For decades, I’ve been involved at some level in finding great people for companies or clients. I’ve hired part-time, hourly employees through C-Suite executives across every industry imaginable, in almost every state. I’ve worked for others and for myself, during boom times and bust. I’ve been guilty of “warm-body” hiring and only accepting the very best of the best. I can remember the days of running ads in the newspaper and getting resumes over thermal-fax paper, when people didn’t even know what a job board was. Today, I speak about brand and culture, social media and reach, and still love employee and client referrals.
Why is it so hard for employers today to find great people? Statistically, our unemployment rate is down to nearly 5%, the counter argument is the labor-force participation rate is up above 67%. This implies many people are disengaged from the process. Many argue that the skill-gap in the workplace prevents us from finding the people we need for the jobs we have available.
It is not my place or desire to argue these facts. The reality is, I was working hard to fill large amounts of job orders back when the unemployment rate was around 3%, and the pay offered wasn’t the highest around – and you know what, we had lots of candidates to choose from. Later, when I was with a fast growing start-up, we had a clear vision for building something bigger than us, we were able to be selective for who we hired as well. I know many amazing employers around the U.S. who get to hand pick their teams because they have planted a flag as to who they are, what they do, and how they will lead their organization. The promise to their teams is more than just the paycheck. People work hard and deliver results because they are inspired to do so.
One of the words I hear tossed around a lot these days in the marketing world is the concept of creating a tribe. Seth Godin says, “a tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.” As the founder / owner of your company – think about your WHY for creating your business. That is your central idea. When you are clear with that idea, and build your mission and values around that, and hire to that – then the people within your company rally strongly to that idea. The tribe grows in power and determination to succeed, and becomes a high-performing group. It will attract other people with that same energy and commitment, your employment brand, and the members of the tribe will continue to drive results.
Big shift in mindset from where you are? OK – take it slowly. Seem a bit far-fetched? Think about the companies you know that have really strong brands where the employees are highly engaged. Big or small, they probably fit the description of a tribe. Those companies get to choose from the best of the best to hire – and they hire on their terms. Easy to make this happen, nope. But, if it you wanted easy, you wouldn’t have made the choice to be an entrepreneur.