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New Year Leadership Planning Tips

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Outside-In® Chronicles: a throwback post, originally published five years ago in January 2010

2016 Leadership PlanningLeaders often ask me about how they can be a better leader tomorrow. What can they do right now to have impact on their business. I find the key is to know how to plan and approach leadership actions creatively. Still not sure what I mean? Leaders do stuff — they are in meetings, they make and take phone calls, they solve problems, etc. As a leader you could spend all day reacting to the world around you. In fact, it never stops coming. All day long the cell phone rings and the inbox fills up. Yet this is not leadership. And it’s certainly not planned, thoughtful leadership. Leadership planning is a way to have a real impact. To be proactive and creative in improving the lives of your employees and the productivity they can achieve.

No matter what industry you are in, you will inevitably have customers, employees, vendors and prospects in your day. The best way to plan? Let’s start by thinking about any employee. What do they need right now? A compliment?  Recognition? A tough talk? Someone to listen? Training? Your job is to eliminate barriers for your employees while holding them accountable, to remind people that they have something to learn, let them know you’re there to help and that you care.

Still not so sure what to do? Think about your customers next. Who can use a proactive call from you. Have you pulled the team together just to talk about a customer when there is not a problem? This is where the real opportunity lies.

  1. Leadership planning is scheduled time.
  2. Leadership planning involves critical thinking.
  3. Leadership planning can be exciting and creative if you know how.
  4. Leadership planning is a basic skill that can change your world. And your employees.

Do this homework assignment on a Sunday night.

  1. Take out a note pad. Right out your top to do’s for the week/Monday.
  2. Analyze the list. How much is recurring or just work to do?
  3. Make a list for an employee or special project.
  4. Think about them. What do they need from you to be more successful?
  5. Make plans.

Remember we all can get better, all of the time. And we will if our leaders can impact us in a meaningful way.

Need help to have real impact or want to share your ideas with others? Would love to hear more from you; we all have something to learn!

How Hiring Has Changed From 20 Years Ago

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20 years ago…

A Personnel Manager advertised a job by:

  • Senior Java Developer Vacancy in Newspaper. Job Search Concept.Placing an ad in the paper, usually in Sunday’s job section!
  • Handing out applications to walk-in job seekers.
  • Talking to their network, friends & family.
  • Encouraging referrals through sign up sheets/cards that were on the shelf in the HR office with all of the other forms.
  • Calling a temporary agency for a temp.
  • Reaching out to their favorite search firm or headhunter for more difficult positions.

Job seekers applied by:

  • Walk-in resume submission in the office lobby.
  • Sending resumes by fax machine, postal mail, hand delivery or even a courier!
  • Signing up in person at the local temporary agency.
  • Talking to their network, friends & family.

Employers reviewed talent by:

  • Batching and reviewing resumes — Often times a task to do at night in front of the TV.
  • Searching  for talent on Resumix or other early Applicant tracking systems (as time allowed).
  • Calling applicants, returning calls and screening people over the phone (leaving a lot of messages on home voicemail machines)
  • Keeping track of activity with paper sheets or maybe excel.
  • Interviewing people in person.

In the last 20 years, technology and social media have made significant changes to the way we hire talent. What things do you miss about the old-fashioned way of hiring? What technology and social media are you forever grateful for? Are there any new things that you wish were never invented or introduced?

The 1 Thing You Should Be Doing About Talent

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People ask me all the time if there are any shortcuts in recruitment. Are there any quick fixes to deal with today’s changing talent landscape? Normally I would lecture you. I’d explain that your talent strategy is as fundamental as your business strategy or marketing plans. However, there is something you can do right now that will help you and your business immensely in the long run.

The one thing you should be doing about talent is keeping the sofa full. Leaders should practice “keeping the sofa full,” by interviewing talent all of the time. (Read my blog on Keeping the Sofa Full here)

Everyday leaders struggle with proactivity and routines. A business needs a rhythm or way of pulsing and discussing what is most important. Where should we put our focus? Where should we put our time and attention? What matters most? Deciding what is most important is the hardest part.

I’ll say it again, your business should be interviewing talent all of the time. It is really that simple. We don’t sell only when we need a new customer. Proactivity is everything. Keeping the sofa full is about always knowing who your next hire is. But I don’t have any openings right now you may be thinking. You may not now, but you will. We all will. That is the one fact in today’s talent-driven economy. Your business and every business will lose some talent for good and not so good reasons. What you do about it is a choice.

When you keep the sofa full, it will take less time to fill your open positions. If you always keep an eye on talent and meet people, it can shorten the days it takes to fill a recently vacated position. Keeping the sofa full also improves your brand and your productivity. Can you find better talent than you have? Can you top grade or upgrade someone who is failing or has average performance? Keeping the sofa full is a direct way to improve your engagement scores and culture at the same time because it requires you to be giving feedback to staff and to know if they are productive and a culture fit.

I know this seems impossible for your company. You’re fighting today’s fire. Dealing with this week’s crisis or business opportunity. The business has a different plan du jour right now. Time is always the enemy for good ideas like this. Recruiting proactively takes planning, discipline and prioritization to interview all of the time. As a leader it takes time, money and most importantly resources to commit to this. It seems like a soft dollar cost savings to turn hiring all of the way off. But have you ever tried to get any program going again when it was turned off completely? It takes retraining, planning, kick off meetings, etc. to breathe life into something that has not been used in a while.

So take action. What are your three most abundant skill sets? What is the hardest role to fill in your business? Build recruiting for these roles into your daily operations. Take all networking calls. Meet any referrals quickly. In short, interview talent all of the time.

2016 Workforce Trend Predictions to Impress at the Water Cooler

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2016-workforce-trend-predictions-012016 is an election year. One thing is for certain either party’s candidate is going to be inheriting an economic environment that continues that slow but steady identity that has permeated the last few years.  If you need a new job, you’re in luck! The pendulum has shifted and this is now an employee market. Are you ready to acquire more talent for the business? Expect to invest more resources and to find “sourcing” talent as one your biggest challenges. Job board postings are way up. But their effectiveness continues to shift.

  1. GDP will not boom, expect 2.5-2.8%. Why? Demographics do not support the increase in productivity needed to get there even if the economic environment presents itself!
  2. Unemployment will continue to fall, as low as 4.8% but far from 3.9%.
  3. The year of the millennial in the workforce. They will hold 1 in 4 managerial roles and officially become the largest segment of the U.S. workforce.
  4. 2015 set several records in July and October of this year for the “number of jobs posted online”. Expect 2016 to surpass this consistently due to labor shortages.
  5. Did I mention labor shortages? Expect the average days to fill for skilled or technical positions to continue to go up, is some cases well over 90+ days on average!
  6. Baby Boomers are pulling the great disappearing act, retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day right now. They are retiring earlier than any previous generation due to the wealth creation effect of many two household incomes.
  7. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. Compliance and reporting are no longer future events but business items that require all businesses to comply!
  8. Interest rates are going up. Because they have too. There are many pundits that some adjustment will be good for business too. Households have lowered their debts since the recession and businesses have taken advantage of cheap borrowing costs.
  9. The War for Talent will reach the 6 o’clock news. Yes, it will not be long until you see reporters at job fairs and news anchors lamenting the challenges that companies are having finding the talent they need to run and grow their business.  Yes, the Talent Challenge is happening right now. BUT, no one is really talking about it unless you’re in the talent field.
  10. 2016 is the year that the number of temporary workers in the U.S. stays over 3 MM throughout the year. It could get as high as 3.5 MM (but I doubt it). Current high water marks each month suggest that more than 25,000 temporary jobs are created some months.