After two or three days of hiding in the metaphorical cellar, while the political and media hurricane raged about them, G4S have finally come out with the kind of response that they should have done a few days ago. That they chose to wait, hoping that it would blow away, is no surprise; I’m certain that is exactly what they were advised to do by their PR advisors.
Mind you, I’m sure the delay in their response, and their initial (underwhelming) announcements, have only added to the strength of feeling being voiced in the media, and across the social mediasphere.
For anyone watching BBC’s Breakfast News this morning, they might have been surprised by the tough time that the normally mild-mannered Charlie Stayt and Louise Minchin were giving G4S CEO Nick Buckles, who duly explained that G4S is “disappointed, embarrassed, and sorry”, which more or less echoes the company’s latest statement released late yesterday.
Yesterday’s statement (and Nick Buckles uneasy interview) go an awful lot further than the low key announcement the company made on Thursday, saying that it understood “the Government’s decision to bring in additional resources”, which clearly didn’t go anywhere like far enough.
Regardless of how successful (or otherwise) G4S’ media and crisis management strategy has been, as a recruitment, talent acquisition and employer branding professional, what I’m really interested in finding out is whether there are any lessons to be learnt from G4S’ failure to deliver. (So, I suspect, is the board of G4S, given the £10m – £20m of contractual penalties they face on this contract, not to mention the likely impact on future potential contracts – Surrey and West Midlands Police forces have already shelved plans to outsource a large portion of their middle and back office functions since the furore began last week).
Not being funny, but with unemployment topping 2.6m, including record levels of student and graduate unemployment, how difficult could it have been exactly to have recruited 10,000 people or thereabouts, to be part of the ‘greatest show on earth’?
Well, according to G4S, very.
Indeed, the company has described it as an “unprecedented and very complex security recruitment and deployment exercise”, during which it has “encountered significant difficulties in processing applicants in sufficient numbers through the necessary training, vetting and accreditation procedures”.
Except that G4S is the company that just 2 months ago, won the award for Best Global/International Recruitment Strategy at the 2012 Recruiter Awards for Excellence in HR. (No, I’m not kidding). In its press release, G4S credited the win on its highly innovative and effective direct resourcing strategy that “has been achieved through the application of innovative technological recruiting solutions which match our business requirements”.
Once the leadership team at G4S have finished wiping the egg off their faces, they will clearly turn their attention to finding out exactly what has gone wrong, along with the Commons Public Accounts Committee which has summoned G4S, two government departments and 2012 organiser LOCOG to answer questions in September.
When they do, I suspect they will find that all sorts of issues have contributed to the situation, including the decision by LOCOG to increase the number of required hires three fold, a year into the contract. But above all else, I suspect they will find that it’s not been managed in a sufficiently robust and joined up way, and that the project has lacked clear pipeline management processes (in spite of those innovative technological recruiting solutions that G4S boasted about until so recently).
I hope that in due course, we can all learn and understand where it’s gone wrong. That will be essential to the outsourcing and recruitment industry – in particular those organisations that work on large government contracts.
But in the meantime, I hope that we can all look forward to a fantastic, but above all safe, London 2012.
Filed under: Graduate & future talent, HR policy, linkedin, Talent attraction, Talent management, Uncategorized | Tagged: employer branding, G4S, LOCOG, London 2012, Nick Buckles, Recruiter Award, recruiting, recruitment marketing, talent acquisition | 3 Comments »