As we all know…Networking is SUPER valuable!

Why?

  • All people both know things and need to know things
  • Most people genuinely like to help and be helped, teach and be taught…basically, be engaged with others
  • Opportunity is greater when people are connected

Businesses benefit from creating an alumni network.

How to get started?

  • Keep it simple!
  • Send a note to former employees telling them you are starting an alumni network and inviting them to your next company event (pizza lunch, 5 a 7, product launch, open house…etc or create an event just to kick it off and of course all your current employees are invited!)
  • What if only one person shows up?? Who cares! One is better than none and you need to start somewhere. Moving forward you can tell candidates you have started an alumni network  – which benefits all!

Go for it!


My clients (SMBs) keep telling me that employees don’t stay.

Correct, they don’t.

We know this. It is fact. And there is no indication that it is going to change. As such, I have pretty much reduced myself to begging business leaders to stop dwelling on the inevitable and start focusing on how to get the most out of their people while they have them.

Some suggestions;

Improve onboarding – the faster we get new people productive, the faster they will contribute towards the goals they were hired to achieve. Someone once told me projects don’t fail at the end, they fail at the beginning…meaning invest UP FRONT for best results at the end.

Management Development – effective managers develop strong teams. Strong teams deliver results. While employees don’t stay long they still want to learn, contribute and leave with accomplishments. Your managers are the ones who need to drive this. Make sure your managers are well equipped to be good at what they need to do. Most managers don’t want to manage and are not good at managing. Figure out how to get the most out of them too, including moving them to a different role if need be.

Build an alumni network – when employees leave, thank them for their contribution and welcome them to your company’s alumni network (CREATE ONE!). Invite them to your office 5-7s and other events, and see them as long-term ‘friends of the firm’. They will feel valued and will send good people they know your way…which will save you money on recruiting costs. Win/win.

Investing in your employees, regardless of how long they stay, will pay off. Add these costs in to your next budget and make it happen. Your customers will thank you and the results will make all your stakeholders smile.

 


A quote from a millennial who just left a Big 4, by choice, in a major NA city;

“Educated people will not work for these firms in the future. To work for them, people need to have no self esteem and a burning desire to please without having a stake in the bigger picture”.

OUCHHHHH!!!!!

A little taken aback by these words, I went to each of the Big 4 websites to see who is in charge. Shout out to Deloitte who seems to have the most diverse leadership team. KPMG’s website…well, I thought I hit the wrong site. Outdated and difficult to navigate. Why. It’s 2018. Honestly…

While young people may not stay long, they should not be speaking so poorly at what should be an A+ firm. They should be leaving saying they learned a lot, it was valuable and they would recommend it to others despite not being the place for them long term. That would be fine.

“Educated people will not work for these firms in the future” is just awful.

I have repeated this to several people and each one, without exception, has said that everyone knows this about these firms and that their current claim to fame is loosening the dress code policy.

Bravo, Big 4, Bravo!

What’s next, transparent billing practices?

Big 4, listen up; if smart, engaged employees are saying this about you, you know what’s coming next…or it may already be haunting you…your clients are going to question if you are the right firm for them.

Sounds like you need to act now.

Like…now….all hands on deck!

 

 


Regardless of the position you are hiring, you will see that people who know how to get things done are not going to let you down. People who have a ‘let’s do this’ attitude are going to deliver. Look for it in the hiring process – when you ask candidates how others would describe their personality, look for answers such as ‘someone who gets things done’, then ask for specific examples. These examples could also come from their home or school life – you are looking for people who instinctively go the extra mile to get results….complete projects, help others without being asked, right a wrong.
Don’t compromise on this.
When you have a team of people who know how to get things done, you will fly.

I meet with Hiring Managers who describe the person they want to hire. They describe someone who has experience in exactly what they do and who could add value the minute they walk in the door. In some cases, it works. In the majority of cases though, it does not.

Let’s face it – most people were not born with the experience they have – they learn it! So, what should Hiring Manager truly be looking for? They should be looking for candidates with current/relevant experience in what they need in order to accomplish the short and longer term goals.

Example: You need to hire a Controller for a technology company. Someone who understands how software licensing works. What do you truly need; someone average who has the EXACT experience or a superstar who has been a Controller and who has been successful in multiple industries?

You need the superstar!

When you set out to find someone, you THINK you need the one with your specific industry experience, but in fact, you don’t. And in limiting your search, you are more than likely missing out on some excellent talent.

Cast a wide net – find the best of the best – the candidates who have appropriate experience and have had enjoyed ongoing success throughout their career. These candidates will add value – they have proven they can do it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Take a look at the job descriptions your business is posting.  Are they interesting? Would someone who is not actively looking for a job possibly submit their candidacy?

Some businesses have awesome job descriptions.

Most have dull job descriptions. 

Why?

We know we want to attract the best candidates.

We know we want to be perceived as an employer of choice.

So why would we write dull job descriptions?

We use Uber, not taxis. We stay at AirBnB, not hotels. We rely on the general public to post news versus waiting for the news networks. We stare at the home phone when it rings wondering who could possibly be calling on it…and we make a mental note to have it disconnected all together.

In many ways, we are very 2015.

And then we have our job descriptions.  Not very 2015. Stuck in the past.

Take a look at your job descriptions. Am I right? Are you drawn to the positions and can you see people pouncing on the opportunities? If not, change you strategy….write job descriptions that reflect the realities of today’s market.  You will attract better candidates.

Some suggestions:

  • Be specific about what the job entails – mention the short term priorities and longer term goals
  • Show prospective candidates what they would gain by being successful in the role
  • Unless absolutely required, don’t include number of years of experience or a specific degree. It limits the pool of prospective candidates and puts up a barrier between you, and possibly, the best candidates
  • Consider why someone might leave their current role for the position, then write the job description that would entice them

When recruiting, we are looking for the best candidates. Often these candidates are not looking for work. In order to entice them to consider the position, start by defining it as something compelling

We tell candidates to write CVs to show they are ‘current’, not dated.

Employers have to write job descriptions that show the business is ‘current’, not dated.

If we write job descriptions the way they have been written for decades, which many businesses do, we are suggesting to prospective candidates that we are not current. Clearly not the intent.

This is an easy fix. Try it. You will see results.

 

 


The market tells us (IN FACT IT IS SCREAMING AT US) that anyone you hire will stay somewhere around 2-3 years (there will be exceptions, of course). Regardless of the years of seniority or level. If you are still fighting this, I urge you to reconsider your stance and to recognize why it isn’t a problem;

When you bring someone on board, you should be doing so with specific goals in mind. None of us know what is coming down the road, so why pretend we know what we need from the new hire long term? What you do know is what is needed now and the foreseeable future and this is where you need the new hire to be successful.

Hire resources on a “TOUR OF DUTY“. It  is a win/win! This entails hiring someone as an employee of the company, taking on full responsibilities (P&L, resources, etc) but there are specific goals to be met, for example, developing a product, developing new business, selecting and implementing a new ERP, building a new department, and so on. These goals will define the TOUR. At the end of the tour, if there is another tour and both you and the candidate agree for more – go for it! And if not, you shake hands. They walk away with more experience and a successful story to bring to their next position and you have achieved your goals and can replace them (if you need to at all) with someone who meets the next set of goals.

To continue hiring with the awkward words nobody speaks upon signing an employment agreement, which are “this will be great until one of us doesn’t need the other any longer”, makes no practical sense. Be up front. You will have a better chance of retaining the employee for what you need them for versus having to worry about them leaving before the goals have been achieved. Pretty much everyone like to have a  win, and the ones who don’t or who don’t care, are not the ones you want working for you. If you are upfront in  defining the circumstances, the employee knows exactly what they are signing up for and what they will walk away with once they have completed the work. On the employer’s side, you will have better success in meeting your business objectives. Win/win. The end.

 

 

 

 


Whether you are hiring or looking to be hired, throughout the process, watch for red flags.

A red flag will be some type of irritant or some type of “huh?” moment in your discussions with a candidate or potential employer that makes you feel uncomfortable. Did you meet with a candidate who had the PERFECT, hard-to-find skill set but who had an arrogance about them that you could not get passed?  You won’t like that arrogance any better if they work for you. Didn’t like the commute to the interview? You won’t like it any better when you start working there.

It is easy to overlook red flags. If we really want something to work, we are more likely to convince ourselves the issue is not that bad.

Throughout the hiring process, if there is a red flag(s) , do everyone a favour and walk away. The likelihood is, it simply will not work. You will either resent your new hire from the moment they start, or your new boss from the moment you are shown your new desk. When you are in the process, it might seem that the easiest thing to do is hire the candidate or take the job despite the red flag(s), but in the end, it is not worth it and the time wasted on hiring the wrong candidate or accepting the wrong position could have been better spent finding the right one.

 

 

 

 


When you ask someone how they are, do you ever hear “busy” or “swamped”? Is it something you might say too? I hear it all the time. We are all so ‘busy’…it is as if suggesting we are not busy, might lead others to think we are not successful, not contributing or, even worse…not needed! Naturally, I am referring to day-to-day life versus times when life throws us a curve ball.

Who isn’t busy? What does busy mean? If we really are that busy, it likely means we have over-extended ourselves and admitting it, rather than making us look good, actually makes us look bad…at the very least, it makes us look disorganized and suggests we are not in control.

Candidates contact me on a regular basis. I ask if they have a CV, or in what state their LinkedIn profile is…I also ask if they have kept up with their professional network. I hear the same thing over and over again; that they know they really should have a CV and that they should have a proper LinkedIn profile and should have kept up with their professional network, overall skills and with the job market in general. But…they haven’t. They have been too busy. The downside? Missed opportunities and becoming (or perhaps already have become) outdated to the market.

Keeping up with your profile, network, and skills is important if you want to be relevant to the market. Playing catch-up is not fun. Assume the people you would compete with for your next position have their CV, profile, skills and professional network up-to-date at all times. And if you don’t think this needs to be a priority because your job is secure, based on the calls I get, this is not the right assumption. Many (too many, in my opinion) people I speak to did not expect to be contacting me.

Let’s agree that everyone is busy. Students are busy, parents are busy, employees are busy, business owners are busy…we get it. Do yourself a favour and don’t drop the ball when it comes to nurturing yourself professionally.

 

 

 

 


The employers I work with are not adverse to hiring people over, let’s say, 50 –  what they always want is people who are super capable with a youthful spirit. The assumption is that someone with 25+ years of work experience, while certainly having good knowledge and a great pulse on the market, might not be as fresh as someone in the 35-45 range. Historically this has probably been true. Someone 50+ has already worked the long hours, climbed the ladder to pretty close to as high as they will go, and now is likely to coast doing what they do best.

But today, people are living longer and retiring at 55 or 60 is more and more unrealistic – both for financial reasons and practical reasons; what will people do every day for the rest of their lives…which could be upwards of 40+ years? As such, employers have to accept that they will be employing people who are older than they may have been in the past and employees should assume they will be retiring later than they may have initially thought (I read this article just days after I had written this blog post http://www.gallup.com/poll/168707/average-retirement-age-rises.aspx )

Anyone over around 45, whether they are employers or employees, are going to have to adjust to this reality. We were simply not brought up thinking this way and now, the fact is, we have no choice.

What the employer  should consider;

– Give employees the opportunity to keep learning and stay fresh so they can continue to make a significant contribution

– Adjust employee’s job descriptions , even slightly, to reflect where they are in life. Consider when a young parent has to leave at 5:00 p.m. to get to daycare, where before children they were at the office until all hours. The employee is still valuable but expectations had to shift given where they are in life. Have an older employee that travels 60% of the time? Maybe it can be reduced to 45 or 50% if that is what would be better for the employee. Given technology, maybe some of the work can be done remotely. Travel is exhausting and for some, not sustainable given how much they travel whereas a little bit less travel might be perfect. 

– Hire the over 50 crowd! They come with tremendous experience, they will always show up to work and they will be more loyal than the younger crowd since they don’t want to look for a job again. They are motivated to ‘make it work‘.

What the employee should consider;

– Stay current! Keep up with industry knowledge,  best practices and your professional network.

– Be a mentor/coach for juniors. Be the person that others go to given your years of experience

– Don’t behave “tired” – maintain a youthful spirit! The over 50 crowd (from what I am told…) can get testy at times…financial pressures with kids in college at super high costs, concerns with aging parents, job uncertainty…this needs to be managed in such a way that bosses and colleagues don’t have to live it too.

The good news is, we are living longer! The less good news is, we have not properly aligned the workforce yet. Time for both sides to embrace this new reality.