Vurv Trims Staff; Acquires People Business Network

Vurv announced today that it has acquired People Business Network, a provider of on-demand workforce optimization solutions.

As part of its new structure, Vurv has also laid off certain non-essential and redundant positions ranging from middle management to senior executives.

“It’s a savvy move by Vurv,” says Yankee Group analyst Jason Corsello.

“One, there is really no one out there doing what PBN is doing with offboarding; second, and this is where it changes the game, PBN is a CFO sell for merger and acquisition deals; and third, companies are going to look at business and realign to shift costs,” he says.

Corsello says the Vurv headcount was growing very quickly, “and they lost that focus and touch as they grew, but are going back and saying, ‘This is who we were and still want to be.’ I think the layoffs were actually necessary.”

The fate of current People Business Network employees remains a mystery at this point. In fact, whether they stay intact in their corporate offices in New Jersey or suffer a round of layoffs are still unknown.

“All those things are to be decided,” says Russ Clarke, People Business Network’s founder, who is now responsible for investor relations.

Vurv spokeswoman Jaime Spuhler agrees, noting that, “There are no immediate plans to relocate PBN employees to Jacksonville.”

As for Vurv’s own round of layoffs, Spuhler says, “We restructured some things and took a hard look over the past month or so. We did eliminate a few positions, but it’s not a huge situation,” she says.

“We didn’t chop off a whole department; it was more of getting rid of redundancies but not eliminating one chunk or group of employees,” she adds.

Layoffs ‘Renew Innovation’

However, Vurv’s layoffs have resulted in “a renewed focus on innovation and customer delight,” that will increase “the pace of solution innovation and development,” the company wrote in a client letter last week.

These layoffs follow the recent creation of two new positions, one in sales (Michael Gibson, previously at Dell) and one in HR (Samantha Hanson, previously at Best Buy).

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The company says the goal of this “talent re-alignment” is to provide a “Ritz Carlton”-like customer experience that is “centered on delivering extreme value to our customers.”

Offboarding Market Hot

Vurv says its acquisition of People Business Network will add “offboarding” (employee separation management) and human capital analytics and dashboards.

Vurv says the acquisition also extends its integration, compliance, and workforce planning capabilities.

“Decision support and employee separation management, along with workforce analytics, are perhaps the most untapped areas in talent management,” said Derek Mercer, founder and CEO of Vurv, in a release.

“U.S. companies will spend over $15 billion this year alone on employee separations with little insight into the impact of their decisions. Unlike most solutions in the market, our combined offerings will help customers tie their talent management initiatives to quantifiable business results — the value speaks for itself,” Mercer said.

At the close of the most recent calendar year, Vurv says its customers represented more than 10% of the Fortune 500.

Financial terms of the Talent Business Network acquisition were not disclosed.

Vurv, which changed its name from Recruitmax last year, says its planned conference in Las Vegas will proceed as planned in March.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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3 Comments on “Vurv Trims Staff; Acquires People Business Network

  1. What is most interesting to me about the layoffs at Vurv is how they were handled compared to the recent layoffs at Jobster. Jason took a lot of heat for the move and being so public about it in his blog, but business is business, and at the end of the day, both Jobster and Vurv have to trim fat to become profitable and attractive for a takeover or eventual IPO. The human element on how employees were ?off boarded? is very ironic. Jobster?s very public layoff, at first viewed as a gaff, in hindsight, may now be viewed as a mild stroke of genius. Jason and his team continue to blog the industry to support and outplace ex-Jobster employees via social networking. Many ex-Jobster employees scored numerous interview offers and networking opportunities as a result of these collective efforts. Jobster even left the email connected for the former employees so that they could benefit from such communication. In the long run, these former employees will be supporters of Jobster and speak well of them. On the other hand, Vurv, puts out and announcement that the 20 people let go, were, to paraphrase, ?non essential and redundant?. Gee whiz, that should help out the ex-Vurv-ette?s in a job interview and social networking. Also, what opinion do the former employees have of Vurv moving forward? (One must wonder if Vurv used the off boarding software from PBN to off-board it?s own employees?) Finally, it would appear that the Jobster team (which Jason invited everyone to just try and poach from his company) will stick around to rebuild the company. Will Vurv now experience ?brain drain? ( the same that struck at Brass Ring and Restrac when much of the remaining talent ran for the door soon after the initial post merger lay off?s) or will they emerge leaner and stronger? I guess we will find out at the annual boondoggle in Las Vegas!

  2. What is most interesting to me about the layoffs at Vurv is how they were handled compared to the recent layoffs at Jobster. Jason took a lot of heat for the move and being so public about it in his blog, but business is business, and at the end of the day, both Jobster and Vurv have to trim fat to become profitable and attractive for a takeover or eventual IPO. The human element on how employees were ?off boarded? is very ironic. Jobster?s very public layoff, at first viewed as a gaff, in hindsight, may now be viewed as a mild stroke of genius. Jason and his team continue to blog the industry to support and outplace ex-Jobster employees via social networking. Many ex-Jobster employees scored numerous interview offers and networking opportunities as a result of these collective efforts. Jobster even left the email connected for the former employees so that they could benefit from such communication. In the long run, these former employees will be supporters of Jobster and speak well of them. On the other hand, Vurv, puts out and announcement that the 20 people let go, were, to paraphrase, ?non essential and redundant?. Gee whiz, that should help out the ex-Vurv-ette?s in a job interview and social networking. Also, what opinion do the former employees have of Vurv moving forward? (One must wonder if Vurv used the off boarding software from PBN to off-board it?s own employees?) Finally, it would appear that the Jobster team (which Jason invited everyone to just try and poach from his company) will stick around to rebuild the company. Will Vurv now experience ?brain drain? ( the same that struck at Brass Ring and Restrac when much of the remaining talent ran for the door soon after the initial post merger lay off?s) or will they emerge leaner and stronger? I guess we will find out at the annual boondoggle in Las Vegas!

  3. From a close contact that was recently ‘offboarded’ from vurv, it wasn’t 20 people let go, it was over 60 people, only a few were management. Sounds kinda crazy considering their poor reputation for service, support and implementation that they would layoff so many quality assurance personnel, implentation consultants and developers. The PBN offboarding software was apparently not used and not easily integrated as they claim. Formal offboarding techniques from “workforce optimization software” vendors such as exit interviews or outplacement support for employees were not offered either I’m told. That seems hard to believe considering vurv is a major player in this space selling software to companies for exactly this reason. To me, it sounds like marketing smoke and mirrors rather than core competence or quality. We shall see, but it sounds like there is much work to be done in the face of increasing competition.

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