Business Week asked this question recently and had Dan Finnigan, CEO of Jobvite (one of my favorite CEO’s and very cool product as well – even if he never sent me the iPad from my HR Tech Conference interview – let’s face it I work cheap, but not free!) and Daniel Kite, President of Sun Street (I don’t know him, so I don’t care) debate over the topic: Should employers stop waiting for the economy to strengthen further and start hiring right now. Dan went Pro, and Daniel went Con – from the article (Dan Finnigan’s Take):
Such industries as technology and health care are accustomed to competing for scarce talent—even throughout the downturn. The technology sector has seen fierce competition for talent with employee poaching, out-sized compensation, packages, and retention battles. This trend will grow only more widespread. By 2015, 60 percent of newly created jobs will require skills held by only 20 percent of the population, according to the American Society for Training and Development.
And the severity of the recession only exacerbates this shortage. The downturn shocked everyone into a new reality: that no job is really safe. As a result, many Americans have kept their heads down at their current jobs but are keeping their eyes peeled for a better one. Jobvite’s nationwide survey, Job Seeker Nation, found that 53 percent of those employed feel open to a new job—and are doing more than just hoping for it. Instead of waiting for the economy to improve their prospects, they are developing their skills, building connections, and cultivating new job opportunities via outlets such as social networks.
Smart employers recognize this and are not sitting still. Companies are now more concerned about their hiring pipelines, because they can’t count on a ready supply of applicants. “The economic recovery means we have to build relationships with a pool of promising talent because we no longer have that quick turnaround in the hiring cycle,” says Sarah Widner, who heads up human resources for Total Attorneys, a Chicago firm that delivers professional services to law practices.
Daniel Kite goes on about common sense and why would any business ever hire talent just for the simple fact that it’s available, yadda, yadda.
You staff for the business you want – not the business you have. Think about that for a minute – because most HR Pros do the exact opposite – they only staff for the business they have – and that’s not very strategic mindset – that’s a conservative mindset and one that keeps your butt out of hot water. Which might be your goal – I know a ton of HR Pros (all good people – well some aren’t so good) that spend most of their time just trying not to screw up. I also know some very dynamic HR Pros who completely lead their organizations to bigger and better things – and they learn how to leverage risk.
When you hire in these times – there’s risk. As an HR Pro, it’s our job to make sure we take calculated risk by hiring people so great, they can’t help but to make our organizations better. If you do that – in my opinion – that’s common sense. Hire great people, in the right positions, get out of their way – and watch your business grow.
Dan – send me my iPad.