You Might Be Having Trouble Finding and Keeping Good People If...

By Richard Hadden, CSP

Convention season is in full swing, and if the groups I've been invited to speak for are any indication, one of THE heaviest concerns weighing on the minds of employers almost everywhere is this: Where, and how, am I going to find enough qualified people to grow our business? (Or in some cases, just to maintain the status quo...)

One association member, in a pre-event phone call with me, was pretty succinct: "The people who are applying...aren't qualified. And the ones we want...they already have jobs. It's not easy."

 

Of course it's not easy. And with unemployment running at historically low levels, and with many (as in MANY) of the most talented people opting out of the traditional workforce to do (quite successfully, thank you), their own thing, it's not going to get any easier.

And yet, some employers ARE able to find, retain, and engage the best. If you're not one of them, there are probably some reasons. 

And so, with apologies to comedian Jeff Foxworthy of "You might be a Redneck if" fame ("You might be a Redneck if...you have ever financed a tatoo"), I'd like to offer some possible explanations as to why you, and/or your organization, might be struggling to get the best people to come and work for you:

You might be struggling to find and keep good people if...

  • You're longing for the good old days when your applicants were born between 1946 and 1964. This just in: They're not making any more Baby Boomers! Production on that model has shut down. While more experienced workers are a tremendous (and too often overlooked) resource (see our post on this), the truth is you're going to need to stop whining about Millennials (and the generations yet to come) and figure out how to create an organization that gets the most productivity from the available resources. Some of your competitors have. So get with it.
  • You value attendance over performance. If you're going to ask people to account for every minute they're "in the office" (wherever that is anymore), rather than prioritizing getting the job done, they're going to ask you to pay them for answering that text you sent them at 10pm. Just use your head. You can't have it both ways.
  • You're running a boys club. Over the last 30 years, companies have spent billions on diversity and inclusion training, and we're still having to talk about this. It's not just about whom you're hiring and promoting. Face it. If your culture doesn't work as well for women as it does for men, you're cutting off about 50% of your air supply. You'll never be able to compete effectively against companies who listen to input from everyone, not just the guys in the room.
  • You're relying too much on technology, algorithms, and keyword screening to do the hard work of populating your workplace with talented, committed people. Read the damn resumes. It's your job.
  • You're giving too much consideration to specific experience and narrowly defined skills, and not enough to the question, "Is this person a good match for our organization and this team?" Be honest. How many times have you hired someone for skills and experience, but then they left (voluntarily or otherwise) because they simply weren't a good fit?
  • Your website is pathetic. The "careers" section anyway. At most, it lists job openings, rather than doing what it should do - helping to create your employer brand, and giving potential stars a look inside your workplace. Oh, and if your website tells people not to submit unsolicited resumes, and you're still complaining that you can't find good people, you might be beyond help.
  • You are in denial about your Glassdoor ratings and reviews. You've bought into the myth that because some of your reviews are unjustified, nobody puts any credence in these reviews. In which case, you would be wrong.
  • You fail, on a regular basis, to tell the people you work with how much you appreciate them and what they do.
  • And finally, you MIGHT be struggling to find and keep good people because people just don't want to work for you. You've confused high standards with being obnoxious. Find someone you trust - someone who has the courage and character to tell you what you need to know, but may not want to hear.

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