Want to Recruit Better? Hire more Recruiters and less Recruiting Managers!

 

Take a look at what’s happened in healthcare over the past 40 years:

 

In the healthcare industry over the past forty years, there has been a 2000% growth rate in the number of “Administrators” in healthcare, which the number of Physicians has remained relatively flat. Now, some of this growth in administration could be that for decades prior there might have been a lack of proper administration and some of this growth is just catching up, but 2000%!?

And we wonder why the cost of healthcare in our country is out of control!

Healthcare isn’t the only place where this happens! The more successful an organization is, the more mid-level management hires increase. So, in times of prosperity, we tend to want to surround the worker bees with tons of management “help”. Our organizations get bloated with none productive hires all hired believing we’ll make those who actually produce more efficient and effective.

We do this in talent acquisition, a ton!

I get asked by HR and TA executives frequently about hiring recruiting leadership. Recently, I spoke with a CHRO who was struggling to attract talent and fill positions and I asked her to give me their TA structure. “Oh, we have a Director of TA, a Manager of TA, and a Recruiter.” So, you can’t hire, but you’ve got two TA leaders and one person actually doing the hiring!?

I told her to fire the director and the manager and hire 4 more recruiters and let the team of 5 recruiters work the openings. I was exaggerating a little, but she got my point. Positions don’t get filled by managing them to death. Positions get filled by recruiters generating activity that leads to filling positions.

Of course, great leadership can help any function be more effective, but having leaders for the simple fact that we believe someone or something needs to be “managed” is short-sighted at best, and destructive at it’s worst. I’ll always choose a flatter structure over empire-building any day of the week. Give me some soldiers and let me fight!

The problem with hiring non-productive employees is what we’ve seen in healthcare. Once you get one administrator/manager every other employee wants to do the same thing. “Wait, I can get paid more and not have to actually produce!? Yes, please!” And soon you have a 2000% increase in hiring folks who don’t actually see patients, who don’t fill positions, who don’t make the donuts.

 

If you can Recruit, you can Recruit!

I grew up and lived most of my life in Michigan. There are so many things I love about living in Michigan and most of those things have to deal with water and the 3 months that temperatures allow you to enjoy said water (Jun – Aug). There is one major thing that completely drives me insane about Michigan.  Michigan is at its core an automotive manufacturing state which conjures up visions of massive assembly plants and union workers. To say that the majority of Michigan workers feel entitled would be the largest understatement ever made.

We have grown up with our parents and grandparents telling us stories of how their overtime and bonus checks bought the family cottage, up north, and how they spent more time on their ‘pension’ than they actually spent in the plant (think about that! if you started in a union job at 18, put in your 30 years, retired at 48, on your 79 birthday you actually have had a company pay for you longer than you worked for them. At the core of the Michigan economy, this is happening right now and it’s disastrous! Pensions weren’t created to sustain that many years, and quite frankly they aren’t sustainable under those circumstances. Seniority, entitlement, I’ve been here longer than you, so wait your turn, etc. are all the things I hate about my great state!

There is a saying in professional sports – “If you can play, you can play”.  Simply, this means that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, how much your contract is worth. If you’re the best player, you will be playing.  We see examples of this in every sport, every year. The kid was bagging groceries last month, now a starting quarterback in the NFL!  You came from a rich family, poor family, no family it doesn’t matter, if you can play, you can play. Short, tall, skinny, fat, pretty, ugly, not-so-smart, if you can play, you can play. Performance in your specific field of play is all that matters. A few year back the NHL released this video supporting the LGBTQ community (if you can play…) –

This is why I love being a recruiter!  I can play.

Doesn’t matter how long I’ve been doing it.  Doesn’t matter what education/school I came from.  Doesn’t matter what company I work for.  If you can recruit, you can recruit. You can recruit in any industry, at any level, anywhere in the world. Recruiting at its core is a perfect storm of showing us how accountability and performance in our profession works. You have an opening – and either you find the person you need (success), or you don’t find the person (failure). It’s the only position within the HR industry that is that clear-cut.

I have a team of recruiters who work with me. Some have 20 years of experience, some have a few months. The thing that they all know is if you can recruit, you can recruit. No one can take it away from you, no one can stop you from being a great recruiter. There’s no entitlement or seniority – ‘Well, I’ve been here longer, I should be the best recruiter!’ If you want to be the best if you have to go out and prove you’re the best.  The scorecard is your placements. Your finds. Can you find talent and deliver, or can’t you? Black and white.

I love recruiting because all of us (recruiters) have the exact same opportunity.  Sure some will have more tools than others but the reality is if you’re a good recruiter you need a phone and a computer, and an ability to connect with people. Tools will make you faster, not better. A great recruiter can play. Every day, every industry. This is why I love recruiting.

Should Candidate Response Time Be a Measure We Care About?

I have expectations as a leader in my organizations for other employees who are in a leadership position in my company. One of those expectations is, if I call or text you on off hours, weekends, vacations, etc., for something that is urgent to the business, I expect a reply in a rather short time frame.

Some people would not like that. I don’t care. You’re a leader, the business needs you, there’s no time clock for that.

That expectation is set for someone at a leadership level in my organization. They know this expectation before taking the job. Also, I’m not an idiot about it. I can probably count on one hand the number of times in the past five years I’ve reached out to someone on weekends or vacations expecting and needing a response.

But, what if you measured candidate quality in the same manner? Seems unreasonable, doesn’t it!?

Well, check this out:

Nardini is the CEO of the sports and men’s lifestyle site Barstool Sports. In a New York Times interview, she detailed her process for vetting job candidates. After saying she was a “horrible interviewer” because of her impatience, she explained a unique process for gauging potential hires’ interest in the job.

“Here’s something I do,” she said. “If you’re in the process of interviewing with us, I’ll text you about something at 9 p.m. or 11 a.m. on a Sunday just to see how fast you’ll respond.”

The maximum response time she’ll allow: three hours.

So, Erika believes if a candidate doesn’t reply back to her on a Sunday at 9 pm within three hours, they are not interested in a job.

This is why recruiting is hard.

You have moron leaders who come up with stupid ideas of what they think is ‘important’ and then they make you live by these dumb rules. This rule is ridiculous. Erika’s assessment of why this works is ridiculous. But, she’ll get a pass.

Why?

She’s a she. If some dumb white dude came up with the same rule the New York Times would write an expose on how this guy is a complete tyrant and out of touch with today’s world, and how crappy this candidate experience is, and how bad leadership this is, etc. But, no one will. She’s just leaning in and doing what the guys do!

Yes, she is. She’s being an idiot.

Now, I’ll say I actually agree with her on her assessment on response time, assuming the roles she is expecting a reply from in three hours are time critical roles. She runs a media site with breaking stories. Twitter has these things up in seconds, media sites need replies to what is happening within minutes and hours. So, there could be some legitimacy to something as arbitrary as measuring candidate desire by response time.

It’s fraught with issues, to be sure, but for certain roles, it might find you some good talent. Should it be a golden rule of hiring for your organization? No, that’s just dumb.

If you really want a silver bullet I ask every candidate if they’re a dog person or cat person. Works every time!

How Should We Structure New-Hire Sign-On Bonuses for Hourly Hires?

Right from The Project mailbag comes this beauty of a question! Very timely in that so many organizations are moving super fast to add sign-on bonuses for new hires to help them attract more hourly candidates right now. Here’s the actual question:


Dear Tim,

We are looking to offer a new hire sign-on bonus for our hourly hires. I was wondering if you have any advice in terms of what is the best way to do this that one, makes it attractive to candidates, and two, works to help retain these hires so we aren’t just throwing money away?

Thanks for the help,

Mandy


How would I offer an hourly sign-on bonus?

It’s a great question because there isn’t any one correct answer. The correct answer is you do what it takes to meet your goals! In this scenario, without giving up Mandy’s specific details, here’s what I would do:

  • Offer an amount that makes staying on extended UI/Stimulus a non-issue. So, if someone is making $300 a week additional stimulus ($1200 per month), I’m going to pay that on top of our hourly wage.
  • Pay this sign-on as a fraction per hour worked. So, an additional $300 per week would be $7.50 per hour over your normal hourly rate. So, a person who normally makes $15/hr, would be making $22.50/hr until the “sign-on bonus” is paid off.
  • The decision you have to make is how long do you pay this additional extra hourly sign-on addition? One month, two months, until the end of September?! I would pay it for one month and if the person quits and tries to collect unemployment, we would challenge it. The reality is, once someone has worked for a month, there more than likely going to keep working. The ones who really don’t want to work, won’t make it a month.
  • “Tim, we just can’t afford that much”-edition. I hear you, $300 per week is way too much. What can you do? Steal workers from other employers who are making roughly the same as what you pay, but you pay more, just not $7.50 an hour more! Maybe you pay $2/hr more.
  • But, wait, you’re not done! What about your current workers? The reality is, if you start offering a sign-on bonus to new hires, your current employees are going to be upset, especially your best ones! So, you have to make it good with them. More than likely you end up in a compensation track that pays your more experienced people more than your new hires. The key for success here is whoever is getting the best pay must be your best performers, or you get rid of them.
  • Also, you can’t pay your more experienced hourly workers $.50 to $2/hr more if you’re paying new hires sign-on bonuses worth more than that, but you don’t have to pay them the same. The key is to make sure your best workers are being paid at a rate that leads the market, so they can’t go anywhere else for similar work in your market and make the same or more. Pay for performance.
  • Move quickly to make changes to market compensation. In crazy employment times, as we have right now for hourly workers, you can not rely on paid compensation data and services. They move too slow. Pay attention to what candidates are telling you and make some calls to fellow pros around your market to see what folks are paying.
  • Bonus Tip: Have multiple sign-on bonus/retention plans for potential new hires/current employees to choose from! Let’s face it, no one plan will be what everyone wants. So, design three and let them choose. Maybe some want an additional hourly rate, maybe some want a retention bonus paid at the end as a lump sum, and maybe some want something totally different. Get creative!

Brainstorming Idea: What if you paid bonuses for certain activities that lead to the new employee behaviors you wish to have? Show up for the interview, get $50 cash in your hand. Show up to the first day of work, get $100 cash in your hand. Make it through the first week, etc.! Reward based on the behavior you want to happen, and ensure it happens. Yes, payroll will hate you, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done!

Yes, this is expensive, but not as expensive as going out of business because you can’t find labor. You can always increase your prices for your products and services to meet this additional demand. Say hello to inflation, it’s going to happen, the current administration made sure of that with a multi-trillion dollar stimulus package!

The key to making sign-on bonuses work is to only pay those bonuses fully to those workers who truly are working. If you start paying that higher wage to slackers, you’ll be dead in the water. People are willing to work market leading wages, but they are also willing to collect market leading wages for not working so hard if you allow it.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

This is a phrase my wife is fond of saying. I read it recently in an article from a college football coach who was talking about recruiting and social media. He said it in terms of these 18-22-year-old kids on social media, and that it was really difficult to come to grips with this concept.

These kids are daily showing you who they are, but so many times we refuse to believe them. We make excuses, like well it’s just Twitter or the Gram, or whatever, that’s not really who they are. But it is! Whether we like it or not, they are showing us exactly who they are.

It doesn’t mean that as a young dumb kid we don’t make bad decisions. We all did, and they all do. It’s when the behavior becomes a consistent pattern.

We forget about this with candidates and employees!

Especially in a candidate-driven market. We start making excuses for candidates. “No, I’m sure it’s completely normal that his Mom died and he car trouble, and then he came down with Dengue Fever!” “Okay, it’s fine she ghosted us two times, let’s give her one more shot, but not three!”

Our employees are also constantly showing you who they are, both good and bad. I’ve seen the most amazing, giving behaviors in my life come from people I work with, and the most toxic, selfish behaviors come from those I’ve worked with. Almost always, I discounted the bad and didn’t appreciate the good, enough. All the while, each was showing me exactly who they are.

I have these moments after almost every single termination I’ve ever done. I’m usually sitting with the supervisor of the person who just got terminated and we start to reminisce back on this terminated employee’s time with us, and almost 100% of the time we have multiple examples of them showing us who they were and us ignoring it.

It’s quite normal. As humans, we want to give people the benefit of the doubt. We hope that people can change for the better. Also, people believe and hope that they can change themselves for the better, but it truly rarely happens. That sounds cynical! Just know, that’s your heart playing tricks with you! Your brain is also trying to yell at you to listen! But our hearts are often much louder than our brains!

When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

The Past-Employee Walk of Shame!

I’ve lost jobs and I’ve called old employers to see if they would want to hire me back. I’ve usually gotten a response that sounded something like, “Oh, boy would we want you back but we just don’t have anything. Good Luck!”  Many of us in the talent game talk about our employee Alumni and how we should engage our Alumni but very few of us really take true advantage of leveraging this network.

I was reminded of this recently when a friend of mine took a new job. You know the deal, shorter drive, more money, growing company, and oh, boy, just where do I sign!? The fact was, it was all they said, shorter drive, more money and they were growing, but they forgot to tell him was our operations are broken beyond repair, you will work 7 days a week and probably 12-14 hours per day because of the mess we have, but keep your head up it’s the only way you won’t drown here!

So, now what does he do?

He already had the going away party, bar night out with the work friends with the promises to do lunches and not get disconnected, packed up, and unpack the office into the new office.  Let’s face it, big boy, you’re stuck! Not so fast. He did the single hardest thing an employee can do he called his old boss after 7 days and said one thing, “I made a mistake, can I come back?”

Luckily for him, his past boss was a forward-thinking leader and so this past Monday he did the 2nd hardest thing an employee can do he made the “Employee Walk of Shame”.

You can imagine the looks from people who didn’t know him well, “Hey, wait a minute, didn’t you leave?” Having to tell the same story over and over, feeling like he failed, like he wasn’t good enough to make it in the new position.

HR plays a huge part in this story because it was HR who can make this walk of shame a little less rough. Let’s face it, it is different. You just don’t leave and come back as nothing happened. Something did happen, there was a reason he left and that reason isn’t going away. A transition back needs to be put into place even though he was gone seven days.  It’s not about just plugging back in, it is about re-engaging again and finding out what we all can do better so it doesn’t happen again.

It’s also about making sure you let those employees who you truly want back, that they are welcome to come back (assuming you have the job) and not just saying that to everyone. There are employees who leave that you say a small prayer to G*d and you are thankful they left! There are others where you wish there was a prayer you could say so they wouldn’t leave.

Make it easy for your employees to do the Walk of Shame, it helps the organization, but realize they are hurting, they are embarrassed, but they are also grateful!

What if we hired employees like NFL teams draft players?

The NFL draft, kind of like college football recruiting, is still mostly a crap shoot. I mean, you kind of know what you’re getting, but you truly have no idea if that player is going to be a great success or a colossal failure! It’s all a game of statistical chance. Our hope is this player is more likely to be successful than this other player, but there are no guarantees.

Kind of sounds like Hiring, right!

Here’s kind of what we know about the NFL draft. There are usually a few transcendent talents in the first few picks, like picks one through five. For the most part, if you have one of these picks, you’re are highly likely to get a player who will be productive for an above average amount of time, and more likely they’ll be a superstar talent.

Once you get into the late first round through the seventh round, for the most part the talent is all very similar! This guy runs a 4.56 forty yard dash and this one runs a 4.58 forty yard dash, etc. The stats, the playing experience, the physical traits they have, are bunched very closely together.

There are a few coaches and teams that have kind of figured this out. They are known for “trading back” in the draft pretty consistently. Why draft one player in the first round at number 25, when you can trade back and get two picks of players at 30 and 52? Virtually all three players are basically the same, and if you want better odds at picking a good one, you should give yourself more picks! Hall of fame coach, Bill Belichick, and Baltimore’s GM, Ozzie Newsome, are known to do this frequently and have built very consistently good teams with this strategy.

More picks equals more chances for success!

So, why don’t we hire like this? Let’s say you have an opening for one engineer. You interview a bunch, they’re basically all very similar, and you have no way of really knowing which one will be a great hire for you. Why don’t you hire two or three!?

“Well, Tim, if you knew anything about anything, you would know we don’t have budget to hire two or three engineers! That’s expensive!”

So, if you hired one and they failed, what did that cost you? Also, if you hired two and one made it and one failed, are you better off, or worse off, from where you started? What if both became great hires? Would your company be better or worse?

Let’s say you were hiring a Sales professional. Now, if you hired one and they failed, you start over. If you hired two and one failed, at least you have one performing. Hire three and all of them do well, that is awesome! All three fail and you just quickened your false positive rate on sales hires!

We don’t “over” hire because we, falsely, believe we don’t make bad hires. Until every time we make a bad hire!

What some great NFL personnel have found is “over” drafting, getting more picks, actually gives you more opportunity to get some great talent. Again, this is not just about the number of picks or hires. It’s a combination of doing the right due diligence on talent, all of your selection science, and then getting more chances!

Very rarely, in extreme cases, I’ve seen organizations that could not over hire. But, 99.9% of the time, all organizations would be just fine by over hiring and giving themselves more chances of finding someone great for their organization. Yes, you have some short-term salary budget issues, but most find that is offset by actually being fully staffed with high performing people!

It will either cost you more upfront or more on the backside, one strategy is proactive and one is reactive. As a leader you must ask yourself which one are you more comfortable with?

America’s Greatest Threat? Lack of Hourly Workers!

Businesses big and small are desperate currently for workers. Low-skill, semi-skilled, people who have no skill but are willing to be trained. The hourly rate is anywhere between $12-22/hr. I’ve spoken to companies in every market and industry, many of whom will tell me they’ll hire as many people as they can find, they just can’t find anyone!

Now, I don’t want to get into all the reasons of why organizations are struggling to find hourly workers. There are many, and it’s a complex situation that isn’t going away anytime soon. I want to focus on how not having enough hourly workers puts America at a competitive disadvantage in the world.

What Happens When America Can’t Hire Enough Workers?

First, organizations will do what it takes to actually hire talent. They increase wages and benefits, which initially seems like a big win for workers. Businesses will also raise prices, to pay for those additional expenses. Say, hello to inflation. The supply and demand dynamics of labor all happen fairly quickly.

Organizations will look to become more efficient and add technology that in the long term can be a better value than workers. Let’s be honest, this has been happening since the beginning of time, but in times of true pain in hiring, all this speeds up and happens faster than normal. Say hello to the robots!

Companies will offshore, more than they already do to countries with an abundance of hourly workers. China, Mexico, India, various countries in Africa if they can get politically stable, will gain millions of jobs from organizations looking to sell their products in America. Say hello to more jobs leaving our shores. Also, as we’ve seen with the Pandemic, this will cause he further issues with our supply chain in critical times.

What Should We Be Doing In America To Ensure We Have The Hourly Talent We Need?

Okay – I’ve got some ideas. Some you’ll agree with, some you’ll hate, but something has to change. American demographics are not changing. Our labor force is shrinking and we are getting older as a country. We have a crisis staring us in the face, and we are too divided to even see what’s really happening!

  1. Major investment into trades and apprenticeship programs at the high school and post-high school level. Free College? Screw that, rich folks can pay for college. Let’s have Free Trades and Apprenticeship programs. Let’s start these in Junior High and High Schools and continue them post-high school. Let’s have 22-year-old kids making $40-60K a year in skilled occupations.
  2. Blow up public education as we know it. It’s broken, can we all admit to this. About 70% of kids are not college kids, but we force them down the path of college. Let’s have public education that promotes our best and brightest, but also promotes kids who want to work with their hands, who want to work in the arts, etc. If we are the most powerful country on earth, why can’t we have multiple avenues for our kids, whether they are rich or poor?
  3. Encourage our children to once again be firefighters, police officers, home builders, big truck operators, cooks, delivery drivers, etc. Both boys and girls. I was struck when I was in Australia how many construction workers and road workers were female. You rarely see that in America. Our children should feel proud to have an occupation that is helping their community and others, but instead we, as parents, talk down these occupations. Our children are listening, constantly.
  4. Open the Mexican border. Uh oh, he didn’t just say that!? Yeah, you know who has millions of people who want the jobs that Americans don’t want? Mexico. If you don’t want to work that $15/hr job, step aside, there are people that do want those jobs. Plus, actually having a great labor force strengthens America! Would you rather have Mexican citizens come to America and make American products, or have American companies go to China and have the communist government of China make the products sent back to America and much of the profit goes to China or India, or somewhere else outside of America?
  5. Pay Equity laws limiting the spread of pay between the highest-paid executive and the lowest-paid employee. I’m not saying that entrepreneurs and executives don’t deserve great salaries for their efforts and their risks. They do. But should a CEO of a company make a $100M a year and the workers make $17/hr? That just seems a little bit out of line, right? Should a college football coach make $5M a year? It’s a stupid game. A game I love to watch, but come on! We’ve got a bit out of line with the haves and the have-nots.
  6. National Occupation Corp. What if every single American child upon graduating high school, put in one year of service into a select list of hourly occupations? Road workers, infrastructure projects, building affordable housing in their community, building parks, etc. Mormon kids do a two-year missionary to spread their word, and it doesn’t seem to harm them one bit, in fact, most would argue it actually helps them become better adults. Doing a national occupation corp would show some kids they actually love this type of work.
  7. End programs that encourage workers to not work. I’m hearing politicians talk about a 4th Stimulus! Are you kidding me! We don’t need more stimulus! We need people collecting unemployment and stimulus to prove they can’t find a job. They can’t get work. Because for the most part, it’s a lie! There is work everywhere! Our Unemployment Insurance system is broken and needs an overhaul.

How do you like those ideas!? A little GOP, a little Dem, a little socialism! If you’re a regular reader of the blog some of those ideas, coming from me, probably surprise you. This is how desperate I think this situation is! We are facing an economic meltdown in the future if we don’t fix this issue, that will make the great recession look like child’s play. America can not be without a great labor force, and right now, we are quickly trailing the rest of the world in the one thing we always hung our hard hat on.

“I Fully Reject the Employment Model of Pre-Pandemic America!”

This was an exact quote on a comment on one of my blogs about how hard it is right now for companies to find talent in America to work hourly jobs. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard something like this from an old GenZ or very young Millennial (basically early to mid-’20s).

What does this even mean!? 

Let me interpret, for the older millennials and GenXers in the crowd who are actually working and don’t have time to learn the GenZ vernacular. This is actually a cross of GenZ and Snowflake which can be very confusing sometimes to understand.

What this person is trying to convey is that they don’t believe they should have to work a job for pay and benefits (employment model of Pre-pandemic America). They actually love the employment model of Pandemic America – which is either sitting at home and getting paid to mostly not work, or actually just collecting unemployment and government stimulus to the tune of about $1000 per week, to do nothing at all.

Their idea is in Post-Pandemic America they would like to continue to get paid a living wage and benefits to do what they want. That might be something very productive and useful, like volunteering to help children to read or older people to have a better life in their later years, or it might be growing weed in their basement. This employment model is much more attractive to them. I get great pay and benefits to do what I want, not being told what to do by “the man”.

“The man” doesn’t actually have to be an actual “man”, it might be a rich woman or rich non-binary person. Basically, anyone who would make money off of their labor is now “the man”. They also reject anyone making money from their efforts, except for themselves. Which is actually wonderful if they would start their own business, but that would take work that feels too similar to an employment model of pre-pandemic America. Because of course, they would then become “the man”.

And you wonder why you can’t find anyone to come work for you? 

Some would believe this to be a socialist movement that has began to grow in America, mostly started by Bernie followers. No, this isn’t socialism, this what happens when you helicopter and snowplow parent your way to a generation that thinks the world should revolve around them.

I should only get A’s because my Mom says I’m the smartest little boy on the planet. And I should only get first-place medals because I showed up to the game. In fact, we should all get first-place medals because there should be no losers in the world, only winners.

And we truly wonder why terrorists want to bomb our country.

The world, in the end, will be truly harsh for these people if they don’t change. The world, since the beginning of time, has winners and losers. If you think socialist societies don’t have winners and losers, you might actually want to read about the history of socialist societies and inequality.

Do CEOs of companies need to make one hundred times more or a thousand times more than the average worker? No, probably not, but if you think you can just show up to a job and you should be within ten times of a CEO’s salary, you’re actually just ignorant.

This isn’t a political statement. This is the real world. Every single elected politician in the house and the senate is more wealthy than the average American by a giant margin. All of them. Winners and losers. People who take risks to start a business get all the bad and all the good. America, for good and bad, was built on Capitalism. It’s not perfect. I don’t know of a perfect society or culture in the world.

So, I do not fully reject the employment model of pre-pandemic America! 

Is it great? Nope. Can we do better? Yes.

Have we changed the employment model any over the past century? 1000%

Worker safety, health and wellness, D&I, training and development of skills, employee engagement, candidate experience, you could literally list a thousand improvements that have been made to the American employment model. And we’ll continue to improve.

I have hope that we’ll get better and solve our pay equity issues and we’ll continue to improve our diversity, inclusion, and belonging for all employees. America is a big and complex situation. Change does not happen overnight. For how bad young people think we are now, we have made tremendous strides along the way.

Okay, time to end this, I’m starting to feel like this guy…

Do people really not want to work?

On my way to work this morning, I saw seven businesses that had “Help Wanted” signs out front. The sign above is from a fast-food restaurant requesting you be nice for the few staff they have that are working their butts off to get you fat! Please be patient, your fries, double cheeseburger, and shake will be with you shortly.

I was on vacation for Spring Break (yeah, I said it), and traveled out to St. George, UT, and spent time outside hiking. Stopped at a McDonald’s for a Diet Coke on our way back from Zion and the manager was locking the doors at 2:30 pm in the afternoon. He apologized and said he normally has 50 employees on the schedule, but currently only has 16 and can’t keep the doors open!

Do People Really Not Want To Work? 

1st – Of Course People Don’t Want To Work!?! How stupid is this question!? (Wait, so let me get this straight, I don’t have to work? And I’ll get money? And I don’t have to pay rent? Okay, I’m not gonna work.)

2nd – Read #1.

3rd – If you give anyone the choice to not work, but still get their bills paid, they will not work. This is what is currently taking place in this great country of ours. In fact, some folks are making more not working than they were working. So, none of this is surprising!

The surprising part is politicians seem to be the only people alive, in America, who don’t understand that businesses can’t get people to come to work right now. They like to point to unemployment numbers, but those numbers are not telling the true story of what’s happening across the vast majority of industries.

Certain companies and industries got hurt super bad by Covid. We needed a policy that was sniper rifle accurate to help those people. Our government, instead gave us a nuclear bomb acting like everyone was in trouble. Which lands us in the position we are in right now. Too much work, not enough people who need to work at this moment.

No, Really!? Do People Not Want To Work? 

Here’s my take:

People want to do things that make them feel valued. Things that make them feel satisfied. Where they have some freedom of choice. And at the end of the day they feel safe, secure, and that they matter.

The vast majority of jobs from $10/hr to $20/hr can’t meet those basic needs.

If anyone of us was given the choice to not work and have our basic needs met, even for a short period of time (like the current Stimulus package) most would take it and do things they would rather be doing. Some will help others and volunteer. Some will take time for themselves. Some will actually do nothing and just wait until the time comes around when they have to go back to work to meet their basic needs.

So, basically, if you are hurting for workers and you pay below $20/hr, you are going to be in a world of hurt through at least this summer and maybe longer.

What Can You Do To Get More Workers? 

First, do everything in your power to keep the workers you have. Be kind. Be helpful. Be understanding. If they are overworked, be empathetic and try to do what you can to help them and their quality of life.

Second, don’t give new employees stuff you won’t give your current employees. I see this constantly. Oh! Hey, come work for us and we’ll give you a $500 signing bonus! But you won’t give your current employees a $500 retention or Hard Work bonus.

Third, stop thinking you are all that and a bag of chips! You can’t just throw up a Help Wanted sign and get workers. Be Better! Yep, that means you might actually have to put money into recruiting. Yes, hourly recruiting is as important as salaried recruiting and in many businesses more important. But, I find most organizations that hire a lot of hourly workers are vastly under-resourced when it comes to hourly recruiting as compared to salary recruiting.

Fourth, it’s time to take some chances with all those biases you have. Hire folks who test positive for weed. Hire folks who went to prison. Hire folks who aren’t your “Norm”. It’s time to take some chances, which really aren’t chances, but being more inclusive in hiring, but that’s an entire other post.

Finally, vote differently. If one employer is having a problem hiring, most likely that employer isn’t really that great to work for. If tens of thousands of employers are struggling to hire, something went wrong at a macro-scale. In terms of our current situation, we know exactly what went wrong. Bad policy is causing some short/long-term pain for employers.

Economics will eventually take care of this problem. Employers will pay more, offer more, change. This means we’ll all pay more for stuff we used to get cheaper. Some businesses will go under because you won’t agree that paying more is worth what they offer. This will cause workers to be unemployed. Making it easier for employers to hire at market wages. The law of supply and demand is undefeated.