I imagine one of the nice things about being a wedding celebrant is that most people are usually happy on their wedding day, just like when recruiters fill job vacancies for clients. It’s usually happy smiles all around. That, genuinely, nice feeling of helping people is what makes most people’s work so much more meaningful. Recruitment consultants, management consultants, marketing consultants, they all get a kick out of getting a result. It can even be a bit addictive.
Wedding celebrants would obviously not be invited to a divorce. I’m not sure what the divorce rate is but I do know that the average length of employee tenure is about 3 or 4 years. Employers all know this, they plan for it…. or do they? Most don’t budget for it.
A lot of SME’s are surprised when employees resign and have to scramble to find a replacement but that goes double for your back-office staff. We all think that accounts staff stay longer, they don’t. They just don’t give any hints about being unhappy because they are risk adverse by nature, they find another job first. I have worked with accounting department staff for many years now and can tell you that accounting staff usually give very little warning they are about to go, and they usually leave very quickly.
The way that larger businesses deal with sudden accounts staff movements it is to overlap job roles, document and automate as much of the work as possible, and, if needed, use temp staff from an agency. SME’s find these things difficult because of a lack of scale.
I think you can see what I am getting at here: the very factors that make placing accounts staff and temps a good source of recruitment agency business can place huge pressures on your own back-office, and you usually don’t see it coming.
At Green Spinach we really like the secondment model, we can get one of our people to jump in and help when a client has an unexpected resignation. Our people have done their time inside accounts departments but these days love the free-range life. Because of that they know how to hit the ground running. Best of all they get to know your business well and are available for you in the future, the next time the unexpected happens, every 3 to 4 years. If one of your good back office staff is looking for the next challenge have a chat to us because you might get to keep them around that way for the important stuff, and to train your new people.
At my other business, Middle Office, we do payroll for SMEs, and payroll / invoicing for recruitment agencies. and we believe that payroll is way too important to do in-house until you have over 500 employees (over 5,000 temps for agencies). It also costs you more to do it in-house.
I guess the main point of all this is like the age-old problem of patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time. Back office staff usually march to different drum beats. If you are focused hard on client delivery, and we all should be, you can find yourself surprised when accounts staff leave, you shouldn’t be, you should expect it at anytime.