Archive for January 2015

Slow and Steady Wins the (Talent Management) Race

January 13, 2015

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people.  At the end of the day you bet on people, not  strategies.”                                        – Lawrence Bossidy, former COO of GE

There are copious amounts of unemployed Americans out there – 10.2 million, to be exact.  Yet, 4 million jobs remain unfilled in the U.S.  With so many people actively seeking jobs, why are there still so many unfilled positions? Certain industries and positions that require hard-to-find skills, like IT and engineering, can account for a portion of these unfilled jobs, but many others have a surplus of candidates to choose from.  Vacant positions can put a strain on organizations, as they try to do more work with less people.  Thus, one would think that employers would want to fill open positions as quickly as possible. However, it is becoming increasingly common for employers to purposefully take their time when going through the hiring process.  We’ve all been job-seekers before, so most of us are familiar with the frustration of lengthy interview processes, waiting to hear back from a potential employer, and rigorous onboarding programs.  In fact, positions remain vacant for an average of 23 business days – much longer than the 2009 average of 15 – and it’s not unheard of for a company to have interviews of nine rounds or more.

The reason: Organizations want to hire the right person, the first time.

You’re only as strong as your weakest link.

A team of the most talented workers in the industry can be rendered useless with the addition of one misfit.  When a weak link is added to the bunch, others have to take time from their own tasks to help them learn skills they should already possess, and often have to take on more work from underperforming coworkers.  Teams rely on each other to contribute to projects, and one underperformer can bring the office to a stand-still, holding up the entire team from meeting deadlines.  While the rest of your employees may do great things for your organization, the weak link can cause issues that undo the progress of other employees as well.  Essentially, you’ll be taking one step forward, and two steps back.  It may seem like employers have candidates jump through hoops to get a job, and it might be painstaking, but considering 43 percent of employers report that quick hiring decisions led to bad hires, it’s a necessary precaution to avoid adding a weak link

Company culture – one bad egg spoils the bunch.

Company culture continues to become a   factor in the workplace, by both employees and employers.  The culture of a workplace can significantly impact the productivity and morale of your talent, turnover rates, and revenue.  Knowing this, many organizations invest big money into remodels, trainings and meetings, perks, and consultants.  It can take years to build the right culture, and yet only one bad employee to tear it down.  When the culture of a company and the values and characteristics of a new hire don’t match up, things can go downhill in a hurry.  Your all-star employees who used to love coming to work now dread it, and it shows in their work.  There is gossiping around the office, frequent visits to your office to complain, and before you know it, things have gotten out of control.  Hiring for cultural fit might sound silly at first, but on closer examination, it becomes clear just how important it is in hiring decisions and the success of your organization.

No one wants to make a bad investment.

Employees are a business’s most important asset, and are significant investments that come with them, including training, time, screening, wages, travel costs, onboarding, benefits, relocation costs, and more.  If you make a bad hiring decision, you can add “unemployment compensation” to the list, along with the cost of recruiting and hiring a qualified replacement. Investments are time sensitive, as the up-front costs they require are recuperated with additional gains over a period of time.  However, when a bad employee investment is made, the employee often leaves before the costs have been recovered, or they don’t possess the skills to give a return on investment over any amount of time.  As a result, the employer is out of a lot of money.  To put things into perspective, a recent survey reported that 27 percent of employers have lost $50,000 or more per bad hire they made.  That’s why Zappos’ CEO, Tony Hsieh, offers new hires a $2,000 bonus to quit after only one week on the job.  Sound crazy?  Maybe, but it’s much less costly to weed-out job-hoppers and the uncommitted before investing more into them.  The sooner you can identify a bad investment and cut your losses, the better.  Making a bad hire may be unavoidable every now and then, but the more selective you are, and the more time you take to hire, the more likely you are to avoid hiring mistakes. While there may be plenty of unfilled jobs out there, and even more job-seekers, employers aren’t willing to hire the first person that comes for an interview, and it’s easy to see why.  Sure, it may seem inconsiderate to encourage slow hiring with so many unemployed Americans seeking jobs, but putting a person in a job role that they aren’t capable of fulfilling will only make things worse for both the employer and the worker.  Besides, wouldn’t you rather work in a position where you’d be successful with a company culture you’d enjoy? Next time you go to a job interview and you start to get frustrated by lengthy, headache-inducing processes, remember that what may seem like an inconvenience is actually in our best interest, as well as the employer’s.