I just got back from a visit to DC with AL SHRM to meet with our congressmen and women as well as our senators to discuss some issues that we are concerned about. We spent a full day at the capital talking with them and their staffers and by the end of the day we noticed everyone was on the same page, but was it the right page? As our government creeps into sequestration the house and the senate seemed to be locked into an unhealthy game of chicken. With neither side willing to take their foot of the gas we could be in big trouble. The common response to our concerns was “blame the other side” & “nothing will be done until after the election”. While all of this is understandable it’s also unacceptable! Have you ever tried to bring forth change in your organization only to run into a brick wall? I’ve been there and can totally relate. How do we overcome this?
My first response is to restore the value of teamwork. Maybe each side of the fence has become so infatuated with its own side they have forgotten what our goal is. First hand I witnessed the House and the Senate unwilling to admit that their own ideas and solutions could be improved and maybe, JUST MAYBE if they started talking these ideas out they could come to a happy medium. What do we call this? We call this collaboration… So where do our organizations lack collaboration? Most of my customers fall under the manufacturing umbrella and all too often I see plant managers and shift supervisors that do not appreciate the function of their own HR departments. They all have different reasons why, but most of them have these feelings because they have never sat down on a collaborative project with HR and observed HR at its finest! Many times I see a plant environment where the top management team does not encourage interaction between HR and other departments, but do not hesitate to throw out directions to HR like “make sure we don’t get sued”. Obviously the best way to do that is to make sure communication is open and both sides can bring their concerns and ideas to the table. Encourage collaboration! If we are only talking about our ideas with like-minded people we are not necessarily opening the door for improvement on our ideas! Let’s utilize all of the different personalities involved in day-to-day business to develop the ultimate ideas that lead to positive change and innovation.
Next we should clearly define what is at stake. What happens if sequestration happens? FORCED BUDGET CUTS… and most of them not the right ones! We have already accepted that there will be no resolution before the election so government subcontractors are now faced with the decision of giving out a notice to employees on October 31st that they may or may not have a job in 60 days or waiting it out in hopes that there is a resolution that doesn’t cause them to have to lay off 33% of their workforce. This is a dicey situation: you give out notices people get worried, they start looking elsewhere for employment, maybe they leave the world of government subcontracts and start seeking employment in the private sector. If your workforce is worried everyday they come to work they aren’t producing their best quality work. If your workforce is afraid they won’t have a steady paycheck in two months they will ultimately stop putting money into the economy above necessities, leading us back to where we started. What is the other side of the coin-if they do not give out the notice and then are forced to lay off at least 33% of their workforce they are not in compliance with the law; thus opening themselves up for multiple lawsuits. Ok capitol hill, have we clearly defined some of what is at stake yet? If we do not take the time to define what is at stake no one in the organization knows what we are working to accomplish and/or prevent and that is a problem all on its own. Imagine if we all went to work everyday without knowing what our purpose was? What the company we work for stands for? What we could lose? What our employer could lose? What our customers could lose?
Now that we have ignited the spark for teamwork and everyone knows what is at stake its time to come up with a solution! Do whatever it takes to get both sides in the same room sharing ideas and devising a process that works. Do not attempt to wait it out for one side to take their foot off the gas; a game of chicken is never healthy for an organization. If your side has to be the first to make a move then do it, but do not make your organization and its employees suffer because you think your way is the right way (maybe your way is the right way, but the other side won’t understand that until there is some interaction between the two sides). As HR folks I think it is important that we do what is right for the people who will be effected in the long run, no matter the obstacles we face when trying to do so.
I promise not to do too many football related posts (for the record I’m completely convinced I can recruit in the world of football too-maybe one day)! This one will just have a tiny reference to a somewhat first hand story, for picture painting purposes of course. My husband and I were leaving the movies tonight and frantically checking all of the football scores that we missed and the conversation led to someone I know that is now playing in the NFL. Way cool right (we can overlook the fact that he plays for the one team that I absolutely hate); anyway he never played football when we were in high school. He showed up for practice one day in jr high or something and never came back in order to focus on basketball. That wasn’t a bad choice considering basketball ended up paying for his college, but some error on the university’s part landed him a football scholarship when his basketball one ran out in order for him to finish his degree. From here he was picked up by an NFL team and landed a spot on their practice squad followed up the next year with a spot on the active roster of another team. Now we can occasionally see him on Sundays in the role of offensive tackle-how did this happen? Obviously he’s quite the athlete; you don’t earn 1/2 million dollars with a short bit of experience unless you’re working hard! In fact he is making more money than their starting running back. 2 things happened in this scenario: 1) he took advantage of an opportunity and 2) someone cultivated his talent! This wouldn’t have been possible without someones flub at his university (thus the blessings in disguise reference), but it sure wouldn’t have gone this far without some dedication and drive. My point is these days we have geared our recruiting to also focus on a cultural fit combined with skill fit & sometimes we hit a gold mine with a cultural fit that is trainable to becoming a skill fit. I much prefer to train on skill as opposed to find a skilled person that I have to reprogram. When you find that person that is trainable you have to cultivate their existing talents into your useful talents and if they are driven then you’ve found your NFL rookie worth paying 1/2 million dollars to. Of course all of this is relevant to your organizations vision and long term goals so I fully acknowledge that this plan of action isn’t for everyone. I am simply pointing out that you shouldn’t discount a candidates abilities based on their current skill set, but consider where that current skill set could lead them and how far it could take your organization.
I couldn’t be happier that football season is in full swing: College, NFL & Fantasy… my life is once again complete. One player really shocked me today (& I’m not talking about RGIII)… Chris Johnson! I was the big voice previously screaming GIVE THAT MAN THE DAMN MONEY & now I’m scratching my head as I watch his performance on the field. For those of you that don’t know he had 11 carries today for 4 yards. One. Two. Three. Four. Granted their offensive line is terrible right now, BUT we are talking about a running back that has previously run for 2000 yards in a single season. If he continues like this that won’t happen again. So what’s the problem CJ (past the O line)… attitude?
Here’s a quick breakdown: Once upon a time his contract was set for a measly $1.065 million, until he decided he was worth more than that [& when he decided he was worth more than that he refused to show up or participate until everyone agreed with him]. I happen to believe that you should pay top performers accordingly (which is why I was screaming for his new contract that ended up a fat $53.5 million), but since then his performance has been on a steady decline. Maybe the way his contract was negotiated caused this? Maybe its just sheer luck or lack of give a …. ? Maybe his ego is out of control and he has lost touch with reality?
How can we prevent a top performer from discontinuing his/her best efforts once they have been rewarded the monies or other perqs they are demanding? Here are some ideas: 1st– be realistic. Yes CJ2K you have the most rushing yards in a season with our franchise; yes you have the longest rushing attempt with our franchise; yes you have the most total scrimmage yards in one season… These are all wonderful accomplishments, but lets break this raise down in a simpler process- you get x amount now and if you repeat all of these feats you get xx amount…(performance review anyone?). Which brings me to point 2-set new goals for your performer! If they feel like they’ve accomplished everything they have come to your organization to accomplish, well, they are done “Thanks for the payday-I’m just going to hang out now and remind you all [verbally] everyday of how AWESOME I once was”. Make sure your workforce still has something to work for and make sure they still want to work for that. 3-cut your losses. Running back formerly known as “CJ2K” played his worst season last year & isn’t starting off well this year. Decide when enough is enough and cut the deadweight from your team before it starts to weigh everyone else down. When a team players attitude sets him above the rest of your team chances are your other players notice and they don’t like it. If you can’t coach that attitude back into the right place the damage to team morale will outweigh the benefits of his ability to perform top numbers.
The majority of my HR experience is recruiting. It is something that I do well and I know I do it well. It’s a huge responsibility in any organization to oversee recruiting. You’re hiring a member that will either contribute to the success and vision of your company or hinder it. A good recruiter will filter out the ones that will hinder it, but so often lately I keep hearing the same comment from recruiters “Unemployment is 8.3%, but 8.3% are not out looking for a job.” OK STOP! Let me address a few things quickly [I’ll try to keep my first few posts light] what are YOU[recruiter] doing different? Are you posting on the same ol job boards? Making the same ol phone calls to the same ol people and places? Why? If you keep doing the same thing and expecting different results… well you know the rest. Lets take responsibility for this lack of applicant flow or lack of skilled applicant flow [whichever your problem]. Lets collaborate and talk new ways of recruiting! Recruiting isn’t just sitting behind a desk and waiting on people to respond to your latest job posting on CareerBuilder, it’s getting out in the community, it’s marketing, it’s drawing people in, it’s digging up the talent that your organization needs.
What do I see happening: 1 of the things I do on a fairly regular basis is talk at local community sites that are helping people get back in the workforce (job networking clubs, community assistance programs, career centers, colleges, etc.) and I see a lot of people willing to work that don’t know how to look for work. We as employers initially shunned this group of people when they were laid off that chose to take some time to themselves and draw their unemployment. When they decided it was time to get back in the workforce we were willing to hire anyone and everyone, but those candidates that immediately went to “lay off lounge”. This resulted in hurt feelings, bruised egos, lack of confidence & overall resistance to actively seeking employment which ultimately lessened your applicant flow. We are also dealing with a shift in the way we recruit- what came first? chicken? egg?- do we recruit the way we recruit now because that’s how people started looking for work? Or did we as recruiters start recruiting this way and forget to tell job applicants what they need to know to keep up? For instance- social recruiting… recruiters idea or job applicants idea? Either way its a step in the right direction (more on that later). We also must not forget that we are dealing with 4 different generations not only IN the workforce but looking for work so we have to hold ourselves[recruiters] accountable for attracting all 4 generations to our organizations and not rely on just one way of recruiting[social media<– doesnt target all 4 generations].
I’ll wrap this up by saying this- people are out there & looking for work, but they may not be looking for work exactly the way you want them to or your organization expects them to. We cannot fix a problem by relying on media facts and figures that are stretched from the real life daily grind we come in contact with. Recruiters this is your job so get out there and find those people (and leave me a comment on what you did different this time- I’d love to hear your creative recruiting ideas!).
As you follow along you’ll notice that I’m uncaringly sarcastic, which I think translates to comedic and this will help you understand the choosing of “hrpockets” as the title of this blog. My husband has successfully transformed me to this lover of comedians, one of them being Jim Gaffigan. On a very memorable road trip with our favorite couple friends we ended up with a disturbing attachment to his Hot Pockets bit on his Beyond the Pale routine. When I told my husband I was ready to start an HR related blog the first thing out of his mouth was “HR poooooockeeeeeeets”… so there you have it boys and girls; because I am not creative enough to top my husbands sarcasm I dub this informative, amazing, sarcastic, fun blog “hrpockets”, ENJOY! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-i9GXbptog
On a serious note, I want to accomplish a lot of things with this blog: expanding my network, marketing myself, sharing my life goals (which equate to my career goals<– believer in LIFE balance, no such thing as work/life balance), to be a part of the change in the ever so necessary world of recruiting and learn from my audience.
Also, HEY-follow me on Twitter (mostly because I want to follow YOU on twitter) @HRecruit