Since I started my company a month ago (technically, I’m unemployed, but if I make a profit this year, I’m officially self-employed. That’s my rule of thumb), a lot has happened. There was the start of a big economic crisis, which has lead the stock market into chaos, Alan Greenspan admitting his mistake that he created this mess, George W. Bush is still president, and a bunch of companies started having hiring freezes and layoffs, causing people to scramble this holiday season. This brings up two trains of thought.
The first one is the generational gap of these businesses. I spoke to a fellow alum of George Mason about this and we’re somewhat competitors in our industry. We talk about that our generation (Millennials) does not like the big companies and people our age prefer smaller or medium companies that speaks to them. If you been reading current events the past few years, you already know about company downsizing, bigger banks taking over others, mergers, buyouts, golden parachutes, etc. People are much fed up that the additional money goes to the people who caused these situations, which make some potential job seekers very hesitant. The Millennials want to have the freedom that there should be no supervision and work as independents in their jobs.
However, the trend will continue to get young talent to the big companies because the big companies have what most companies do not have: money. I would refer companies like Booz Allen & Hamilton, Ernst & Young, and other big companies as “adult internships” that pay the job very well, but only on a short-term basis. These jobs have everyone applying for and who can’t blame them. These jobs will cover their student loans, grad school, and the occasional bachelor parties and hang-outs. That’s great and all and more power to them, but what’s next?
This leads to the second thing I want to talk about and that is company identity. From the articles from Laurie, Jenn, HR Minion, and Mark, who all went to the Talent Management Summit in Vegas (I couldn’t come because of money plus I would of gamble like crazy), the material is the same old HR stuff and still companies think HR can have a seat on the table and the need to “speak the language of business.” What language is that, the Harvard Business Review? This is where companies need an overhaul of their business strategy.
As I’ve mention before in my Big Announcement post, companies must focus on their brand first and hire talent who actually gives a damn about the product and would want to work there. Most of the companies are just hiring talent like the 2000 Dan Snyder Redskins. If you remember that team; after a playoff season the previous year, they signed Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, and Mark Carrier for a lot of money, plus they had 2 of the first 3 picks in the 2000 NFL Draft. There was hype around the team to win the Super Bowl. What happened? Team started 6-2 and ended 8-8 and did not make the playoffs. This is a perfect example of what your company looks like now. Do not get me wrong, you do need superstars in your company, but you also need the “blue-collar” people who can do the dirty work to have success. Also, you need these people who admire the leadership and the mission and values of the company to make you work for them.
According to Dan Pink, we are living in a Free Agent Nation, and he’s correct. However, I will take it one step further and this is where companies need to go. EVERYONE IS A FREE AGENT!!! At my last company when I announce that I was starting up my own company, they said the typical stuff, but then I heard that I should of mention I was interviewing for other HR jobs and they would like to assist on my search. If I were of known that, I would have mention I was job searching way earlier.
I do believe both employee and employer do need to be transparent and communicate about the next step. Of course, the number one issue will be money and that makes it very complicated, but if the worker cares about is getting a raise and get a bonus, then that person would have to look elsewhere if he cares is a paycheck. My belief is that there’s a match somewhere for every employee or job seeker here. It is also the company’s responsibility to be open to their employees of what they are and this is where there’s a huge disconnect because they assume people chose to be here and they did, but it could be many reasons why they selected the company. The other side of the argument is the variables of each job from corporate culture, the chemistry of the employees, and if this is for the short or long haul? I will say take it day-to-day. Employers are not expecting employees to stay there for a long time, but it’s their responsibility to make employees comfortable during their time and it’s the individual who decides if they are doing enough for the company or themselves.
You are thinking this is a radical idea of overhauling the old business system. You’re right. The reason for the downturn in the economy and employment is that we believe too much of our leaders and executives will fix anything, have all the answers, and our guard will never let us down. However in most cases, it did and now everyone is scrambling for answers. There is one answer to solve all these problems: YOU. You need to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, your networks, your passions and interests, and your beliefs and values. If you answer all these questions, you’re prepared to jump back in the job market and find a job that you want. For the economy to rebound it’s you that dictates the market and companies will be looking for a leader or a contributor to help their company. The final answer will always be you if you want the job. That’s why 2006 Time’s Person of the Year is You. Like every answer in physics is inertia, every answer to the economy and businesses is YOU; don’t forget it.