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"Make money, have fun" - one view of the future of recruitment and search but which is happening now.

Career Navigator is part sophisticated HRD management tool and also part a virtual association of HR and Recruitment specialists working together over the web to service clients and look after job applicants - worldwide. Career Navigator is, in turn, supported by Global Back Office Professional Services. GBOPS have recently moved to the first of their facilities offices in India. Using a secure satellite up-link the new team, all graduates, have been recruited and trained against the Career Navigator spec to provide all the support, even, demanding consultants could ask for.

Euronet a specialist agency undertaking recruitment and search with long experience in Europe and the Middle East and was a founder member of Career Navigator. Shena Parthab is a Director and Principal Consultant of the Euronet Group.

When we last spoke to Shena she was reporting on the demands and difficulties of a trip to Nice where she had been testing Career Navigator's working links over the web. If you recall she had told us how she had logged on in the morning from the terrace overlooking the Marina in the Apartments Ducal, dealt with the mail and incoming CV's and sent them off to her client's HR team in Saudi Arabia. She then headed off to St. Martin Vesubie and on up to the snow line at the Parc National de Mercantour - where the Chamois were grazing also - had a picnic before returning to the Marina where passed the day's work back to the UK office to be off again just in time for dinner with friends in the Safari in Nice! As she is fond of saying - "it may sound wonderful but as we say - there is no rest for the web enabled!"

The latest edition of the Career Navigator software and process having just been released Shena's task this time, and the reason for the café's continuing interest, was to ensure that the people were trained and integrated, that the processes do all they should and that it all works in a nice coherent fashion. In short that the GBOPS concept does actually work for Career Navigator and Euronet. This required a trip to the new office in Chandigarh from where the magnificent Himalaya's are in reach - in fact you can see the foothills behind the cotton wood trees from the grounds.

"Yes that's right" she told us "My team at Euronet worked with the software team and project managers at GBOPS and, together, we re-engineered our processes and then web enabled the whole. The project then passed to GBO's data team. We tested the GBOPS concept over 12months and, the test being an unequivocal success, we moved in January to put in place a permanent facility. It was my job this trip to train the new people and to make sure that GBOPS is truly ready and able to provide the support that not only my Consultants in Euronet need and demand but also for all the participating members of Career Navigator". And, we asked, any other agencies - "well, yes but you will understand that when you have something as good as this its not always easy to give it also to the competition".

This seemed like a good time for us at the café to ask - what exactly is it all about? "OK, sorry" she said, "we have lived with it for so long that it is all too easy to forget that others have not and that some of our ideas are not easy to get your head around. Think of an agency in two parts - first, there is the way consultants do their jobs and the way they look after clients, there is also the issue of how the agency supports the consultants' with clients and finds and deals with applicants.

I have taken a lot of jokes about the Nice trip - "nice for some etc" but the serious point is that by web enabling our recruitment process, consultants, managers and Directors can each do their jobs just as if they are in the office but from where so ever they happen to be - providing they can access the www. My point is that we are more interested in working smarter than we are in working harder. As a part of that, why should not our consultants have the best quality and most flexible working lives they (and we) can manage for them? If they can look after clients to the requirements of the agency, meet targets and make their money; why should we have any concerns if they enjoy it and improve their golf/knitting/sex lives or whatever (delete as necessary!) in the extra time our approach allows them?

Now the second part of the equation. Good recruitment uses data in quantities that would shock a glutton. Moreover, that data must be accurate and up to date. A good agency might find jobs for 30% of its applicants from which it follows that 70% of the data you process will never earn you any money. Finding the people to do the work in the UK is hard, keeping them is harder, they cost a fortune and supporting them puts that cost practically in orbit. But, you have to have it otherwise consultants can't support clients and both consultant and client takes off elsewhere.

We use GBOPS to do all of that for us. They developed the approach, to that we coupled our systems; experience and technology so that the team whom we have helped recruit and train are now working in India over the web on our server. We worked closely together over the last year to test it to the fullest extent possible in every context that we as an agency could conceive of - GBOPS met every challenge we through at, hence the move now to make it a permanent change over. The data and its control stay with us, security is not compromised, quality is better but anyway protected and managed by us and we have more and better support than we have ever had and at a price which we can afford".

In our experience nothing is ever perfect so what are the concerns and other issues? "Well the biggest we have at this time is the warlike noises between India and Pakistan. What that has done has brought forward the concerns we had expressed from the start - the issue of built in redundancy. GBOPS's plans have always been to have several centres in a "follow the sun" pattern around the world. That way there will always be a GBOPS facility on-line and security and backup issues will be fully accounted for and we are happy with that. For the moment we watch the situation in India carefully but the worst fears - essentially, nuclear confrontation - are actually a long way down the line and almost every major power on earth is doing all that can be done to prevent that, and indeed any actual conflict. Given that these two nations have fought several wars over the same issue in the past it is probable that we should actually thank the presence of these weapons of mass destruction for preventing, even, a conventional out break".

Where does the make money, have fun bit come in? Well, as we discussed earlier the Nice trip was an example of how we have structured our recruitment process to incorporate the ability to do one's work from where ever you are - on vacation or working at home. In short a more flexible lifestyle where there is no need for strict demarcations between work and leisure, home and the office.

GBOPs have taken that concept a stage further for Career Navigator having provided for our people the option of coming to work in India for extended periods and mixing work, travel and adventure; here we have it all, an office with all the support and bandwidth you could want, in a lovely setting, a serviced company guest house, transport, the most fabulous country in the world for tourists and all the help we need to have fun and make money. And, the answer to your questions is yes, after three months here doing the most extensive testing and development of people and technology, I can say with absolute confidence it works beautifully ".

So as you wait on the M4 or the M42 to get to the office think of those poor people - wandering down, logging on and taking coffee in the garden or on the terrace looking at the hills - dirty work but someone has to do it!