The Number You are Trying to Reach Must Feel Connected

Author: Michael DeMarco | Source: HCI | Published: August 9, 2010

Even as talks of double dip recessions and deflation begin to reemerge following several months of poorer-than-expected job creation figures and a seemingly constant drumbeat of bad news from the Gulf, Greece, and the Beltway, comes the Monday, August 9th front-page article in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Some Firms Struggle to Hire Despite High Unemployment.” In the article, author Mark Whitehouse notes, “With a 9.5% jobless rate and some 15 million Americans looking for work, many employers are inundated with applicants. But a surprising number say they are getting an underwhelming response, and many are having trouble filling open positions.”

While the article sites short-term disincentives like the much-debated 99-week jobless benefit extensions and the challenges of relocating for post-real estate boom homeowners owing more on their homes than they are worth, a third factor offers the more frightening — if not totally surprising — idea that “Longer-term trends are at play.”  Whitehouse explains, “For one, the U.S. education system hasn’t been producing enough people with the highly specialized skills that many companies, particularly in manufacturing, require to keep driving productivity gains.”

That trend is not about to change. Jeanne Meister and Karie Willyerd, co-founders of Future Workplace, and authors of the new book The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today, confirm that the talent imbalance is indeed a longer-term trend. Meister and Willyerd explain, “The global competition for highly qualified workers will take place in 2020. Despite there being five generations in the workplace, there will be a shortage of certain skills, not just workers. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that U.S.-based employers will need 30 million new college-educated workers in the next decade, while only 23 million young adults are expected to graduate from college in that period.”

Many human capitalists long have understood this trend, even as it seemingly runs at odds with the constant doom-and-gloom churned out by the mass media. Great Recession aside, it remains a “sellers market” for those individuals with the highly-specialized skills being sought after in the 21st century global economy. As for the organizations needing to attract, develop, and keep their fair share of these employees, Meister and Willyerd recommend ten initiatives for building the sort of corporate culture that will attract the best and the brightest as the generational balance of the workplace shifts. The initiatives include building a reputation as being socially responsible and championing openness and transparency as well as becoming “uber-connected” through the advanced use of “social media, blogs, wikis, communities of practice, and online corporate social networks to connect employees, enable mass collaboration, and improve your company’s capability to innovate in the global marketplace.”

At HCI, our webcasts, events, and educational offerings continually serve to keep progressive human capitalists focused on the next practices in new economy talent management and leadership that can make a difference and not on the dark headlines. For instance, on August 18 at noon EST, Frances Crisman, Director of Talent Acquisition for Catholic Healthcare West and Pete Price, Sr. Interactive Consultant of JWT Inside, will tell how they used employee generated content at Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) to help build one common brand and cause for their more than 60,000 caregivers and staff.

Immediately after, on August 18 at 1 pm EST, you can hear Annette Foght, Director of National Recruiting for HCR ManorCare, as she tells how they have optimized talent acquisition using a combination of web 2.0 and search engine management, reducing recruiting advertising budgets by 50% while increasing the flow of quality candidates.

Speaking of budgets, HCI will be looking at talent strategy matters from the Public Sector perspective from September 20-22 when our second annual Government Talent Management Summit brings together leaders from government and the military to share knowledge around their talent challenges, from recruitment, to retention, to engagement.  In an era of ever-tight budgets and economic angst, engagement can be a major factor, whether in government or the private sector.  Only weeks after we meet in Washington, HCI will convene another event, this time in Boston.  Please consider attending our October 4-6, 2010 interdisciplinary Engagement and Retention Conference in Boston.  Whether the economy has continued to slow or taken off, you'll want to understand those practices that keep your best talent engaged — and on your team — as you strive toward achieiving your strategic imperatives in the global marketplace.

Stay with HCI to understand the best practices and next practices that can make a difference. Our community shares solutions, rather than mourning challenges.

Photo:  visulogik