When the Steyer back office gathered last week for our traditional end-of-year dinner, we were nursing some pretty big bruises:
- A few weeks before, one of our largest projects had lost its funding for 2023, putting ten of our talented consultants out of work come December 31st and compelling us to reduce our back-office team by two.
- Also, just hours before getting together, we had learned that one of our major clients was shifting all of their T&M procurement (i.e. their hiring of contractors) to a vendor management system (VMS). This means that instead of connecting directly with hiring managers—to hear what’s important to them in filling a role and to personally present our best talent for their consideration—all candidate submittals to open requisitions (“reqs”) will instead be processed, unbranded (i.e. with no agency logo), through a technology platform. Granted, there are upsides to a VMS: potential cost savings for the client and, for vendors, possibly a wider array of reqs. But for an agency that has spent more than 25 years building a reputation for candidate excellence and attentive service, it was nevertheless a blow to learn that we’d have to start operating essentially incognito at one of our major accounts.
So, the faces in this photo might well have looked glum. Here’s what happened, though, right as a kind stranger took this pic. The inimitable Josh Krenz, our Director of Managed Work (and chief purveyor of gallows humor) shouted NOT “Say cheese!” but instead: “Say VMS!” And we all laughed. Real laughter.
That instinct—not to ignore the hard news of the day but to rally together in the face of it—has me feeling confident about the coming year. Like everyone else, I have no idea what the economy will do in 2023, but when I ponder the type of crew I’d want as we sail into The Unknown, it’s a team like this: one that can withstand some knocks. One that doesn’t shrink from change or competition. And one that (almost!) always keeps both a sense of humor and a sense of perspective.
Thanks for following our triumphs and tribulations this past year. We appreciate having so many people cheering us on, holding us to high standards, and—in many cases—both. Happy holidays to you all!
P.S. Our colleagues Lisa and Sarah could not attend this dinner, so missed the photo. In your mind, please photoshop them in, laughing their heads off.
Also, breaking news: two more back-office babies (#6 and #7, though their parents will probably insist on giving them names) are due to arrive in 2023. So one way or another, it’s going to be a banner year!
Image credit: Steyer Content