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CHANGE: Randstad's Purchase of Monster Proves You Should Budget R&D to Kill Your Primary Business...

This one is about change and the conversations we get into as HR leaders related to strategy.

It's also about change management in a way that HR pros will understand.  Ready? Let's go.

Randstad just bought Monster for $423M.  Does that sound like a good deal to you? Here are some more detail from TechCrunch:

"Today Randstad Holdings, an Amsterdam-based human resources and recruitment specialist, announced that it would acquire job hunting portal Monster Worldwide, for $429 million in cash. The deal works out to $3.40 per share in cash and is a premium on Monster’s share price at closing on Monday of $262 million."

But before you label it a good deal, consider the following:

"It is a far cry from the heady days of 2000 — when Monster, which had gone public soon after being founded in 1999 (itself the result of a merger of two early job startups), had a share price of over $91 and a market cap of nearly $8 billion. Even in 2007, when its stock was around $51, Monster was valued as high as $5.5 billion."

To really get your head around that, consider the following chart of Monster's stock (email subscribers click through, you'll want to see this one):

Monster stock chart


Let's think about that chart a little bit and try to learn from it as HR leaders.  The older we get, the more we discover that nothing is forever.

Monster is the HR version of Blockbuster.

There were two very fat phases of Monster's existence - namely 2001 and 2007.  At any point, Monster could have broken off some R&D funds and, in addition to pumping you for as big of a job board buy as possible, could have been thinking what the future held for them.

The future ultimately arrived in the form of Indeed, the power of SEO in directing traffic to a careers site, LinkedIn, social and a thousand niche job boards.  

Monster was late to the game on a bunch of trends.  I like to think of the downfall of Monster in this way - over time, Indeed redefined the job posting with their SEO model and the subsequent sponsored listings.  LinkedIn obviously owned the database and even fringe players like Glassdoor made inroads by owning company reputation.

Monster protected the cash cow.  To be fair, it's happened to so many companies you can't blame Monster.

But from an OD perspective?  How do you not only emphasize funding R&D when times are good, but how can you make sure that R&D spend is focused on eventually killing the cash cow of your company?

Those are hard questions, but the example - near and dear to the heart of HR that Monster provides - is too good not to share.

Monster=Blockbuster.  Monster=RIM/Blackberry.  Monster=Kodak.

Harsh but true.  



One questions then remains, why DID Randstad purchase Monster?


good question - here's a thought from John Sumser -

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