By Debbie Bolla, Executive Editor
Confidence. Competition. Potential. Doing what you love.
These are a few words and phrases that made a lasting impact after my deep-dive discussion with four HR industry leaders at the HRO Today Forum this May. The quartet that joined me on stage (pictured above):
• John Wilson, Founder and CEO of WilsonHCG
• Sue Marks, CEO of Cielo
• Paul Harty, President of Seven Step RPO
• Gene Zaino, President & CEO of MBO Partners
Employee confidence levels are seemingly up, said the foursome—and forward-thinking organizations need to get in the game and take advantage of that confidence. To Wilson, competition between organizations is a signifier of an improved economy. Companies should consider how willing they are to get and keep the talent they want.
“Very rarely do we hear clients talking about how do we save money now. It’s about how do we get better,” he said. Investing in tomorrow’s talent will lead to a better workforce, more efficiency, and higher revenue.
Marks agreed with Wilson, noting that when people leave their current jobs for better jobs, their confidence is on the rise—perhaps not to pre-recession levels, but much improved. During this critical time when the competition is heating up, Marks said organizations need to pay attention to four key elements:
• Engagement of employees;
• The design of work;
• The quality of training managers; and
• Playing to people’s strengths.
“It’s about getting your unfair share of it [the talent you need] not just your fair share. That takes paying real attention to your employment value proposition,” she remarked.
Harty agreed that he is seeing a lot more confidence in the marketplace, with employees having more willingness to look—knowing they can leave their job and get a better one. He predicted that the next 24 months will be interesting in seeing how talent moves around. He advised organizations to focus on training hiring managers on the best ways to find the right kind of talent. This may require a shift in the expectations of hiring managers. The days of looking for candidates based on bullet points no longer exists, he warned.
“Open your eyes to potential [more] than exact skills,” said Harty. “Hiring managers should be looking at talent not as how to solve my problem today but how I can build a better organization moving forward. [That] is really where you want to focus.”
As both the economy and confidence levels improve, now is the time for change—and organizations need to be prepared. “People feel stuck [and] I think [they] want to start doing what they like to do,” explained Zaino.
He said that today’s HR technology is making it easier than ever before to match what people want to do with the skills and experience they have. What organizations need to consider, he stressed, is offering employees the flexibility and the opportunity to do what they love.
Doing what you love is possible. Trust me – I know from experience.