Tuesday, April 03, 2007

In France employment law is organized in a manner to encourage companies to keep employees on during economic downturns rather than lay them off. Even when the termination is for ‘cause’ the employee has the opportunity to appeal the termination to an adjudication panel and receive a settlement if they win. This post by Petite Anglaise, relates the events at her termination hearing after being losing her job for having a blog and mentioning her employer in passing; she won.

As a result most companies keep staffing at a bare minimum and use contractors to pick up the slack. Kim & Co utilizes two types of contractors, individuals who execute a specific task in support of a project like designing a graphic or managing a particular event. The second type is a contractor that functions like a regular employee, but they’re not.

Currently I have two full time contractors, one through August and the other through the end of the year. Both men have performed excellent work for me in handling events in the past, which is why I brought them on full time. How they perform as members of a team is quite different.

Year-end guy (he really needs a name) simply addresses the problem at hand then reports the results. August guy, does great work with his tasks, but doesn’t volunteer to pick up the slack. When I was in Amsterdam last week (?) a client called and emailed me in panic, since I was in meetings I couldn’t respond, one of the calls was to the office and year-end guy fielded the call and dealt with the problem. Today I was again in Amsterdam for meetings and a similar situation developed, this time it was the venue that had an issue that was simply resolvable with a review of the file (we have a form that has a field covering that specific question) or a call to the client, but August guy dumped the venue into my voice mail and sent an urgent email to me. Mia has mentioned that she's noticed the difference between the to also.

Unless things go drastically wrong over the summer, I’m planning to offer year-end guy full time employment beginning the first of the year. I’ll continue to use August-guy for specific projects, but if I need a fulltime contractor for a period of time I’ll look elsewhere.

Kim

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