Responding to the changing landscape: finding the optimal workforce mix

Adapting to unexpected external forces and the considerations for selecting the right resourcing solution

Episode highlights

Shifting from a worker focus to a work focus
IR35's impact on private sector adoption of outcome-based work models
Triage's significance in workforce strategy
The green field opportunity in statement of work
Who owns the workforce mix?

Posted by: ZivioReading time: 88 minutes

With Jo Lindsay,Managing Director, Consulting & Client Engagement and Lee Gudgeon, Managing Director, Consultancy Services & Workforce Solutions from Reed Talent Solutions

00:00:00 - The evolving solutions in workforce and resourcing
00:08:00 - Shifting from a worker focus to a work focus
00:18:40 - IR35's impact on private sector adoption of outcome-based work models
00:26:30 - Triage's significance
00:32:50 - Managing the changing stakeholder relationships
00:41:30 - The Greenfield opportunity in statement of work
00:48:10 - The cost perception of outcome-based work
00:53:00 - Who owns the workforce mix?
01:02:30 - Bringing technology together
01:06:20 - Attracting talent & suppliers holistically


Jonny Dunning:   
0:00       Okay, and we’re underway. And I’d like to give a very warm welcome to Lee Gudgeon and Jo Lindsey from Reed. How are you both doing?

Jo Lindsay:           0:09       Good. Thanks, Jonny.

Lee Gudgeon:      0:11       Yeah, good. Thanks, Jonny. Thanks for having us here.

Jonny Dunning:   0:13       My pleasure. Thank you very much for joining me. So just to get us started, before we get into some of the topics we want to discuss around responding to the changing landscape and finding the optimal workforce mix, would you both be able to just give a little bit of background on what you do now? What you’ve done before? How you got into this crazy game we’re all in? So Jo, can I start with you, if you could just give us a bit of a history? 

Jo Lindsay:           0:38       Yeah, so I’ve worked in recruitment, actually, it’d be 25 years this year, since I’ve been working in recruitment. And I’ve worked within the sphere of contingent worker programs around about 2000. That seat me take on roles that have been everything from implementation through account management, client engagement, more recently, within actually sales and helping our clients on board to the solutions within Reed. But also, I have a large part to play in a part of our business called consultancy, plus, which specifically looks at statement of work and services procurement programs.

Jonny Dunning:   1:12       Excellent stuff, cool. Lee over to you.

Lee Gudgeon:      1:15       I can’t quite match those 25 years, but I think it’s around 23. I started actually in the recruitment sectors recorded in down in New Zealand and then did some time in Australia before heading back to the UK in late 2000s. And have been at Reed for nearly 13 years. And the last 20 years particularly been in the solution side, been a permanent or contingent. And now Reed my role is Consulting and Workforce Solutions, Managing Director and I think that’s a reflection of how actually, solutions have changed. We don’t talk about managed services or to wet temp or permanent because of the very nature of what is a contingent resource and how we engage them. So yeah, wonderful, 23 years in the industry. And I look forward to catching Jo up.

Jonny Dunning:   2:11       I think it’s a really good place to start. There is Lee as what you said about solutions. So the term solutions. I’ve been involved in kind of workforce and recruitment, and procurement technology for my whole career. And a lot of that time, certainly back in the day when I started out in the kind of job board area with ATS systems and job aggregators and things like that, recruitment clients were a very large part of what I was working on. And one of the things that’s always struck me about the staffing industry is the resilience, the adaptability of those types of organizations. And ultimately, when it comes down to the core of it, people businesses, the staffing industry is people businesses with a very good problem solver. Because if you just take it back to the very kind of like, traditional recruitment, it’s really difficult, it’s really problematic, you’re trying to deal with a product that is an independent person has their own will in the world, you’re trying to put people together, you’re trying to inter mediate, there’s so many factors to consider. It’s not just about skills, now culture match, all these sorts of things to consider that smart recruiters can do really, really well. It’s a problem solving exercise. And I think with what you’re talking about in terms of how the services provided by staffing organizations have changed. That feels to me like it’s always at the core of it. So yeah, I mean, it’s solutions really, isn’t it?

Lee Gudgeon:      3:35       It is solutions, I can remember appointing a business development manager coming from a manufacturing industry, he was delighted to be joined in the people business, I think, I haven’t got worry about the product not turning up on time and things like that. But you’ll know Jonny when you’re dealing with people, as you said, they’ve got their own ideas that you do need to manage people in a certain way. So the solutions part, it is solutions. And we’ve embraced technology, as a business. And as a sector actually, all of our competitors have also embraced technology to help with provide solutions. But as much as you automate, as much as you can use AI and digitize all your services, you’re more doing that from an administration point of view and take away transactional activities because the value of the service still really fits with what other people do is that if there’s a triage service to determine asking what is the best route to engage a contingent resource and in what shape? It’s hard to do that through AI or Tech, you need an experienced operator to understand what is the best way and the most effective way to engage a particular package of work or resource or consultant or freelancer to temp, it’s a solution as needed for a person who needs a problem solving typically, because they’re looking for either a skill set or additional labor or a piece of work completed. So they’re never one size fits all. So you’re right to say solution. And I think probably the biggest change we’ve seen in the last two to five years is the staffing sector into solution size, not your agency recruitment, but the solution side, drifting towards being a professional service more than it is a recruiting provider or a staffing center, because of the nature of the engagement and the nature of the way we were organized ourselves.

Jonny Dunning:   5:41       Yeah, definitely. And Jo, from your side of things, looking at it from a consulting angle, that’s a different slant on it, as well, but very much in that professional services arena.

Jo Lindsay:           5:53       It is, and I mean, it very much boils back down to what least talked around in terms of, every customer is different in that space the types of engagements, or the types of challenges that they’re presenting to you, as a consulting organization that they’re looking for you to basically respond to, to help them develop a solution for are very different. I mean, we work across multiple sectors, be that as broad as potential government, local authority, various areas within the private sector, very specific niche areas, such as the NHS. There are different challenges that present themselves for the types of engagements that they’re looking to work with us on in all of those areas. And some of them are very much driven around the outcomes they’re looking to achieve. Some of them are very much driven around how they actually access the skills within the environment, in which they’re operating in, because as we’re all very much aware of at the moment, those skills are becoming increasingly difficult to attract, retain, and mobilize within our organizations. And I guess, really, what we’ve had to look back and again, you certainly what I’ve seen evolving in the staffing sector, over the last 20 years is, when I first started talking to customers, whether it was in contingent worker programs, or indeed more recently, in consultancy programs, there was an element of the solution that was perhaps vanilla, that you were then choosing to add parts to, and to an extent that has changed significantly, that now it’s very much looking at, yes, the kind of tools that you have in your toolkit, but actually each solution is truly bespoke, for a customer, depending on what their requirements are. And also, in terms of workforce optimization, where they are in the maturity of their own solution and their thinking in that part, because, again, whatever they put in place for their organization, it has to be the right fit at the right time for where they are in that development, not just almost kind of, jumping on the bandwagon with whatever the latest kind of trend is within, the contingent worker space.

Jonny Dunning:   5:53       Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s interesting, when you mentioned skills, and obviously things like, there are current skill shortages, there are various reasons for that, we can come into that in a bit more detail, but skills, capabilities, it doesn’t really matter, whether it’s a consulting firm or an individual, the client still needs to get some work done. And I think that’s something that the industry, it feels like, it’s changed to focus from a kind of like a work of focus to more of a work focus.

Jo Lindsay:           8:27       I would absolutely agree with that. I think there was a danger point, and I think started to see some clients dial back for it, where clients got very nervous, for example, when the IR 35 changes came in, and some took a very broad brush approach that said, they wouldn’t have certain types of engagement within their organizations, because it was very much about compliance and risk management, for example, whereas actually the environment we’re operating in today in terms of access to those skills, as you quite rightly say, be they from a consultancy firm, be they from an individual worker or a freelancer, tapping into the gig economy in terms of, certain areas that particularly predisposed to it such as marketing, for example there really has to be much more fluid and much more flexible in terms of how they choose to access those skills. And I said, I’m personally quite pleased, not only because I work in the sector, and it makes our job easier if you’re given us multiple routes to market to find that talent, but I think in terms of the richness and diversity that having those different routes to market actually offer to organizations, the types of people that they’ll be able to reach out to, will significantly enhance their business, they really shouldn’t be limited themselves to basically saying, “I want to fulfill all of my requirements in one area, only by freelance or only by umbrella workers or only by PA workers,” that itself I think has quite significant impact actually in the makeup of their employer base and the kinds of organizations actually that they would choose to work with.

Jonny Dunning:   10:09     Yeah, I agree. I think it’s interesting when you look at it from that angle, if you take IR35. There’s a danger to trying to predispose how you’re going to get a piece of work done? I mean, I know we’ve spoken about this before Lee, in terms of how organizations have adapted to IR35. And the decision making process to have to go through, in that, that’s very much a case in point for it’s about the work, not the work, Lee, isn’t it?

Lee Gudgeon:      10:37     Yes, about again, is a piece of work completed, isn’t it? We would naturally lead into the fact that IR35 was a big trigger point statement of works, we’re probably gathering pace now. We’ve been developing and delivering packages of work through this mechanism for 15 years, as far as I know. So it wasn’t new for us to do it. But the appetite for clients evolved rapidly because the contract or the skills that we were talking previously, skills weren’t available through the traditional methods of engagement or work, that accountability to get the work completed, were able to shift if you could engage them in it in a slightly different way, contractors outside of scope, you can be asked that outside the scope if you’ve got a right to substitution, etc. And I’m super interested to try control, you know all of these Jonny. But we can access skills through that route. Because to Jo’s point, previously, if you fought for the customer base to ensure you can make yourself tracks as possible and get the skills you need, you need to be able to engage in different ways. And a lot of clients are actually trying to determine what’s a contractor? What’s a subcontractor? What’s a professional service provider? What is attempt? What is a contractor inside the scope? So determining route to get a piece of work done to access the right skills is almost this service that we provide now in industry, our service up front.

Jonny Dunning:   12:12     Yeah, it’s really interesting. I just released a podcast I did with Georgina Jones from Co-Op and a guy called Dougal McIntyre, who worked for a consultancy. And basically, they did a really interesting piece of work around work and categorization within Co-Op, they’ve run it past these pieces within the APSCO kind of website, I think there’s a link on the podcast. But if you can’t define that in the first place, then you’re in quite a difficult situation really, aren’t you? And I always sort of think, you could look at statement work and go, “Oh, that’s a solution to all the problems,” or we can look at contracting as a solution to all the problems. They’re just different ways of getting work done. And actually IR35 was a good catalyst to making the industry realize and to be honest, things like the growth of the gig economy, to make the whole industry, the workforce industry realized that actually it’s about what’s fit for purpose for that particular piece of work? And you need to be able to access all the different channels, I think, the way that Reed is structured, because you’ve got kind of project delivery capabilities, project solution, pre-project solutions, you’ve got the consultancy plus angle, you’ve got MSP RPO traditional recruitment job, so you’ve got a lot of angles to what Reed do. I think for some organizations, it was a bit more of an adaptation for some staffing organizations, because they didn’t necessarily have the breadth.

Lee Gudgeon:      13:33     Yeah, sure. And let’s not forget our supply chain to but yeah, I absolutely agree with you, we need to be able to help our customers determine the categories of staff, and then where the challenge comes into this is just taking the hiring manager on their journey because we can get agreement with HR and procurement about the categories and how best to do that? But then you’ve got to make sure you’ve got the infrastructure and the skill sets to educate the hiring managers at the point of engagement, I say hiring managers and always hiring, hiring or buying, we now call them hiring or buying managers because they might be buying something I’m sure Jo’s seen that both in solution design and execution. 

Jo Lindsay:           14:15     We have. I mean that whole hearts and minds activity in terms of what you get the hiring managers to actually commit to in terms of their engagements with you. I mean, it’s interesting you said right at the beginning of this session, Jonny, you talked about, it’s a perhaps a much more personal purchase, you’re not buying pens or pencils, when you’re entering into arrangement to procure a workforce solution, you’re actually procuring the person that potentially could be sitting next to him working alongside for the next six to nine months on a project. So that personalization of, if you’d like the purchasing process, actually drives, I think, much stronger behaviors in hiring managers as to how they choose to interact with whatever mandate comes from procurement or HR is to actually as they choose to engage with the service itself, and I think part of the certainly a big learn for me, actually, from the early days of managed services back in sort of, like the early 2000s was, I think to start with, there was very much a kind of a stick approach to kind of mandating those kinds of deals, it was kind of like, “You will only use this supplier,” and everything else was almost deemed to be off contract spend, were actually, it was a much more wise approach to kind of put your arms actually around that supply chain, and basically saying they were non-compliant was actually to make them compliant to your process, and then, over a period of time evaluate what actual value they could continue to add as part of the solution or part of the supply chain in in that way, you didn’t have to change the almost the hearts and minds of the hiring community overnight. And I personally think, again, that’s very much the approach that lends itself to when you’re thinking about adopting, SOW, or services procurement programs, in particular, within, your wider managed service program, or choosing how you actually optimize your workforce, bringing those managers to the table with those opportunities, and those types of engagements. And indeed, those historic encumbered supply relationships, all available for them to access is a much better way of actually getting a long term change position, whether that comes from and I know, a lot of organizations, and I suspect, Co-Op may have been one of them had a, they will miss started from a place of wanting to tick the boxes around visibility and compliance and being seen to do the right thing in light of things like IR35 changes, but very quickly, I think it becomes apparent the additional value that having that supply chain all managed through one sort of mechanism in terms of, a triage service or an overarching service actually offers the organization in terms of being agile. And again, it’s interesting, we’ve talked quite a lot about IR35 as maybe a catalyst for some of these changes. I personally believe that the skill shortages that we’re seeing, and indeed the fact that remote and hybrid working and continued globalization in terms of the workforce and how it interacts, aren’t to and things that are gonna go away anytime soon. I think they’re probably going to be as largely catalysts for change in terms of how organizations access talent is actually something, that was enforced upon the sector in terms of compliance changes have actually turned out to be

Lee Gudgeon:      17:27     Sorry to interrupt, to Jo’s point that the early foundations of the managed service might call it solution now, but that visibility, control and compliance, probably still aren’t the fundamentals. It’s got a broader so it’s not just about a POA limited majorities. It’s now across that entire categorization that we sort of touched on earlier, I think that stays still there, because you can’t forget about the risk profile that engage in contingent workforce can bring depending on [unclear 18:05] just tax time, just the tax status, and we have to go through.

Jonny Dunning:   18:09     It has got broader, and I think it’s really interesting to see how organizations are embracing this within MSP partners and giving them access to more scope. And in some cases, they’re really, organizations are struggling with that to kind of get over the hurdle of, for example, bringing services procurement into it. And I also really agree with the point you made around other factors, Brexit, COVID, homeworking, all these sorts of things. And to a certain extent, a lot of it is driven this outcome based mentality to come a bit to the fore. But Jo, in terms of IR35 So one of the things that we certainly noticed was the impact that obviously this had on the public sector, back when it came in 2017, or whatever it was that it came into the public sector, and there was a clear transition and evolution within the public sector about how they definitely adapted more to using SOW as an option of that how a different way they could get work done. Have you noticed much in the way of differences between the way that the public sector have adapted to it and the private sector are? 

Jo Lindsay:           19:19     I sort of cast my mind back to 2017. And at the time, I was actually in a role, which was an account management account directorship role. So part of my day-to-day activity at that time was taking some of our public sector clients through that transition and through that journey. And, I think the public sector was faced with a slightly different dilemma to actually what the private sector was faced with, they were still trying to access talent, quite often in sectors or occupational areas where they were in direct competition with the private sector. So a good one being tech and IT, for example, where actually, it was no longer a level playing field. Because actually, though those workers clearly could continue to work in outside IR35 engagements, long past the point at which it was possibly not an option for a traditional route in the public sector. And again, if you look at some of the clients who perhaps are, most disadvantaged in that space who have private sector, should we say, comparisons, so be they people, for example, who regulate financial markets, who might be drawing on the same types of skills as actually the financial services sector in the wider area, or you look at, for example, the dichotomy between the private and public sector within Media, for example, and traditional broadcast media, for example. And I think it very much created actually much more of a catalyst in the first instance, within the public sector to be quite creative about how they carried on accessing that talent, which perhaps wasn’t something, when you think about the kind of, shall we say, the stereotypes that you hear about the private and public sector, in terms of perhaps their appetite for risk or innovation, it perhaps didn’t naturally fall where you thought it would have done. We had quite a large number of clients, and some of our biggest clients when the private sector side of things, who were financial services, who for all the reasons that you would think of financial services took quite a risk averse approach to it. So again, being quite dictatorial about how they actually were proposing to engage with the market. So I think we definitely saw a difference in terms of almost kind of a needs must attitude to risk in terms of adopting statement of work programs. That said, I think for private sector organizations, I’m not sure that IR35 has been the driver for what we’ve actually seen as being the progression into in particularly SOW activities, I think, genuinely, it’s not all been about access to talent who wants to engage in that way, it’s actually been much more focused around wanting certainty of outcomes and certainty of price and certainty of the level of risk that they have on particular contracts. And I kind of think, the kind of the access to talent thing is, up until this point has possibly been a bit of a side gig for them in terms of why they’ve chose to adopt those types of principles. And we deliver a lot of SOW programs within the tech space. And obviously, just the nature of the types of projects and transformation programs that are ongoing, in that area, they lend themselves to meaty, chunky projects or programs that, fit very well within Statement of Work, sort of parameters. So as I said, I think it’s probably a different push and pull factors as to why the two sectors have kind of gone down that route or sort of, probably equally pace, if that makes sense or equal pace. But probably the different reasons in the outset.

Jonny Dunning:   23:06     Yeah, that’s really interesting, what you’re saying, as you’ve highlighted a very good point there in terms of the public sector being forced to be more agile and adopt innovation. Whereas within the private sector, it was kind of, like saying, it’s a level playing field effectively. And so there was the opportunity to just say, “I’m not going to spend the time and effort thinking about how to do things differently.” I’m just going to say, “No, we’re not doing that, because there’s risk involved in it.” And a lot of organizations, in financial services, pharmaceutical, highly regulated industries, did take that type of approach, big companies. But I sort of wonder, I don’t know whether this is anything that you guys are seeing, but I’ve always sort of thought to myself, there’ll be like a multistage approach in the private sector, because what’ll happen is, people will take a mandated approach, initially, some companies will do that. And that will satisfy the immediate regulatory requirements. But at some point, they are going to find that that stuff is not getting done. Because if they haven’t adapted, and obviously the smart ones that have adapted their writing through that, but for companies that haven’t adapted and have taken a really strong arm approach with just a very kind of blinkered view, surely, they’re going to run into problems at some point.

Lee Gudgeon:      24:16     Jonny, I think a primary symptom comes in many forms. So to some of Jo’s points earlier, some just took a blanket approach because the risk some companies could actually afford just to say, actually, they’re all inside because they can afford it. So some of your big tech players, media player, investment players, could afford that change, and did not want to lose that talent. So running into that problem. They kind of, I guess, if you like circumnavigated debt or do risk that upfront by saying inside IR35, [unclear 24:55] but let’s add 30% to the pay, they actually compensated the contractors immediately. And I think right now, as you know, because as much as an impact on timidity, I thought it was quite an impact on people’s lives companies that were used to operate in a certain way and possibly took time home certain amount of money that they used to and have become, adapt to their lifestyle to that. So they also had to go through an adaptation period, the candidate market as it is now, or the skills market, as it is now, or even if you’re trying to get a tradesman, or anybody else, skills or services, BPO, etc., they are also busy. I think companies just got to adapt their, if they listened to us, and we can sort of share the challenges to the resource market, whatever that’s engaged, they’re recognizing, “I will have to pay more if it really is inside, if you don’t want to get on the wrong side of HMRC.” Or they will look to, to alternative route if we can get a project delivered on time at certain price. But as soon as that candidate in the skill set market, I think means they’re having to possibly pay more rather than adapt, because I think the adaptation has happened.

Jonny Dunning:   26:18     Yeah, and, part of this comes back to what you were talking about in terms of triage. So when you’re working with customers, it’s a question of looking at the piece of work that needs to be done considering compliance angles, considering the pragmatism of handles is going to take? How much it’s going to cost to have certainty of an outcome or not? Is that the best way to do it? What type of supplier is gonna be able to get to do it? In your experience Lee with the kind of how the MSP program, so all the MSP scope has evolved? How much is triage changed in its nature and also in its level of importance?

Lee Gudgeon:      26:53     Significantly. It’s a really short answer, it’s significant. And Jo’s team do a lot of the scoping, one of the teams has a lot of scoping and solution. And there’s another team that is delivering that part, that consultancy element, but the short answer to it is significance. And probably that’s where the value is being placed in the service, more so than the actual access to the talent and was as a given nowadays, however, exams, but if you can get the categorization and the triage service, that is probably where the real value, isn’t? This a significant change.

Jonny Dunning:   27:32     It’s just so complicated. It’s a really complicated thing. And it’s like, from a technical point of view, addressing it is not actually that complicated, from a tip from a software point of view, to run a triage, to have decision trees and all this sort of thing. It’s not that complicated a piece of technology, what’s complicated is the kind of programming behind it, or the knowledge base that goes behind it. And, potentially, that’s why in a lot of triage programs, there’ll be like a guided buying route, but they’ll also be a triage very much a service around it, where it actually people interacting it because, Jo, I mean, now you’ll be very, kind of, used to this, but services can be quite vague, really, can’t they, in terms of defining what it is?

Jo Lindsay:           28:20     They can. Sometimes it’s kind of, even when you read a specification yourself, when you’re actually involved in engaging with that customer and procuring it, it’s kind of like, quite often you can get to the end of like four or five pages of specified requirements, and you are kind of still asking yourself, “What is it do they actually want to, first of all, buy here and achieve?” And I think sometimes that achieve or that focus on the outcome thing is actually probably the most important thing to analyze in part of that triage process. So again, if I bring it back to a real life example for us, which, isn’t one that perhaps gets talked about in the mainstream around services procurement piece, but where you’ve got an organization who are working, let’s just say, for example, within central government, and they have very specific outcomes that they’re looking to achieve, but they come with a specification, which is very much centered around, “These are the people that we need to employ to make this service work.” It’s only by, the decision tree, you could go very quickly, say, “Oh, yes, they’ve talked about people. Yes, that’s a contingent worker program. It’s X, 10s, or hundreds of people or whatever, deployed in this fashion for this period of time, through our traditional route to market through a temporary labor supply route, effectively a contingent worker program.” But when you actually drill it back to sort of, through that triage process, being actually able to interact with them around what it is they’re trying to achieve? What those outcomes are? That’s when you’re then able to open up a much wider breadth of discussion about it, see, whether you’re looking to provide that work through an outsourced arrangement, through a supplier, actually, whether it’s a program that you can deliver through a specified statement of work with milestone payments against outcomes as you deliver that work for them? And I think, as Lee said, that value, that is where any intermediate tree, and in our case, an intermediate tree that’s able to bring the experience of being a managed service provider, that can really start to add value to their customers, I think one thing that I’ve probably observed in that space is, if we are bidding for or working with a customer to design and implement a, what I would call a traditional contingent worker program, so covering PAYE, umbrella and potentially PSC contracts as if they were out of scope requirements in there. It’s a very much a procurement led process. It is, increasingly over the years, it’s become a much more commoditized product that they’re effectively purchasing, that the focus is, “Yes, I’ll talk about quality, yes, I’ll talk about risk.” But there has been an ongoing pressures and desire to drive down the cost in that place, some of that through efficiencies in the service, but some of it, just through natural competition within the what is quite a crowded marketplace? When you start to talk to customers about a wider breadth of workforce engagement, there’s a much wider conversation about actually workforce optimization with the HR community as well, which hasn’t actually always been the normal sort of route, the way the conversation is gone. If you’ve been talking about contingent programs, I mean, I can think of contingent programs were actually HR of almost being kind of bystanders to what’s happened in the process, it’s very much been around procurement. And I think once you’re able to open those conversations up, because you’re talking about different workforce optimization strategies, again, you can add much more value to an organization as a provider, because you’re actually able to talk about it in a holistic way, you’re not necessarily talking about just how they source temporary workers are effectively just allowing them to aggregate their spending and benefit from, kind of their purchasing power. So that is genuinely something that I think I’m seeing emerging as clients are reaching a greater level of maturity and how they combine these different engagement routes together.

Jonny Dunning:   32:33     Yeah, and it throws up opportunities, but it definitely throws up problems as well. Lee, again, looking at the kind of transition of how MSP programs are evolving. How do you manage the kind of changing stakeholder relationships, that are coming out of some of these changes? So exactly, as Jo was saying, might typically have been a procurement by for a contingent workforce program. But actually, in some organizations, I’m sure you’ve seen this as well, Jo, I’ve seen that actually be talent that are buying contingent workforce, but services procurement will be something completely separate. That sits within procurement and isn’t kind of, it’s very separate. But Lee, from your point of view, how do you manage those changing relationships because it’s definitely shifted?

Lee Gudgeon:      33:20     Yeah, so changing relations from a solution design perspective. And then there’s the changing relationship between when you start to execute, I started the execute piece, if through the triage service, you determined, actually, this is best done under a packet of work, be a statement of work or work package, if the buyer is used to being a hiring manager, and they are going to supervise and sort of onboard and take control of the outputs of that worker. When you start to sell them a statement of work, and when you spec out the work, or actually you just design the package of work to deliver the outcomes that are already spayed. That’s quite a transition for that, that individual to think that the mindset is entirely different. And typically, a statement works more expensive, because there’s some element of risk to it, which you don’t necessarily have in a contract or attempt basis. So they might look at that project and say, “Well, that is more expensive.” But you and I know Jonny, contractors have been contracting for 10 years, sometimes, some clients. So actually, if you deliver a piece of work in six months, and they’re done, it’s done. There you go. And the value you might get from the IP transition, as opposed to a worker just couldn’t continue in there for years and years and years. So there’s a big piece of work there to understand to educate them on the value of completing a task versus supervision control of a worker for you. So that’s time, that’s ensuring that your service is people based, really Jonny. And we’d like to automate as much as we can. But ultimately, you need to say, the customer on that journey through education. And try and keep it as simple as possible. And when that certainly took about a second to last question, just reduce this bit where possible and keep it simple. So we’ve got some sort of fixed outcome. So, I think, people as an education piece, are the buyer. So that will come to execution, the upfront fees, comes back to focus on solutions or services is, just make sure that we’re working to solve the problem that the customer has. And if you can even get to the heart of what the problem is, and what you’re trying to solve? Typically, the solution will be sort of developed. What I do know is, me and my team, including Jo here, have been talking a lot about recently is we don’t have a lift and shift solution anymore, which we perhaps did 5, 10 years ago in terms of MSP, roll that one out, roll that one out, roll that one out, I’m saying we’ve got one of the same now. They are designed much more bespoke, because to our roots really to answer that very first point that you asked, how do we make sure that we can take people on that transition? Because everybody’s a different buying stages, different sizes, different needs, different categorizations of what result is? Everyone’s different, Jo, I am sure, you’ve seen it through your solutions team.

Jo Lindsay:           36:41     Yeah, absolutely. And I think, to be honest, it comes down to me, well, for two things, it’s first of all, actually understanding what the clients drivers are and being for, on to a better word, harness the food chain in the customer to actually get to the people who are genuinely making decisions about their workforce strategy, because getting engagement from those different communities, both HR and procurement, or indeed, the hiring manager, or actually the CIO, that’s got a multimillion pound IT, tech transformation program to deliver. They all have various different needs that if you can react to, you will get the buy in and classic case in point for me is, when we’ve gone to talk to organizations about contingent worker programs, for example, and I remember a particular client acting with surprise, when we started talking to them about what their internal mobility strategy was from a workforce optimization point of view, workforce planning point of view, where, to me, that’s an absolute integral part of, what you would be engaging with an external provider who provides your contingent worker program about because those two things will dovetail together, that internal mobility, to an extent is a substitute product for contingent worker programs. So if you’re operating at the right level, that you’re able to have those conversations at the right level, I think it becomes a much easier, you can genuinely, if it’s even a word, solution eyes with your customers, and actually demonstrate how you would add value in that space. And I think, again, it’s stating the obvious, but services procurement, I, initially, when I started getting involved with it, I almost kind of felt, to an extent embarrassed that we would go in as a service provider of a particular type of services Reed was known for at the time, which was staffing, and talking about how they engaged with the wider, if you’d like, the wider ecosystem of kind of worker engagements that were available of which one of them could actually be supply chain engagement through a services procurement piece, because these people had lots of letters after their name that related to procurement. I had some letters after my name that related to HR kind of thing. But in terms of what you’re actually doing, as an organization, when you’re adding value around that services procurement piece, you’re actually bringing rigor to how those interventions, dovetail with, again, that workforce optimization program, we’re not here teaching them how to order, I don’t know, the parts in the automotive supply chain, for example, what we’re saying to them is, “You have an outcome that needs to be delivered, actually, what’s the best way of delivering this outcome? And actually, we have expertise across this whole range,” and I think the bit that, is obviously still attractive to procurement is, if you look at some of the savings that have been delivered out of, again, traditional managed service programs, contingent worker programs, you’ve taken what was actually even 20 years ago, relatively well managed pockets of spend because of how big they tended to be within organizations, they had specific category management around that, but by putting process in place where you’ve actually, whether it’s a triage whether it’s procurement practices themselves, so long as you’re able to add value to that, you’re basically giving them an opportunity to potentially untie or to potentially tie what is largely untamed parts of their procurement spend, the bleed, for example, in from contractors into consultancy, that gives them an option, very much to target that. So it was less about then sort of feeling embarrassed that I was talking to them about procurement expertise, he was actually saying, “I’m talking to you from an expertise about how you actually engage these skills or these types of workforce engagements within your wider overall program.” So that for me, going back to the very first question, you said, how do you engage with these and perhaps stakeholders that have different buying paths in terms of how they choose to do it, it’s about being relevant to them at each point, and showing that we’re adding value as a service provider.

Jo Lindsay:           36:41     You’re still solving the problem; you’re solving the problem of what’s the most effective use of our resources? I’ll never forget CEO said that, to me, he’s like, “The one thing I want to know, what’s the most effective use of all the resources I have to hand?” So for you guys in a central position, your are helping the Marshal, how they resource work that needs to be done? And I think, it’s interesting what you were saying, Lee, about how the traditional contingent workforce programs have been more commoditized. That’s definitely true. And it’s kind of you can drive those things down and you’re making savings and then it becomes more difficult to make bigger savings, the way that the supply chain is really buttoned up on the recruitment side, and how efficient the process is. But if you look at something like services, procurement, it’s such a greenfield area, in terms of the potential savings where nothing’s in a competitive bid. Nothing’s measured, half of its non-compliant, it’s all spreadsheets, it’s an area where there’s huge opportunity to make a difference.

Lee Gudgeon:      40:55     Yeah, absolutely. I think it might have been Jo’s said that the contingent Workforce Solutions hadn’t been monetized so long, that I actually agree with that. And, you’re right, the savings aren’t necessarily available, there is anything that price points to go up because of all the cost pressures, wondering in the big wide world. So where our savings available, we’ll make sure you get the best access to talent and control visibility, compliance, etc., all of those things in effective supply chain ESG, EBP, EDIB, all of our wraparound services. But we are still talking about savings. Absolutely, totally. That’s the area to look at in terms of savings. And I think that’s because you’re typically looking at higher bid day rates, or you’ve got the more expensive resources have sort of provided to Jo’s point earlier in the transformation, you’re looking at a better skill set that is expensive. And traditional margins, if they’re on the expensive resource, that’s greater, that’s going to face it, the savings are absolutely there. And I think that’s probably because a lot of companies and this comes down to basics, but a lot of companies monitor their headcount. And you can put headcount and error but there’s caps on that, there isn’t always a cap on the consultancy spend. So consultancy spend had this kind of free roam to just spend. So, quite often, resource has been purchased as consultancy or results have been badged up as consultancy and going in that route. So, that is the next evolution for us to get control of that if savings is the objective, you definitely can get savings there and will be able to greenfield, on this pretty big, bit more than green, I think, Jonny but yeah, savings can absolutely be gained from the area. We don’t want to see the market go further down on traditional tent labor do it, that is not what we’re about, right?

Jonny Dunning:   44:10     It’s about value, isn’t it? And, it’s like anything, if someone’s in a very traditional recruitment transaction, and they drive the fees down too much, then the best talents, not necessarily going to be available to execute cutting off your nose to spite your face. But I think yes, savings on the services side, huge opportunity, but also is a lot of opportunity for increasing compliance on that side. And that’s one of the, it feels like a bit of an after effect of IR35 in the sense that how many organizations have effectively addressed the disguised contracting within their services procurement supply chain.

Lee Gudgeon:      44:48     Yes, it’s really been, and I will let Jo comment on it more but absolutely. If services or if consulting is really actually based on resource, and you’ve got a regulated customer, which many are, they all need, certainly, individuals, however, they’ve been engaged to go through certain compliance angles, then that is another key reason why people are looking to get control of what’s happening, then you’ve seen that a lot, Jo, in terms of [unclear 45:23] that the service providers have to go through.

Jo Lindsay:           45:27     Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, at the very basic level, again, I can remember, you talk about disguised, I think it’s kind of comedy disguise is how I describe it in some places, it’s kind of pair of glasses, and a mustache is about as kind of disguised as it got. But you know, working with customers, actually in MSP implementations, where, you’d be going through a list from their accounts payable ledger, and you would know that some of the things that they were saying, “We’re out of scope,” was absolutely, by the companies that were providing them or subsidiaries of the companies that were providing them with, it was effectively disguised temporary workers, for example, and I think, when you look at, again, the opportunity, not only for, I guess, savings, as we’ve talked at length about but actually compliance or bringing some rigor actually to the process of how you onboard and work with those organizations that, for me is where services procurement is going to add the most value and as you know, either as a standalone product, or as I said to fit in within a wider MSP type solution.

Lee Gudgeon:      46:35     Jonny, companies almost have to do or pay more for consulting or do resource. So instantly, the hire or the buyer is almost happy to pay for that, even if the services is actually the same. And one of the reasons why the buyer or a manager chooses to go they consultancies because if you don’t have to go through vetting for the individual resources, you can get them on board a week later, rather than four or six weeks later. So there might be some asset management issues. But that’s why trying to get hold of that to make sure compliance comes in, it doesn’t mean it might not be the greatest hiring measure or biometric experience. Because you might have to wait a bit. But compliance is keys, it’s absolutely fundamental, you got to reduce your risk. 

Jonny Dunning:   47:17     Totally. And things like IR35, well, generally, companies have to be on top of this stuff, they can’t afford to have compliance problems going on with all of the other stuff, they’ve got to worry about that how quickly the markets moving or the different factors that were operating and affecting them, things like COVID come along, Brexit, IR35 global events, they’ve got to be on top of the basics, [unclear 47:38]. But I think, just to pick up on to the things that we were just discussing there, one was around people using it as a kind of an escape route, which is incredible, I totally agree. When you might have like a headcount freeze, or if it’s a PLC, the headcount numbers are important for public reporting, and all that sort of thing. But constantly spend is like uncapped. And it’s just, that’s where you get that rogue spend, the company’s needs to get under control. But the other thing I was going to just sort of go back to, you mentioned about the perception that getting something done under a procured piece of work with clear deliverables and an outcome that is perceived to be more expensive. But actually, I think it’s a really interesting area, because I think that’s a natural default perception. But yeah, if your business is organized enough to say, “This is what we need to do, and this is where we need to do it by,” that’s going a long way towards being efficient in the first place. And then if you pay for that, and it happens, and it happens on time to cost, great, you’re doing well, whereas the other side of it might be might seem cheaper, because you’re hiring headcount of some kind, and it’s just the headcount there on the never, never, or certainly was in the back in the past, who’s keeping an eye on what was actually, as anyone even said, “What was going to be done by when in the first place?”

Jonny Dunning:   49:01     Yeah.

Jo Lindsay:           49:02     I mean, it’s really interesting, because, you know, when I, I tried to explain to a group of our graduate scheme trainees who joined recently about what we did in consultancy plus, and the most simple analogy I’ve used to explain it as being, “Would you ever employ a builder to fix your roof on a day?” You’d go, “How many days is it going to cost?” You’d let them go up on the roof, check it out, decide what work was going to be involved and then you did agree a price and what the cost of materials were going to be? What the cost of labor is going to be? And you would agree a you know an outcome based on that whereas what you’re effectively saying when you’re adding headcount is just kind of like well, I might be paying you 200 pounds a day and so 400 pounds a day, but, go for your life take as many days as you like, you to an extent put in place controls because you will have things like purchase order numbers or length of assignment, when those original assignments or engagements are made. But, if the work is not done at the end of that, what happens? It takes a very brave person to then stop a project six or nine months through, you’re effectively just saying, “Actually, I’m resigned to the fact that I’m going to raise a new PO number for another three weeks or for another 10 heads or whatever it takes to get that outcome delivered.” So, as you said, it’s kind of, a bit of a, well, it’s not a bit of, it’s a complete fallacy that actually, it’s always going to work out more expensive in the long term. And I think sometimes it’s just about, whilst an individual hiring or a buyer might see that analogy as a roofer, it’s exactly how they’d operate in their own personal space, it’s about getting them to take the same level of responsibility or understand that the same options are available to them in terms of different types of workforce engagement or optimization, actually, when they’re thinking about how they’re going to go to market and engage the skills that they need to get a particular job done.

Lee Gudgeon:      50:52     When it comes budget management, you have a budget, if you’ve got a budget here, go and do that for that budget, so there is a peace of mind to it. Some of the finance team like it, because you might only pay in three stages. So actually, the payment terms, and a profile looks better for the business as opposed to a contingent result on, “I’ve got to pay the agency or staffing and supplier on weekly basis.” So then you can go on and on with terms of the contractual nature, from insurance to risk, etc., with it too. And I don’t wanna say, you should never engage a contractor under a supervisory control method again, because of course, there are skills that they bring in, you might not spit it out the project. But one of the other value pieces that a statement of work or work package can offer is the scoping other project. So if a customer isn’t quite ready to say, “Here is the spec, we’ve got a lot of architects now that help the customer spec out the project.” Now, that is additional value in terms of, by when? By who? How many people we’re going to need? If you can offer that additional value, that helps in terms of the budget control too.

Jonny Dunning:   52:15     Yeah, and ultimately, in terms of however you need to get it done. It’s always going to be horses for courses, it’s always going to be the right route, the right channel, for that piece of work and the circumstances in the setup and the organization and where they’re on the maturity curve and what their internal capabilities are? Because, in some cases, if you’re triaging, and you’re looking at everything, from an overall workforce planning perspective, it might be, well, actually, that’s three hires, or because that’s going to definitely going to be fully in scope for the next five years within this part of the business. And which leads me on to my next question, which is, who the hell owns it? And I think, it’s a difficult question to answer, I think, but I’d be interested in your perspectives on this. Because this is something that the scope of what an MSP can help with, and the problem it can solve, has got broader, and in my opinion, much more logical, in the sense that it encompasses now at the best level, what was the piece of work? What are all your options? “This is the most effective way to get it done. Let’s get it done. Let’s measure it. Let’s make sure we’re getting the best value from whatever route that is, perm, hire, contractor, statement of work, freelancer, whatever.” But within organizations, a lot of the time and not really set up in that much of a holistic manner. Are they? I don’t know if you want to go first on that one, Lee, but who owns it? And how are organizations grappling with that issue?

Lee Gudgeon:      53:45     Yeah, so in simple terms, in the old days, which might only be three years ago, but in the old days, typically, the HR or talent communities owned your permanent solutions, and procurement owned your contingent solutions. Now, that wasn’t always the case. But it’s a bit like you buy an Aussie [unclear 54:08] than New Zealand why? So rule of thumb would be that, that’s how it used to be. Other key players were the CIO or CTO or whatever and probably the head of IT because a big part of contingent resources were in tech, that was the nature of that marketplace. So did they own it or were they key influencers is an interesting one. But then as the contingent resource became more consultancy, more Statement of Work base, which actually was a big part of that was tech, that CTO has become more influential, potentially a decision maker, the ownership. I don’t see, I don’t think I can give you a one size fits all. And it may be that as the market matures, we might get to a relatively consistent owner. But the message probably we would give to our client base right now would be, HR on procurement need to be or HR and talent and procurement or talent procurement need to be aligned in order to make sure the categorization and a triage service fits all. I think, for one, team to own, is actually a mirror of sometimes that procurement team reporting to the chief of people and sometimes HR for pointers or CPS is a lot easier then. So there isn’t really one rule of thumb, but alignment between those two, or even three divisions, I think are really needed to make it work.

Jonny Dunning:   55:43     Yeah. What about you, Jo? In terms of that sort of workforce optimization angle? What’s your view on that?

Jo Lindsay:           55:50     Yeah, I mean, I agree with what Lee says. I don’t think you can have a single owner for this, I think depending on how mature the client organization is, in actually having a holistic, if you like, people or Workforce Strategy anyway, I think makes it probably easier for it to sit with HR and procurement to be an enabler. Because effectively what you have then is HR owning the, if you want to call it the people plan so, what’s the right mix of contingent per project? How bigger are some of our internal benches, for example, around some of the projects we want to deliver against? What are our internal mobility plans? What are our plans for growing our capacity or capability in different global territories, for example? If you’ve got a workforce plan, then effectively your, how you engage with those different routes to market becomes how you deliver against that plan. And then procurement should really be an enabler in terms of, putting in place the right deals for you with the right service provider that can actually, if you’d like to enable that to happen, I think that’s probably quite aspirational for a large number of organizations, there will be pockets of HR, and in particular, talent management programs that do elements of that very, very well, I think, is, as Lee’s alluded to, historically, kind of probably contingent workers have been kind of an afterthought in that community. It’s very much focused first on, it’ll be the perm workers, then it will be potentially high [unclear 57:27], or high value contractors, fixed term contractors, etc., and then you’ll start to get into the kind of the more peripheral workforce became an afterthought. But again, I personally think, as you’ve seen, the nature of work change, even pre-pandemic, in terms of, people were talking about how different demographics within the labor market want to actually engage? You don’t have jobs for life anymore, you don’t even have maybe jobs for two or three years, you have individual consultants, the HR community was already having to think about how their workforce plans changed in that space to be responsive to the marketplace? So now pushing forward, it’s kind of like, if they embrace it, and they can get to that, as I said, what is probably quite an aspirational goal, they will have genuine business performance enhancing access to talent via different routes.

Jonny Dunning:   58:24     Yeah, you make a good point. And I think it kind of ties into the data side of the conversation, in the sense that it might not necessarily be a central function that owns it all. But if you can centralize the data. And if you can understand what’s happening, where you’re getting things done, understand what’s driving value for your organization? Then that’s essential for the decision making process. And it allows the organization to move away purely from a cost driven analysis and strategic approach to more of a value driven one. But I think the data, people are starting to get better at it now. And I think if you look at contingent worker programs, they’ve been pretty good around data, they’re fairly mature in terms of the use of technology in the way the programs are implemented. Certainly, what we see on the service procurement side is it’s a much lower level of maturity. And that data kind of needs to catch up, but also that data needs to be centralized. But, Lee, from your point of view, that would be the kind of the holy grail really, wouldn’t be, running approach is to have all the data in nicely one place?

Lee Gudgeon:      59:34     Yeah, we have that horizontally. But it goes back to that traditional things. Jo said it in a beginning, visibility and control, isn’t it? I mean, that data is potentially historical as well so we can look forward but there are tools out their enablers now, Jonny’s in it, so we do have that, as I’m sure many have Power BI so just in case we have multiple systems feeding into one solution, we can at least have this single point of truth through aggregated the view from the multiple. So I think is actually pretty easier than we imagine assuming that you’ve have absolutely got that all of it from the client and supplier base. Does that evidences, that obviously because the evidence is what’s happened? Trick is in what next and what the future looks like and what we do with it now to engage? So I’m relatively confident that data piece given, us a say the portals are available. What will make life easier, I suppose for everybody, Jonny, is one system that did it all nicely, not just for the supplier site, but also for the hiring manager or buying managers decide to make sure it’s just that one click, that kind of single sign on one click, that’s probably not just engaged also, for them to see the data themselves.

Jonny Dunning:   1:01:05  Yeah, it’s a really interesting point. And, you made the point about that, for you guys having the data, you’re gonna able to manage that so what you do, the difficult bit is getting out of the client. But I think also, when you’re looking at systems and user adoption, and things like that, from our point of view, as a technology provider, we have to make our system really easy to use, massively helps with adoption, modern kind of consumer style interfaces are just what people are used to, rather than the kind of really clunky stuff that is, in a lot of cases, those legacy systems are still in use, because they’re really big technology organizations that have been around for a long time. But yeah, driving that is absolutely critical to it, in terms of giving a smooth process, I think, it’s an interesting one, because if you try and if you wanted to kind of like one ring to rule them all, it’s very difficult that no service provider is going to be the best at everything, you’ve obviously got huge players like SAP that will buy different solutions and combine them all together. And that’s even within organizations with that is extremely difficult takes a very long time to do that. But one of the things that we’re seeing, we have to integrate a lot. And one of the things that we’re seeing is this kind of single sign on white label type approach, where you might actually just have a triage at the front end with single sign on. And that single sign on obviously helps with things like security as well, which then guides the buyer through that triage process. And then either off to, for example, a contingent workforce interaction in a VMFS, which might be branded up for the client or the MSP, and vice versa, and SOW might drive them towards, for example, a platform like ours. And in that scenario, what they’re doing is they’re just going through different screens. So they’ve got single sign on, and at the end of the process, all reporting is looped up into Tableau, or [unclear 1:02:51] Central Power BI, that from the buyer’s point of view, that is a holistic way to do it. So it’s really interesting to see the way the markets developed in terms of knitting together these types of solutions. But as you say, every client is different so, there is a level of flexibility.

Lee Gudgeon:      1:03:07  Yeah, that’d be right. If you’re driving a car, there’s certain engines, the gears take all of those things. So we have this gateway, but we do need in the best in class BMS, marketplace platform, distribution platform, deployment or rettendon, etc. And they don’t all come in one. But we do have the gateway, we do have the portal, you mentioned three of them. We do use Power BI to present the data in one format. But keeping it simple, I say adoption. I’d love to think that all of our clients do that, but we do end up guiding them through the process, single sign on or not, but I agree, I think we got there with a gateway, we know that, that’s kind of thing. 

Jo Lindsay:           1:03:58  I mean, we proactively, for example, within our discussions with our clients, we talk about our technology stack, because, if we couldn’t come and tell you that there’s a single system that would do everything that you would need to do if, again, you’re looking at all of those different types of workforce engagements. And if you look at say, for example, how complex it is, managing, I don’t know, within a contingent worker program, something like the agency worker regs and the checkpoints that you need to have physically inbuilt within a best in class BMS system to operate in the UK market for AWS and IR35, you’ve got a very discrete set of functionality that you would want within your VMFS that you wouldn’t necessarily need within your services procurement vehicle, but actually, you know, some of the tools that you’d want within your services, procurement vehicle, you clearly don’t need if you’re employing PA via temps so, the beauty is trying to knit all of those best in class things were actually there is a real nice piece of functionality that sits in those things together. And again, I got interested in I was explaining it to the same group of graduate trainees. And for me, it’s no more complex than saying, “You’ve got a phone, you’ve got a single device, and actually you access different apps through that device. Whereas actually, 20 years ago, I might have had a phone on my desk, I might have had a calculator on my desk, I might have had a calendar on my desk. But now I’ve actually got all of those things in one place.” So actually, from a UI perspective, it’s a far more seamless engagement. And that, obviously, is adoption.

Lee Gudgeon:      1:05:29  It does grant fall over and disbelief when you said that. 

Jo Lindsay:           1:05:32  Shortly after I told them when I first started in recruitment, that we used to leave messages on the phones of candidates to ask them to call into the office, or write them letters because people didn’t have email or mobile phones. So I aged myself significantly at that point.

Jonny Dunning:   1:05:50  Yeah, no, I love it as I was watching something with my 11-year-old the other day on a bench and something had happened. And I said, “Of course, it wasn’t social media.” And she was like, “What!? Social media didn’t exist in those days?” I was like, “Well actually think about it, pretty sure smartphones didn’t and the internet, it just started.” But listen, I’m really, really enjoying this conversation. But to wrap things up, last thing I wanted to kind of pick your brains on was a point that was made earlier was the resource market is scarce. Okay, so it doesn’t matter what channel you’re going through, particularly in certain areas where there’s absolutely no technology, for example. So organizations need to be able to adapt to using different workforce channels to get the work done. But in talking about evolution, we talked about the evolution of the MSP that by different programs, the evolution of SOW is part of this workforce mix. And one of the things that I find quite fascinating is if you look at like, the way that organizations are trying to attract candidates, and how that’s now starting to cross over into the thought process to how they deal with suppliers? So Jo, one of the things that you’ve mentioned to me before, was about employer value proposition. And obviously, you can look at that from how organizations are interacting with their perm in house teams. And there was definitely an evolution to that being brought into the contingent side. But have you noticed much in that side, in terms of it becoming more holistic?

Jo Lindsay:           1:07:30  Yeah, definitely. And we’d almost kind of thought about the concept, I think I’ve read elsewhere, so I can’t take credit for it. But it’s not just about the EVP standing for Employee Value Proposition, actually, it’s about the Engagement Value Proposition for the supply chain as well. So whether that’s the social value or that organization is looking to garner from its supply chain, whether it’s the approach of the supply chain to the wider ESG agenda, for example, all of those things are becoming important in terms of that, I don’t know, the quality of the interaction between the suppliers and the organizations that they’re working with. And if you bring it back to the very simplest thing around, the Employee Value Proposition, first of all it has to be, you can’t just say, it has to be perception and reality, have to be the same thing kind of thing. So that level of authenticity that exists in an EVP is going to have to be something that potentially, begins to resonate between suppliers and their supply chain, if actually, they really want to care and really want to progress forward in some of these areas. I would have heard somebody talking about their EVP, and they talked about how they were attractive to a particular demographic in the workplace. And it was kind of, there’s all this talk about autonomy, and how people were able to do their jobs, and actually their EVP they came down to, actually, that wasn’t people’s experience of that, if you read their glass door profiles, for example, very much came down to some real kind of, what I’d call sort of, like, almost quite quirky giveaways that you might get, I don’t know, free fruit every day or kind of, the sort of stereotypes of, you got a pool table or a football table, you’ve got to make it real value things within that supply chain, they’re actually going to resonate with both the organization and the supplier themselves, not just jargon pretty much.

Jonny Dunning:   1:09:40  Yeah, totally agree. I’m only joking when I say this, but we just went for zip wire into a ball pit and actually sorted out. Well, yeah, you’re right. It’s got to be authentic. It’s got to be; the promises have got to match the reality. But it’s both ways, isn’t it? It goes both ways in the sense that whether you’re looking at permanent employees, contingent workforce, and suppliers now, I think everybody’s becoming more discerning. And ESG is such an important factor for everybody in business. I do think that, suppliers are considering that now as well, not just in terms of the fact that they’re limited, if they’re a supplier that works as a consultancy, in cybersecurity, for example, they’re going to be very much in demand. But there’s the ethical side of it as well, where they’re going to want to align themselves even with paying customers that fit into the same profile of themselves in terms of their ethics. I don’t know whether that’s something that you’ve seen kind of changing more than markedly?

Lee Gudgeon:      1:10:42  Yeah, we have. To sort of just go back onto Jo’s last point, what are your point about resource? Yeah, what we are saying to people, however, you guys get results, permanent, contingent service, make yourself as attractive as possible and make the process as simple as possible is a summary, Jonny. And that attract is possible from an ESG perspective is becoming more important. So think about us, as a provider, we have a particularly good ESG program and have done for a number of years, and it hasn’t actually often benefited us. It hasn’t been more recently, it has and we’ve seen that. We’ve seen ourselves being selected as a supplier based on our ESG program. So that’s been encouraging to see. So we’re actually seeing it come to life as us as a provider. And for us to make sure our supply chain has a position now and will do in the future as well. So we’re managing right away through. How important it is for then engaging resource particularly written in a traditional sense? I think that will become more and more important, because of the labor market right now and inflationary pressures speaking, if you want to be truthful answer, does a candidate make an employment decisions be contingent or permanent based on ESG? Nine times out of 10, they don’t, because they’re after more money, that is the current pressure point for resource. I think it will circle back. But as a supplier of services or to be a professional service provider ESG is quite important. It doesn’t hasn’t quite filtered to the candidate market, particularly but from supply chain, yes.

Jonny Dunning:   1:12:31  Yeah. And, it goes right the way through to how effective organizations are in winning business, and what valuation they can get on IPO, for example? So, it’s at the point of, it’s important for a company to do the right thing. And therefore, it’s important for them to have a supply chain that do the right thing, and it’s kind of filtering through. But yeah, it’s really, really interesting to see that. But listen, I’m going to wrap things up there, really appreciate both your time, and we’re almost about to kind of run over our window. But that’s been really interesting and some great insights from both of you. So I really appreciate you taking the time to come and have a chat. I think we’re all gonna be quite busy, aren’t we? It seems like there’s a lot going on.

Lee Gudgeon:      1:13:17  Thanks for having us, Jonny. 

Jo Lindsay:           1:13:19  Yeah, thank you.

Jonny Dunning:   1:13:20  Absolutely. My pleasure. Brilliant. Well, listen, again, interesting insights. Great to get your take on all this stuff. Thank you very much for taking the time. And yeah, look forward to catching up with both soon.


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