The 1 Reason You Can’t Find Talent Right Now

There’s one big reason you can’t find talent right now.  Here it is:

Simple economics plays a huge role in your ability to hire well.  We all like to think we are super star rock star talent acquisition pros, but the reality is we are mostly just pawns in economic cycles.  Sure you can have a great employment brand, and have great recruiting tools, and even have the most talented recruiters money can buy.  But rarely can’t you beat simple supply and demand.

Want to know why you’re struggling to hire right now?  There aren’t enough candidates for the jobs you need to fill.  It’s really quite simple.

We have an extended recession where almost all employee development and employee growth programs got cut to the bone.  No apprenticeships. No internships.  Old people held onto their jobs because of  the recession, while younger people went and found other ways to make ends meet.  The stock market that was in the tank during the recession came back bigger than ever.  The old people now want to retire, and they are in bulk!

Now you want to hire because business is back!  You have new positions to add. You have old employees leaving you with all of that knowledge, and you haven’t seriously tried to grow an employee in a decade.

It took you 10 years to get to this point.  It’s going to take you more than increased job board ads and new ATS to get you out of this.  Here are few tips to get you through a Candidate Driven Marketplace:

1. Start growing your own now. No, it’s not a short term solution. But you must realize your problem is both short and long.

2. Get comfortable with stealing talent from your competitors and anyone else. Also, they’ll be stealing from you.  Welcome to the show.

3. Upgrade your recruiting staff, yesterday.  Yeah, I like Bonnie to, but she can’t really recruit.

4. You have to get your organization to understand your reality.  Like Hillary said, “It takes a village”.

5. Learn the concept “Total Talent” and get comfortable with it.  The rest of the world already has.  The U.S. is a decade behind.  Total talent is the concept that an organization has many avenues of talent: direct employees, consultants, contract employees, temporary employees, part time, job share, etc. No longer should you even want just ‘direct’ employees.  Smart talent acquisition strategy incorporates all levels of talent, not just one.  Unless your name is Bonnie.

The Best Sports Related Job Ever!

Do you know what the ingredients are to the best sports related job ever?

1. Basketball

2. The 5th Richest person in the world

3. Beautiful weather, water and beaches

4. A Gigantic Yacht with a basketball court on it.

Mix all that together and you get one of the best jobs ever invented!   Pulled directly from the critically, award winning, Wall Street Journal:

The Oracle chief has had basketball courts on at least two of his yachts, said Tom Ehman, who handles America’s Cup matters for Mr. Ellison. He said Mr. Ellison liked to relax by shooting hoops, and has had someone in a powerboat following the yacht to retrieve balls that go overboard.

Mr. Ellison, is Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, and 5th richest person in the world, worth about $48 Billion.  Larry likes basketball, a lot.  Likes to shoot hoops on his yachts.  For those who have ever shot hoops, the ball tends to bounce off the rim and backboard when you miss.  For those who yacht.  Those tend to be on Oceans, or big bodies of water.  So, when you mix those two together, you would suspect you’re going to have some basketballs go ‘into the pond’ every once in a while.

Now, with $48 Billion, Larry could probably just forget about any basketballs that went over board and just keep using new balls.  The problem is, having a couple dozen basketballs go overboard every time you play, might bring some unwanted attention on your from those who are environmentally conscience.  But, don’t fret, there is an easy solution.  Pay some dude to follow you’re yacht in a smaller boat and pick up those wayward balls!

That my friends is the best Sports Related Job ever!  On a boat all day, warm sun, cool drinks, picking up a few basketballs every once in a while.  I don’t think I could ever create a better summer job, ever!

You know the boat you’re picking up basketballs with is top notch.  You don’t have a piece of crap follow around a $200M yacht.  You’re probably outfitted in some cool uniform.  Paid lunches, delivered out on the water.  Great tan.  Good music.  Absolutely, no stress.  You’re getting paid well.  The guy has $48B and is asking you to retrieve basketballs for G*d’s sake! Where do I sign up?  I would do that job in a second, and would be the best ever at it!  No one would ever be better than me picking up basketballs in the ocean.  I really think I could retire from that job.

Just mark this down as crap you’ll never understand because you’ll never have $48B.

(Hat tip to Daniel Savich for passing the article on to me, and having the great boss who ever lived!)

5 Things HR Can Learn from Airports

I know many of you will be getting on an airplane over the next few weeks to fly and see friends and family over the holidays.  Some of you fly all the time, so this will be something you experience often.  Many of you rarely fly, so you get really frustrated because you feel it should work better.  We work in HR everyday.  We get use to the stuff that doesn’t work, but we shouldn’t.  We should be like infrequent fliers, everything that is wrong should bother us greatly.

1. The airport never appears to have anyone who wants to take responsibility for anything.  Every airline is on their own. The security folks only handle their ‘area’ of concern. Food vendors only do their thing.  Does it sound familiar?  It’s your department and/or organization.  Some needs to take charge of stuff no one else wants to take charge of.  HR can fit that role perfectly.  Too many times in our organizations we/HR sees things that need someone to take responsibility. We need to be that person.

2.  The one thing about 90% of air travelers need to do after landing is go to the bathroom and charge something (phone, computer, tablet, etc.).  Airports figured out bathrooms, I’ve never had to wait to use the restroom in an airport.  I almost always have to wait to use an electrical outlet!  Should be an easy fix – go buy 100 power strips and increase the amount of charging points by 5 times.  But no one does this.  HR has this issue. We see things that can be fixed, by doing something simple, instead we don’t fix it, because we want to fix it permanently.  Believing is we fix it ‘temporarily’ we’ll never fix it the right way.  Do the temp fix first.  Tell everyone it’s a temp fix. Then work towards a permanent solution.

3. Airports use to treat everyone the same.  Everyone had to check in at the counter. Everyone had to wait in the same security line.  Airports figured out this doesn’t work for those they need most, frequent fliers.  Now, those who fly often, get treated differently.  They can by pass the TSA line through special pre-check lines.  They check in before they even get to the airport (most people can do this, but frequent fliers learn the tricks!). They have special clubs to sit in and get away from the rest of us.  HR needs to treat employees differently.  The only employees/people who want to be ‘treated’ the same, are those who are low performers.

4. Planes won’t crash is you have a little fun. For years Southwest was the fun airline.  They showed you could still fly planes and and have a little fun.  Others are beginning to follow in that same path.  HR is not known for being ‘fun’. In fact, we are probably known for not having fun.  We like to tell ourselves this comes with the territory of having to fire people. “Tim, this is serious business, there is no room for fun in HR.”   You can have fun in HR.  You need to have fun in HR.  Our organizations need proper role models of how to have fun.  People will still have to be fired, might as well have some fun along the way.

5.  It only costs a little more to go first class.  Actually it costs a ton more, but have you ever really seen an empty first class?  And, no, it’s not all frequent fliers filling those seats.  Some people are willing to pay more for a better flight experience.  You might not be willing, but some are.  Your employees are the same way about a lot of things.  Don’t think you know what is best for them, because it’s best for you.  They might want something totally different.  Well, we (in HR) like having half day Fridays in the summer, so we are willing to work 9 hour days Monday through Friday to get those. Everyone will want this.  Unless your the department that can’t take a half day on Friday because your clients need y0u there at 4pm on Fridays.

Here’s a tip to get you through your holiday travel, if you get stuck in an airport.  You aren’t forced to stay at the airport.  If you have an extremely long layover, grab a taxi and go someplace nice to eat, or even a movie.  It beats waiting 4 or 5 hours fighting over who gets the outlet next.

The Best Thing HR Can Ever Do For Employees

By random circumstance I’ve had three of the most boring HRish types of conversations in the past month about 401K!  Can you imagine me talking about 401K?  It’s so, well, it just regular old HR talk!  One conversation was with our banking partner (Shoutout to PNC, 33 year business relationship with them and I value that greatly!), two others with trench HR peers, but all three conversations were about the exact same thing — Auto Enrolling employees into 401K.

This is actually a really polarizing topic in HR, I’ve found!  It comes down to two schools of thought:

1. HR Pros who believe auto enrolling is helping their employees

2. HR Pros who believe they are infringing on the privacy of their employees by auto enrolling their employees

I’m in camp #1!  In fact, I’ll go on record in saying that auto enrolling your employees into 401K is the single greatest gift you can give to your employees over their career with your company.  Bam!  I said it.

Let me give you a few facts about employees:

1. The majority of your employees that are under 30 have no idea they should be saving for retirement – when it’s the most important time to do so.

2. The majority of your employees at any age – don’t save enough for retirement.

3. The majority of your employees think a magical fairy will come along at age 65 and pay for them to live the next 25-30 years.

These are all actually true!

Most people don’t think about retirement and the amount of money it will take to retire until they get to be around 50.  At that point, it’s too late and they are then on a path to be a senior citizen greeter at Walmart.  HR can change all of this.  HR can ensure that when your employees get to be around retirement age, at least they might have some hope of sitting around enjoying not working!  It’s easy. It’s called Auto Enroll – check it out.

If it’s so good why aren’t all companies doing this?

It’s America, right?  We hate being forced to do anything.  What!? You mean your going to force me to sign up for 401K and save for my future! How dare you!  This isn’t Russia!

Want to take 401K Auto Enrollment one great step further!?  Auto Enroll your employees and have 3% taken out of their pay automatically as well.  Just auto enrolling really does nothing but making it easy for people to start saving, but you can actually auto enroll and start them out with an automatic deduction of your choosing. The employee at anytime can choose not to participate and stop the deduction, but very, very few ever will!

Can you imagine the difference you could make in your employees life by forcing helping them start saving for retirement?  For many of your employees, it would be the best thing HR ever did for them, period.