Thoughts on This Thanksgiving Week

As we sit down this week to Thanksgiving dinner (here in the United States), let us be thankful for the new era that is dawning.

The nature of business and work is rapidly evolving. Organizational structures are becoming less hierarchal, more nimble, and flexible. Employees are beginning to be treated with respect as investors – not assets or human capital. 

People are the most precious of success factors, and we each choose to invest our time and skills in an organization that respects and listens to us. When we are not respected, we move on.  Entrepreneurship has grown rapidly in response to the lack of respect innovative employees have been given.

Look to see the finance system change to reward innovation.  Look at small organizations with a global network or with loosely allied suppliers and partners to dominate the economic climate of this decade.  It is the end of large, hierarchal organizations that were the model of efficiency in an industrial age.

Many of us miss the familiarity and the rules of the past that gave us a sense of security and certainty.   But, our profession has moved on. The habits and skills we developed in a slower-moving, more certain 20th century no longer work so well. Our cheese has been moved, as the eponymous book says. While we may miss the familiar world of face-to-face recruiting, multiple interviews, and Internet searching, many embrace the advantages of artificial intelligence, automation, and the freedom from administrative overhead.

Here are a few of the many things we have to look forward to:

1.     Greater personalization of the recruiting process.  Today every candidate is treated pretty much the same.  Recruiters call that being fair, but I call it a lack of customer service and concern.  We are all individuals and want our uniqueness to be understood and evaluated.  Retailers and product manufacturers understand this and provide hundreds of variations on products to meet our individual needs.  We will be using technology in more sophisticated ways to communicate with candidates than we do now.  We will tailor jobs to meet candidates’ qualifications rather than keep looking for the “right” person for a standardized job profile.  There will be more interest in skills and the ability to learn than in deep experience and former job titles.

2.     Development integrated with recruiting. With the supply of skilled talent diminishing, we will have to focus on developing people internally or hiring people without the skills we need and training them. Corporate resilience is marked by adapting and developing people with the skills they need to compete. Integrated talent management is a no-brainer for the HR people of this century. Being able to make solid decisions, based on data, as to whether a position should be filled with an external experienced person, a gig worker, or an internal trainee will become a powerful skill

3.     Selling and marketing as important skills for recruiters.  Being able to explain to a candidate why your organization is better than another one will be vital for recruiters. The candidate pool is smaller, smarter, and more discriminating – just as the consumer pool is.  Why would you buy one video camera over another?  Mainly because of the powerful marketing and communication campaigns of their manufacturers.  Candidates are shopping for organizations with exciting futures that pay well, meet their flexibility and working style requirements, and respect their employees with their actions.

The entire recruiting profession is run differently, uses different tools, and is based on different assumptions than it was in the 20th century. And that's good — because we will need new everything to meet the challenges of talent shortages, rising free agency, smaller firms, and rapid change.

Let us give thanks this week for the plentiful ideas and creativity that have led to these technologies and systems changes that will keep us successful.

And may all of you, wherever you are, have a peaceful, bountiful, and happy week.

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