How do you deal with the elephants in your industry’s room?


In 1935, the comedian Jimmy Durante, famously parodied by Eric Morecambe with paper cup in mouth singing, “Sittin’ at my pianna the udder day”,  starred on Broadway in the musical, Jumbo.

In it an actor playing a police officer stops Durante as he leads a live elephant and asks him, “What are you doing with that elephant?” Durante’s reply was , “What elephant?”

It’s a humorous precursor to the now well known expressuion  “The elephant in the room” which has become a common idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed.

We used this idiom to bring, dramatically, to life our long term client, Denholm Recruitment’s,  industry challenging offer.

This particular elephant is the one that asks what is the response when, after the all too short probationary period, a newly recruited employee walks.

Typically the answer lies somewhere among the unholy Trinity of “sorry”, “oops” and “unlucky mate”.

For recruiters this is great news.  A new sales opportunity.  An additional windfall fee – so long as they can placate their somewhat disappointed client.

Not for Denholm.

They wanted us to challenge this industry issue head on and position themselves as the good guys.  The ones who wouldn’t profit out of misfortune.

So we posed the question – “What will your recruitment company do if their new recruit leaves at ANY time in the 12 months after appointment.  Replace for free?  Or shrug their shoulders as they surreptitiously slide their rate card back under your nose?”

It’s an issue that Denholm was big enough to deal with.  And it was a gift of a brief for us.

The good news is that it’s led to an elephantine amount of new work for them.

Proving the fact that if there’s an elephant in the room, you need to deal with it.  Or you’re going to have an awful lot of cleaning up to do.

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