Every organization is faced with the reality that the Baby Boomers really are going to retire. We’ve been talking about this for years but the deep recession and slow recovery helped to obscure the issue. During this time, overall hiring was subdued and retirements were delayed. Now, as recovery has taken a stronger hold, concern around recruiting and retaining the most valuable employees is moving back onto the front burner. Generation X is a much smaller group than the Baby Boomers and the Millennials aren’t ready to move into the leadership roles. These realities, combined with the higher technical skills and educational requirements, will add to the challenge of finding and holding on to professionals with in-demand skills.
What do you do every day for more than eight hours at work? Here is what I do: I am on the phone. I am on the phone all day! When I’m connecting with a hiring manager, I learn about their talent gaps, bench strength, and organizational development initiatives. We discuss their talent acquisition strategies and the challenges they’re facing in the market place. I find out what the economy looks like for particular industries, which companies are hiring and which are laying off, etc. My goal is to constantly have a finger on the pulse of what is happening in the job market so that I can be a resource to our customers. The end result? I create opportunities to match the best employees in the market place with great companies and this, my friends, is the ultimate, most gratifying job ever. In fact, it does not even feel like a job!
Attention to retention is critical. Your employer brand is visible whether you can see it or not.
Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em is a Wall Street best seller that gives 26 engagement strategies to busy managers. Far too often managers and leaders are a day late and a dollar short. The “Talent War” for the knowledge workforce is on again (it never really ended). Employees who stay current on their technical and functional skill sets, adapt to change, and work well with others are always hard to find. How equipped are you to engage and retain your good people when their options increase and a headhunter calls?
“I am underpaid.”
“I can’t stand my boss.”
“I HATE my job.”
These are very powerful statements that I hear on a regular basis from normal people all around the country. These statements come from actuaries, bankers, food production professionals and sales people who are frustrated. Normal, talented, hardworking people are humbled every day by confounding professional situations that affect them both inside and outside the normal work hours – these frustrations permeate their personal lives, affecting spouses, children and others in their wake.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in January that job gains exceeded job losses for the first time since December 2007. In fact, job losses have steadily decreased from a high of 8.5 million in December 2008 to the lowest level since the series began in 1992. Is this a sure sign the economy is on a steady uphill climb? With unemployment stubbornly planted at 9% according to the most recent BLS report, 2011 hiring is on the minds of many.
We talk about talent every day. Where to find it. What kind to find. Where to place it. More elusive; however, is how to spot it. What exactly is talent? Talent defined is “an unusual natural ability to do something well, especially in artistic areas that can be developed by training.” That makes sense. Think of Michael Jordan flying effortlessly through the air, Michael Vick sprinting from defenders toward the goal line, and Tiger Woods curving the ball next to the pin from 250 yards through the trees.
This kind of talent is unmistakable to the eye and easily linked to a sense of artistry. The rarity of skills possessed by these freaks of nature is what makes them “talented”. The eyes tell us that supremely talented athletes are doing things that we know few others can do.
In the business world, and more specifically the world of “talent” acquisition, we too are looking for rare skills that are absolutely essential to make our organizations elite. The type of talent we are looking for does not always tantalize the senses like an artist or an athlete though. We must be more cognizant of subtleties in an individual that makes them truly talented. Here are three traits I find consistently in talented people.
Negotiation. Does the word make you feel slightly uncomfortable, or does the thought of being involved in a negotiation stir up feelings of excitement and bring out that competitive streak you try to keep slightly under wraps? Negotiating is a part of everyone’s life, regardless of career path and position. So, in honor of Halloween, I’m going to share some negotiation “tricks” that will hopefully turn into “treats” for you as you go through the process.
Budget time is right around the corner. Senior managers and HR professionals are starting to plan for what their organizations will be doing as we get into the 2011 budgeting cycle. Since raises have been slim the last couple of years, I’ve been asking executives from all industries how they are handling the salary raise question. Our customers shared early forecasts that 2011 raises will be better, but not by all that much. This information was remarkably consistent across most industry sectors and positions from executives to middle management, technical, financial and clerical positions.
My best friend’s father and I became friends as I got to know him during college and beyond. His go-to phrase was, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” He always said it in a way that you knew he meant it. He was an amazing man.
In his 30s he ran a major investment corporation on the west coast, and in his 40s he took over the family lumber business in Kansas City, which was the largest in the KC metro area and the only place to go before the dawn of Home Depot. The recession and housing crisis of the 80s killed his business and he lost everything but a little bit of land and real estate he owned.
I often asked this man about his life, what he had seen, and where he had been. He never so much as whispered a word of regret or despair for losing his wealth. He simply thanked the world for the opportunity to be alive and have the relationships he had. I knew him in his 50s and on into his 60s after he had essentially retired and became a humble candle-maker who enjoyed a round of golf and the close friends he made living on Charlotte Street in midtown Kansas City.
The story of his life, which ended much too early, is indeed a story unto itself which included close personal friendships with famous actors, musicians, and politicians. Through it all, his rise to the top, and his fall from riches, he maintained something authentic to him that any leader can employ: an “attitude of gratitude.”
The Executive Division at Aureus Group does a great deal of work in the retained search arena. We have helped companies fill high-priority executive-level roles within operations, finance, actuarial, lending, engineering, sales, and marketing in the past year. This work has spanned most industries as we have dedicated professionals who have their fingers on the pulse of different market segments including banking, investments, insurance, consumer goods, and manufacturing from sea to shining sea.
When we listen to companies talk about their needs from a leadership perspective, the functional requirements are never the same, but the leadership qualities that they desire are extremely consistent.