Change - Fear of the Unknown

The mere word “change” puts fear into the minds and hearts of many and the resistance to it is immense. Organizations resist change just as much as individuals.  The "not invented here," "we've always done it this way," "it's not broken, why fix it? And "why change - we're making money aren't we?" syndromes are alive and well.  Yet, the pace and proliferation of change will not wait for the myopic and near-sighted.   To some, it is the fear of losing control over their domain; others it is the uncertainty of the unknown.  Many see change as more work while others become defensive perceiving it to be an assault or criticism of their competency.  Complacency and falling into a comfort zone of familiarity is commonplace.  More often than not, this is driven by an insecurity and lack of confidence in one’s ability to manage in today’s technology driven world, say, a new software or digital solution;  questioning whether it is really an improvement while deep down worrying that their skills and usefulness maybe determined to be obsolete.  The list goes on as to why people are scared of change and, if possible, steer away from it. However without change civilization would not have evolved – from the stone-age to the iron-age to micro-chip technology – change is omnipresent and should be embraced as we move forward to make businesses today more efficient and cost effective to operate. Recruiting is no exception when it comes to change and it too has evolved through the ages.  As far back as 55BC, Julius Caesar promoted employee referrals by offering 300 Sestertius to any soldier recruiting another into the Roman army.   During the industrial revolution workers were recruited by posting a sign–“apply within” – on the factory gates. In more modern times, we turned to newspapers and other print outlets to advertise when we needed to hire people.  The age of the headhunter and search consultant became more prevalent and the telephone became the medium to reach out and attract people for jobs that needed to be filled for more professional openings.    But then in 2000, we entered a whole different phase as technology and the Internet took flight and Monster changed the game by taking job ads away from traditional print media and brought them online to the Internet. This was for many years a very successful way to advertise and reach prospective candidates.  However, as time progressed and with more and more competitive job posting boards springing up every day; an economy on the decline resulting in significant numbers of people being laid off, hiring managers and recruiters were being inundated with unqualified and irrelevant resumes making the workload untenable and the channel no longer of value. So new technologies and networks emerged to identify and source candidates but many, such as LinkedIn, are labor intensive and can become costly to support not only in employee costs but also license and user fees.   Many were slow to adapt and change but eventually as competitive organizations started to embrace these new recruiting tools, others followed.  However, the digital world does not stand still and it is difficult for many HR managers to keep abreast with the fast changing technologies that are constantly emerging and therefore tend to run behind the curve and think that what they have is “good enough – after all it is technology so why should something new be better”.  But this attitude is very much driven primarily by the reasons stated earlier – domain protection; defensive mechanism; complacency; and insecurity. But leadership is about change and it is important for leaders to recognize that change can radically benefit their organizations in terms of efficiency, productively, competitiveness and cost reductions.  Staying ahead of the curve and not behind it separates winners from losers in a fast moving and cut throat business environment. --ooOoo---  The author:  Indra Turnbull has been involved with the development of technology driven, digital solutions for the recruitment industry for over 15 years.  As the founder and chief visionary officer for WorkForceConnexion,  Indra and her team have now developed a cutting edge digital solution platform that is positioned as a disruptive force in the recruiting space. Using innovative algorithms and deep learning analytics WorkForceConnexion enables hiring companies to improve employee selection and retention with lower overall HR expense.

The mere word “change” puts fear into the minds and hearts of many and the resistance to it is immense. Organizations resist change just as much as individuals.  The "not invented here," "we've always done it this way," "it's not broken, why fix it? And "why change - we're making money aren't we?" syndromes are alive and well.  Yet, the pace and proliferation of change will not wait for the myopic and near-sighted.  

To some, it is the fear of losing control over their domain; others it is the uncertainty of the unknown.  Many see change as more work while others become defensive perceiving it to be an assault or criticism of their competency.  Complacency and falling into a comfort zone of familiarity is commonplace.  More often than not, this is driven by an insecurity and lack of confidence in one’s ability to manage in today’s technology driven world, say, a new software or digital solution;  questioning whether it is really an improvement while deep down worrying that their skills and usefulness maybe determined to be obsolete.  The list goes on as to why people are scared of change and, if possible, steer away from it.

However without change civilization would not have evolved – from the stone-age to the iron-age to micro-chip technology – change is omnipresent and should be embraced as we move forward to make businesses today more efficient and cost effective to operate.

Recruiting is no exception when it comes to change and it too has evolved through the ages.  As far back as 55BC, Julius Caesar promoted employee referrals by offering 300 Sestertius to any soldier recruiting another into the Roman army.   During the industrial revolution workers were recruited by posting a sign–“apply within” – on the factory gates.

In more modern times, we turned to newspapers and other print outlets to advertise when we needed to hire people.  The age of the headhunter and search consultant became more prevalent and the telephone became the medium to reach out and attract people for jobs that needed to be filled for more professional openings.    But then in 2000, we entered a whole different phase as technology and the Internet took flight and Monster changed the game by taking job ads away from traditional print media and brought them online to the Internet.

This was for many years a very successful way to advertise and reach prospective candidates.  However, as time progressed and with more and more competitive job posting boards springing up every day; an economy on the decline resulting in significant numbers of people being laid off, hiring managers and recruiters were being inundated with unqualified and irrelevant resumes making the workload untenable and the channel no longer of value.

So new technologies and networks emerged to identify and source candidates but many, such as LinkedIn, are labor intensive and can become costly to support not only in employee costs but also license and user fees.   Many were slow to adapt and change but eventually as competitive organizations started to embrace these new recruiting tools, others followed. 

However, the digital world does not stand still and it is difficult for many HR managers to keep abreast with the fast changing technologies that are constantly emerging and therefore tend to run behind the curve and think that what they have is “good enough – after all it is technology so why should something new be better”.  But this attitude is very much driven primarily by the reasons stated earlier – domain protection; defensive mechanism; complacency; and insecurity.

But leadership is about change and it is important for leaders to recognize that change can radically benefit their organizations in terms of efficiency, productively, competitiveness and cost reductions.  Staying ahead of the curve and not behind it separates winners from losers in a fast moving and cut throat business environment.

--ooOoo---

 The author:  Indra Turnbull has been involved with the development of technology driven, digital solutions for the recruitment industry for over 15 years.  As the founder and chief visionary officer for WorkForceConnexion,  Indra and her team have now developed a cutting edge digital solution platform that is positioned as a disruptive force in the recruiting space. Using innovative algorithms and deep learning analytics WorkForceConnexion enables hiring companies to improve employee selection and retention with lower overall HR expense.

The Evolution of the U.S. Workforce From Solidity to Liquidity

 

Long gone are the days when you joined a company out of school with an expectation that 35 years hence you would retire from the same company – or, at the very most, have worked for maybe no more than three or four different companies throughout the span of your career.

Many forces have come to play over the past decade which have caused a major paradigm shift in the structure of today’s workforce and that moving forward.  These include technology, the millennial generation and the economy.  The result:  it is projected that 43% of the US workforce will be freelance in 2020/1.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that millennials overtook the majority representation of the workforce in 2015 and forecasts that this highly technologically savvy generation will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030.

Millennials have greatly impacted the shift in the face of the workforce from the supply side, demanding more flexibility and fluidity in how and where they are prepared to work.  On the demand side of the equation, technology and the economy have been the driving factors.  The rapid insertion of technology into every aspect of business today has required whole new skill sets on the part of the workforce and because technology is constantly changing, new skillsets are being required and demanded on an on-going basis.  However, the economic downturn in 2008 created a complacency amongst corporate America.   As unemployment grew and the market became flooded, companies operated on the basis that there was an oversupply of people.  However, they did not have to deal with the challenges their recruiters were having – endless and frustrating hours wading through the resumes of hundreds, if not thousands of irrelevant people.  They accepted if a bad hire was made, “well that happens,” and there were plenty more out there knocking on the door looking for work.  They did not understand that there were insufficient matching criteria being employed to ensure a good match – not stopping to think about the cost of turnover and lack of productivity that was negatively impacting the bottom line.

However, the bottom line was and continued to be important as budgets were being cut and cost savings sought at every turn.  The highest line item on a company’s balance sheet is its employee costs – salaries, insurance and taxes.  So more and more companies started to turn to a “project based” operational model.  Bring qualified and skilled individuals in on a contract basis for the term of the project and not employ them on a full time basis.  The effect on the bottom line was immediate and the trend to hire a contingent, liquid, or contract workforce took off.  Today, according to a recent article published in Forbes, the U.S. contingent workforce is at 40% and, as previously cited, projected to grow to over 43% within the next three years.

And the economic recovery is now putting an additional slant on the availability of qualified and skilled professionals to fill positions within an organization, especially those that require higher level skill sets particularly in the technology arena and whether on a contingent or full time basis.  We have become an “on demand” society where what’s needed are new hires who can hit the ground running having precisely the right skills and experience.  

It is becoming increasingly important that companies employ the best of breed HR tools and service solutions to be able to quickly identify and source, assess/match exactly the right people for each job or project on an individual basis.  The old adage of throw as many resumes at the wall and hope that one sticks just does not work in the new fluid and fast changing workforce environment.  Companies can no longer take short cuts and hope it works out when they make a new hire.  Making the wrong decision is costly, retention of highly invested staff is key, and budgets no longer allow for search firms to do the “matching” for them. 

The leveraging of technology has made many advances in the sourcing of candidates but old fashioned and ineffective multiple postings to hundreds of job boards only generate thousands of unqualified resumes. Outdated keyword matching may disqualify some, but cannot effectively match an individual to a specific position or project. 

Fortunately, there are emerging companies which are bringing together both structured and unstructured data to truly enhance the matching process between candidate and job, raising the bar in being able to identify exactly the right candidates for each unique opening.  Thus, there is hope in the works that will address the evolving needs of today’s workforce and fast changing corporate demands, replacing outdated and ineffective job posting boards, job matching services and recruitment tools. 

---ooOoo---

/1 Source: Intuit Forecast: 7.6 Million People in On-Demand Economy by 2020,” Intuit press release, August 13, 2015.)

The author:  Indra Turnbull has been involved with the development of technology driven, digital solutions for the recruitment industry for over 15 years.  As the founder and chief visionary officer for WorkForceConnexion,  Indra and her team have now developed a cutting edge digital solution platform that is positioned as a disruptive force in the recruiting space. Using innovative algorithms and deep learning analytics WorkForceConnexion enables hiring companies to improve employee selection and retention with lower overall HR expense.

Soft Skills are a Critical Component of WorkForceConnexion’s Matching Algorithm


Recently many organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to identify applicants who can communicate clearly, take initiative, problem-solve and get along with co-workers. Often called soft skills, these traits can make the difference between a standout employee and one who just gets by.

WorkForceConnexion utilizes a proprietary algorithm to match candidates to employer requirements using a combinations of job roles and candidate profiles. Job roles, which make up the employer requirements, are a combinations of hard and soft skills, specific areas of knowledge, professional certifications, etc. While profiles include the candidate’s proficiency level and hands on experience across a broad range of skills and knowledge - including extensive assessment of the candidate's soft skills.

Following are a few of the soft skills that are incorporated in the candidate profiles:

  • Flexibility - Expect change and plan for it. React quickly and minimize the disruption change can bring.
  • Time Management Skills - Ability to prioritize, to maximize what you get done in the time you have and to delegate, reducing the number of things you have to do.
  • Communication Skill - Communicate with your boss, your peers, your subordinates, both verbally and in writing.
  • Dependability - Can you be depended on to be where you need to be, to do what needs to be done, to do what you say you will? And will your peers and your subordinates believe they can depend on you too?
  • Candor - Tell it like it is. Don't say what you think the boss wants to hear.
  • Mental Agility - Ability to catch on quick, understand business in general and your industry in particular. 
  • Teamwork - Work well with the other members of your team and focus on common goals.
  • Goal Setting - Figure out what needs to be done and set specific goals for yourself and for your team.
  • Take Direction Well -  Be able to not only accept directions, but to do so with a positive attitude, and learn from guidance given.

Supporting the growing importance in soft skills are the recent findings in a Wall Street Journal survey of nearly 900 executives where:

92% said soft skills were equally important or more important than technical skills. 

89% said they have a very or somewhat difficult time finding people with the requisite attributes. 

WorkForceConnexion builds soft skills into our process resulting in candidates that have both the technical skills and experience that you need - and the personality traits that will insure their success.