Clever Wordsmithing or Just Cause?

 

Read a headline that said something like brands need to worry about culture share suggesting market share was old school. A second headline stating results from the World Value Index asks consumers how aware they were of a brand’s purpose, whether they cared about and supported that purpose, and whether or not purpose motivated them to support the brand. Enso, began the survey in 2016 and only one brand (Amazon) enjoyed a top 10 rank sharing the other 9 spots with non-profits. No surprise there.

As an independent recruiter my firm begins the process learning as much as we can about the client, her/his company, and what makes its products/services valuable to consumers/buyers. Purpose and culture share have been subsets of that initial needs analysis.

It’s clear the time has come to modify the analysis digging deeper to understand the client’s purpose and, importantly, management’s commitment to that purpose. When the going gets tough – like a sharp economic downturn will management hold purpose or make sacrifices to “protect” the bottom-line?

As you read this how much value do you put on your current employer’s purpose and will purpose be a criterion for selecting your next gig?

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Unfilled Employment 2018

 

According to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for 2018 these 100 companies have 160,000 unfilled jobs.

As you know when the Bureau of Labor Statistics announces unemployment approaching 4 percent most economists believe the actual number currently looking for work is closer to zero. So, what happens? Bloomberg News reporters discovered that employers found ways to cope with tight labor markets and still make money. Businesses have pulled in workers from the sidelines – including retirees, immigrants, and the homeless – and retooled processes to use less labor.

I’m guessing, after a quick look around your company, there’s still some empty chairs and maybe a few folks have chucked retirement returning as contract workers but, nothing as radical as the Bloomberg folks discovered, right?

We all know what happens with chairs remain empty for too long. Missed deadlines. Sloppy customer service. Extra hours. Maybe that end of week-tired feeling creeping into Wednesday?

I’m a recruiter so my next statement will sound a bit self-serving. (I’m also someone who spent over three decades in management and filling empty chairs was a priority because empty chairs equal loss in revenue.) If you’re dealing with any of the above-mentioned malaise your management is letting you and your organization down. Get up from your chair, march into the top-dog’s office and ask/demand to know what’s being done to fill the open positions.

If using external recruiters isn’t part of the conversation mention PointClear Search. See, I told you, self-serving and in this instance you’re the “self”.

Manchee@PointClearSearch.com or Roger@PointClearSearch.com

Is Communication Killing Productivity?

 

Before the days of internet driven non-stop, instant communications my employer, WSJ, engaged with Xerox to improve listening skills believing if we became proficient in actually hearing what was being said productivity would increase. And, it did. For some more than others but that’s another story.

I read today around 1/3 of the workforce is so overwhelmed by their company’s communication’s tools they’re thinking of quitting their jobs. Management acknowledges significant loss in revenue to due to missed or poor internal communications – over three billion dollars in annual profits from wasted time alone!

The Dynamic Signal study found that most workers (51 percent) do not feel properly informed by their company, ultimately feeling disconnected (57 percent), unhappy (33 percent) and not valued (76 percent) for their work, resulting in workplace departures.
Being able to listen to others is imperative in the communication process. This means not only listening with your ears, but also being able to comprehend what the person is saying. And receiving confirming feedback.

I’m a recruiter so helping companies find talent is my job but none of us in this profession want to deal with a workforce incapable of managing communications. To management I’d suggest immediately setting basic communications guidelines holding department heads accountable. To HR leadership I suggest all exit interviews probe for this issue reporting progress to senior management. To those faced with a wide array of tools, time demands and that awful feeling of having missed something really important don’t quit but do demand management deliver a workable fix.

A workable fix could be as easy as (a) severely limiting using the annoying, “reply all” response, (a) taking a few minutes each morning before opening one’s computer to make a prioritize TO DO list and, the really tough one, ignoring the internal chatter.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Working for Fun

Let’s say you’re earning over $300k. Again, in the New Year, your quota was raised so to make the same this year you need to sell $360k. Company offers competitive benefits like unlimited paid vacation (on a modest base) and open-bar Fridays. Account Services is on top of their game but are increasingly spread thin putting more pressure on keeping promises and delivering on time.

So, you looked at your 2017 calendar and tax return only to discover some enlightening facts. Like, after taxes, your earnings were $160k. Over the course of this job you’ve had 3 managers and the company has had two senior level house cleanings. Across 52 work weeks you managed 12 days’ vacation and 12 holidays including Cinco de Mayo.

Here’s where the data tells the real story. You average 12.5 hours working each day not counting commuting: 236 days X 12.5 hours = 2950 hours/year roughly equal to $55 per hour after taxes. Now, go find the last plumber or electrician’s bill and take a look at their hourly fee.

Since educator’s salaries are a hot news topic did you know a secondary school administrator in Silver Springs, MD hourly mean average pay is $53.41 according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017)? If you’ve read this far and your head is exploding consider having that intro chat with the next recruiter who reaches out and take the conversation beyond money. You might discover there’s some exciting aspects to living with a company you’ve never considered.

Next Generation of Thinkers and Leaders

I read a short piece on finding talent in tight markets (read: low unemployment) written by a CEO of a full service ad agency whose early career was working with a major consulting group.
She asked the question, “So what’s a small business to do when competing for talent with companies that might have bigger purse strings and a sexier name?”
To address the issue most companies, large and small, should either fire their HR department or, in a kinder gesture, isolate the educable from the “sheep” and teach them look for problem solvers. You know the type – it’s the person who leans away from consensus, the person who tends to break process and the person who has a record of delivering when others are still doing what they’ve always done regardless of results.
If you want your company to do great work – you know, the stuff that’s positive-disruptive employing the game-changing strategy that has clients and the competition saying, “wish I’d thought of that” remove your industry-only blinders, look across the entire business horizon and dig-deep for the next generation of leaders and thinkers.
That’s what we do for our clients.

Transferable Skills

It has been our experience that the majority of the job descriptions we see for marketing roles contain very specific job experience requirements. To me, this flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Ask any CMO of a large, publicly held company, they will tell you that marketing skills are transferable across industries. Therefore, a skilled and experienced marketing person should be able to transition from CPG to financial services or financial services to pharmaceuticals or… There might be a steep learning curve but a motivated, intelligent person will succeed and the company benefits from having a fresh perspective on its marketing challenges. This industry-only practice seems to unnaturally eliminate some very good potential candidates.

So, why does this practice continue to exist? I can think of two reasons. First, companies don’t allocate the time required or have confidence in their on-boarding process. So they hire someone who will “hit the job running”. Or second, they’re afraid to make a mistake. If the candidate doesn’t work out for reasons that have nothing to do with experience or skill set, the hiring manager has a built-in excuse, “But he/she had all these great jobs and recommendations”.

At PCS, we like to look at a prospective position in terms of what skills are necessary to be successful at the job and how will the person fit into the culture – and that has to go both ways. We believe that’s the winning formula for a successful placement.

Be Curious

Read a piece earlier today about Amazon’s hiring process. You know Amazon – that, “Work hard. Have fun. Make history.” first company (beating Apple!) to reach a $1 trillion market cap. What struck me was the company’s attraction to candidates who are “scrappy in how they solve problems”. Good advice for any company hoping to survive the next market disruption.

Beyond being scrappy Amazon also recommends that the candidate stays open-minded and curious about opportunities at Amazon. For me that’s the “bingo” moment for any candidate hoping to stand out from the crowd of other candidates. Ask great questions. As my business partner says, “Great questions trump poor answers”. And, honest curiosity may open new doors that lead to an even better career move.

Rehires Rock

We all know companies that have a policy prohibiting hiring someone who previously worked for the company. The policy doesn’t address the reason for leaving but, unless there was a serious ethical or legal issue (firing for cause ), people usually leave for one of two reasons: Better opportunity for professional and financial growth or with growing frequency, because they hate their boss. Both reasons are easy to understand and/or identify with.

Let’s consider a couple of good reasons to hire a “boomerang” candidate especially if no bridges were burned when they walked out the door. What really happened? Someone leaves to learn new skills or develop their potential. And if they went to a competitor, they’ve gained a greater understanding of the marketplace. These boomerangs bring a lot to the party if management is open-minded about the possibility of their returning.

Given the current tightness of the talent marketplace that most companies are facing, does a policy of “You can never come back” really make sense?

By Roger Tremblay

A Routine of Good Habits

One of my favorite people, even though we’ve never met, is Doris Kearns Goodwin. She’s a history wiz, a brilliant writer and, in this fake news galaxy, knows how to give a fair and honest interview by sticking to the facts and alerting her audience when expressing an opinion. I read a short piece in Fast Company about how she manages her day and the good habits that contribute to her success and happiness. So I thought I share because who wouldn’t like a better day of good habits built on a simple routine?
Ms. Goodwin rises early – around 5:00 AM – just like most Navy Seals, and uses the time to write and take notes. No TV, no email, and no distractions. Around 9:00 AM she takes a simple breakfast with her husband before checking email and making for a productive day. In the evening she follows FDR’s WWII, “no talk of war cocktail hour” infused with trivia, or live music – anything to refresh and recharge. Before bed she spends a few minutes reading mysteries which help clear her mind and relax.
If she’s on a plane or train it’s, in her thinking, a wonderful, uninterrupted time to “get things done”. And she does. For her, as it was for Teddy Roosevelt, procrastination is a mortal sin. If she starts to put things off she simply thinks of Teddy. I’m adopting this!
I’ll end with her note taking routine – she states Abraham Lincoln was a tireless note-taker who attributed much of his Gettysburg Address to a collection of notes gathered from his roll-top desk.
So, what’s my point? I’m not suggesting everyone should follow Ms. Goodwin’s routine. Perhaps adopting note taking, or early morning uninterrupted creative time might work for you? The point is if you feel a little out of kilter perhaps a simple routine adjustment will make things right. Let me know how it works.

Exhausted. Can’t recall the last “attaboy”?

I speak with scores of job seekers and those seeking to fill critical positions and a central theme is emerging. It’s not major complaint and the culprit is elusive.
During a 360 conversation, while reflecting on what each person does outside of work, more likely than not, there’s a momentary pause that that opens the flood gates to a brief conversation about working too many frantic hours, striving to maintain a personal level of extraordinary customer service and having to depend of a host of others to answer a growing list of highly technical questions or provide solutions to unique problems. And, those folks tasked with providing answers are “over-worked” too! These top of mind comments precede the answer of what each person does outside of work and, reveal plenty about what’s destroying that too important work-life equilibrium.
Just wondering if the industry is nearing a black-hole sucking the life out of what was once new and fun? And, would love to hear how you’re dealing with or have resolved that exhausted feeling.