As an industry knowledge group session, the attendees help shape these monthly meetings and content is developed in-line with the feedback of the attendees to ensure that the events are topical, interesting and meaningful for attendees.

Brought to you by: Gumtree Australia, Job Adder and Navigator Consulting

(To help cover the costs of organisation, marketing, catering and guest speakers we now charge a nominal $50 to attend. Rest assured you will always receive very good value for money and many ideas to help build a high performing recruitment company.)

***Only 25 seats available so please BOOK EARLY  Book HERE Via Eventbrite***

Captain's_Table Good Quality

As discussed at Captain’s Table Sydney, Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1 August 2017

People leave companies for many reasons. Conversely there are many reasons people stay. We have researched numerous HR articles from around the globe to provide a summary list of the best ways to retain great people.

1. Competitive remuneration
– If you pay below market your people are more likely to look around
– Pay slightly higher than the marker and you are more likelky to attract and retain good people
– Money is not everything but nobody wants to be underpaid

2. Clear Career Path
– People want to know they will progress
– Do you have a clear career path for all staff?
– So often the reason for leaving is lack of career progression

3. Learning & Development
– Rarely will people leave if they are learning and growing
– Without professional development, staff will feel they need to move on the learn more and progress their careers
– L&D is a great way to upskill and retain quality people

4. Clear Expectations and Goals
– Often leaders to do not share goals and target expectations with staff
– People can feel uncertain as to what is expected of them and default to lower levels of performance
– Most people respond well to clear guidelines, goals and well-delivered feedback

5. Freedom & Flexibility
– Provided clear performance measures are in place, workplace freedom and flexibility can help people juggle their work and home commitments and still get the job done
– If people do not feel trusted, or feel they are micro-managed they will soon seek out a more open and flexible workplace

6. Recognition & Reward
– Both cash and non-cash rewards can make people feel valued and less likely to leave
– Almost everyone responds well to recognition and praise for a job well done

7. Variety
– Many jobs can get highly repetitive and dull
– Ensure you people are given a variety of tasks to complete that are a combination of process, people, interaction, team and individual so they don’t feel their job is too repetitive
– Break up the day, week and month with interesting team and individual activites so that people are motivated to return to the same workplace every day
– People often leave simply because they are bored

8. Spend Time With Your Best People
– Too often are time is taken up coaching and managing poor performers when it is the best performers who should deserve the most attention
– High performers are too valuable to ignore and can stray from their goals if they are left to their own devices
– An investment in time with your best performers will yield higher returns in terms of outcomes and staff retention
– Consider providing your best people low cost offshore support to further boost their ability to grow additional revenues

9. Lead From The Front
– Your leaders must be prepared to set a good example to the rest of the team
– Join your staff for client meetings, staff sessions, team activities etc to demonstrate their value as part of an inclusive culture
– Staff will follow the examples set by owners and leaders – often behaviours which are not beneficial to a high performing business
– People will leave companies with poor leaders who do not lead from the front and support their people in the field or workplace

10. Communication
The single most important determinant of staff retention
– If staff feel regularly updated and trusted with company plans, goals, issues and expectations – they are much more likely to feel engaged and valued
– Ask for regular feedback and new ideas to make the business even more successful and involve your people in the process
– Ensure reporting and communication lines are clear and adhered to.

What else is important?
Knowledge is only power if we do something with it!

Navigator Consulting helps recruitment businesses to rapidly improve performance and increase profitability through a combination of advisory consulting, succession planning and events. www.navigatorconsult.com Tony Hall th@navigatorconsult.com

 

Staff Turnover Now 50%!

Recruitment firms are turning HALF half their team every year! Australian staffing companies with 21 to 40 employees are replacing almost half of their team every year, according to data released by RIBreport and APositive.

This is a staggering waste of money, time, resources and mental health for all involved. In 17 years of helping recruitment companies grow, I have never heard of staff turnover reaching these lofty levels. The reasons are many – huge demand for recruitment consultants (1,700 open jobs on Seek) means tight supply and increasingly risky hiring decisions. There is still a low investment in training and leadership development while many new starters are not given nearly enough support.

One of the best ways to grow a profitable recruitment business is to take on a smaller group of high quality people and support them with resourcers so they can spend more time in the market away from their screens and thereby make more placements. They will be more productive, feel better supported, earn more money and are less likely to leave.

If you are a owner or manager keen to explore offshore resourcing as a way of reducing staff turnover, making more placements and dramatically reducing cost – please send me a note and I can forward you a copy of our proven Business Case For Offshore Resourcing. 

Right now I am also working on a partnership model whereby quality private recruitment companies can work together to share costs, client opportunities, ideas and support to create better succession and potential exit value. This takes the pressure off growing too fast and wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on staff turnover. It means firms can concentrate on servicing their target market professionally and profitably while building more tangible business value. Please let me know if you would like more information.

Email Tony Hall, Navigator Consulting, th@navigatorconsult.com

Save the date – innovative and practical 2 day Recruitment Summit @ Sea aboard 4.5 -star Carnival Spirit 3-6 November 2017.

tony hall

After 17 years of helping to increase performance and grow recruitment businesses, I continue to learn so much about critical success factors.

Here is my Top 5 so far.

Great recruitment companies:

1. Focus on specialist markets and build strong, long term relationships with clients and candidates

2. Establish a quality program to separate them from the resume flickers

3. Treat their staff like clients with strong communication, goals, expectations and support

4. Train the team regularly to increase performance and retention

5. Have a well communicated plan regarding direction, culture and vision.

There is so much more but these five cover a wide range of factors which separate the best recruitment firms from their competitors and encourage clients to outsource rather than bring their recruitment in-house.

By Tony Hall, Managing Director, Navigator Consulting

LOGO colourHigh-res-PNG-Black

Slow, deliberate and using best practice always wins in life and in business.

Some of my favourite quotes from the book – In Praise of Slowness:

“Spending more time with friends and family costs nothing. Nor does walking, cooking, meditating, making love, reading or eating dinner at the table instead of in front of the television. Simply resisting the urge to hurry is free.”
“The great benefit of slowing down is reclaiming the time and tranquility to make meaningful connections–with people, with culture, with work, with nature, with our own bodies and minds”
“Speed can give you a great feeling of excitement, and there is a place for that in life and in music,” says Kliemt. “But you have to draw the line, and not always use speed. It is stupid to drink a glass of wine quickly. And it is stupid to play Mozart too fast.”
“In our hedonistic age, the Slow movement has a marketing ace up its sleeve: it peddles pleasure. The central tenet of the Slow philosophy is taking the time to do things properly, and thereby enjoy them more.”
“Much better to do fewer things and have time to make the most of them.”
“This is where our obsession with going fast and saving time leads. To road rage, air rage, shopping rage, relationship rage, office rage, vacation rage, gym rage. Thanks to speed, we live in the age of rage.”
“Slower, it turns out, often means better – better health, better work, better business, better family life, better exercise, better cuisine and better sex.”
“When people moan, “Oh, I’m so busy, I’m run off my feet, my life is a blur, I haven’t got time for anything,” what they often mean is, “Look at me: I am hugely important, exciting and energetic.”
“Being Slow means that you control the rhythms of your own life. You decide how fast you have to go in any given context. If today I want to go fast, I go fast; if tomorrow I want to go slow, I go slow. What we are fighting for is the right to determine our own tempos.”
“We affirm that the world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. —FUTURIST MANIFESTO, 1909”
“We are slaves to our schedules.”
“Much has already been destroyed. We have forgotten how to look forward to things, and how to enjoy the moment when they arrive.”
“While the rest of the world roars on, a large and growing minority is choosing not to do everything at full-throttle. In every human endeavour you can think of, from sex, work and exercise to food, medicine and urban design, these rebels are doing the unthinkable – they are making room for slowness. And the good news is that decelerating works.”
“Now is the moment to define our terms. In this book, Fast and Slow do more than just describe a rate of change. They are shorthand for ways of being, or philosophies of life. Fast is busy, controlling, aggressive, hurried, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, active, quantity-over-quality. Slow is the opposite: calm, careful, receptive, still, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality-over-quantity. It is about making real and meaningful connections – with people, culture, work, food, everything.”
“The slow movement is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. Nor is it a Luddite attempt to drag the whole planet back to some pre-industrial utopia. The movement is made up of people who want to live better in a fast-paced, modern world. The slow philosophy can be summed up in a single word: balance. Be fast when it makes sense to be fast, and be slow when slowness is called for. Seek to live at what musicians call the tempo giusto – the right speed.”
“Speed has helped to remake our world in ways that are wonderful and liberating. Who wants to live without the internet or jet travel? The problem is that our love of speed, our obsession with doing more and more in less and less time, has gone too far, it has turned into an addiction, a kind of idolatry. Even when speed starts to backfire, we invoke the go-faster gospel.”
“Companies also pay a heavy price for imposing a long-hours culture. Productivity is notoriously hard to measure, but academics agree that overwork eventually hits the bottom line. It is common sense: we are less productive when we are tired, stressed, unhappy or unhealthy. According to the International Labour Organization, workers in Belgium, France and Norway are all more productive per hour than are Americans. The British clock up more time on the job than do most Europeans, and have one of the continent’s poorest rates of hourly productivity to show for it. Working less often means working better.”
“In this media-drenched, data-rich, channel-surfing, computer-gaming age, we have lost the art of doing nothing, of shutting out the background noise and distractions, of slowing down and simply being alone with our thoughts.”
“Urban life itself acts as a giant particle accelerator. When people move to the city, they start to do everything faster.”
“The clock is the operating system of modern capitalism, the thing that makes everything else possible – meetings, deadlines, contracts, manufacturing processes, schedules, working shifts.”
“So the Cassandras who warned that the thirty-five-hour week would send the French economy into instant meltdown have been proved wrong. The gross domestic product has grown, and unemployment, though still above the EU average, has fallen. Productivity also remains high. Indeed, some evidence suggests that many French workers are more productive now. With less time on the job, and more leisure to look forward to, they make greater efforts to finish their work before clocking off.”
“Then there is the curse of multi-tasking. Doing two things at once seems so clever, so efficient, so modern. And yet what it often means is doing two things not very well. Like many people, I read the paper while watching TV—and find that I get less out of both.”
“As it turns out, people who cut their work hours often take a smaller hit financially than they expect. That is because spending less time on the job means spending less money on the things that allow us to work: transport, parking, eating out, coffee, convenience food, childcare, laundry, retail therapy. A smaller income also translates into a smaller tax bill. In one Canadian study, some workers who took a pay cut in return for shorter hours actually ended up with more money in the bank at the end of the month.”
“Doing two things at once seems so clever, so efficient, so modern. And yet what it often means is doing two things not very well.”
“Instead of thinking deeply, or letting an idea simmer in the back of the mind, our instinct now is to reach for the nearest sound bite.”
“Our impatience is so implacable that, as actress-author Carrie Fisher quipped, even “instant gratification takes too long.”
“In the States, we think we do things better because we do them faster. And it’s very easy to get sucked into that lifestyle. But when you see how the French or the Italians eat, how much time and respect they give to food, you realize how wrong the American way can be.”
“When it comes to academic life, Lewis favours the same less-is-more approach. Get plenty of rest and relaxation, he says, and be sure to cultivate the art of doing nothing. “Empty time is not a vacuum to be filled,” writes the dean. “It is the thing that enables the other things on your mind to be creatively rearranged, like the empty square in the 4 × 4 puzzle that makes it possible to move the other fifteen pieces around.” In other words, doing nothing, being Slow, is an essential part of good thinking.”