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Women and Distractions

We have completed the 2013 HRO Today Magazine RPO Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction survey. The survey, which last year set a record with a 50 percent increase in respondents to more than 900, was sadly smaller this year by about 13. Ours is the biggest, best, and only objective customer-driven survey in HR and RPO, and it continues to provide our editorial team with a wealth of insight into the world of talent management and recruiting management. It also tells us a great deal about the vendor community. Here are two observations:

Diversity for Dummies
Company                                          Operational Leader
Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS)    Rosaleen Blair
Randstad Sourceright                      Rebecca Callahan
Pinstripe & Ochre House                 Susan Marks
Pontoon                                           Mike Beygelman
Allegis Talent2                                 Richard Haviland
PeopleScout                                    Patrick Beharelle
Kenexa, an IBM Company              Phillip Stewart
Advantage xPO                              Karen Browne
Hudson RPO                                  Kimberley Hubble
Aon Hewitt                                      Kathy Kalstrup
Futurestep                                      Byrne Mulrooney
Seven Step RPO                            Beth Gilfeather
KellyOCG                                       Pam Berklich

These 13 companies probably account as a group for nearly one million hires worldwide or more. Note that 62 percent of the operational leaders or presidents are women. So the world trusts its hiring to many companies run by women. This makes sense to me. My mother was a healthcare professional at a time (1947 graduate) when few women were college graduates outside of nursing. My grandmother marched with Susan B. Anthony. So I get it. Fifty-one percent of the world population is women, 52 percent of college graduates are women, and more than 60 percent of consumer spending is done by women. Here’s the question I don’t understand. If 62 percent of the leading hiring companies in the world are run by women, why are only 15 percent of public-company board seats held by women? It is time to tell the truth. I will confess on behalf of all men everywhere what women already know, but we do not readily admit. Men must be stupid.

Transaction Distraction
For my friends in RPO management, please understand that attorney’s fees are not the only deal costs when there is a merger or fundraising effort. Four companies went through transactional activities last year, , with three suffering somewhat in the rankings.
First, congratulations to Rudy Karsan and the team at Kenexa for the very successful sale to IBM. If you look at Kenexa’s scores last year, a number of what we call leading indicators in trust and relationship were moving up. After six years of doing this survey, we know that companies with the kind of numbers they showed in 2012 hold very steady or move up well. Kenexa finished last year at number two. However, after a year of comprehensive integration, they slip in relative position to number six. I still believe they deserve congratulations for managing to do this while adding a number of very large new clients.

WilsonHCG fell from the lower quartile of the Enterprise List to the top of the Emerging Market Leaders List. This is partly due to increased competition. WilsonHCG competes with any of the companies on either list. The only thing that changed was they went through a significant fundraising event that will raise enough capital to transform the company.

Peoplescout fell six spots after spending a year looking at its strategic options and not being able to find the right deal to make a move. Without a deal to show for it, the diversion of the attention of their leadership left customers less enthused about their provider than they were last year, when Peoplescout ranked number one.

And, finally, Sue Marks merged Pinstripe with Ochre House. But Pinstripe moved up well this year to number three. Part of the deal preserved much of the successful Ochre House team, including the very talented CEO Chris Herrmannsen. In this case, they executed the deal by taking their time and having a deliberately measured pace toward integration. And it worked. They move from number seven to number three.

Now more analysis will be done to study this hypothesis, but it is clear that in an industry that is driven by leadership personalities and major client relationships often involving the CEO, the distraction of the top of the house has an impact. We do not believe this impact is long term, though. Randstad Sourceright dropped last year to number five and rebounded this year. Their biggest problems in 2012 were in their European sample and this year the globalized entity has scored very well. Clearly, the addition of the Randstad market penetration and the very strong RPO expertise emanating from the legacy U.S. Sourceright team has renewed them as a powerhouse. And rumors persist that everyone wants to buy, has already bought, or is about to buy Alexander Mann Solutions, but at number one, I can tell for a fact: They just “ain’t” selling.
Elliot Clark

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