Today’s guest blogger is Laura LaBine from LaBine and Associates in the San Francisco Bay Area (USA). Laura is a member of the NPAworldwide Board of Directors, with responsibility for the network’s practice groups. LaBine and Associates is a boutique recruitment firm specializing in placing highly skilled individuals with clients in the cybersecurity, clean energy, high tech, fin-tech and other industries. Read her thoughts on how collaboration makes the world smaller below.
The pandemic has changed the world. This virus is the one thing that we all share in common, no matter where you live in the world, or the color of your skin, whatever your gender…..the virus has affected all of our lives in some way. I’ve been interviewing candidates all over the world, and it’s the unified theme in all of our conversations: “Are you okay, and is your family okay?”
Everyone now knows what Zoom is, and some say that TikTok is a verb. (i.e., “In our house, we like to TikTok for at least an hour at the end of the day.”) Our need to connect has influenced our engagement with technology more than ever.
Through this past year, I see the similarities between the race for the vaccine and NPAworldwide. NPAworldwide was created in 1956 to compete against large franchised organizations. It is a network of independent recruitment firms working cooperatively, which means that we’re competing together instead of against each other. We are member-owned, and partner together to find the right talent for our clients.
I recently watched Coronavirus: Explained on Netflix and couldn’t help but see the similarities in how the search for vaccines is based on collaboration and how our recruiting model is the way of the future.
When SARS and MERS caused outbreaks, many scientists went to work on finding a vaccine, including a team at Oxford University as early as 2016. In 2018 they got a MERS candidate into trials, which allowed them the ability to speed their research. When this novel SARS-COV2 came, they were able to leverage their existing research to focus on this new variant of H1N1. They sped through first phase of testing, and into second phase by summer 2020.
Previously, when outbreaks ended they lost funding, which led to many “stop-starts” in the efforts. Peter Hotez at Baylor University started speaking up about making it a priority to find a vaccine for H1N1. By 2016 a group funded by the Gates Foundation came together to address this lack of incentive to build products that weren’t in current need in order to address a future pandemic. CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) brings funding together – aggregates to bring all the research together. CEPI is behind 9 of the vaccine candidates, including Oxford and Moderna.
It’s safe to say that collaboration with this speed and accuracy was not technically available to us a century ago. While they also didn’t have airplanes shuttling people around during the Spanish Flu, they certainly didn’t have the internet to be able to connect with each other either.
The existence of NPAworldwide resembles the initial work at Oxford. We’ve already been working together globally, and now we’re able to scale quickly as the pace of business picks up. And we also are like CEPI, in our ability to bring businesses together for the common good.
When I look at the global reach of NPAworldwide, and the fact that we’re competing TOGETHER for our clients, we are really the model of the future. Our network is sharing information and resources, and we’re working together to solve problems for our clients. We are truly making the world a smaller place.
I must say that NPAworldwide was well-positioned for this, with our ability to have our 2020 AsiaPac Conference virtually. There has been an increase in participation in the multitude of group video meetings as well. It’s been so much easier to work with global partners, and it helps us close that gap to identify the best talent in the world.
The planet is not out of the woods yet with the pandemic, but there is optimism towards the future. Many of our NPAworldwide partners are actively staffing initiatives that are contributing towards research, treatments, and care of the sick. We have dedicated recruiters that specialize in recruiting for technology (information systems, data science, bioinformatics), biotech (devices, vaccines) and healthcare (doctors, nurses and administrators). These recruiting teams are helping to make the world a better place.
It’s clear to me that the traditional staffing models that were top-heavy with executives are not working. The agility of all of us smaller offices working together allows us to move quickly to help our clients get the right talent. There are many tech companies specifically in this talent marketplace as well.
Recently I attended the World Staffing Summit hosted by Gustav, a collaborative marketplace for recruiters to work together. Their platform is useful for connecting agencies together and is also used by big volume staffing companies using VMS. The objective of their technology is to make it easier to manage relationships with all of the stakeholders, streamlining the information from multiple sources. In this virtual conference, NPAworldwide president Dave Nerz joined a panel with Jeff Nugent of People 2.0 and Tim Ozier of MRI to talk about global expansion. NPAworldwide is certainly a pioneer in both collaboration and global recruiting partnerships, and it was so great to know I’m part of this organization.
Being part of this community of recruiting leaders was the only thing that really drove my business in 2020. Half of my placements last year were part of a global partnership. I think it’s safe to say that collaboration will save us.