Thursday, 28 May 2009

What Is Cheap Recruitment Costing Your Business?

We are fresh back from the All-Energy 09 conference. What a difference a year makes in this industry!

One subject uppermost in every company’s mind at this year’s exhibition was the “cost” of recruitment. The current climate of course means that new entrants into the renewable energy recruitment market are popping up everywhere it seems. But is “cheap” good and what long term value are you building in your business – or even short term pain?

Here’s two real live examples we’ve seen in the last 2 days at All-Energy 09 where cheap recruitment can actually be damaging to your business:-
  1. Company X - suffered the loss of no less than 3 senior managers in the space of a year. Result:- damage to credibility and reputation, missed opportunity and potentially revenue, wasted operational time. Cause:- Insufficient qualification of candidates, no background check on history, no behavioural testing against real life business challenges 
  2. Company Y – 6 months on and still looking for a CTO using a multi-agency approach. Result:– damage to business credibility (not to mention future investor potential), misrepresentation in the marketplace as to company strategy, impaired ability to attract good talent on account of poor recruitment positioning. 
All this is easily avoided by investing time in giving full briefs about your business culture, vision and goals and working with a partner who takes the time to match and marry candidate motivations, aspirations, skills & knowledge – with everyone involved in the recruiting process. It’s not just about filling that seat! The quality of approach and qualification adopted by your recruiting partner is vital to the wellbeing of your business – the results can be the difference between failure and survival in today’s market, and the right partner can actually enhance your reputation in the marketplace – and bring you unexpected windfalls in the shape of direct approaches for future hires.

So what does cutting corners in recruitment quality, process and methodology cost your business?

It’s a sad fact that you can calculate the price of a failed of hire to 3 x salary and sometimes more. This could be down to lost opportunity, Directors time invested and damaged reputation.

So if someone is offering you a service at 12% in today’s market – you need to ask yourself what they’ve had to drop from their quality of service. Because if it’s a reference check they are dropping to save time in order to meet a volume “rack 'em, pack 'em an' stack 'em” approach you can bet your life that time will fall back on your desk sorting out the fall out from a failed hire. £1,000 extra spent today – could be a £20,000 return on investment in the next quarter because you are able to focus on the right things in your business.

Debby Lloyd
Managing Director, EcoSearch

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

All-Energy ’09 Round-up

The EcoSearch team had a great time in Abredeen last week at the All-Energy ’09 conference and exhibition. Some of the team give their thoughts on this coming together of the Renewables community in 2009.

Debby Lloyd:
Managing Director
“This year's show was markedly different to last year’s - a broader range of technologies on show representing the maturing renewable energy markets. Many businesses were in attendance that are not in mainstream renewables but were clearly looking for an angle to come in on it. Now the "mighty" are throwing their weight behind technology development it will be interesting to see what happens. Interesting views from the Oil and Gas community, who in general were surprised at the "low tech" approaches encountered ... not surprising when oil and gas technology is priced for the BPs of the world - and that's clearly not been in the renewable energy budget to date!”

Clare Buxton:
Sector Lead for Wind Energy
“What a busy week! All-Energy was a stimulating and informative exhibition and conference with some interesting and considered presentations from industry experts. It was noteworthy that whilst some of the largest contributors to the (UK) industry and utility companies had chosen not to exhibit this year, many new (even potential) members of the renewable energy community were exhibiting for the first time. As observed by Adam Bruce of BWEA at the Connect networking event on Tuesday, the growing number of legal, marketing and recruitment organisations providing services into the sector are a sign of the sudden maturity of an industry that was only in its infancy five years ago.”

Steven Rogers:
Sector Lead for Carbon and Renewable Energy Engineering“All-Energy is always one of the busiest and most enjoyable weeks in my calendar and this year’s show proved to be as good as its predecessors.
Over the last few years it has been a real pleasure watching businesses grow from pre-development/‘model’ stage to where they are today, often at the technology deployment stage or business commercialisation stage. In simple terms we have gone from small scale models to these amazing technologies being in existence and use. My lasting impression is that real and quantifiable progress is being made in the renewable energy industry and that it is set to continue.”

Katharine Robinson:
Research Associate and Global Information Management
“My mission for this year’s All-Energy conference was to demonstrate the power of Twitter for building relationships in the Renewable Energy industry. All-Energy had taken me up on my suggestion to run a twitter account and managed to gain 120 followers in the run up to the event. I had managed to build a list of 30 twitter users, other than the folks at EcoSearch, which would be attending the show. The first person I met at All-Energy was a tweeter Clare and I have been following for several months. He came up and introduced himself right as the exhibition started on Wednesday morning. The team and I had some great chats with folks we had connected with via twitter and it was great to see the show covered on this additional layer.”

Phillip Clement:
“Great to see an increasing number of companies dipping their toe into the market - bringing their own flavour and adaptation of their existing services, this is a step change in attitude and acceptance that "it's here to stay" and not a fad. As an engineer and investment manager I am however amazed at the number of Heath Robinson contraptions that are still being presented, perhaps the big boys will make a difference and finally put some weight and money behind some realistic and serious R&D.”

Did you attend the conference? What were your lasting impressions?

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

We Can’t Wait To Meet You At All-Energy '09

It’s finally here, All-Energy ’09, the UK’s largest renewable energy event. The EcoSearch team took an early flight to Aberdeen this morning, here’s some of the team looking bleary at Luton Airport as we gulp down the day’s first cup of tea.

We arrived in Aberdeen and were told by locals at the AECC conference centre that the best place to get breakfast was the van in B&Q car park. Unable to argue with local knowledge, we got straight back into our hire car (as packed as it was with seven people and all their luggage) and headed to B&Q. It was only a minute from the AECC and we were cooked up the best breakfast rolls of our lives! If you’ve got time to stop by before the conference, it’s well worth the tiny detour!
Back at the AECC and it was a hive of activity. The majority of stands were still spookily bare. It’s always difficult to believe that in less than 24 hours this cavernous empty space will be transformed into an immaculate display of the Renewable Energy industry at its finest.

As a quick reminder before you hit the conference, or if this is the first time you are reading about All-Energy 09, here are a few useful links to familiarise yourself with the exhibition and conference details:

All-Energy 09 home page
All-Energy 09 exhibitor list
All-Energy 09 conference guide
Follow All-Energy on Twitter @AllEnergy

And of course @EcoSearch will be tweeting live from the show via twitter.

Stand E15 will be the team’s home for the next couple of days. We would love for you to stop by and say hello.

See our previous article on using twitter for conferences here to learn more.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Leadership For A Sustainable Future

This post is from a consultant placed by Debby Lloyd last year. It is our privilege to place “the best of the best” in the market. They then become the heart of influence on some of the most strategic and complex carbon management programmes in global industry today. Their insight into the challenges faced is unique. We are delighted to give them a platform for their personal views – which let’s face it in consulting can rarely be aired or discussed to maintain that fine line of objectivity on a project. So we cherish their input, give them a platform and respect their anonymity … but we know they welcome hearty debate so do comment!

With climate and sustainability scientists becoming increasingly gloomy, do we need to see more leadership and less haggling over policy detail in order to achieve a sustainable future?
The Climate Safety Report, written by the Public Interest Research Centre and released in November 2008, reviewed research published the IPCC’s report of October 2007 including:  
  • 2008 was the year of minimum Arctic summer ice volume—70% below the 1979 volume. It is clear that that Arctic sea ice is disappearing much faster than the IPCC’s end of century prediction. Pen Hadow’s Catlin Survey, advised by EcoSearch and now underway, will provide the detailed data to measure permanent Arctic ice thickness. 
  • As the Arctic melts, increased warming in surrounding regions will be seen up to 1500 km inland into area of continuous permafrost. This permafrost contains twice as much carbon as previously thought—double the amount currently in the atmosphere. The effect of this warming permafrost is not presently incorporated in any global climate models.
  • Greenland’s 2007 melt was 60% greater than the next highest year of 1998.
  • While the IPCC predicted sea level rise of 0.5m to 1.4m by 2100, James Hansen, of NASA, in taking long term feedback mechanisms into account, predicts a rise of 0.5m by 2050.
While the UK and the EU have certainly demonstrated leadership over the past years in setting policy and drivers to reduce carbon emissions, changes are implemented slowly, very slowly.
DEFRA recently announced that UK greenhouse gas emissions (2% of global emissions) had fallen by 1.7% from 2006 to 2007 and in total by 21.7% from 1990 to 2007 . Laudable indeed, but the UK Climate Change Committee recently set a 2020 target reduction of 34% or 42% if there is a global deal to cut emissions--almost doubling the average annual reductions the UK have achieved over the past 17 years.

In the EU, there seems to be a tendency to attempt to achieve consensus through endless consultation and in some cases, near-perfect standards and targets. Jonathan Porritt has been decried for raising the issue of population growth as the elephant in the room. Plans for a third runway at Heathrow have been approved. Leadership seems to falter.

Okay, so the UK could try harder, but at least the UK and the EU have been trying for the last 17 years. The Americans have a massive challenge, their greenhouse gas emissions (representing around 20% of global emissions) have risen by 16.7% from 1990 to 2007.  

So far, President Obama seems to be supporting two targets for the USA: cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020, and an 80 per cent reduction from 1990 levels by 2050. While the second is in line with the UK’s targets, the first, while ambitious for America (and by the way, matching the annual reductions achieved by the UK over the past 17 years), doesn’t meet the expectations of the rest of a hopeful world placing enormous environmental expectations on the new President. Nonetheless, while the Americans are coming late to the party, watch out, EU. Americans have shown repeatedly throughout history that once they “get” a concept, their focus, drive, pragmatism and energy enables them to leap frog the slow, steady results achieved by others.  

And certainly, Obama has the charisma, persuasiveness and intelligence (in sum, leadership) to cut through the treacle, set ambitious targets and motivate the interests of his country and others to achieve them. Sometimes, it is about simplicity and not being distracted by too much detailed policy.  

And as the Climate Safety Report concludes, we need to convey a hopeful and viable future vision which is coherent and compelling. We need big asks. We must challenge political “realism”. We also must start the tough debates about population control and what sustainable consumption actually looks like. In short, we need leadership to achieve a sustainable future, and we must not be distracted by our short term commercial and political interests—even in tough times.

Image by nick_russill

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Two Week Countdown to All-Energy

In just two weeks the EcoSearch team will be heading off to Aberdeen to exhibit at their third All-Energy show.
Picture from All-Energy '08
The team reflect on why it’s such a great events and so valuable to our business.

Clare Buxton
“All-Energy is a great opportunity to learn more about the latest developments and projects in the UK Wind Energy space. I'm hoping to catch some of the seminars focused on the Offshore Wind sector. As well, of course, as meet up with some familiar faces!”

Martin Grady:
“I am looking forward to being able to launch EcoSearch Interim and Contracting Limited. I would like to talk to any potential clients and contractors who may be interested in our services in the future.”

Debby Lloyd:
“As always All-Energy affords a chance to catch up with businesses operating across the whole spectrum of the renewable space and their operating challenges, especially given the current climate - and a chance to assess the future contenders from a ‘whose ripe for M&A activity’".

Mark Sawyer:
“Wow - All Energy 09 looks to be a belter, bigger and better than before, more technologies, more companies, better opportunities to network. I really am excited about this year's show. Having sent out invitations to a number of key industry figures/leaders who have/are seeking Ecosearch's expertise and who have responded positively, we really are going to be busy. I just hope we have time to meet new faces and contacts.”

Katharine Robinson:
“This year, I am running All-Energy’s presence on the social network Twitter. I am excited about talking to the conference goers about the service and find out who is ‘following’ the show online. I am also looking forward to using the medium to raise awareness of the conference and the exciting world of Renewable Energy.”

Steven Rogers:
“All Energy offers the opportunity for us to raise our heads, get out hands on technology and understand what the trends are in our industry. I'm looking forward to finding out what is happening within built environment and what is next for increasing energy efficiency. Also, there is a lot a noise around Carbon Capture and Storage - I'm keen to learn what is going on and if this is a viable solution for our carbon emissions. I'll be at stand E15 and always keen to talk - please feel free to come and say hello”

What are you looking forward to at All-Energy this year?