I had the pleasure to interview Cameron again for our Leadership Series to learn more about how Randstad is helping their clients get safely back to work and promote the safe re-opening of the economy.
Coffee for Closers (Episode 18): Cameron Brett, Managing Director of Randstad Professionals Japan talks about the “Safely Back to Work Guidelines”.
You can access and download the guidelines here:
For more information about Randstad Professionals Japan, please visit their website here:https://www.randstad.co.jp/professionals/
(Brad) This is really just kind of a follow up to an interview that we did a few months ago, pre-COVID. So, I wanted to speak to Cameron and get his ideas on what’s transpired and how he and his team are doing now and how he’s coping in this current environment now. I’ll throw that over to you Cameron.
(Cameron) Sure, so since the last time we spoke, things are definitely a lot different. The analogy that I’ve been using is that it was like we were driving a car 300 kilometers an hour down The Autobahn and all of a sudden, a brick wall shows up in the middle of the highway and things just stopped.
That’s really the experience that we had is that we were having a record quarter or we did have a record quarter in Q1 and then really in April we saw a significant drop in orders from clients, as well as a lot of clients going on hiring freezes.
Certain sectors were more heavily impacted than others and really recruitment is a bit of the “canary in the coal mine” in that regard. So, whatever people are reading in the newspaper about which industries are being impacted, those are the industries, obviously, that stop hiring as well. So, thinking about things like industries like retail, hospitality, certain sectors of manufacturing have been heavily impacted.
But at the same time the pharmaceutical industry has maintained hiring pretty consistently and certain sectors of technology have as well, which for us really played to our strengths because pharma and life sciences in general as well as tech have been two of our largest teams. And so we’ve been able to maintain a certain level of business but really it’s been a pretty challenging couple of months.
(Brad) I guess one of the other areas that I want to touch on is obviously, you’ve posted quite a bit about collaborating with some other agencies and how you’re getting this Safely Back to Work program implemented. Can you expand a little more on that?
“When this all started the questions that we were hearing from clients or internally and within the executive leadership team were, “How long is this going to last?” and “How bad is it going to get?”
And over the past 6 weeks the dialogue has shifted to be talking more about
“How do we get people back to work?”, “How do we restart the economy?” and “How do we do it in a safe and responsible way?”
(Cameron) Sure. When this all started the questions that we were hearing from clients or internally and within the executive leadership team were, “How long is this going to last?” and “How bad is it going to get?”
And over the past 6 weeks the dialogue has shifted to be talking more about “How do we get people back to work?”, “How do we restart the economy?” and “How do we do it in a safe and responsible way?”
And Randstad predicted that this, obviously, was going to be the next challenge that companies were facing. And several months ago, formed an alliance with the 3 largest HR solutions companies in the world and McKinsey.
So, it’s Randstad, Adecco, Manpower and McKinsey. These 4 companies came together to create a playbook for companies to use to help bring their teams safely back to work. And that’s what it’s called: “The Safely Back to Work Guidelines”
An A to Z playbook that a company can then use to implement Safely Back to Work Guidelines in their organization. We took the global resources and then we worked with our HR team and marketing team in Japan, along with Adecco and Manpower in Japan, and we localized it. And so we’ve created a playbook that’s aligned with Japanese law, Japanese regulations, Japanese social norms of course, in Japanese and we’re now, this week, providing that to clients.
And so we’ve started off by distributing the PDF version of it. Next week we’ll begin to launch things in a digital format so people can access it on our home page and we really hope that clients will take this, maybe take pieces of it or maybe use the whole thing to help their team get back to work.
And we feel like this is how Randstad can contribute, not only to creating safe work environments for our clients, but also, to stimulate the reopening of the economy.
(Brad) What do you see as client’s, right now, the biggest pain points for them.
(Cameron) I think one of the biggest concerns that clients are facing, especially the small to medium size companies are either doing one of two things. They’re bringing everybody back to work all at the same time or they’re keeping everybody at home. And it’s simply that they don’t know what to do because none of us have been in this situation before. And that’s impacting everything from their operations to hiring, to communications within the company.
And so, a lot of companies that are asking everybody to come back to work, the employees aren’t comfortable to come back and it’s creating tension within the company. Or they’re making everybody stay at home and I think that the work from home has its own challenges which aren’t being addressed. So that’s why I really believe that the “Safely Back to Work Guidelines” can help solve or at least contribute to solving a real issue that a lot of our clients are facing.
(Brad) Yeah, definitely. I do see that trend as well where companies are totally silent and not sure what to do and they’re not really trying to be productive in terms of finding real reasonable solutions for that. I definitely think the guidelines that you’ve set. Hopefully, companies are responsive to that and there’s definitely a need for that which is good.
So, thanks again for joining us and we’ll definitely be following up with Cameron and Randstad Professionals Japan in the future.
Brad is Managing Director of Motionworks K.K., a media consulting company in Japan. He is passionate about helping people develop themselves personally and professionally and working with companies to help build their brands.
Feel free to contact Brad directly if you have any questions about this article or just want to talk shop.