I just want to say how awful I feel to have let all of you down. After I, and some of you independently, ratched up the pressure last summer, I honestly believed that the board of directors was going to DO something to deal with "Corky's Conflict," and his willingness to sacrifice the company on a pyre for his own personal financial gain. At this point, I am not as convinced that the board has fully faced what it needs to do. With the revenues down as much as they are, and the loss rate as high as it is, the notion that the board is going to let Mr. Imhoff continue to "suck out" approximately $400K a year is unconsionable, and I cannot tolerate just sitting here and allowing that outrage to go on. (As for how the board can, don't ask me; it's UNFATHOMABLE.)
I plan to attend the annual meeting to represent what I believe is the position of the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of (non-Imhoff) shareholders. The willingness of Corky Imhoff to see destroyed, what his father loved so deeply, and spent his whole life building up, and even LIVING FOR, is just "over the top." But that is not what is relevant to shareholders and the board: What is relevant to us is the fact that Mr. Imhoff CANNOT legitimately sit on the board, while purporting to represent the larger interests of the entire company, when he has proved, time and time again, that his #1 focus is his own personal financial advancement, and that his personal integrity is hopelessly compromised, vis a vis General Employment.
I want to also say that I am ANGRY at Mr. Imhoff, that in avoiding dealing with his conflict of interest, he compels to be brought out into the public (again), what should have, and COULD HAVE, been dealt with, with dignity and propriety. HE chose not to, because, unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that he really sees no other option for himself. (Who ELSE is going to hire a 59 year old with his background and experience at $525,000 a year?)
Unfortunately, Imhoff himself has brought us to a point where he does not deserve dignity or propriety; as he has treated the shareholders of (what he views as) "his" company as jackals, to be carried along, in the service of his grand quest of the pursuit his own self-satisfaction. Is it any wonder that all of here fell DIRTY. My question: After all these years of this nonsense, why on god's green earth doesn't the board of directors feel DIRTY??!
Excellent post and sums up JOB very well:
Worst of breed in an industry nobody currently needs with horrendous, cash-grabbing management not buying a share of stock even at .20 per share because they know they are eager to bleed the company to death as quickly as possible while there is still cash left to be had.
Mssrs. Ken and Shumpert,
Thank you for your valued thoughts. Given all that you shared, from a back office perspective, additional administrative support, branding, image, resources, draw, flexibility, and other such factors ... GEE aside, what can a contract staffing firm do in 2009 to retain talent? It it essentially to follow a high payout model and use the thinner margins to build market share? What sort of payout would be a good balance for a producer wanting to stay while feeling fairly compensated against the context of the intangibles and substance that a firm may offer in terms of support, training, environment, history, marketing, and branding?
I bare no particular animus toward the aforementioned BM. Because he is still working for the company, I am choosing not to reveal his branch office -- it just doesn't feel right.
Let me just say this:
What attracted me to GEE was the potential to make money on largely my own terms. It was also impressive to be working for a company that was on the stock exchange.
When I started, I was given a phone and a computer. I listened to a few cassette tapes, and then I began making calls. Every few months I would hear another tape or two. That was it. Ken mentioned that GEE originally wanted a more personal touch -- having candidates meet you face to face, and having employers come to our office to interview said candidates. That simply isn't how it works in 2009 -- actually that's not how it worked in my branch...ever. At no point did an employer visit our branch office. We did, however, interview a few candidates in person. This became more and more rare as the need to find more job orders took me out of the state -- 9/11 was brutal on the IT market.
Again, I got to the point where I was finding the employer...I was finding the candidates by simply posting a job description in Monster or CareerBuilder, and GEE was taking most of my commission. For a company listed on the stock exchange, what was GEE doing for me? I had a phone at home...a computer at home...and a fax machine at home...so what was GEE providing me that was worth giving such a large chunk of my salary to corporate???
Also, I HAD to get the social security number of each candidate before I could send their resume to an employer. Do you know how many candidates I lost that way? Funny, I used an employment agency to find my current job, and I was NEVER asked for my social by any of the recruiters I worked with. This is just an example, but can you see where Ken and I -- two former employees of GEE -- are coming from? There was just a feeling -- to me -- that GEE was outdated in so many ways. Judging from the comments I've read concerning corporate, the idea of any significant change seems unlikely.
Takes a special kind of person to cut it in this business. You have to have thick skin and be out there working your a** off. Most don't have what it takes and think they should be able to sit back and wait for the phone to ring. For those "special" individuals who have the right stuff, the opportunities are limitless, as there are always employers looking qualified employees and vice versa. No one ever said being successful was easy but the sky is the limit for those with the right stuff.
I, too, worked for GEE a few years ago. While I was only there about 16 months, I can echo your points for improvement.
As an "employment consultant," my training consisted of a few audio CASSETTE!!! tapes and....well, that was it. Oh, and I was told to make 100 calls a day. Our computers were outdated, and we frequently had problems with our internet service. The leadership and guidance I received from my BM (branch manager) was depressingly scarce. In my office there was only one consultant working before I got there (and the BM). When I left 16 months later, the consultant with more tenure left and two additional consultants were hired and left before me as well (neither could sustain an income). The BM was literally the only employee left in the office when I left -- well, he also had is wife working there as the secretary.
I'm amazed that the branch is still open, but I think the BM survived by inheriting his consultants' job orders. My morale was shot when I realized I could do this same job from my home -- and not have to forfeit 60-65% of the profit from the fee agreement. Think about it: I was finding the job orders ON MY OWN...I was getting resumes by placing a job description -- which I wrote -- in CareerBuilder or Monster...and GEE was getting 60-65% of the profit??? In seeing corporate's greed and lack of investment in its people, is there any wonder GEE is flailing?
To respond fully would take more time and space than I have. This may be distilled beyond recognition, but here goes. Originally corporate was in a role of providing support and training to the field. As a former manager, I will say that my experience of that support as time went by (accounting, legal, training, incentives, benefits, etc.) was that it was minimalistic in comparison to the amount charged back to my office prior to my compensation being calculated. I believe that Herb pushed a model of personalized service; no resumes to be sent - arrange face to face interviews instead; bring employers into the office to reduce competition, etc. We, as an industry, are largely automated now. I have had my own very successful firm for over 15 years. I left GEE because corporate stopped reinvesting in its most lucrative field enterprises, particularly in the area of technology. This has created a downward spiral that is now becoming painful. Herb did not 'reinvest' at the corporate level. Corky is accused of spending revenue in the wrong places required to promote growth and profitability - or in today's economy to avoid loss. The value of GEE is in its best field personnel, not its current management. I'm sure the company can survive the current crisis by following a doctrine of austerity on ALL levels. As Herb would have said, "Get back to the basics... make calls, get sendouts, take job orders... it's a numbers game." Invest in what works, right now that is not corporate management.
Kenneth (kens-co), thank you for sharing your valued thoughts.
I am particularly interested in your statement that the model Herb created in the 1960's will not work today. Can you please elaborate on what the essence of that model was, and what you recommend needs to be changed in terms of operating paradigm today?
(There are enough posts here about compensation needing to be pared down, so it will be helpful to hear about other facets of operations that former insiders such as you would recommend needed change )
Dear Mr. Stabosz
I really don't understand your methodology of submitting negative press releases and then stating on this message board that you have let the stockholder and fellow investors down. Then you continue to buy shares. First of all if the stock price was in the $1-2.00 range you would have sold your shares a long time ago. You are a terrorist looking for a payday and have contributed nothing that would benefit the organization. Not too mention that you have continually used this forum as a personal vendetta and waged war on the Board of Directors. Why don't you tell the truth, if someone would purchase your shares for anywhere close to your average cost you would have not published your press release. Believe me, this firm will survive and prosper with or without your input.
You're an idiot. Seriously? You defend this company after it loses $1.8 million in fiscal 2008, and is projected to esceed that fiscal 2009? Wow, I've heard o fbrain dead but you take the cake my friend.
SBRecruiter2001 - are you really the VP Operations at GEE?
This is great reading for anyone that wants to view her postings over the past year. Saying what a great management team GEE has, what a great investment it is (as it continuingly declines) and stating that she is a long time staffing executive. Over and over defending the company and leashing out at those that have negative words for the CEO and BOD. I guess the past year (or 8 years!) have proven these unimportant shareholders right and the fabulous internal executive team at GEE wrong. Question for the VP-Operations...if the new highly paid Consultant is going to teach GEE about metrics and selling contract work - what do you and Corky do? Heck with the wages - they don't even need a Prez, a VP and a Consultant - if the Prez or VP were worth their salary. Get a clue.
This firm is definately FAR from surviving and prospering. Imhoff and henchmen (BOD) are PARIAHS, who's only interests appear to be transfering SHAREHOLDERS and cos. cash into their own pockets. Mr. Stabosz is a CHAMPION in my eyes, speaking out on behalf of the many shareholders who put up hard earned $$ in support of JOB thinking surely any common sense human beings would NOT continue to sit back and negligently suck out the death nealt salary of IMHOFF. We the shareholders are SICK of watching this mgmts. antics and breach of fiduciary responsibility CONTINUE to transfer shareholders $$ into Mr. Imhoffs pocket!!!!!