What’s outplacement got to do with the price of cabbages?


Last month I listened to the CEO of Sainsbury’s being interviewed about their Christmas trading results. What I heard loud and clear was that consumer habits are changing and that retailers have to respond.

How we buy is one of the biggest changes. More and more is spent on-line. No longer do many of us feel it is important to squeeze fruit and vegetables to judge quality or enjoy a shopping experience. Partly that’s because quality is now so much more uniform. You just can’t afford to offer poor product.

People seem to do the big shop on-line because it is convenient, and you don’t need muscles like a weight-lifter to drag it all back to the car. And then unload it all at the other end. Plus, you can do your shop from the comfort of your own sofa. No dealing with road rage in the car park – or getting your shopping soaked when it rains. Plus, you don’t pay for fuel or get your nice shiny car scratched by the bloke who can drive a 4×4 but can’t steer a trolley.

There is growth in convenience store sales too. The sparkly new mini Co-Op in our village is open 8 til 10 and is perfect for that extra pint of milk, loaf of bread or just a bottle of wine to go with the pasta. It really is, like shopping on-line, convenient. And popular. No matter what time of day I go in it is busy.

And that’s the word we all increasingly love: convenient. The trend is away from trudging off to the “big shed” on the out of town shopping development.

In our world we liken city centre offices to the “big shed”. Why trudge there if the opportunity exists to get your outplacement delivered more locally? Be that a local convenient delivery point or, increasingly, via video conferencing. If someone said today that you could only have your cabbages, sprouts or carrots if you went into the city centre we’d all laugh.

For Chiumento the future of outplacement is mirroring the wider changes we have in our lives. Like focusing on value, not price.

This Christmas Morrison’s had better than expected results. It seems their “Best” range really hit the spot with customers. It may not be the cheapest option. Nor does it carry the “brand” cache of the very best-known products. However, it looks good and tastes amazing. Value winning out over label.

That sounds like us too. No, we aren’t the biggest. No, we aren’t a globally known brand. What we are is a business that does great things at reasonable prices. We’d rather be best than biggest.

Ah, I hear you say. Doesn’t that make you a corner shop in a world dominated by supermarkets? Well, yes, and no.

Yes, we like to think our way of doing business has the convenience of a corner shop. And because we are small we can be really intimate with our clients because we get to know them so well. And, like a corner shop, if you ask to meet the owners you can. That’s us, the people you meet every day.

And no. You see we’ve partners in 26 countries and they own their “shop” in the way we own ours. And they do things the best way for their market and their customers. Not try and exactly replicate ours. We think our Consultants in the UK each have their own shop too. Yes, we are careful who we use. However, we value diversity too. So we have 70 “branches” in the UK. Each of whom do home deliveries thanks to the wonder of technology – but are happy to meet locally too.

So next time you pop out and shop for an outplacement provider don’t go past the corner shop and head for the “big shed”. We might just have the perfect offer. Just for you. And all at a price you’ll like.

‘What’s outplacement got to do with the price of cabbages?’ was written by Ian Gooden, CEO Chiumento Group. If you like what you’ve read why not follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter and read all our future advice and musings on the world of work.

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