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Outcome-based for SME recruiters Podcasts

Robust outcome-based service models for SME Recruiters

Dispelling the myths around SoW delivery and pivoting from transactional recruitment to outcome-based services

Posted by: Zivio Reading time: 86 minutes

With Tim Jacob & Giles Sumner from Squadrato

00:00:00 - Introductions - pivoting from transactional to annuity services
00:13:30 - The changing role of a recruiter
00:18:00 - The myths around Statement of Work
00:23:30 - Reactionary behaviour to IR35 as a trigger point
00:32:30 - From reactive sales, to services, to proactive partnership
00:38:20 - The key pillars behind an outcome-based service
00:48:30 - SME service wrappers: visibility, risk and delivery
01:00:50 - Legal & compliance considerations
01:06:00 - The trends pushing outcome-based work

Transcript
 
Jonny [0:01]: Okay. We're off. Excellent. Well, welcome to Tim Jacob and Giles Sumner. Thank you both very much for joining me. How are you both? 

Tim [0:11]:I'm very well, thank you, Jonny. Good to have us. Thank you for having us.

Jonny [0:14]: Excellent stuff. 

Giles [0:16]:Yeah, brilliant. All good. All good for Wednesday. Great to be here. Good to be chatting.

Jonny [0:20]:Excellent stuff. Okay, so we've got some really interesting topics to discuss around the challenges that staffing businesses need to overcome to build a high-quality outcome-based services model and this is something that we're seeing a lot of in the market at the moment. Lots of people looking at this, lots of people starting to do it. Got lots of questions around how you guys see the market and what's happening. But before we get into that, just to kind of give a bit of background, could you guys both just give a quick introduction and also maybe a little brief potted history of your background and how you got to where you are today. I'll leave you to decide who goes first.

Tim [0:56]:Okay. Shall I go first?

Jonny [0:58]:Yeah, go for it.

Giles [0:58]:Go for it, Tim.

Tim [1:01]:How I got where I am today is mainly a huge amount of luck. But apart from that, I started my career in recruitment on the desk as a sourcer in 1995 for a recruitment brand called Computer People. And I've worked--

Jonny [1:26]:That's pre-job board. That's pre-job board, isn't it?

Tim [1:28]:That was pre-job board, that was faxing CVs out, that was... I worked on the contract desk for a senior consultant that was collecting paper timesheets from reception for contractors. It was all of that. It was all of that. First contractor I ever placed was a Novell network administrator, still remember his name. And essentially I got caught up in the whirlwind of mid-90s London life and the roller coaster of recruitment and then progressed through, went into sales, also joined a business that start up fairly early doors, which was then on a high growth path. Went up through the ranks, managed a team, again, very much focused in contingent technology recruitment at the time. That business was then sold to a larger business. 

So went through, saw that for a little bit from the outside, but also at that time in around 2000, '99, 2000, was involved in a very early Contractor Workforce Management Program as they were called then or MSPsas they’ve now become, managing a hundred, 150 contractor-base for a large insurance business and that sort of gave me an understanding of the challenges around managing non-permanent labor. I then gave it up all for three years and went traveling and then came back and worked actually, yeah, client-side for a couple of financial services institutions again on large Technology Contingent Labor Programs managing the recruitment management of those programs. 

And then I spent the last 12 years working for Rethink up until about a year ago. And Rethink Group has been again, a number of people that I've worked with before the Founders, been on a very big growth path over the last 12 years. But I think the biggest part of that was the pivot from being a transactional agency recruiter, being very good at that in the tech space, into building and being part of a team that built a talent managementRPO and outsourcing function which is now branded as LTM. And about a year or so ago, and this is-- I met Giles when I was working at Rethink and our paths have crossed over the years unbeknownst to us. About a year ago I've also sat on and done some work with the REC

Sat on the board of the REC for about 18 months, on as executive director so been very close to issues like IR35, not just... You know, I was actually recruiting when IR35 was passed, it's a piece of legislation, following the journey of that, but also understanding a lot of legislative issues from an REC and industry perspective. And about a year ago, Giles and I, over many pints, talked about, you know, some of the challenges we see particularly in the SME recruitment space about growth, and growth of service, and maturity of their services. 

So we now work together advising businesses principally about how to pivot from transactional recruitment services into annuity services, be that outsourcing a project, SoW, whatever it might be, just because we've been involved in selling, building, and operating those types of services and seeing that journey. So that's a little bit about me and where I've come from. Giles is much more interesting.

Giles [5:11]: Just going to say ditto.

Jonny [5:13]: Yeah, no, that is really interesting. I think you know, when you're talking about that transition from agencies, going from like the transactional to more of the kind of annuity services, it's a value chain movement it seems to me, in the sense there's various different parts at which they can move up the value chain and can, you know, add significant value to their clients and take on functions that their clients maybe don't have time for, aren't experts in, et cetera. But it's an interesting transition.

Giles [5:44]: Yeah.

Jonny [5:45]:But yeah, very, very detailed background there. I like that. You've done some good stuff and you've obviously got a huge wealth of experience in the sector so we appreciate that. Giles, how about you? Apparently, yours is more interesting, so no pressure.

Giles [5:59]:Yeah, so almost word for word. I started a little bit earlier, so my first recruitment job was in 1989. This is an awful long time ago. Black and white in those days and yes, we did use the fax and post CVs out which was great fun. And I suppose, like most people who end up in recruitment, it wasn't a choice, it was something I fell into. And I was fortunate, I think, even that first job and it was helping an organisation, just come in as an extra pair of hands, somebody I knew there. Come in and just, we've got lots of contractors, we're a bit light on bodies, just come in, you know, you can get on with people, you can talk to people, just get on and try and help us out if you like.

And that organisation had sort of what was a burgeoning consultancy team in there. So quite early on, in my days working out how this contract world works, how the relationships work, what the customers are expecting, what the various demands of the market were offering in those days, you know? And a lot of mainframe systems, a lot of, you know, if it was really tech, it was wonderful things like Fortran. Where do all these things fit? What does it all mean? And the consulting team, I ended up working sort of slightly closer too with certain customers because quite early on, it was more interesting for me to really try and get under the skin of what the expectations were of the customer, what they're actually looking for. And there was a lot of talk even then around service. 

You mentioned some of the changes that's happened over 30 odd years or what have you but the capability, the experience of people doing recruitment, they were all ex-IBM, ex-ICL, all, you know, big mainframe service providers who had moved into recruitment. The average age of the recruitment consultant was about 40, 45. It was a completely different landscape. So having done that, worked in that first agency for the first sort of five, five or six years so I too landed at Computer People. And up until probably around the millennium, yeah, I was doing a principal consultant role doing, you know, selling contractors into customers in the Northwest, but there was an opportunity to start to work with the public sector. 

So there were some frameworks that sat within Computer People that have been won and nobody was doing anything with, frankly. They were just, we've won this so now what happens? So I saw that there was an opportunity there to actually, you know, rather than just sit and wait for work to come through it, to actually try and proactively go and talk to the customer, see how we understood what the customer wanted and start to build up proper partnerships and make these frameworks work if you like. And that taught me an awful lot. So I'd set up a public sector team, was very successful over a number of years, was great fun, did some really interesting stuff. 

 

But I got to the point where I'm thinking right, I've done a lot of this client-facing rather than sort of at a desk day-to-day, doing which, you know, by any measure is a tough thing to do long-term and getting to the point where I was then moved into more of a client services or client solutions role, which was effectively, how do we give customers more of what they need across multiple types of service? So we were really strong on contract, but hang on, we can do really great permanent recruitment as well. How do we start to pluck those two together and the customer gets the benefit of all of the services we can provide?

So after about 16 years of Computer People and Adecco, and the last half of that very much doing this client services role, where we were doing, you know, wrapped up pieces of work in a grouped-up service offerings, there were certainly MSP models done then, there was project permanent recruitment done then. Probably a bit rickety by today's standards, probably not a lot of tech involved, but certainly, you know, very lucrative, very rewarding for all parties. I ended up at Rethink and with Tim, sort of in the early tens, and the role then was very much how do we do this? How do we do more of these really very bespoke, often used words, not often actually delivered, but very in the manner of what the customer really wants? 

So it was always my view, we need to get on the side of the customer's desk and view the world from the customer. Unless you do that, you don't really start to put together solutions that meet their expectations, their key requirements for what they want from these services and partnership was very much how we talked about doing these things. And so things like Statement of Work solutions or more wrapped up pieces of work were very clearly defined so it's not just, we're going to provide a body, the body is going to be part of something that gives an outcome. We started to put those things together even then.

And I think back to those days at Computer People working with companies like Cable & Wireless, you know, years and years and years ago, putting in teams of people that've got a bit of a narrative around what they're doing, you know. It's going back a long time, but having a team of For[tran], I mention Fortran again, teams of Fortran programmers coming up with a thing, they're doing a thing, and you wrote that down. So this idea of then getting to the point with Tim, building these services, and what we're able to do is because we've, you know, not just put up some shiny pictures of this is how it's going to work, but we've actually been in there and we build it and now we run them so we can give you the put away the shiny pictures, we can tell you, you know, the risks, the challenges, the issues, what the reality is and how it's working. 

So I went independent September last year, so I've been eight to 18 months or so coming out of that as an independent, and it's been thrilling working with different organisations who get the what. They know that they need to do some of these things, they're just not sure how to, and that's where I think, you know, Tim and I coming at it from having worked together and each done each other's job as part of these services so we've got a good blend of experience. 

But we're also calling on with some of these customers, things I did five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years ago. And some of it's fresh, some of it's just good consistency around doing what they're doing, but yeah, it's been great fun, great fun.

Jonny [13:06]:Yeah. So I guess in some ways a lot has changed and in other ways, best practice is still best practice.

Giles [13:13]:Yeah, absolutely.

Jonny [13:14]:And it's a question of adapting to the current economic and kind of workforce environment and requirements. Because it's interesting what you were saying about kind of what an average recruiter or a, you know, what recruiters looked like back in the day saying they were kind of more maybe in their 40s, come from somewhere like IBM. Do you think that that's a reflection of what the advent of technology within recruitment has done, or do you think it's other factors that have changed that within the industry?

Tim [13:45]:I mean, I think whenever you talk about technology, you need to couch it in terms of technology is a tool. It's an enabler to do something quicker, better, more efficiently, more often. So the advent of technology in the recruitment process essentially makes the process itself, you know, there's less friction in the process itself. Makes it more accurate, makes it more repeatable. The fundamental needs of, and I'm going to be a bit kind of philosophical here, but the fundamental needs of labor arbitrage are eternal in many ways. You know, the recruiters are often described as purveyors of labor in a way that is a bit derogatory but essentially it's the same arbitrage. It's the same arbitrage. 

And I think when customers when their clients are looking to manage their talent and manage their workforce effectively or augment their workforce externally, the trick for us is to really get under the skin of what the driver and demand is from their customer that's driven that need to increase their workforce and then you can talk about the way in which you can do that. If you look globally, if you look at the workforce globally, across the planet, most human beings exchange their labor for an outcome. They get paid for an outcome, selling something, completing a task. The West, particularly in the, you know, the last hundred, 150 years since the industrial revolution has changed that dynamic into a time dynamic. 

But if you look across the globe, the majority of people exchange their labor for an outcome. So when we're thinking about outcome-based services, the first thing I would kind of want to talk about really for recruiters is that this is just a different way of describing how you're going to arbitrage the labor. And if you start to kind of understand that from a recruiter's perspective, and this is a challenge of change as much as it's anything else, then you need to apply your thoughts to how you go about finding staff, managing staff, in a slightly different way. And I think, you know, you need to start thinking about managing hours and not outcomes. 

When you can start to get into the shoes of that lingua franca if you like with a customer, you can start to uncover a lot more about the needs of that customer. And ultimately selling and partnering with customers is, as with any good partnership, is really beginning to understand the other party as much as you possibly can.

Giles [16:54]: Yes.

Tim [16:55]:And I think particularly when it comes down to non-permanent labor, there is a position where a recruiter, particularly one with a specialism, one with a deep knowledge of a talent pool with a particular knowledge base will quickly, if they take a strategic view of it, begin to understand that the customers demand for their particular services is often linked to an outcome. Not always, but it's often linked to some sort of outcome. So--   

Jonny [17:29]:Yeah. I mean, I tend-- Sorry. I was just going to say so I tend to look at it from the point of view of it's just about getting work done. And there are different ways to get work done and it's horses for courses. It's the most suitable option of work delivery for the specific task that needs to be done. That might be a permanent position, it might be a contractor, it could be an outcome-based SoW-type engagement. And I think the growth of the gig economy has really kind of pushed that along in terms of people going wow, stuff being delivered for an outcome and, you know, task-based. 

As you say, it's not new, it's ancient, but it's being used in a different way now. And it's almost like that cyclical evolution of how work gets done, whereas 60 years ago, you know, job for life. That was the standard in certainly the UK. And I think you're right, I think one of the biggest things to get over, the hurdle to go over in the first instance is understanding what it means, what these models mean. You know, there were lots of kind of misunderstandings around what SoW is, what outcome-based is, particularly in relation to things like IR35. So I think there's-- Do you guys find that there's a kind of an education element to what you're dealing with in the first instance?

Giles [18:41]:Absolutely. The easiest way, as you touched on I think a bit earlier, is this principle of maturity, and maturity of relationship, and maturity of partnership, and seeing how, you know, a customer can go through that way in which they procure the, you know, the bodies in inverted commas, to complete a task or to complete a solution. And often, I mean, recruiting let's face it, recruitment it is never-- It should be. I mean, bringing talent into an organisation should be the top of most CEOs' agendas. You know, it should be board level, it should have all of the, you know, the most important heads in an organisation, either way, buying in or supporting that strategy. And it's often pushed down the list because it's not understood, it's too difficult. 

And you're right, the vehicle of how do we actually engage with talent is not, you know, not considered necessarily at the right point. The point of we need to complete a task. How are the ways in which we can complete that task? What are they? What are the practicalities? What are we actually expecting from that task, to the point Tim was making? And, you know, so SoW has always been around, Statement of Work has always been around, but the myth around you just have to write something down around, you know, a requirement and it's a Statement of Work is, you know, we're finding is absolutely not the answer. 

And it should be considered as a wholly appropriate and legitimate way of completing tasks, just as it is hiring a permanent member of staff, just as it is bringing a temp in or an intern or a contractor or whatever it may be. But the myth around how it's operating, I mean, we, you know, we've seen that the last IR35 is a trigger for this to have been considered, but it's not the reason to do it. And working with organisations that are able to, okay, consider there’s a different way of working now around the Statement of Work, there's a different method of working, there's a different time in which or point at which something would get invoiced for because it's a completed task. And it's not last day of the month, it's not, you know, on a four-week cycle, it's very much that outcome-based. 

It's getting organisations to understand, you know, that they would pay for consultancy from the big five on that very basis. They would pay for software provision on the provision of an outcome. So that's well-known, and, you know, and lots of organisations use big five all the time. So why isn't there any SoW with the same level of importance and bringing people in that are the same level of importance to get that thinking of when we get to the point of needing something done, what are the legitimate ways of doing it? And it's pushed SoW to, you know, very high on the agenda as we all know while we're talking, but I think there's still a lot of work to do for the providers to understand how it works; a lot of myths to get busted.

Tim [22:08]:Yeah. I think we, in our experience of the last 12 months or so, 18 months or so, is when we're talking to recruiters, it's a topic they want to talk about. I think I need to look at building a Statement of Work, this is to protect business. And as Giles said, a lot of that is driven by the trigger of IR35. But I suppose one of the things we wanted to come across here is that it's been around a lot longer than that. Giles and I are involved in setting up a protectiveness as part of everything. Five years ago? Sixmaybe? Longer? 

Giles [22:49]: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Tim [22:51]:The large, the big sort of six recruiters have had projects businesses for many years so it should be part of a service portfolio that meets a need for your customers. And the other thing I want to probably get across is it's not about scale, it's about doing it right. It's not about scale, it is about doing it right. And it is about having, and I talked earlier about I think it's really important from a specialism perspective, it's about having knowledge of a talent pool and being able to marshal that talent pool in a way that delivers the outcome and has a service wrapper, as we would call it, that delivers an outcome around that service which is not just a bum on a seat, it's more embedded in the relationship of the outcome not just finding labor.

Giles [23:46]: Mm.

Jonny [23:47]:Yeah, I think... So if we look at IR35 as a trigger point, it clearly is. I agree it's not the only reason for people to use SoW engagements, they're just another way of getting work done. It's just, yeah, whatever's the most suitable way of getting a piece of work done. There's parts of me that feels like, if you look at the contract market, it's so massive, you look at the contract market in the UK, the IR35 came in all those years ago and it never really was properly enforced, is the general narrative around it. It's what we're looking at now. 

Tim [24:20]:Well, well, Jonny, I'm sure every contractor pays, you know, the taxes. They're supposed to pay.

Jonny [24:25]:No, but so from an HMRC point of view, okay, if you look at what they're doing now, in a lot of ways you could say it's what IR35 was originally designed to be if it had been enforced a hundred percent effectively. So you could look at the way that the contract market became very big and very sprawling and merged into lots of gray areas. Maybe that's what we're looking at now. Obviously, with HMRC making this big correction, which is having a huge impact on the market and a huge impact on people, it's basically it's making people work in a very ordered and structured way. 

But if you look at SoW, it's making people do it properly and it's creating a scrutiny and a demand for it, but it's also creating a requirement for it to actually be done properly. And I think the UK is going to end up leading the market on that.

Tim [25:17]:I think... I mean, one of the reasons that we connected about doing this session was I listened to your James Ottaway session which was really good. I really enjoyed it. 

Jonny [25:29]: Glad to talk about James. 

Tim [25:31]:Really nice guy. But there are some things I have a different view on so that was one of the reasons we've kind of taken this session. 

Jonny [25:38]: Oh no. Oh no.

Giles [25:40]: Here we go. It's going in that direction now. Okay.

Tim [25:44]:But I think, look, the trigger of IR35, certainly my experience of last year was, and in the public sector that Giles and I lived through and the hell of that, was that clients are being forced through legislation to consider, and be involved in, and have knowledge of, the people that are not on their payroll; where they come from, how they entered their business. Now, you know, you could argue, you should know that already. But Giles and I can recount many stories, one of which was from, they're very much from last year, for a FTSE 250 business who genuinely didn't know how many people they had in the building that weren't on their payroll. So the le[gislation]-

Jonny [26:28]:That's not a surprise to me. It’s not a surprise.

Tim [26:30]:The legislation-- Exactly. But the legislation is driving, it's a governance thing, it's driving organisations inclined to being forced into considering all their total talent, perm and non-perm and lifting the lid on, you know, practices that are going on to deliver projects, to deliver the outcomes that they need. Taxes ultimately get paid voluntarily. They're not paid through enforcement, generally, they're paid through the threat of enforcement. So, you know, changing the rules around or reforming the IR35 legislation, by the way, which was, as I understand it, how it was originally drafted back in 2000, 2001, this was envisioned about how it would work. 

And many other territories and jurisdictions operate in a very similar way of working tax in this area but it is beginning to try and define and highlight what is the difference between outcome and hours, and taxing people fairly, and all of those sorts of things. But there's a huge gray area. And I think, you know, one of the challenges when you talk about that and this legislation is that it's not consistent with employment law either and there's a big need to reform that. And the Taylor Review was a big part of doing that. And when everybody can focus in on those things after COVID and Brexit and all of that stuff, it will be something that I think, you know, government and legislature will have to have a look at. 

But we're in a reaction at the moment;IR35. We're in a reaction, we're in people trying to get their heads around what it means, trying to make sure that they're compliant, trying to ensure that they have the right processes, that they have the right comfort, et cetera. And obviously, a byproduct of that is customers wanting help with that but also wanting to partner with organisations to have surety about how they'd be procuring labor, have surety about the solutions that are in place around it. So I think these discussions from the recruitment industry and from SME recruiters, ultimately come back to the thing of they're at client demand. 

There's something that the client is looking at, they're looking at different ways of doing it. I think we fall into the trap though, of talking around this, in that it's a contract-tool-driven requirement. Traditional contract recruitment paid on hours will continue post IR35.

Jonny [29:25]: Of course, yeah. Absolutely. 

Tim [29:26]:It will. Yeah. It'll just operate slightly differently.

Giles [29:30]:Yeah.

Tim [29:30]:You know; it just will be different. But I think recruiters sometimes fall into the trap of, you know, classically with arbitrage, you're caught in the middle, you're getting it from both sides. And as Margaret Thatcher said, don't stand in the center because you get hit from both ends. So recruiters are in the middle and they're getting hit from both ends. You know, you've got the contractor community concerned about it, you've got client community concerned about it. But ultimately the next nine months will be about a big renegotiation of those, a fiscal renegotiation, and a renegotiation of the relationships that those parties have. 

And then customers will start to think about, well, how do we do this full NETU? How do we go about doing this in a more strategic way? Most of them anyway. So I'm sort of rambling on and not necessarily answering your question there, Jonny, but I think that the driver for this comes back to what we were just saying. If you're a recruitment business, I think you want to be having much better and more mature relationships with your customer. This is a string to the bow that can give you deeper relationships. COVID has demonstrated that recruiters with services and annuity revenue in their portfolio have weathered the storm better. 

It provides, you know, multiples and equity multiples and exit multiples which are much better, it provides benefits from efficiencies within your business, it provides a path of growth for your own recruiters and staff so they can do something different. So there are many benefits for a recruitment company getting into providing these sorts of annuity services. But turning specifically to SoW, it does start with talking to your customer about spotting an opportunity or a need to package up this specialist cluster of people for a defined outcome, I think.

Jonny [31:31]:Yeah and it's clearly happening. You know, we're seeing that in the number of agencies and intermediaries in general, that are looking at this model around services, you know, SoW services, whether it's full-on project and consulting services that they're moving to, or whether it's just SoW management or a full-on, you know, SoW within an MSP provision. I mean, you know, look at the big tenders now, they've always got SoW included in a big contingent workforce MSP top tender. So I guess it really comes down to just solving problems for a customer. Sorry, I thought the internet connect was going a bit wobbly there. 

You know, you're talking about customer need. Customers are going to their trusted recruiters and their trusted partners that help them get up, get work done in other ways, and they've got another problem that needs solving. And generally, recruitment companies and intermediaries like that are very good at solving those problems that are too much of a headache for the customer to do themselves. So kind of going right back to what we were talking about earlier, sometimes, you know, the much-maligned recruiter, you know, you never appreciate how important good recruiters are until you run a business because you can't run and grow a business without good people. And that is the most important part of anything, any business. 

So yeah, I think when you're in that sort of position, you really do appreciate the really good recruiters and recruitment companies that are out there. But yeah, it's just it's problem-solving, isn't it? It's just companies need to get stuff done.

Giles [32:58]:It is. It is. And I think it's a-- Sorry, Jonny. I was just going to say, I think that what has always struck me is this kind of di--, you know, this two views on what recruitment businesses are there to do. And a lot of the language around, a lot of the ways in which all the successful businesses have been talked around it being about being sales, about being selling, it's selling and it's all KPIs are sell-based and all the activities is around, you know, achieving outcomes and making placements and all of those, you know, brilliant and wonderful things. The fact that these are now more service-based and the service conversation is certainly different from the sell conversation, there's no question that the activity to do, you know, contingent recruitment is a selling activity. 

The customers are now, more often than not, and certainly in our experience I think, they are craving a proper partnership or more of a control element around it. And that's some of the negativity around Scattergun or PSL models, to some extent, that don't have, you know, control element around it, don't have the opportunity to talk about service. It's more of a kind of fast finger first. There's still a lot of that, that goes along and a lot of recruitment business success has been about being brilliantly reactive. Customer demand, bringing it. It's all about time, pace, route to market, route to candidate, route to contractor. It's been about that sort of approach. 

I think a lot of organisations we've got, you know, we're on the back of a week that's had some positive news. Finally, there's some positive news to feel good about what's 2021 going to look like. Yes, we've got Brexit. Okay, that's not a new thing, we’re just working out what that needs to look like. But I think organisations have got cash, have got, you know, to the end customers. They've got cash and I think they will be investing and I think they will be pushing the button on projects, on hiring, on growth, on-- You know, there's lots of digital transformation still going on, change programs, that the hiring, the deployment of talent, the doing the work, some of the most important bits of work they'll do in the next five years, are going to happen in the next 12 to 18 months. 

So the models that they use and the way that they get that work done is going to give them key competitive advantage. It's going to put them on the right footing for further growth as we move away from dealing with, you know, COVID as a thing, which is going to be a thing. So I think that the maturity of organisations need to be on the proactive side rather than just being brilliantly reactive, to think services, and to have these kind of, as we've said, these kind of capabilities that isn't just, oh, we can talk about SoW and work it out how it happens. It's got to be a thing. It's got to have; you know, it's got to be a product, it's got to be a true service, it's got to have stuff written down, it's got to be, you know, it's got to have the appropriate tech behind it that's going to make it work. 

It's got to have the right kind of collateral, the right kind of language, the right kind of people delivering it, and the right kind of way to approach customers with it as it being a real thing. So I think it's in a real opportunity to pivot that we're brilliantly reactive. Don't question on our ability to get hold of the people and deliver them. It's the method of the delivery, the shape of the delivery, and the wrap of the delivery that's going to mean (a) an IR35, and this is kind of to Tim's point. Yeah, so many organisations who don't know how many workers they've got. So if you're not going to get to best practice, get to better practice of making sure you, you know, you are doing these, you know, correct evaluation of the capability you've got in the organisation. 

See it as a talent capability. That group, they're going to be delivering outcomes. That is our business as usual, that is our flexible resource. And I think it's going to push further thinking higher up this. We need to think about talent as a whole. SoW is a real key pivot to help us do that but it's incumbent on there's a recruitment capability to be on the front foot to push that rather than waiting for somebody to flag it up and then kind of sort of making it up as they go along a little bit.

Tim [37:40]: Yes. Yeah, I hear you.

Jonny [37:42]:Do you think that ties into the fact that, you know, what companies are looking for is just someone to take their problem away?

Giles [37:48]: Yeah.

Jonny [37:49]:So when you're talking about recruitment companies and what Tim was talking about earlier with expanding into these annuity services, companies just want someone to take these problems away because they've got better things to do with their time and their expertise. So I totally agree. I couldn't agree more with what you're saying, in the sense that, where recruitment intermediaries can offer, they can take the problem away and provide a genuine service around having these alternative work delivery models that's incredibly valuable for customers. 

And it does need to have the right terminology, it does need to have the right structure. You mentioned the kind of different pillars around it. I mean, I always talk about expertise, process, and technology. Tim, from your side, what do you see as the kind of key pillars that need to be part of that service when these recruitment pivot over?

Tim [38:36]:Well, I think that they start, you know, we talked about from a recruiter's perspective. You have to have clarity on the service, on the product. You have to have an ability to describe what is different about it, and have at least the ability to show the approach that you would take in managing the service; so a product with a service definition. You know, we're all familiar with product sales. But that thinking around what it is that you are going to talk to the customer around, often our experience has been, in the last 18 months or so, that when we've been talking to recruiters who know what the SIA definition of an MSP is, or RPO is, or what SoW is, so they can articulate that, but they can't show the how that works, what that would mean for a customer's problem. 

You said earlier, it's about the customers want you to take a problem away from them and the noise around IR35 and SoW is because clients want IR35 as a problem taken away or dealt with or ticked off with a project. So in your, you know, selling that back to the customer or telling them about your products, that would be some element of what you would have to explain about how you would do that and the steps you would go to build that service for them, manage that service for them, and deliver that service for them. I think the other pillar is, as always, it has to come back to people; having the right trusted people within the organisation who have got an understanding of the relationship with the client. 

I think in order to deliver these services; you will need to get some external knowledge to help deliver those technical knowledge in delivering an outcome. Would you not agree, Giles? I think those are the successes we've seen in terms of building those things. I don't know if you want to add.

Giles [41:02]:Yeah, I think the other thing that sort of always, because of the experience I suppose, of doing it ourselves, is it's actually, it's quite good fun. It's exciting stuff to be doing something different with what we all know and love as a very well-trodden process. And it creates opportunity in these organisations to find different direction for career path, career progression. You know, there's usually, when there's something new for a recruiter to talk about or a new idea that lands well with it, they get really excited about it. They want to go and talk to customers about it. There's an inherent enthusiasm that you tap into that comes across as passion, comes across as... 

Yeah, there's a really enthusiastic and a good thing to be talking to customers about. And we've seen in customers we've worked with recently, you know, the idea of once you've got this thing in place now that has got a process, has got a name, and, you know, a series of components, has got a tech play with it, it is a thing, I can go and sell this. And there's a real excitement about it and it starts to generate lots of really good conversations, better conversations really than look what we want to do is to get some recruitment off you. You know, that's an important conversation to have, of course. It's taking that maturity a little higher up, a little broader, and a bit wider. So it's got reward for the customer, no question about it.

Tim [42:46]: And the reality--

Giles [42:47]:It's also got reward for the agencies and the people in those organisations to be selling these things. Sorry, Tim.

Tim [42:53]:Yeah. I was going to say the reality with any new service offering is that you're most likely route to market is going to be with an existing customer. So the pillar of the existing customer and understanding that customer and the customer opportunity would be the very first entry point into it. You know, the first one's hard, the second one's even harder, the third one, you start to really start to motor. And I'm going to get a little bit, sort of look a little bit inward to recruitment businesses. I think one of the other challenges is also bringing the middle and back office along with you as well because that can be a really bumpy part to it when you do deliver those services.

Jonny [43:35]: Why do you think that's a particular-- Why is that a particular tricky point?

Tim [43:40]:Well, I think there's often a challenge in, you know, going off and selling great ideas. There have been many times that Giles and I have spoken and whatnot and I've literally--

Giles [43:53]: You've been on the wrong end of it and that's when you said a lot of [43:57 inaudible].

Tim [43:55]: Yeah I've literally gone why on earth did you sell that? What on earth did you sell?

Jonny [44:00]: What have you sold? We don't even have that. Odd jobs, obviously. 

Tim [44:04]: Odd.

Giles [44:04]: But they said yes and we're going to do it. 

Tim [44:06]:We're going to do it. But I think there's, you know, that spirit of change and evolution, and I'm sorry to kind of come back to your product Jonny, if I may, for a second.

Jonny [44:22]:You may. You absolutely may. 

Tim [44:24]:But we've spoken over the years. I think your product is about addressing a gap in some of the large enterprise VMS products out there that are so focused on processing time and not processing outcome and the challenge of managing that. And typically, not always, but recruitment businesses, middle and back offices, are quite rightly set up to be efficient in paying and billing based on time and have all of their processes, all of their financial processes aligned to that. So when you come to manage an outcome-based service, there can be some wrinkles in being able to kind of get the netting right. 

And if you're doing that afterwards rather than at the front end, even just in principle, to kind of flag that there's going to be a different way in which we're going to need to run this, it can be a challenge. Mind you, the challenge is also when to bring people on board to do that and when not to bring people on board to do that. But, you know, ultimately everybody's keen on getting paid and keen on getting paid efficiently so managing that process needs to be taken to account. 

And I think there's another pillar here of actually the workers. Great recruitment businesses in specialisms have great relationships with their talent pools and knowledge-based talent pools. I have seen, and I know you touched on this with James, it's not going to be to every worker's... Not every worker who’s going to work want to work like this.

Jonny [46:15]:No. You know, absolutely. I totally agree with you and I think--

Tim [46:17]:Not going to suit everyone. So you need to be clear on how you're going to sort of sell it if you like for the worker and have the benefits to them of working in this way. Not just about IR35 but the actual real, good recruitment sell bits. You know, why it's an exciting project, why it's an exciting client, why it's going to be exciting to work with people, what they're going to get out of it from a knowledge perspective and be clear to them about what path there is for them in terms of engaging with an outcome service like this. And it's not just because you're going to get paid more. It's not just so they get paid more.

Jonny [47:00]:Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I think it comes back to the basic principle of it's about how you get work done and it's about how you deliver a service. That's the fundamental truth of it. And it's interesting what you were saying about the kind of education of people within recruitment organisations to have this as a service line and to understand it and to buy into it. I think it's the same within clients. And an interesting byproduct that we've seen of people using our technology, where it's very specifically designed for this purpose, is that when they have the technology in place, you can explain what it is by showing it. 

So you're not just showing a PowerPoint presentation, you're saying, well, here's where the supplier signs up here, and this is how a milestone's signed off, and this is how the client agrees and invoice, whatever it might be, and this is how it pushed out to finance system. So when you can actually look at that within teams, within recruitment companies, that's just a much easier sell internally. And then it's a much easier service to offer externally because your clients get that kind of light bulb. Now clearly there's much more that goes around it in terms of the whole service wrapper. 

The people element of it, all the clients upfront, helping with onboarding suppliers, helping make sure that the actual delivery of the work is consistent with the SoW agreement and how it's supposed to be done, which, you know, a system could facilitate that to a decent extent, but still, there's other things that go around it. So with regards to the sort of service wrappers and things like that, what do you guys see as the key areas of importance of that element of the kind of overall service?

Giles [48:35]:A lot of it comes down to having what effectively is a really good PMO capability to manage all the various component parts.

Jonny [48:45]: Agreed, yeah.

Giles [48:46]:So there's the kind of the quantitative element of it. So there's the, you know, outcomes times expectations equals, you know, yes, no, maybe, pay, no pay, bill, no bill sort of conversations. And even before that, then there's the task allocation piece, you know, so what are the various component parts and how well that's run? I think our experience, I'll speak for Tim now as well, and can quote me if right, but I think that there has to be very much a front foot, you know, qualitative element to it that is a, you know, not necessarily dedicated account management, but there's a service management element to it that's not just about, you know, hitting the numbers.

It's got to be a positive experience, it's got to seem to be innovating where it can, it's got to be seen to be being, you know, proactively looking to achieve not just the objectives, but to overachieve. So there's got to be a positive customer experience that sits around that, but all of the, you know, key metric points. So what's the review cycle, what's the MR provision look like, what's dashboarding look like, what does particularly the onboarding piece at the beginning of this look like? You know, what's the orientation around the service and the solutions, what is the care and experience package around the non-permanent resource that's in the service? So there's multiple, multiple aspects. 

It comes down to quantitative management of it, so the component parts, and then the qualitative element. Is it achieving, you know, desired outcomes that tick the box like peace of mind, feeling good about it, it's a good experience, those sorts of things. And forget either, you know, if there isn't focus on all of that and around, then it's not really a service wrapper for me.

Jonny [50:56]:And what about things like kind of dispute resolution and things like that in terms of the actual delivery. Because obviously depending where the offering sits on the value chain, it could be full-on project services where the intermediary is taking legal responsibility and liability for the delivery of the work and now there's a greater cost around them providing that. Alternatively, they could be providing a kind of SoW-MSP-type service, where it's SoW management and there's a back-to-back contractual arrangement between the client, the intermediary, and the supplier, but the actual liability for the delivery sits with the supplier. Where does the service wrapper come in with regards to things like actual delivery, dispute resolution, that sort of stuff?

Tim [51:37]:Well, I was going to chip in just there because I think the service wrapper is all about managing risk for all parties, but particularly if you're the intermediary, the agency who is responsible, accountable, and liable for the delivery of the work. You know, the service wrappers tasks and outputs which Giles just talked about there are fundamentally about making sure that you're managing the risks that's in the project. You know, recruiters making this pivot, I've often have conversations with them around taking on liability and risk around delivery, for delivery, and the service wrapper needs to take that into account or make sure that there's a allocation of that risk through the contractual chain as appropriate. 

And that's another reason if you're doing direct engagement with associates, the associates may be unhappy with taking on more risk but IR35 is a risk that needs to be managed in these service wrappers. It doesn't disappear because you've suddenly got an SoW. It needs to be managed properly. If you have the right engagement upfront, if you have the right service wrapper, you can mitigate risks like disputes, you can mitigate risks of non-delivery because you're on it. Because you know, you can see it happening, you can make adjustments at the front end. 

You know, if you've engaged the right knowledge base within your associates or supplier pool, you can ensure that at the front end that the tasks, the milestones, the project outcomes are the correct ones, that they're scoped in the right way, so you can mitigate some of those. But there's no getting away from the fact that if you're a transactional recruiter who's been selling contractors, you will have to accept that you're getting into a different game of risk and you need to be aware of what you can do to mitigate those things.

Jonny [53:43]:And do you-- Sorry to jump in but I was--

Tim [53:44]:But I'd also counter that rebates for perm recruitment are a kind of risk management thing only so...

Giles [53:52]: Yeah.

Jonny [53:53]:Yeah, so, sorry to interrupt you there. I was just going to say on that point you're making about the risk around delivery and that sort of thing, are you seeing…?and the way that recruiters need to manage this because to a certain extent, like even the language, you know, people have to understand that it's different. You know, it's not about a contractor, it's about a supplier delivering a service they're being appointed. It's not a hire, it's not a role, it's a project or a requirement. All of these things need to be taken into consideration. Do you see, and do you guys advise people to take on specific hires to manage this side of it? 

Because I don't know how that happened when you guys were at Rethink doing this, but I've certainly seen that within some of the big players where they've taken on super experienced people who've got very much a procurement PMO consultancy-type background. How do you see that fitting in with the kind of current environment? Because I totally agree that there are smart people within recruitment businesses that can make the switch to working on delivering this type of service. You know, it's very different, but it's the fundamental principles of taking away problem and getting work done is still the same. How do you see and how do you advise clients on how to approach that?

Tim [55:01]:We're very much talking to SME recruiters, Jonny. I mean, we come from, you know, from an enterprise background and worked for an enterprise recruiter, but we are talking to, you know, SME recruiters who are looking to make this pivot for the first time. There is a need to get some external knowledge in, particularly around the PMO function. There is a need to get, if you're doing this for the first time, to get some oversight on the engagement and how you set the engagement up and how you structure the engagement, how you write the engagement. If you've never done it before, there is some need to get some advice on that. 

But in any event, and correct me if I'm wrong Giles, you need to work with the associates. You need to work with the people who are going to be responsible for delivering the project and have a tripartite kind of conversation with the customer while you're scoping and shaping the outcome. When we were at Rethink, we did end up having to have a dedicated function for doing some of that, but we evolved somebody's role into doing that. 

Jonny [56:10]:Right. 

Tim [56:11]: I'm remembering that role took--

Giles [56:12]:And we were fortunate in some respects that there'd be-- And I think this is-- Sorry Tim. I was just going to say we can't help but look through the lens of, you know, things like the tech and change recruitment sector is a mature one anyway. That Statement of Work as a principal is appropriate to almost every sector. I've certainly by no means had touch with every sector but you can probably consider many scenarios across, you know, certainly finance. I'm not sure about any of the major head office functions. HR, potentially. We're doing work within engineering, construction, manufacturing, you know, so when you've got something being built or something being developed, you know, again there’s--

I worked for, you know, quite a chunk of last year, in the property and real estate sector and, you know, there are projects there. So, you know, there are the expertise or the capabilities in all of these organisations to grow. That was fortunate at Rethink that we were able to do that but we are seeing in other organisations that people are taking skills from... yeah, from, I don’t know, the financial services sector, PMO functions in tech organisations, payroll, and legal services, people coming in. You know, there's the thing of the payroll element of non-permanent workers becoming MSP, elements of that being SoW-based, so there is a need to embrace a wider potential capability, definitely. 

And I think you're lucky if you've got people in the organisation that get it, can do it, and pivot on it. But if, you know, if they are really, really client-centric and client-focused, and you're really in sector and associate knowledge and expertise and scope, it's not a million miles of a jump to get that these are the bits that need to be in place, this is what the process needs to be, and to get all that. And I know how it will work for that sector and I know how it will work for that customer. That's kind of the trick, but definitely, there are people external to recruitment that will find opportunities to support this sort of thing.

Tim [58:49]:And that recruiters will need to draw on to make this pivot. 

Giles [58:41]: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Tim [58:45]:It is, you know, it is a change, it is different, but it's not, I suppose what we want to kind of finish up with saying is, it's by no means that it's difficult as you think it's going to be. 

Giles [58:58]:No.

Tim [58:58]:If you're being led, if you're led, you can be led by opportunity. You can make the investment through being led by opportunity. It can be a successful model. 

Giles [59:10]:Very much so.

Jonny [59:11]:I totally agree. And you know, it is about listening to what the customer needs, understanding a process and, you know, having diligence in delivering that process in the proper way. Having good supply relationships, it's all the fundamentals. But there are things that in the same way that companies need support with Contingent Workforce Programs, they don't necessarily have the resources to support it internally. Procurement teams are very stretched. You're getting this kind of like closer alignment in some cases of, you know, workforce and procurement within large organisations. The thing that always amazes me is the lack of management that exists around services procurement globally, in general, when you think about how big it is. 

I mean, it's like in most large organisations, services procurement spend is four times the size of contingent workforce spend. Absolutely massive. It's like somewhere between one and 3 trillion globally. So, you know, you look at the bad practices that can go on, and you know, talking about the effective delivery of a project and all of the management that goes around it, just think about the stuff that's happening in big banks and big organisations where it's long tail SoW spend. This is below a procurement threshold, and it's just, it's absolute chaos. There's no visibility and there's no accountability. And I think, you know, this kind of recognition and growth of outcome-based work is forcing companies to really shine a light on that and say, what on earth is going on? 

What are we getting for our money? Where's the risk? I think risk is driving it primarily at the moment. Certainly in the UK risk is the bigger driver but I think then it will come on to really the efficiency and the cost of getting work done. What are we getting done for our money? So I think it's going to be a very interesting next couple of years. One thing I was going to ask you guys, we were talking about the risk side of it. We talked about kind of disputes and things like that. What about the legal considerations around the liabilities in terms of, you know, insurances and things like that that need to be considered?

Tim [1:01:07]:Well, you know, that's what we pay large amounts of money to professional advisors for, isn't it? I think there is--

Giles [1:01:13]:Very good thing.

Tim [1:01:16]:I think there's, you know, if and when we're talking to recruiters making this pivot, we would definitely be advising them to think about having a separate statutory entity to run this business through with a different level of insurance or different type of PI insurance, to make sure that they've got some protection around that. I use to see--

Jonny [1:01:41]:Just to dive in there a minute, do you think that's part of a wider kind of mindset change that needs to happen within these organisations where there needs to be a separation of this service from their standard recruitment business? Not just in the sense of, from a compliance point of view, it's a different process, you're engaging with suppliers on an outcome basis, you're not engaging with individuals on a time materials basis. But do you think having a kind of a clear separation or clear identification of a particular part of their business, that was focused on this or designed for this? I think that could help with the entire message really both internally and externally. Let's get toge[ther].

Giles [1:02:19]: It's not recruitment. It's just not recruitment. It's a different thing. It's a different--

Jonny [1:02:22]: Yeah. I agree.

Giles [1:02:23]:Yeah. You'd think-- 

Jonny [1:02:25]:I mean, that doesn't mean the recruitment companies can't provide an excellent service around it. 

Giles [1:02:31]:No.

Jonny [1:02:31]:But it needs to be recognized as being a different thing and dealt with separately.

Tim [1:02:36]:There's two sides to that coin. There's definitely an argument from a legal and compliance and all that lovely stuff to have it segmented. But there's also a brand and outcome piece around that as well that gives Statement of Work or a project business a separate identity and a separate way of working. I think, you know, you often hear people going well, Statement of Work is just recruiters doing different recruitment. Well, I think it's a bit more fundamental than that. It's a bit more fundamental than that. Both come from a legalities and liabilities perspective, but also I think, from a client's demand by that there needs to be it's a different way of working. 

You know, in a Statement of Work there's as much work in finding and marshaling the talent, which is the recruitment agency bit, transactional recruitment agency bit, there's as much work in that as there is in managing the project in the service wrapper in that ongoing relationship. And through that comes, you know, the Holy Grail that we were talking about which is a closer relationship with your customer. Talking to your customer about different things, understanding their business more because you will be talking to them every week, two weeks, about what their future demands' going to be, how the current work's going. All of those things drive deeper relationships with the customer.

Giles [1:04:18]: Yeah.

Jonny [1:04:19]:Yeah. I guess it depends where it sits, whether it's like, you know, full-on product and consulting services, or whether it's down the other end of SoW management. But in both cases, the fundamental principle remains the same. Exactly, I totally agree with you. I guess it's, yeah, it's just in terms of the effort involved in, you know, supplier acquisition and things like that. And even in the project management side of it, it's obviously a lot less if you're just delivering anSoW management service versus full-on product services, but...

Tim [1:04:48]:I think our customer base, we'd be talking about the latter. The people that we're talking to SoW about will be about the latter.

Jonny [1:04:58]:About which side, sorry? Project services or?

Tim [1:05:03]:Well we would describe it as about assembling a team of associates to provide an outcome and taking on the management of that outcome and the liability for that outcome.

Jonny [1:05:12]:Yeah. So what I would typically describe as like project or consulting services.

Tim [1:05:16]:Totally, yeah.

Jonny [1:05:16]:Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. We're seeing both sides of that. Obviously, you've got the bigger companies that might take on, you know, 250 million worth of services spend from a big client and add that onto what they're doing around the Contingent Workforce Program and manage that separately and help make that spend more efficient. And as I said, the cost-saving element of that is massive but probably still risk the priority. But when you take it to the other end, it's a company saying, we need to get this piece of work done, handing it out to an intermediary, and just saying, I need you guys to provide a reliable solution. 

It kind of ties me into the point I wanted to kind of round everything up with, which is, just in terms of the trends that are pushing this outcome-based work. We've obviously talked about IR35. What else do you see going on in the market that is kind of pushing this type of work delivery?

Tim [1:06:14]:Ugh, gosh, Johnny, it's just everyone's talking about IR35. I think--

Jonny [1:06:19]:Well you know, it's interesting. I mean, I'm harking back to another podcast conversation I had with Dawn and Neil from Volt. Dawn Ford, their legal counsel, some of the stuff she was talking about with regards to Brexit was massively interesting and, you know, I learnt a hell of a lot from that conversation. But just in terms of the potential growth of outsourcing, looking at the situation around Brexit, the lack of free movement, you know, the Tier 2 Visa opportunity, it's a really interesting dynamic.

Tim [1:06:55]:Well, my prediction is that's all going to... Quietly our immigration system is going to look very similar, in terms of numbers, to what it did two years ago because fundamentally we need the people. However, I think there is a piece, and I'm probably taking this from a bit of a Tech and Change perspective, there's always been this slight dichotomy in that the work that needs to be done doesn't have to be done in the country that it needs to be produced in. And the virtualisation of so many knowledge-based tasks means that, you know, there's likely to be more-- Highly-skilled individuals, highly-skilled knowledge individuals in the knowledge-based industries are going to be much more comfortable.

From a demographic perspective as well, they're much more comfortable about having a portfolio of task-based outposts. So I think there's something in that sort of generational change about what work actually means. I think there's more of a challenge in blue-collar-based outcomes where, you know, I think that many people are already paid on an outcome in those sorts of roles. And I think that the way in which you might see some models develop in terms of how you could potentially look at ways in which virtualisation might be able to achieve different things, not just provide knowledge, not just provide ideas, but possibly provide an outcome. And I'm looking very, very far into the future. 

You know, the hands, the skills in doing something, don't need to be sat in front of the thing that they're going to be making sometimes. So, you know, there's many things that could happen in the future, but I think in the medium term there's going to be an interesting, and I don't know how this is going to pan out, but I wonder what putting Brexit to one side, let's talk about COVID for a second, I wonder whether people's attitudes are going to change to the people who do the work, the workers. I wonder if there might be a change in attitude of how people feel about their relationship with the employer, with somebody who pays them to do some work. 

And I'm not just talking about working from home. I wonder if that kind of trend of loyalty, I don't know what you want to call it, that job for life, the thing that we were talking about 60 years ago is going to be, I wonder if that is, you know, completely eroded now. And I wonder about how people feel about the people that pay them to do something. I wonder how that dynamic might have changed as a result of COVID. I haven't got an answer to it, I'm wondering. With the pandemic and great changes like this, you know that thing that nobody ever predicts the biggest change? Nobody ever predicted that the biggest change that the iPhone would see or the biggest change from the iPhone would be Uber or something like, you know? 

There's unintended consequences to these things. And I wonder in the world of talent and people, whether there might be, particularly in the West, a real shift in the way people feel about working. And I think some of that may have been influenced by the way that governments have stepped into the world of work and to how governments in Europe particularly have supported workers and whether there may be a bigger drive for more protection, more rights, almost more unionisation. I don't know, something around that. I don't know.

Giles [1:11:05]:Yeah. I think, if nothing else, what I've seen in the last 30 odd years, there are still things that happen today that happened 30 years ago. The recruitment processes for the money is still the same as it was. The...

Tim [1:11:20]:United still concede on a regular basis.

Giles [1:11:22]:United still can't win that. Oh, they did last night. The providers of recruitment and talent services have more or less shown huge resilience, huge capability to be...

Jonny [1:11:42]:Adaptable. I totally agree. 

Giles [1:11:43]:Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Adaptable and opportunist, and have found a way. And I think there will always be the need to a greater or lesser extent, for the intermediary specialist to go and do the thing that most organisations don't ever get right, and that is bring great talent into their organisation. Some of the time they do it, not all of the time, but often it's not done in the best way. And that's across all kinds of demographic. The way that, you know drivers are delivered, you would think drivers are delivered; drivers are engaged to go and do deliveries. You know, particularly across the blue-collar area, you know, there's still huge amounts of maturity, governance, and process that just doesn't exist there, that could do, should do, may do, has to, who knows? 

But I think, what does will always be a truism, that if you've got an ever-changing-- You know, we've seen millennium, you know, IR35 for the first time, Brexit, all these, you know, have gone back a long way, you know. We've absorbed it, got it, and then found a way, so that's where we are now. We've just had a lot of stuff thrown at it. So yeah, longer-term, Tim's right. I'm sure that, you know, increasing technology, the relationship, you know, what proportion of people are still going to be doing Zoom calls in two to five, 10 years, or remote working, or visualisation or AI or whatever it may be in the replacement of tasks by robotics and the rest of it. 

But you're still going to need to engage with people. People will still be fundamental to it. Providing a good service, having the updated latest capability in technology, having a plan, delivering to expectations, setting out clear benefits, and, you know, all those things are still going to be the case. And you're still going to need to have a client-focus on wanting to ensure you're meeting those expectations. And partnerships will continue to be, embedded or otherwise, you know, the best ways in which all parties will get through whatever challenges will appear in the future, I'm sure.

Jonny [1:14:02]:Who knows what the future holds. Well, listen, I think that's the perfect point to wrap things up, guys. Really, really appreciate your time. That was--

Giles [1:14:10]:Likewise. It's been great. 

Tim [1:14:12]: Thank you.

Jonny [1:14:12]:Yeah, that was super interesting and, you know, some fantastic insights from you guys drawing on all of your experience. So yeah, really appreciate it. Great conversation. Yeah, hopefully, catch up with you guys again soon. 

Giles [1:14:25]:Look forward to it. Thanks, Jonny, much appreciated.

Tim [1:14:25]:Right. Thanks, Jonny.

Jonny [1:14:27]:Thanks, guys. Take care. Bye.

Giles [1:14:29]:Thanks. Bye, mate.

Tim [1:14:29]: Bye.

 

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