Global reverberations: Another staffing tremor

Last week it was announced that the U.S. operations of the Albany Group would likely be sold. This is more fallout from the funding issues that Albany faced in the U.K. at the beginning of the year. U.K. operations are being liquidated, and it appears that parts of the company are quickly being sold off, contrary to earlier reports that U.S. operations were fine and would continue.

So, what happens in Dussledorf may stay in Dussledorf, but the fact remains that it has implications here in the U.S. This highlights how connected our global economy has become. Particularly in the staffing industry, where there is quite a bit of non-U.S. ownership and broad global operations. While it may be bad here in the U.S., for companies who are spread out across the globe, the conditions are far more complex. Think about global banking, currency fluctuations, and employment laws in multiple countries and jurisdictions. Mensch! (German for "Oh my gosh")

First, full disclosure here: I work for a privately-held, U.S.-based company. So it would be easy to advocate that everyone simply buy U.S. However, the bigger point here is that in these next few years, recovery will take time, and it will happen at different rates in different places.

What I'm advocating is that companies take a look at their global workforce strategy a little differently than they might have the past few years. It might not be the best time to consolidate all staffing needs through a single, global supplier. The logistics for both your company and the provider might prove unrealistic, unsupportable, and ultimately, unprofitable.

My suspicion with companies like the Albany Group is that they focused on expanding into other countries, possibly (and quite admirably) to support client contracts and meet their commitments, only to find their resources stretched too thin. While they might have survived this, investors and banks have high expectations and short memories. And in this case, you should too.

If you haven't already, it might be time to look at your supply chain and create strategies to deal with the next few years of recovery. Flexibility and adaptability, both domestically and globally, should be part of the plan. I would submit that a global workforce strategy does not necessarily mean just using a single company.

And since we started with the earthquake headline to get your attention, I'll close by urging everyone to continue to support relief efforts in Haiti and now, Chile -- another example of how impacts can be felt globally, in a positive way.

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