Friday, 18 June 2010

Spot the difference

Two news stories today - both from "Roll on Friday" (always a good source!).

The first is about Eversheds who are, apparently about to outsource its entire fiance team. Well, I say outsource - the story in fact says that the team will be made redundant and the work moved to an outsourcing firm in India. Outsourcing does seem to be the current "thing to do" - last year it was redundancy, this year it's outsourcing. Eversheds are also, apparently, looking at outsourcing some legal work to regional firms.

The second story is about Edinburgh firm Shepherd & Wedderburn who have just announced that they will be compensating those members of staff who agreed to take unpaid leave last year. In the height of their recession, S&W asked staff to take unpaid leave to avoid further redundancies. Apparently 98% of their staff agreed with the proposal and the firm survived. One year on and now that things are recovering, S&W have announced that they will be repaying 50% of the amount staff lost by taking unpaid leave. Patrick Andrews, the firm's CEO (and I won't get into the whole subject of a law firm CEO who is really, at best, a Managing Partner) in on record as saying that "...[it] without doubt the right things for us to do for the medium to long-term". Absolutely - let's acknowledge that the staff did something for us when needed and so we will repay that trust in the firm as soon as we can.

Spot the difference in approach to a firm's staff. In one firm, staff appear to be thought of as drones who do not add any strategic value and who can be replaced by either cheaper people or machines. In the other firm, staff are people who contribute to the strategic future of the firm and who make a contribution which is recognised and acknowledged by the firm's management.

I know which I would rather be working for.

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