I’m a Deloitte alum and usually pay attention to what comes out of their Human Capital group. Rarely is it directionally unsound, but often it contains a bit too much of the “No Duh Factor.” Recently they undertook a study that resulted in some thinking on managing in turbulent times. One of their stances was “Heading off a Resume Tsunami” . Their argument was that some time in the near future – as the market turns – the best and brightest will be aggressive about finding new digs. The related warning is that if you don’t take care of your talent during this terribly precarious time, you are likely to lose them when the time is ripe. Deloitte isn’t the only group making this argument – many of those soaring in the blogosphere have said as much. Do you know what I say to that? “Bovine Crap!” Here’s what I think:
- The workforce gets treated poorly all the time and on average only 1 in 5 people regularly leaves to find “something better.”
- Just because the economy gets better and jobs start opening up doesn’t mean the high-performer (or Average Joe for that matter) will have the first order of business to jump ship. Do you think the smart ones will really think things are better on the other side? “The Devil You Know” often prevails.
- Good people have options ALL THE TIME. They are free agents – there is no guarantee they are coming back the next day…ever. If they really had plans to leave, they’d already be gone.
- Our company’s voluntary turnover rate has been on a steady decline since August – that while the market has already supposedly turned. And our company is going through a lot of crap right now…a lot of crap! We’re part of a broader industry that has not been hurt as much by this downturn – there are options. Why would one wait until the crap is over to leave…why not leave while things are crappy?
- Surviving a trauma together builds commitment. Those companies that have had it rough over the last two years – and that’s most companies – will have shared an experience with those people who elect to stay through it. The last thing someone is going to want after clearing the wreck is to go into another period of ambiguity, anxiety, and uncertainty with a new employer. Masochism is not a crucial element to most people’s career objectives.
- I hypothesize that the workforce, in general, is becoming much more tolerant of an employer’s shortcomings. This period of economic strife has proven to those who are lucky enough to have a job that it really ain’t all that bad. I think there is a new wave of employee engagement coming and it goes something like “thank you sir, may I have another.”
Call me naive, overly optimistic, or just plain old blind; but I don’t see it guys. We’re all going to be happy when this is over and those of us who are smart are going to realize there are very few (other) employers out there that can actually make us happier. And HR, this is no different than any other time – treat your people like people and the rest will take care of itself.
While you’re at it, what’s happening with voluntary turnover at your company? Take a poll: http://polls.linkedin.com/p/70299/idugl
Categories: Employee Engagement Deloitte, Employee Engagement, Free Agency, Heading off the Resume Tsunami, Human Capital, Suviving Trauma, Turnover
The New York Times had an interesting article last week related to the profusion of talent in the market right now – “Tables Turned, Former Hires Can’t Get Hired“ We all understand that there are lots of people on the street right now looking for jobs; what’s different, though, is that a lot of those people are really really good. It’s easy to think that the lowest performers get let go first, but that’s definitely not true in an environment where the factors driving workforce reductions are dynamic, widespread, and to a large extent uncontrollable. The other big difference: no one is picking this talent up as quickly as they used to ’cause there’s nowhere to put them. Or is there (Vincent Price cackle in the background)? And that’s where my deviousness comes in…
Take a look at your under performers…or your marginal performers…or even your sub-optimal performers and see if now’s the time to upgrade. Yes, that means involuntarily separating people from the organization simply for the fact there are better people out there to take their place. This would be the epitome of the “up or out” approach to talent management – Jack Welch would love this. One of the guys referenced in the article was a former SVP at PNC Bank responsible for providing Human Resources to 3,500 employees. The guy can’t find a job. Tell me he wouldn’t be the perfect candidate for that organization where the HR Director just can’t seem to get up the curve, can’t get to the table, can’t play a more vital role in directing the success of the business. Get rid of that guy already. And a lot of these guys are willing to take a pay cut just to get back on the playing field. Why would you drive the Chevy Malibu when you could have the Saab 93 Turbo for close to the same price (I know, I’m the king of mixed metaphors)? Here’s what the naysayers will throw at me:
- You’ll say, “Yeah, but they’ll leave when they find something better.” And I say, “Maybe…if there’s something better…ever.”
- You’ll say, “There’s some employment law risk here.” And I say, “Maybe, but the decision is based on legitimate business criteria – we found someone who could do the job better.”
- You’ll ask, “But how do you know whether that person is really better?” And I’ll answer, “my screening process is thorough, my performance management system is reasonable, and I’m a bettin’ man.”
- You’ll say, “but that just isn’t nice.” And I’ll say, “Maybe not, but you know where nice guys finish.”
Tough times call for tough measures and I say it’s all fair play. Get that former SVP of HR, who the board squeezed out, to be the new HR Director for your fledgling organization. Find that HR Manager, who was on the fast track only to be tossed aside during a downsizing, and put them into an HR Generalist role. Get rid of the laggards, who are doing your HR Team a disservice, and give yourself a makeover. Your (new) HR Team will thank you, the leadership team will respect you, and your employees will love you.
Categories: Performance Management Annie Get Your Gun, Chevy, Ethel Merman, HR Director, HR Generalist, HR Manager, HR Team, Human Resources, Jack Welch, New York Times, Performance, PNC Bank, Recession, Reputation, Saab, Talent Acquisition, Turnover, Vincent Price
I know most of us aren’t privileged enough to work for organizations that have their own Communications or PR departments. Sometimes Investor Relations takes over on this front for those of us with public companies. But more often than not, the responsibility (implicitly) falls on HR. In a recent Deloitte survey conducted as part of their “Managing Talent in a Turbulent Economy” series, 62% of employees who indicated they intended to leave their current job faulted lack of communication from executives during the recession. Isn’t this to a large extent our (HR Department’s) fault? I bet a bunch of those employees would say exactly that.
Categories: Communication Communication, Deloitte, Human Resources, Recession, Retention, Turbulent Economy, Turnover