By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR
Recently I spoke with a Director of Human Resources for a local Professional Employer Organization (PEO) during a networking event. She notified me that they were initiating a “Confidential” employment screening for a replacement Human Resources Manager and she asked if I knew anyone that may be interested. When I asked what happened to the incumbent, the response fell in-line with what is becoming the new standard. The Director stated the manager is currently still employed, but due to personality conflicts she may need to be “let go in a couple months.”
The hairs on the back of my neck stand when I hear comments such as these, so I asked three simple questions:
- Was the employee notified of a deficiency?
- Has the employee been placed on a plan for success?
- Did you attempt progressive discipline in attempts to correct behavior?
The answer to all three questions was a “no.” So, this employer is sourcing for talent for a “what if” scenario that they are not interested in pre-emptively correcting. I personally see a moral and ethical breach on the part of the employer; however, things are always difficult to truly judge external to the organization. I bring this up because of employee and employer loyalty, both appear to be heading for extinction.
Recruiters will tell you 73% of people currently employed are open to exploring new employment possibilities. Conversely, if a recruiter contacts an organization having no current vacancies, may ask if they would like to “upgrade” any staff most will say yes. This employee and employer loyalty model has driven the median tenure rate to below 4.2 years according to the 2016 Department of Labor Statistics. The trend is expected to continue its downward spiral unless there is a drastic change in employment ideology.
If the employee and employer relationship is a problem, then certainly one of its associated symptoms is its effect on recruitment. Once a profession that once struck lifetime relationships, it was once possible to help the very same person through every transition of an employee’s career. For example, my grandfather worked for DuPont for 35 years until retirement. His two brothers had similar tenures with the same employer, and one of them worked his way from a blue-collar, non-exempt position to an executive. They all had living wages, promotions and enviable benefits by today’s standards.
This was yesteryear, recruiting is lucrative but it is also extremely competitive as a profession. Those that hustle make top dollar, and that’s generally only are placing 5% – 10% of inventory. Notice I used the word inventory instead of “Human Capital.” Top performers can’t be bothered with the 90% that is not hirable by organizations and they generate the most maintenance in terms of customer service. So, what do they do? Forget about the lost 90% and move on, no need for phone calls, feedback letters, or follow-ups.
Look at the horizon and wait until the internet giants awake from their slumber and begin capitalizing in the recruiting space. Imagine the disruption of the industry if Google, Facebook, and Microsoft go all in competing for market share. Don’t think they will try? Google is ramping up now. Imagine the power of Google AdSense’s targeted ads but think in terms of employment. Picture it, potential candidates surfing their favorite websites and instead of receiving a targeted ad they receive a targeted employment invitation. An open job, which they meet all qualifications, and need they only hit one click. Boutique recruitment firms would have to up their game to compete even in niche markets. I mean who could target better than google?
I can’t help but wonder if that increased level of technological innovation would help the employee-employer relationship or further exacerbate the problem. Would easier access to jobs and an expedited hiring process decrease average tenure due to increased availability? Or would it make finding the candidate’s dream job an easier reality thereby increasing our employee and employer loyalty relationship? What do you think?