Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Firing Your Internal Clients

In my last post, I gave an example of an organization that utilized "borrowed" best practices from many various industries in order to achieve premier employer branding status. The organization? PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Now I'll give an example of an organization that is doing things a little radically. Keep in mind, however, that this isn't a specific example as it relates to the HR/Recruiting industries. It IS, however, a good example of how re-imagining things can rock your client's world. Thus, it's a great example of what internal HR/Recruiting functions could do to achieve premier status within their respective firms.

If you asked anyone in the advertising world who the hottest firm is right now, the majority would probably say "Crispin Porter + Borgusky!" They've been around since 1965, but it wasn't really until 1999 that this firm really started turning some heads...and creating some raised eyebrows...and some polarization among consumers.

CP+B's most recent campaign involves the venerable Volkswagon brand. This brand has been resurrected twice already by two other firms in previous decades past; now, it's CP+B's turn to re-focus, re-align, and re-imagine a brand that has seen sales drop steadily from a peak in 2001.

So what exactly does CP+B do that prompted me to write about it?

They fire clients who treat them like vendors!

They turn away organizations who don't give it access to every part of the company!

Come again?

As CP+B sees it, everything it does for a client is "with an eye toward gaining media attention for the brand." To that extent, the firm insists that clients break down corporate silos...otherwise, CP+B doesn't feel that the business is worth pursuing.

...not worth pursuing.

Now that would be a novel concept within internal corporate functions.

So I ask this question: what would happen the next time a hiring manager refused to get back to his/her recruiter in a timely fashion, and that recruiter then refuses their "services" to said manager?

Would all hell break loose? Probably.

Would a point be made? Perhaps.

It's a fine line, but I'd be really interested to see if any recruiting or HR function would be daring enough to do this. There's no question that as a recruiter in particular, there are certain inter-dependencies that require attention from a variety of people. If those people don't do their parts in a timely fashion, the whole recruiting process gets mired in a bottleneck that may take days or weeks to get out of. And by then, key talent may have been lost.

If the argument can be made that recruiting/HR will be one of the most important issues in this New Economy, then why can't an internal function demand that internal clients do their part?

Is it any different than how Crispin Porter + Borgusky does business in order to achieve remarkable success?

So there you example of something more "sexy," more paradigm shifting, more intrusive.

The question is: which is the more effective approach?

To be continued...


Astha said...

You bet HR should go this way. I used to work in an HR Consulting Firm in India which worked along these lines. We refused projects where clients weren't willing to get into a 50-50 partnership. Surprisingly, most clients we said no to- got so curious that they stuck around till we came upon an understanding!

Phillip said...

Yup...I would argue the same thing as well. It seems counter-intuitive, but it seems the more you push back on the client, the more they become interested. As long as you do it right, of course. No one will be interested if you're seen as a fool. ;)