Build the Perfect Recruiting Stack for a Hybrid World!

Talent acquisition has a major problem looming just over the horizon: Executives are preparing for business to accelerate in the near future and part of their plan is that talent acquisition professionals will be able to turn hiring on like a light switch. Unfortunately, the vast majority of talent acquisition departments do not have processes and technology systems in place to move this quickly.

On top of that, many of us had to reduce our recruiting budgets and teams! Now, the CEO comes down to your office and she says, “Hey! We’re getting the band back together! Get ready to hire 500 people by the end of the year!”

What are you going to do? 

Step 1: Sign up for my free webcast this week! Feb. 25th at Noon ET, 9 am on the West Coast – You get SHRM credit and a whole bunch of valuable information from yours truly!

Step 2: After the webcast – just do what I tell you! It’s super easy. Like only two steps to be super awesome at recruiting!

We will look at a bunch of strategies and technologies that organizations are using to get ready to hire in this crazy new hybrid world of work. Plus, the number one technique being used by organizations to eliminate ghosting by candidates.

Come learn how to build a light switch for your TA department and put your executive’s minds at ease for your talent attraction and hiring for 2021 and beyond.

REGISTER HERE!  (Free eBook for 5 tips for better Diversity Hiring as well!)

Thanks to Oracle Recruiting Cloud for sponsoring this SHRM Webcast!

The #1 Thing You Need To Do To Find The Job You’ve Always Wanted!

Last week I got a call from an old work friend. He wanted to have a “virtual” lunch or cup of coffee.  He just left a position and was in transition.  Not a bad or negative job loss, just parted ways.  When you get to a certain executive point in your career, it’s rare that bad terminations take place. It’s usually, “Hey, we like you, but we really want to go another direction, and we know you don’t want to go that direction, so let’s just shake hands and call it a day, here’s a big fat check.”

Executives get this.  For the most part, there aren’t hard feelings, like when you were young and lost a job. I usually find that the organization the person is leaving from are super complimentary, and usually takes the blame for the change.  Executives in corporate America are like NFL coaches. You get hired with the understanding that one day you’ll be fired.  It’s not that you know less, or aren’t going to be successful in your career, it’s just that the organization needs change, and you’re part of that change.

Welcome to the show, kid.

My friend decided that he was going to find his next position not through posting for positions online, or trolling corporate career pages, he was going to have lunches.  About two per week, with past work friends. Let’s connect, no pressure, we already know each other and I want to catch up.

You see, in 2021 you don’t find great jobs by filling out applications in ATSs and uploading your resume to Indeed. You get great jobs because of the relationships and personal capital you’ve built up over your career.  Having lunch and reconnecting turn on a relationship machine. I believe that people, innately, want to help other people. When a friend comes to you with a situation, and you have something to offer or help, you will do that.

The problem is most people who are looking for great jobs don’t do this. They lock themselves in their home office and apply to a thousand jobs online and get upset when nothing happens. Great jobs aren’t filled by ATSs and corporate recruiters.  Great jobs are filled through relationships. Every single one of them.

Want to find a great job in 2021?

Go out to lunch.

Should You Build or Buy Talent in 2021?

Two rules of thumb in acquiring talent:

  • In a good, long-term economic outlook, building talent will ultimately be better.
  • In a questionable, short-term economic outlook, buying/renting talent is the best bet.

2021 is not the time to decide to build talent, at least not in the first two quarters. Most organizations have already started renting talent and we see contingent labor as a percent of the workforce rising in Q1 and Q2 as organizations determine how the economy will come back.

We actually saw this start to increase in Q3 and Q4 of 2020.

If the economic uncertainty continues into later 2021, we’ll see these numbers continue to rise.

With so much talk about “Internal Mobility” in the HR Tech space, it seems like the opposite is being spun as the better solution. For a few organizations, who have continued to stay busy during the pandemic and believe they’ll continue after, this is probably the right strategy.

For the vast majority of companies, the focus on hiring more contingent is a better strategy over the next 12-18 months, to ensure they will have much more flexibility and the ability to move quickly to move their headcount up and down based on immediate business needs.

In Questionable Economic Times, You Need Workforce Flexibility! 

I run into a lot of mid-sized enterprise organizations (500-2500 employees) who freak out when you talk about contingent labor. “We only hire direct, Tim!”

Um, okay, so all those Fortune 1000 organizations that have anywhere from 15-30% of their workforce as contingent are doing it wrong? You know better than they do, is what I’m hearing? Or, are you feeling like hiring contingent labor is somehow a sign of weakness for you as an HR/TA Leader?

Our reality is we saw a decade of crazy growth since the Great Recession. Many organizations during that time forget. Forget the need for a fast flexible workforce that you can ramp up and ramp down very quickly. Large organizations, tend to move slower and forget less. They probably have people around who remember what bad economic times look like.

Quite frankly, I don’t care how or who you hire. 

I do know those TA leaders who move up in their careers tend to understand total workforce strategies better than those who stick to one strategy no matter what the external circumstances they are facing. Also, they are more likely to incorporate multiple strategies and test what works more.

In 2021 we see more organizations buying and renting talent in the short-term. They want to make sure, before adding a permanent headcount, that the organization can sustain itself in the long term. If it can’t, quick and easy ramp down. If it can, they already have some trained and proven workers to pick from for the long term.

You only get talent in two ways, buy or build. Both are valid strategies for corporate TA leaders, and both are used often together. What will you be doing in 2021?

Finding Qualified Diverse Talent is NOT Your Issue!

During 2020, I’ve spoken to a lot of leaders who are concerned with their diversity recruiting. Every single one of them will say something like, “Tim, we just can’t find the ‘qualified’ diverse talent we need!” Sound familiar? Feel familiar?

I’m not a diversity recruiting strategy expert. I leave that to my friend, Torin Ellis. I do think I’ve got a bit of knowledge when it comes to overall recruiting, though.

When I break down the response I get from most leaders, regarding diversity recruitment I usually have one cringe, and one response. “Qualified?” What do you mean by that? I hear it as, you can find plenty of diverse folks interested in coming to work for you, but none of them, or few of them, are actually qualified to work for you. Is that how you read/hear that?

It makes me cringe a bit because what you’re actually saying is we don’t have a supply problem, we have a training and development problem, but you don’t even realize that. You could have your perfect diverse mix of employees if you just invested a bit in training and developing these great hired into great employees. But, you don’t see the value in that, which makes me think you probably don’t see the value in a diverse workforce, to begin with.

What I actually say to them is this, “You don’t have a diversity recruiting problem. You have a diversity pay problem because finding diverse “qualified” talent is easy. Finding ones that will accept your job, culture, location, and/or average to low pay is really hard!” 

Finding talent has never been easier in the history of humanity. We have more technology and tools than ever before. Finding is easy. Recruiting is hard..

Successful recruiting takes some skill. A success recruiter will find the “qualified” diverse talent you are looking for and then they’ll do a few things:

  • They’ll get them interested first. They will make them feel desired and wanted by the organization. By the hiring manager. By the team. Being Desired is a powerful drug!
  • Next, they’ll discover what that talent actually desires in their career. Quickly, efficiently, like a sniper.
  • Then they’ll make a determination: 1. Are we going to meet those desires. or 2. We won’t meet those desires.
  • One, you obviously move on to screening, assessing, etc. Two, and you move on to giving something back to this person. “I can’t help you right now, but I’ve taken notes and if I have anything that ever comes close to meeting what you need, I’m going to contact you back.” 99% of recruiters will never say that to a potential candidate.

Honestly, about 25% of the time when you tell someone “I can’t help you, but…” they’ll actually state a desire to keep going. You taking the potential away will make some reveal they actually have an interest. Doesn’t mean you will still move forward, but it’s a nice outcome.

I can easily find you “qualified” diversity talent. Don’t think so, call me. I can find anyone. The problem we’ll run into is that some of that talent is rare and will cost a premium to get. It’s a simple economic proposition, you can buy talent or build talent. They each have their costs and benefits. I find most organizations claim they want to hire diverse talent, but aren’t doing what it will take to make it happen.

Does Your Average Employee Tenure Matter? (New Data!)

I keep getting told by folks who tend to know way more than me that employees ‘today’ don’t care about staying at a company long term. “Tim you just don’t get it, the younger workforce just wants to spend one to three years at a job than leave for something new and different.” You’re right! I don’t get it.

BLS recently released survey data showing that the average employee tenure is sitting around 4.1 years.  Which speaks to my smart friends who love to keep replacing talent. I still don’t buy this fact as meaning people don’t want long term employment with one organization.

Here’s what I know about high tenured individuals:

1. People who stay long term with a company tend to make more money over their careers.

2. People who stay long term with a company tend to reach the highest level of promotion.

3. People who tend to stay long term with a company tend to have higher career satisfaction.

I don’t have a survey on this. I have twenty years of working in the trenches of HR and witnessing this firsthand. The new CEO hire from outside the company gets all the press, but it actually rarely happens. Most companies promote from within because they have trust in the performance of a long-term, dedicated employee, over an unknown from the outside. Most organizations pick the known over the unknown.

I still believe tenure matters a great deal to the leadership of most organizations.  I believe that a younger workforce still wants to find a great company where they can build a career, but we keep telling them that is unrealistic in today’s world.

Career ADHD is something we’ve made up to help us explain to our executives why we can no longer retain our employees.  Retention is hard work. It has a real, lasting impact on the health and well-being of a company. There are real academic studies that show the organizations with the highest tenure, outperform those organizations with lower tenure.  (here, here, and here)

Employee tenure is important and it matters a great deal to the success of your organization. If you’re telling yourself and your leadership that it doesn’t, that it’s just ‘kids’ today, we can’t do anything about it, you’re doing your organization a disservice. You can do something about it. Employee retention, at all levels, should be the number 1, 2, and 3 top priorities of your HR shop.

OMG! Did you guys hear what Kris did!?! #Yikes!

Gawd! We love gossip!

I’m personally on five text groups, a few Messenger groups, a couple of IG groups, and a number of email chains that all act like some strange modern version of a watercooler in the breakroom at work. Or the back smoke break patio at the office. Pick your pleasure.

Cultural anthropology sees gossip as an informal way of enforcing group norms. It is effective in small groups. But gossip is not the search for truth. It is a search for approval by attacking the perceived flaws of others…As a social enforcement mechanism, gossip does not scale. Large societies need other enforcement mechanisms: government, religion, written codes.”

Think about how gossip can help organizations perform better.

If I’m new to a department, gossip quickly lets me know the group norms that are expected and tolerated. If I want to be viewed as a good performer I will follow the group norms and gossip is the vehicle for letting me know what those norms will be.

If I’m a “good” gossip, I skilled at finding and sharing information amongst my team they find valuable, I’ll quickly increase my status within the department. I have to be careful as lies and false gossip can quickly bring me down in status.

The problem with gossip, historically, is in didn’t scale well. I might have some juicy gossip but how am I going to effectively share that across an entire organization? But, now with social media, the internet, smartphones, email, Teams/Slack, Zoom, etc., we can easily spread gossip, both good and bad.

So, why am I talking about gossip? 

I will tell you leaders and HR spend more time trying to stop gossip within the organization than almost anything. I’m wondering if we are actually doing ourselves a disservice. What if we used gossip to drive great engagement? What would that look like?

The key to great gossip is “we” all want to be in on a secret. 

We want gossip that we believe almost no one else has. To use gossip to enforce organizational norms (gossip at scale) we can’t just go out and start launching secrets into the world. There has to be a plan!

The problem with trying to lead with gossip is it can lead to chaos. If we believe the social/group norm is to communicate via gossip, that is a very fine line to try and navigate successfully, knowing it’s hard to know what gossip to believe or not believe.

I think we can use the psychology behind our desire for gossip, though, to drive some great outcomes within our organizations.

What happens if you’re in a small meeting, let’s say, five people. The CEO is one of those people and she has something amazing to tell everyone, BUT, the four of us will have to keep this secret. We can’t tell anyone!

We all leave the meeting. I’ve got my #1 right-hand person on my team. I’ve got to pull them in, this is too important, this has too big of an impact on our department not to let my #1 know! So, I trust them (like the CEO trusted me) to not tell anyone else. What happens?

  1. They are over the moon that I trusted them enough to bring them in on the secret. (High Engagement – High Loyalty)
  2. I put myself in a really bad position if the CEO finds out.
  3. I start working with the CEO to let us work on a comms plan to let others know that need to know. (basically to cover my ass for already letting the secret out into the wild!)

Welcome to Organizational Behavior 101, kids!

Every leader has “gossip”. Stuff they know that their team doesn’t know. Some of that is secret. Some of that is just stuff they found about before everyone else, for an undetermined amount of time.

I find that leaders who can use the positive “safe” gossip for informing their team tend to have extremely high team engagement. “Hey, team, we need to pull it in close for a five-minute huddle, I’ve got something really important I need to share with you. But, first, you have to understand, this is NOT public information! We can’t allow this to be shared.”

I just wrote that, and I’m sitting here wanting to know what comes next! Gossip is a powerful tool, that can just as easily make your career as break your career!

As leaders, it’s our job to ensure the group norms we allow are ones where the good gossip, the sharing of information that helps us all increase our knowledge and power are encouraged, while the bad gossip is shut down immediately. All gossip is not bad, but it’s all-powerful in terms of possible outcomes.

 

If you had to redo your corporate mission statement in 2020, would it change?

I think we call agree that 2020 has been a sh*tshow, but there also have been some very important issues that have taken a spotlight that probably would have a major impact on our corporate mission and vision statements. Besides the social justice conversation, the political division continues to grow, and of course workplace health and wellness kind of continues to suck up the oxygen in the room!

Coinbase, a technology company that created a platform to buy and trade cryptocurrency, decided to redo their corporate mission statement, primarily because political division and social justice ideas, being discussed in the workplace, were kind of disrupting their culture and not in a positive way.

Here are some of the aspects of the new Coinbase mission statement:

Play like a championship team

  • Be company first: We act as #OneCoinbase, putting the company’s goals ahead of any particular team or individual goals.
  • Act in service of the greater mission: We have united as a team to try and accomplish something that none of us could have done on our own.
  • Default to trust: We assume positive intent amongst our teammates, and assume ignorance over malice. We have each other’s backs.
  • Focus on what unites us, not what divides us: We help create a sense of cohesion and unity, by focusing on what we have in common, not where we disagree, especially when it’s unrelated to our work.
  • Sustained high performance: As compared to a family, where everyone is included regardless of performance, a championship team makes a concerted effort to raise the bar on talent, including changing out team members when needed.

Focus on building

We focus on the things that help us achieve our mission:

  • Build great products: The vast majority of the impact we have will be from the products we create, which are used by millions of people.
  • Source amazing talent: We create job opportunities for top people, including those from underrepresented backgrounds who don’t have equal access to opportunities, with things like diverse slates (Rooney rule) on senior hires, and casting a wide net to find top talent.
  • Fair talent practices: We work to reduce unconscious bias in interviews, using things like structured interviews, and ensure fair practices in how we pay and promote. We have a pay for performance culture, which means that your rewards and promotions are linked to your overall contribution to the mission and company goals.
  • Enable belonging for everyone: We work to create an environment where everyone is welcome and can do their best work, regardless of background, sexual orientation, race, gender, age, etc.

We focus minimally on causes not directly related to the mission:

  • Policy decisions: If there is a bill introduced around crypto, we may engage here, but we normally wouldn’t engage in policy decisions around healthcare or education for example.
  • Non-profit work: We will do some work here with our Pledge 1% program and GiveCrypto.org, but this is about 1% of our efforts. We are a for-profit business. When we make profit, we can use that to hire more great people, and build even more. We shouldn’t ever shy away from making profit, because with more resources we can have a greater impact on the world.
  • Broader societal issues: We don’t engage here when issues are unrelated to our core mission, because we believe impact only comes with focus.
  • Political causes: We don’t advocate for any particular causes or candidates internally that are unrelated to our mission, because it is a distraction from our mission. Even if we all agree something is a problem, we may not all agree on the solution.

The reason is that while I think these efforts are well-intentioned, they have the potential to destroy a lot of value at most companies, both by being a distraction and by creating internal division. 

I appreciate that Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong, is working to try and protect the corporate culture that Coinbase had prior to all the issues that have taken center stage in 2020. I think most leadership teams probably feel the same way, “Can’t we just have it like it was before!?” Wasn’t that better?

Well, it probably was better for the leaders and a good number of employees, but it also wasn’t good for a bunch of others. Many of these conversations were needed, and our hope is this will lead to even a better, stronger culture moving forward. I’m not naive, though, some of this will destroy some companies. It’s never all good or all bad.

I actually like the focus on work, when you are at work. It’s a very GenX/Baby Boomer thinking. The younger you are, the more you want your work life to reflect your personal life and beliefs. Some of that is just simple nativity. Some of that is probably a better way to work.

What I know, as a leader, is that we can’t have non-stop division within our workplaces and thing that will lead to a successful company. It won’t. So, we have some choices to make. We can decide to only hire people who think just like we think. Which sounds like the opposite of inclusion. Or we can work really hard to help our employees understand that having people around us that might have different beliefs is a positive thing if we really work to get to know the other person.

Pressure is a Privilege

“Pressure is a Privilege” – Billy Jean King

I’ve been watching the US Open this week and women’s finalist, Naomi Osaka was interviewed and said as she walks out onto the US Open court she pulls inspiration from the quote and sign that hangs just outside the court where the players enter.

In today’s world, we are all feeling a lot of pressure.

Parents struggling to work, teach, care for themselves. People fearful of the virus. People fearful of social and political unrest. People fearful of how they’ll pay their bills. It seems like every day the pressure just keeps increasing around us.

You are feeling pressure because something is expected of you. That expectation might be put on you by the outside world, or by yourself, but either way, here we are. You have expectations and that is a privilege. It causes us to be uncomfortable and being uncomfortable causes us to change and adapt.

Here is how King explains her own quote:

“I have this saying: Pressure is a privilege. Usually, if you have tremendous pressure, it’s because an opportunity comes along. I remember thinking about this, actually, when I was at Centre Court at Wimbledon. And I said, “All right. You’ve been dreaming about this moment. Is it a lot of pressure? Yeah. But guess what? It’s a privilege to be standing here.” Most of the time, in work or play or anything, if you really think about it, usually it’s a privilege. That I-want-the-ball feeling. Not “please double-fault.” Give me the ball. Give me the problem to solve. Let’s figure this out. Let’s go.” 

Let’s Go!

What if we only hired based on job interest? A Job Lottery!

I heard about a very cool way that some schools are beginning to select student governments. Think about how the normal student government is selected. Some student government advisor, usually the school’s government teacher, makes an announcement for student government elections. Any student interested can throw their name into the hat, and start campaigning.

Then, reality hits.

The most popular girl decides she wants to run, and then the star quarterback decides he will also run, and the drum major of the student marching band puts her name in, it becomes a whos-who of the student body, all looking to butter-up their college applications. If you’re not popular or have a built-in voting base (school marching bands have a way of swinging elections if they elect in mass), you have zero shot at getting elected.

Now, if we changed from elections to a lottery system, every single person who has an interest in being a part of the student government now has an equal chance of being a part of the student government. Do you like this idea or not? (Listen to Gladwell’s podcast to see how this really plays out, it’s fascinating!) 

Most people’s initial reaction is not positive about a lottery. We want to have our vote. Our say! A lottery seems random. The very worst person might win the lottery and then we are stuck! Truth be told, we are awful at selection! We are bad at selecting politicians. We are bad at selecting employees. Humans are just bad at knowing what’s best for them.

Think about how we select our President. If we had used a lottery to select the President all these years, half of the U.S. Presidents would have been female! A good portion would have been African American, way before Obama! We probably would have had a Hispanic President!

What Hundred.org found is that selecting student governments via lottery actually has produced a ton of leaders that school teachers/administrators, and students didn’t even realize could be great. We never gave them a chance, and they lived ‘down’ to our expectations. But, when chosen via lottery, they rose to the occasion. Also, just because we ‘elected’ the Prom Queen to be Student Class President, doesn’t mean they’ll be good, in fact, just as many that are good, suck!

Now, let’s take this in another direction. What would happen if we did a “Hiring Lottery”? Instead of going through all the interviews and such, we just have people show interest, and then we pull a name out of a hat? Do you think it would work?

Let’s add one thing. What if we had AI go through each person who showed interest and made sure they met our qualifications to do the job? Would you have buy-in then? We had 100 applicants who meet the criteria of the job, we spin the ping pong balls and pick one, and Welcome to ACME Inc., Mary! You won the job lottery!

What do you think Mary’s chances of being successful are? 50/50? Lazlo Bock, in Work Rules, says Google was only 1% better than 50/50 in their selection, so it would seem like 50/50 would be a really strong success rate for your hires!

I have a strong belief that with many of our roles, especially those that are low-skill, no-skill jobs, a hiring lottery would actually be considerably more efficient and eliminate all bias, and would probably produce more applicants for organizations. Also, when considering lower-skilled jobs, “job interest” might be the most important criteria to consider!

Could it work in skilled professions? I think it would probably work exactly the same, it’s just a harder sell to executives since they have skills and want to desperately believe those skills matter over someone with similar skills!

Tell me what you think! Would you be willing to hire via a Job Lottery!?