Top 10 Benefits Of Business Planning

A practical Business Plan with goals, milestones and actions is critical to the successful growth and improvement of an industry leading recruitment agency.

  1. Create and communicate clear short, medium and long-term goals
  2. Proven probability of increased success
  3. Enjoy clarity from a succinct plan
  4. Maximise short term profitability
  5. Build long term business value
  6. Improve current business operations
  7. Share your vision with staff and shareholders
  8. Develop a plan for succession
  9. Focus on the most important activities
  10. Hold yourself accountable to staying on track

For 20 years Navigator Consulting has helped advise many growing Australian recruitment companies. We have owned, run and started agencies and learned so many ways to build a high performing recruitment company.

Our new Recruitment Business Accelerator Program encapsulates 20 years of experience growing successful recruitment companies and combines so many ideas for building a practical Business Performance Plan which helps owners achieve their goals faster and more efficiently.

For more information please click Here

Nobody knows when the next recession will strike but the actions required to prepare for a possible downturn will also improve current profit and performance.

1.   Create and communicate clear short, medium and long-term business plans
2.   Minimise high discretionary spending
3.   Reduce low return fixed costs
4.   Increase client care and cement long-term relationships
5.   Ensure staff performance and training is fully maximised
6.   Politely let go of poor performing staff and clients
7.   Don’t lock into high long-term high cost rental agreements
8.   Focus on high value clients and assignments
9.   Build temp, contract and services revenue
10. Reduce non performing contingent permanent work

For 20 years Navigator Consulting has helped advise many growing Australian recruitment companies. We have owned, run and started agencies and learned so many ways to build a high performing recruitment company. Our new Recruitment Business Accelerator Program encapsulates 20 years of experience growing successful recruitment companies and combines many ideas about building a practical Business Performance Plan which helps owners achieve their goals faster and more efficiently.

More Information on Recruitment Business Accelerator Program – HERE

Tony Hall, Navigator Consulting, Contact Below.

Recruiters’ fear of transparency blocking real-time engagement
Shortlist Thursday 25 July 2019

Recruiters now have the ability to give applicants and candidates real-time updates in the vein of Uber and other platforms, but many are shunning this option out of fear of transparency, says JobAdder CEO Brett Iredale.

“Why aren’t we transparent with jobseekers? Why don’t we treat it like UberEats? When you order your Uber, you can track it and see exactly where it’s at,” he says.

Showing applicants how they are progressing through the recruitment process – such as whether their CV has been viewed – is a capability applicant tracking platforms can already automate, he notes.

“There is a lot of information we can reveal to them, but we don’t, because we get the feedback that’s not what [recruiters] want,” says Iredale.

“We need to be thinking about this, because every single other industry that you can think of… is working towards complete transparency with their customers.

“Why do we keep everything so close to our chest, and what can we do to start thinking about revealing?”

Presenting at a recent Captain’s Table event, Iredale said he understands the concerns recruiters have about increasing the transparency of the recruitment process to applicants and candidates.

A common objection to increasing transparency is the lack of time, he says.

Many recruiters also see the process as too fluid to implement an Uber-style model, because they don’t want to “show their hand” too early.

“You might move people through a few different stages before you settle on someone. For example, I like someone today, I’ll put them in my longlist. Tomorrow I’ll re-read it and I won’t like them, so I’ll take them out. And I might go through that process a couple of times before I settle on a shortlist.”

But being able to demonstrate an application has at least been viewed by someone is valuable information, he says.

In most cases, if a person has taken the time to craft an application, write a tailored cover letter, and do their research, “they deserve more than a generic email, even if they’re not appropriate [for the role]”.

Executive buy-in determines candidate experience
Candidate experience is “absolutely an executive initiative”, Iredale says. “This has to be a top-down mission, coupled with training and education. If you don’t do those things, there’s no tool on earth that’s going to solve this for you.”

Many recruitment agencies, for example, do not have a dedicated candidate experience manager, he says, but it certainly warrants clear ownership within the business.

“It’s not a new job; there will be someone in your company – a receptionist, administrator, someone who has time. Make it their job.”

Iredale says HR and internal recruitment teams do try extremely hard to improve candidate experience but many still don’t have the executive buy-in to support them in their efforts.

“There’s a massive disconnect I see between what executives are saying at the boardroom table, and what they feel [about] talent acquisition and HR. We’ve got to look at where HR reports through to. Does it report to the CEO, for example?

“We’ve been reading some good research about how companies are structured, and if the HRD is not reporting directly to the CEO, is [HR] really a high priority within the company?”

Testing the process
Most organisations (agencies and employers) are clearly not testing out their own application processes to understand what their candidate experience is like, Iredale says.

While it’s difficult to place a precise figure on how many companies do test out their candidate journey, “from what we’re seeing, it’s less than 5%”, he says.

The overall candidate experience isn’t just limited to digital and phone communications, but the physical world as well, he says.

“We’re so encased in our virtual world now, we’ve stopped thinking about what the experience is like of hopping into a lift to come into your meeting room, going to the interview. The physical stuff is every bit as important, so let’s think about that.”

Along with the need for more communication with candidates, Iredale urges recruiters to shed their reticence about using video.

Producing videos doesn’t require the expensive software that many assume, he says, and “it’s incredibly engaging” for candidates.

“Stop using time and expense as an excuse – that doesn’t [cut it] anymore. Personalise everything you can. Look at every touch point and personalise it.”

Reduce administrative and support costs to maximise pr
Offshore Resourcing through Navigator Consulting

Offshore resourcing can improve profitability

From Shortlist
Industry news & market intelligence, In-house recruitment

Australian employers are overcoming misgivings about offshoring and are moving towards solutions that include a mix of talent models, says the head of Alexander Mann Solutions APAC.

“From a trending viewpoint, looking at Australia three or four years ago versus Australia today, we’re pushing hard this combined onshore and offshore model,” Alexander Mann Solutions regional MD Neil Jones tells Shortlist.

There is still some “nervousness” about offshoring from local clients, but Jones has seen a marked uptick in the number of clients looking at offshoring support hubs, with about 30–40% of its services to local clients based out of its Manila centre.

“Australia was very anti-offshoring in the TA sector previously, and we’re definitely seeing it move. And I think it’s coming from budget constraints, margin pressure, and the enablement that comes from technology… to give scale and reduce costs,” says Jones.

AMS is building its strategy around clients who still want to control the talent acquisition function themselves, but are more interested in “partial outsource of unbundled solutions”.

That can take many forms, such as outsourcing administration, sourcing, specific projects, branding or tech consulting.

The semi-outsource or agile solutions model is very popular at the moment, and “represents about two-thirds of enquiries we’re getting”, he says.

New model gains traction

AMS is also set to capitalise on the increase in enquiries for contingent workforce solutions, and offerings outside of the traditional master vendor model provided by the big staffing firms, Jones says.

“What we’re seeing now is early interest in maybe a different model, what I would call almost RPO-contingent – direct sourcing, technology-enabled talent clouds, with a lot more candidate engagement, and talent pools that can be owned by the client.”

Australia has a broader mindset to talent acquisition now, Jones adds, which he calls “the total talent agenda”.

The first part involves employers focusing more on the “build strategy”, which draws talent from much more diverse backgrounds.

Next is increasing focus on internal talent mobility. “Lots of TA heads are really focused on internal mobility on a local, regional and global basis around keeping talent in the organisation.”

Internal talent teams are also taking greater charge of their contingent workforce. “In the past, it was procurement for contingent, and TA for permanent talent, but we are seeing internal talent teams increasingly take ownership of the contingent workforce – they’re taking a more ‘enterprise’ view,” says Jones.

“The future, we’re not just talking about putting bums on seats; we’re consulting, rolling out digital projects, we’re assessing digital products, we’re doing agile solutions. AMS’s DNA was in big, complex outsourcing solutions, that’s where we started in Australia, but the market’s changing with technology and ‘total talent’, so we’re having to have a more comprehensive and broader set of talent solutions.”

Please contact us for our no charge Business Case For Offshore and a referral to a proven Offshore Specialist provider  – Tony Hall


Protect your Profit - Top 5 legal pitfalls to avoid for recruitment

From Shortlist reporting on Captain’s Table – 5 Legal Pitfalls

Inadequate and inarticulate terms of business are the chief source of disputes and disagreements with clients, according to a legal advisor.

It may “seem pretty basic”, but the actual terms of business – what recruiters do and get paid for – are not articulated very well to employers, says Corvus Group director and former Adecco general counsel Martin Richardson.

Part of the problem is that organisations outsource not only the writing of their business terms, but also the understanding, he told a recent Navigator Consulting Captains Table

“Where did your terms of business come from, did you borrow them? That’s OK, but do you actually understand them?”

Instead of being “overawed by a legal document”, Richardson suggests creating Q&A-style documents for recruiters and clients, to ensure all parties understand the terms.

Terms of business should include robust clauses around the following:
*         What services are being provided – and how well is this articulated to clients about “what it is you get paid to do, and what it is your contractor is delivering onsite”?
*         Introductions and fees – How long is an introduction period? Is there a period of exclusivity? What is an introduction? What is an engagement? What are the client obligations?
*         Replacement policies – Are timeframes clear? What events give rise to a replacement, eg is it just termination? Are exemption terms and credit notes clear?
*         What costs are passed on to the client? And how are these passed on?
*         Supervising and managing contractors – when it comes to contractor performance and management, is it clear who controls the relationship?
*         Replacing contractors – What do terms say about passing through notice periods?
*         Safety – Are the obligations of both recruiter and client clear?
*         Who is liable for the acts and omissions of contractors? Richardson asks, “if you are not supervising and controlling your contractors, then should you be accepting liability, just because they’re your employee – does your margin cover that?”.
*         Non-poaching clauses – Is there an inclusion in the terms excluding poaching of client employees? He doesn’t recommend including these clauses: “I wouldn’t do it; your business is recruitment.”
*         Payment terms, including passing on interest and debt recovery costs – “More often than not, I see permanent invoices on commencement of employment. I don’t know why you do that… Why would you wait that long?” Instead, Richardson recommends payment terms that start when the candidate is supplied, and if they don’t work out, it is covered by the replacement policy.

He also suggests developing clear strategies around recovering bad debts, including a process with timeframes, scripts and templates, training staff on how to act on overdues, and knowing the “walkaway position”.

Importantly, contract terms cannot be introduced after commencing the transaction, Richards advises, recalling the case of a recruiter who sent a candidate’s details to a law firm, unsolicited, with the terms of business attached in a separate email.

“The law firm gladly took the candidate, on a six-figure salary, and in turn said ‘we’re not paying the fee because we didn’t agree to the terms’.”

That recruitment company took the dispute to court, where it was ruled in the client’s favour.

An industry advisor has developed a new checklist to help agency leaders assess their business’s performance and highlight early warning signs of distress.

From Shortlist March 2019

Navigator Consulting MD Tony Hall created the 10-question survey to help leaders identify specific areas where there is room for improvement, and recognise potential problems early.

With sustained economic growth resulting in profitable performances for many recruitment agencies, now is not the time to be complacent, he warns.

“A lot of people think their recruitment company is doing really well, so I really thought about the 10 most important questions owners should be asking themselves to really benchmark whether the business has potential for improvement and as a reality check to whether it is performing well,” Hall explains.

Questions agency leaders are asked to consider include:

Is your gross profit/net profit margin greater than 25%?
Is staff turnover less than 10% per year?
Are your average debtor days owing less than 35 days?
Is not more than 15% of your net revenue or billings from a single client?
Hall says recruitment agency owners and managers doing the survey should consider 80% a “pass mark” to feel comfortable and start developing strategies around improving weaknesses in the business identified by the survey results. Anything less than 80% calls for a serious assessment of the business.

“Profit margin needs to be greater than 25% to be a high-performing recruitment business,” he explains.

“And staff turnover, some people think it’s acceptable for 40% staff turnover because they are still doing well financially, but that’s actually not acceptable for so many reasons.

“The last [question] is a psychological one, which people don’t think about as much: does your business keep you up at night? Do you worry about all the things you have to do, the problems you have, the staff issues, the cashflow problems?” he says.

“If that’s happening, then there is some psychological support that’s required too.”

Hall, who has 20 years’ experience consulting to the recruitment sector, admits not everyone will feel comfortable to honestly assess their business.

“I think some people will be too scared to do [the survey], and some people might go through it and then not identify themselves because they are too embarrassed,” he says. “But I say just do it because it could be an eye opener and it could dramatically improve your business [with] just a couple of tweaks.”

At a recent Captain’s Table event, Hall asked attendees if they had a business plan. Of the 25 or so people in the room, just one hand was raised.

“A lot of people are doing kind of well and they are not in ‘business improvement mode’ right now,” he says.

However, he adds that now is the perfect time to build a solid foundation to sustain a recruitment business through any potential economic lows.

“I think it’s a really good time to get some strong financial reporting in place now so that if the market does change, you have plenty of warning and you can adjust accordingly,” Hall says. “What can happen, is if you don’t have good financial reporting in place and the market changes, by the time you realise there is a problem, you are six or seven months down the track and it takes longer to adjust.

“So it’s a good time to get good financial discipline into a recruitment business I believe. Budgeting, cashflow are the very basics. Almost no-one does cashflow statements but they are critical because if there is a downturn and you have a lot of debtors, and your clients stop paying you, you run out of money.”

The survey was built during the development of Navigator’s new Recruitment Business Accelerator Program, which covers 10 topics, he says.

Access the 10 questions here:

Technology hype blinds leaders to marketing ROI

Recruitment leaders are wasting too much money and effort on marketing that doesn’t align with their business fundamentals, often blindly following trends that deliver little or no return on investment, according to an industry advisor.

“Technology is a really easy way to get caught up in a [marketing] hype cycle,” Navigator Consulting director of marketing and research Matt Fink told a recent Captain’s Table event.

“Marketers use the same tactics used to help your business on you,” he says. “It means that we tend to do things that we don’t necessarily apply the same level of due diligence to.”

By way of example, Fink draws on his own experience as head of marketing for a multinational office supplies business, where he took three-to-four months to define and accurately work out the return on investment of a marketing automation platform – during which time he was fielding daily sales calls from providers trying to sell him the latest and greatest platform.

“Blindly falling into those decisions does a number of things. One, we fall for it every time, and two, it distracts us away from the fundamentals,” he says. “You need to have strong fundamentals in your business, and marketing is no different.”

And while marketers are very good at finding the next opportunity, they don’t necessarily look at the things that haven’t worked as well, Fink adds. So when looking into the ‘next big thing’ in marketing tools and technology, he suggests leaders spend as much time looking for what doesn’t work with the technology as what does.

Another mistake agencies make is failing to differentiate their service offering from the rest of the market, particularly through company websites.

“This is the biggest mistake I’ve seen in my time,” Fink says. “There’s a disparity between what you say when you go out and sell and what appears on the website.”

Going further, he says there is often inconsistency between how leaders or owners describe their service offering compared to other people in the business.

“Leads can come from anywhere,” Fink says. “And if somebody in your organisation can’t communicate even the elevator pitch, there’s a missed opportunity.”

Marketing and sales need to be in concert with all parts of the organisation, he adds.

Same same, but different

Fink also sees too many organisations using “cookie cutter” approaches to marketing, which just do not work. “If you want your business to grow, you don’t want to be following exactly what everyone else is doing.”

If organisations take the same approach with marketing for every client and candidate, without taking into account variables around who they are and what makes them unique, this leads to another key marketing faux pas: misalignment.

“This is not just misalignment between marketing and sales,” he says. “It’s also a misalignment in the way in which we execute [work]… from sales through to marketing through to management and leadership through to the support functions of the business.”

When alignment between business functions breaks down, Fink says organisations end up producing marketing material that doesn’t support the sales effort and drive value within a business. It also makes them more susceptible to marketing phases and fads. Instead, he reminds leaders to keep marketing strategies simple, and keep them aligned to the business.

Looking back over his 20-year career, Fink says marketing basics haven’t changed. “Technology’s changed, the way we take it to market has changed and the platforms have changed, but there are still the same fundamentals.”

He says the key marketing fundamentals to consider are:

  • Define what makes an offering unique;
  • Clearly demonstrate value;
  • Share the wins;
  • Be where the audience is – look at alternative channels to reach candidates and clients;
  • Choose smart and invest wisely in technology and tools;
  • Don’t automate relationships – people buy from people;
  • Act now, prepare for tomorrow.

Matt presented at Navigator Consulting’s recruitment industry leaders forum – Captain’s Table, kindly supported by Job Adder and A Positive.

Most people spend a significant proportion of their waking hours at work or at least thinking about work. This is even more so for those who are owners or at a senior level within any business. The recruitment industry is no exception.

Having had a few weeks myself to relax and recharge over the Christmas break, I am filled with energy and excited for another year. I had a wonderful holiday with my family and was enjoying the last few days when I was inundated with phone calls from re-charged clients. The majority however were from senior level leaders who had reflected on their current roles over the break and are now looking for new opportunities.

Many year ago we developed a simple 10 question quiz that we use when we work with recruitment owners and senior leaders. It helps us walk them through an understanding of how satisfied they are in their current role. By understanding the level of satisfaction, we can then determine a set of actions to correct any issues that may be causing it.

There are strong correlations between job dissatisfaction and both mental and physical health. While cause and effect are not always clear – they can be interlinked – this is an alarming trend that seems to be increasing based on the research into organisational behaviour. Having returned from a break full of energy and excitement- we thought we would share this quiz.

Coming back from a holiday or break and feeling unmotivated is a strong sign that something needs to change.

Take a few minutes to answer the questions honestly. Store the answers somewhere. Then think about what is causing all of your ‘Yes’ responses. Are they something that you can change? Can you talk to someone in your business about them?

If you can identify a path of action to correct all the Yes answers – put something in place to change your level of satisfaction. If you answered more Yes than No – I definitely recommend reaching out to a mentor or giving us a call.

Job Satisfaction Quiz

For owners and managers of recruitment firms (Please answer truthfully)

1. I feel stale and uninspired in my current role  (Yes/No)

2. I don’t feel challenged  (Yes/No)

3. I don’t seem to be learning anything new  (Yes/No)

4. I don’t feel my work and ideas are valued  (Yes/No)

5. I no longer spring out of bed with excitement about my work  (Yes/No)

6. Little things at work are starting to irritate me  (Yes/No)

7. I don’t have anyone good at work to mentor or support me  (Yes/No)

8. My job is affecting my mental or physical health  (Yes/No)

9. The business is declining or going sideways?  (Yes/No)

10. I am feeling unmotivated and even a pay rise wont help  (Yes/No)

Firstly, the bad news – if you scored more than 6 – Yes answers it is time you made a change

The good news – it is time to find a new job a new role or get some help to re-charge you and your business.

How We Can Help

For 20 years Navigator Consulting has helped recruitment firms grow prosper.

Former EY management consultant and company founder Tony Hall has a huge amount of experience leading, owning managing and growing recruitment firms and can quickly help you improve your job satisfaction or business performance. Tony has written two books and spoken at numerous conferences on recruitment company growth in Australia and overseas.

Next Step – Make Contact ASAP

For a no charge, no obligation and confidential conversation about your next role in the recruitment industry or as an owner – efficient ways to improve your current business and job satisfaction, feel free to make contact anytime.

Tony Hall, Managing Director, Navigator Consulting.

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.