Post contributed by Barry Diamond. Follow Barry on Twitter @bddiamond
In his book, “Tomatoland,” Barry Estabrook covers the history of the grocery store tomato in the United States. The narrative is a scathing portrayal of South Florida’s tomato growers and their tactics to achieve total bland uniformity.
To commercial tomato growers, bland uniformity is perfection. And it starts with hard, tasteless, green balls that barely dent when they fall off a truck at 60 miles per hour and that must be gassed to achieve the sick-pink hue they present in supermarkets.
Additionally, regulations actually prohibit growers in the southern part of Florida from exporting many of the older tasty tomato varieties because their coloration and shape don’t conform to what the all-powerful Florida Tomato Committee says a tomato should look like.
What is happening in the tomato world is tragic and I believe, as the RPO industry matures, we must be conscious not to make the same mistakes made by others. Many companies have taken the entire "flavor" out of their products and services (just bite into a supermarket banana or tomato) because they believe homogeny is the path to almost limitless market opportunities and profit.
However, what about those of us (and it is a growing segment) that want more and see specialized and uniqueness as a value. Why should we be limited to commoditized, generic products and services when we clearly see significance and greater ROI in customization. In all things including tomatoes and RPO, you get what you pay.
As Recruitment Process Outsourcing grows larger and larger, there is a challenge all service provides face. The challenge is we need to avoid the temptation of sacrificing what makes us special at the expense of just being bigger. Our services must remain client by client centric in order to maintain our loyal and delighted customers. We must always put quality ahead of quantity. We cannot become like the large Florida tomato farmer who said, 'I don't get paid a single cent for flavor, I get paid for weight.”
Honestly, I do fear that some day RPO will become mass produced and available at ever corner human capital supermarket. And when that happens the only thing left for me to do is write my book entitled “RPOland, The History of RPO and How Bland Uniformity caused its Demise."