Hebrew National Hot Dogs and Recruitment Process Outsourcing
April 27, 2010
Back in February of 2009, I wrote Where a RPO firm “comes from” defines what and how they deliver. I hypothesized that most companies cannot escape their heritage. I analyzed pure plays, like Pinstripe, and other RPOs from the staffing, technology, and recruitment marketing industries. I concluded, in a somewhat pathetic way, that sometimes this can be a distinct advantage and sometimes not so much.
However, the other day, I saw a chart of the large food giants and the organic brands they own.
• Cascadian Farms is part of General Mills,
• Horizon is owned by Dean Food,
• Seeds of Change is a member of the M&M Mars family,
• Odwalla is part of Coca-Cola,
• And Boca Foods is a division of Kraft
At first this shocked me. In my naïve Whole Foods mentality, I just assumed most of these organic foods companies were entrepreneurial, pesticide/hormone free, tie-dye wearing free spirits. It never occurred to me that most of them were really owned by the established food giants and part of the NYSE.
Second and more importantly, this got me to thinking about the impact of acquisitions in the Recruitment Process Outsourcing industry. I began to wonder if a company could retain their heritage after an acquisition. And while I won’t regurgitate all the recent acquisitions in RPO (we all know the players and transactions), I will ask the most basic question:
Are these RPO entities better off today than they were prior to their acquisition?
As I debate this question, I realized that my definition of “better off” may not be the same as others. For me, “better off” means that the original culture, mission, and values of the RPO firm have been preserved post acquisition, with the added benefit of gaining broader market opportunities and access to greater resources.
So using my definition and my observations, it seems that the food industry’s acquisition model may be a good learning tool for the RPO industry to imitate. For example, the large food giants have gone to great lengths to continue the “organic” brand names in the market and hide their affiliations, while the RPOs who have been acquired have quickly been swallowed up and hastily rebranded. I actually went through many of the organic food websites and could not even find any mention of the parent organization. It was as if the organic brand was better off with the appearance of independence. Also, I think we’d agreed that access to organic foods has never been great.
And one additional item of interest: Hebrew National , my favorite hot dog, is owned by a higher authority: ConAgra.