The Worm Has Turned — Employment

The United States, a great country, has about 10.5MM job openings and 7.3MM folks looking for jobs.

This means that employers who want to fill their open positions are ratcheting up their hiring game because this is now a contest in which not everybody can emerge a winner.

So, how do you — wanting to be a winner — do it?

 1. Firstly, you are going to have to pay up for talent, even more for the best talent. Money talks and all other commodities walk.

This creates a secondary problem — existing folks in similar positions will resent new hires coming in at a higher rate than what you are paying them, so you are going to have to re-evaluate existing compensation and ensure it is fair and competitive.

If you fail to do this — ensuring the existing team is in for the long haul — you WILL lose employees and with them goes experience and institutional memory that are irreplaceable. Know this.

 2. You have to evaluate the design of your comp plans. It is not just salary; it is also the other components: salary, benefits, short term incentive comp, long term incentive comp, and something special.

Here is some useful information:

The Design of Comp Plans

It uses the Employment Agreement for the C Suite and Senior Management as a guide that is useful at all levels.

 3. You must re-evaluate the basic trade between an employer and its employees:

It is the employer’s duty to provide good work, challenging work, in an environment in which an employee can excel and grow. The ability to grow is important.

The employee’s job is to do the work, engage with the employer to give voice to how the employee can do a better job, and to perform to the full extent of their talents whilst developing deeper and broader talents.

Taken in the right context, it is a symbiotic relationship. Taken to the extreme, it breeds loyalty and a winning culture. It is the “special” in Special Forces.

 4. Most employers want to return to the “office only” environment and most employees love the “work from home” environment. This is a basic and fundamental conflict and the employer cannot ignore this.

The employee loves working from home — no commute saving time, money, and stress; comfortable clothes and work environment; control of schedule; no lunches out, saving money; the ability to balance and weave life into work; and flexibility — and an employee will take a lesser job if they can get a superior WFH environment. This is particularly true with workers who are parents and pet owners.

Employers must evaluate and bend their natural tendency to desire “office only” because there are great workers who will say, “Sorry. Not for me.” You cannot cut yourself off from this huge slice of the American work force.

 5. Companies are going to have to adapt to a slightly less cohesive team as the face-to-face team building camaraderie is not going to happen via Zoom.

Hell, your best financial analyst may live at the beach in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina so he can surf and tan whilst your best graphic designer lives in Steamboat Springs because she loves to ski the double black diamonds and fly fish.

This is a different work force and it isn’t just the typical Millennial rant. It is changed in the last two years due to the ‘Vid.

Life style and work style are no longer separate compartments; they are intertwined and in competition with each other.

 6. You are going to have to get back to basics with clear job descriptions, SMART objectives, timely Performance Appraisal, and purposeful, regular contact which will substitute for the usual “managing by wandering around” and monthly birthday parties/all hands meetings that all good companies subscribe to.

Employees gravitate toward competence. If you want to lure somebody into climbing your hill with you, it damn sure better be a hill worth climbing and you have to pitch the job with that spin.

 7. Your hiring process is going to have to become streamlined and efficient.

You think folks are going to wait two weeks for a decision? Not bloody likely in this job market.

This will require more time focused on hiring by all of your team, instant decision-making, and the extension of firm offers like lightning.

This compressed process injects risk into the system, but you have to balance it with the impact of an open position.

 8. You are going to have to kick in a “prevent” defense as it relates to retention because not only do you have to hire, you have to retain.

This means that your turnover rate by department has to become one of your KPIs and those who can hire, train, inspire, develop, and retain talent have to be appropriately rewarded.

In any enterprise, the behaviors you reward are duplicated.

 9. You must establish a clean and efficient feedback loop using suggestions, brainstorming sessions, anonymous company surveys upon which you act, and employee-driven involvement in things like picking the healthcare provider.

Give your employees ownership of the culture thereby gluing them to their own creation.

Bottom line it, Big Red Car — lunch plans

This is a new day, dear readers, as it relates to hiring. The great sufficiency of open jobs and the comparative paucity of candidates makes it an employee’s market — compete or die.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car looking for a job. Haha.

I want a new job! Hire me!