Entries are made in the condolence book - but are ex-employees still “Roking” as Mr Snook asked?
I was made redundant from Rok on 11 November and have still not recieved any information about my redundancy, but yet they “want to help”. I phoned PwC last week and was told someone would phone me back and I’m still waiting.
Michael Sullivan (posted on 16 November)
Rok bought out our company after our old boss had made his money and decided it was time to sell up. How Garvis Snook has the audacity to imply in his email to staff (19 November, page 10) he is “now like many others” is beyond me. He does not have the financial woes that most of his poorly paid workforce will now be facing.
We are struggling to put food on the table never mind presents under the tree! So no ROKING around the Christmas tree for our family this Christmas.
bROKe and pissed off!
You can bet your bottom dollar that “Snookums” can afford to be frivolous (email to staff, 19 November, page 10) when some of his former employees are “on their uppers” as it were!
Fantastic! I’m sure that the vast majority of staff would have loved to have kept on “Roking” (email to staff, 19 November, page 10), but didn’t have a lot of choice.
There are a couple of absolutely basic lessons here:
1) Two opposing forces which jointly brought the businesses (Connaught, Rok and perhaps others) into crisis - advantages of scale versus loss of control at the sharp end
2) Business arrogance that drove the companies to take on too much debt, grow too large too fast and (no doubt mostly BECAUSE they got very large) turn their focus away from detail management. In other words, the one thing that could deliver further growth and good profitability.
Instead, no doubt the focus turned to other priorities, such as rewarding (or maybe over-rewarding) shareholders, or impressing City folk with their brilliance and daring. Add to that some unexpected bad news about extra revenues from existing contracts, followed by government spending cuts, and you have a rich disaster cocktail!
The seeds of Rok’s demise were sown back in 2001 when Garvis and the board developed their single-track obsession with “shareholder value”. All that mattered to them was that the share price kept on rising and rising, regardless of the real performance or long-term substance of the company. Unfortunately, the City (which shares a lot of the blame) is not interested in boring, predictable companies with a sustainable vision. They want superstars who deliver extraordinary growth, year after year. “Fur coats with no knickers” is how I once heard it described.
So how did Rok achieve this? They developed a growth strategy that targeted sleepy, traditional but reliable companies, often family owned, and once they had acquired them they emptied every cupboard. Management structure and process went out the window, contracts went wrong and clients were let down.
It has been a car crash in slow motion. The City has got a black eye, but the really sad side of this tale is that a lot of very good people are facing redundancy. The industry must make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Neal Hunt. All comments are via www.building.co.uk