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Not many people predicted the pandemic would do this, but the pandemic accelerated the change. It didn’t necessarily create it, which is what companies think. They’re still operating… their mindset is, “if only the pandemic would go away, if only people would get vaccinated, if only people would wear masks,” and that would certainly reduce the problem. But it doesn’t eliminate it. There’d still be more jobs than people.
Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we talk about embracing joy in the workplace. I’m Susan White, owner of Susan Tinder White Consulting, an HR consulting practice. With me is my co-host and dear friend JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink, a large HR consulting firm.
Our topic today is recruiting in the age of googlization. Our guest today is Ira Wolfe, actually the author of “Recruiting in the Age of Googlization.” Ira Wolfe describes himself as a millennial trapped in a baby boomer body. Ira was named one of the top 100 HR influencers for 2021. He is President of the Poised for the Future Company, a founder of Success Performance Solutions, a TEDx speaker, a top five global thought leader on future of work and HR, and author of “Recruiting in the Age of Googlization,” and host of the Geeks Geezers Googlization podcast. Ira, welcome. We are so glad that you’re here.
Hey, thanks for having me. It’s an absolute pleasure.
Congratulations on Geeks Geezers and Googlization being selected as one of the top 50 podcasts to listen to in 2021.
Doing a podcast… It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of fun, it’s a lot of work. And so I really, really appreciate that recognition.
And Ira, how do you define googlization?
Well, that’s a pretty common question I get. It’s the convergence of people, technology, and business. And I’ve been talking about googlization since 2008, and it actually just started as an alliteration. I wrote a book called geeks… and it was about two generations, and it was about geeks and geezers, but that title was already taken. And so it was going to be geeks, geezers, and technology, how technology was going to change the world, and somewhere, you know, one of those shower moments when you get this idea. [Laughs]
Yeah, you hear about something and… I don’t even remember what it was, but it was like, “Geeks, Geezers, Googlization.” And it’s turned out to be very, very, very true. [Laughs]
That’s wonderful. Gosh, I have shower moments, too, but then I don’t have a pen and paper. By the time I get out and dry off, I forget them. So good for you.
Yeah, those forgetful moments seem to be getting more common. [Laughs]
We hear you.
So we see this everywhere, but we would love your input, Ira, on why do you think companies are having such a tough time hiring workers?
That sort of goes pre-googlization. My first book, my first coined term, to get my point across, was called “The Perfect Labor Storm.” And the perfect labor storm was for… well, we’ll assume you guys were around in the business back then, 1999, 19… late, late 1990s. We had a similar time. There was a shortage of people, but it wasn’t because there was a shortage – well, there wasn’t a shortage of the number of people, because the millennials were starting to come into the workforce. It was a shortage of skills. And they just… there were so many jobs being created that they couldn’t hire enough people at any given time. And that’s… we predicted – going back to even McKinsey 1992 about the war for talent – that there would be demographic changes, social changes, technological changes, business changes, everything was going to change. And the types of jobs that we would have would be very different from the available skill sets, from people, from mobility, from geography. It would just all kind of converge, and that was what the perfect labor storm was. And then that evolved into the googlization. But ultimately, there’s no surprise there. Just give you two examples. We currently have – and this was just written up a week ago in the Wall Street Journal – we just did a report, nothing new to us who have been following it, but the participation rate for men has been falling for 40 years.
The number of men in the workplace has been falling for 40 years. The number of men going to college has been falling for 50 years. So fortunately for you, you guys, women picked up the slack. But you sort of…you basically hid the problem. Because as men were not getting educated and fewer and fewer men were working – participating the workforce – women, the participation rate doubled over 50 years.
So what are men doing?
But it’s part of it. Yeah, I mean, it’s just the hard truth.
Women live longer than men. The incarceration rate, there’s 2 million people incarcerated – working age people incarcerated. Many of them are men. And there’s close to a million people that are addicted to opioids, so you have that going on. And then a lot of men are unemployed, because a lot of the jobs are manual and blue collar jobs anymore. But on top of that, you know, looking at currently, not only has the male rate dropped, the female participation rate over the recession has dropped from 61% to 52%. So you have the “she-cession.” And until we have safety, until women aren’t the primary caregivers, until we have childcare, and just careers, just is it worth it for me? What are my priorities? What’s my well being? You know, when are women going to come back in droves into the workplace? And certainly, companies that are making decisions to go completely on-site, on physical site, and not hybrid or virtual is eliminating people who aren’t willing to go back and do that. Some people just don’t. “I’m not going to spend two hours a day in my car commuting five days a week, it’s just not gonna happen.” So that’s all got to be fleshed out, you know. Is it going to stay 52%? No, it’s probably going to come back. But overall, the number of jobs that are available now, and especially because of the pandemic, there’s very, very few jobs that don’t require some functionally digital skills. And that eliminates a lot of… a lot of people. The other thing is we’ve been talking about – I’m an older baby boomer, I have, you know, most of my… my peers are… are retired, or some are long retired.We were just hanging on. I mean, people were just continuing to work, they just didn’t know what else to do with their lives, because that’s what they did. And then the pandemic hit, and the exodus of baby boomers, which we’ve been predicting for 20 years, came upon us. So there’s just fewer people working, and then there’s fewer people with the skills that we need. And it’s no surprise, it just happened to be accelerated and came to an abrupt point. Not many people predicted the pandemic would do this, but the pandemic accelerated the change. It didn’t necessarily create it, which is what companies think. They’re still operating… their mindset is, “if only the pandemic could go away, if only people would get vaccinated, if only people would wear masks,” and that would certainly reduce the problem. But it doesn’t eliminate it. There’d still be more jobs than people.
Right. So many interesting data points on that, Ira. I love your knowledge of all of that. But one in particular that was fascinating to me was about the number of men going to college. I feel like I keep reading about the percentage of women going to college is much higher. I never thought about it being a result in some extent of not just truly that the percentage of women is more, but that the men are going down. Right? Which is forcing that women percentage up.
Yeah, I mean, it’s been pretty significant. I mean, the percentage of men in the workplace was in the 70s, you know, going back into the 40s. But that’s been declining, and even in the peak a few years ago, pre-pandemic, but even, you know, 10 years ago, it was about 67%. So it was still 5, 6% higher than women. But it’s, you know, it just fell apart last year. And again, you know, what were the reasons? Incarcerations, opioid, baby boomers. I mean, if baby boomers were… if males were the predominant participants in the workforce, not as much as our grandparents and our predecessors, but there were still fewer men and more women. And then we lost both during the recession.
Interesting. So Ira, if we focus on hiring for a minute, how can companies avoid making some of the most common hiring mistakes?
Well, one is… it’s just awareness that it’s hard. I mean, so you need to become better at it. And there’s so many people that are now trying to develop these best practices to… you know, we were talking about the SHRM Conferences and conferences coming back, and certainly talent acquisition and recruitment and engagement and candidate experience – they’re all hot topics. Everybody wants to do it, but they want a quick fix. And… and there’s no piece of technology. You know, I don’t… can’t tell you how many times somebody says, “Well, what do you think about chat? What do you think about text?” Those are nice solutions. They’re essential solutions, but they’re not going to solve the problem. So one is I think people have to accept this is going to be really, really hard. And we just can’t provide words. We can’t just throw a few bucks at it. It’s got to become… just like if you were in, you know, you’re in the production business, you’re in the automotive business and you can’t find semiconductors. What do you do? You’re either going to shut down, or you need to change your production, or you’re going to find an alternative source. And that’s exactly what’s happening. So there are some companies that are starting to look at, What can we automate? What are the skill sets? There was just a new report that came out, and I love what they called it. And I’ll also give credit to Chris Havrilla and… she’s a very popular speaker with SHRM, and she talks about, we really should stop talking about talent acquisition. It’s not like, “where do we pick up these pieces?” But talent access. How do we access this? And McKinsey just released a report maybe a month ago or so, and they call them “DELTAs.” And the DELTAs are distinct elements of talent. And they identified the distinct elements of talent, which is called a DELTA. And what they are, they’re specific skills that make people employable. They lead to job satisfaction, they lead to productivity. And those skills aren’t the hard skills. That’s not what’s being taught. It’s all the soft skills. So I’m a huge proponent of adaptability. It’s one of my personal passions, and we talk about that a lot. And it’s beyond just grit and resilience and flexibility. I mean, it’s really much more sophisticated. It’s like emotional intelligence. It’s not just somebody who has empathy. You can have empathy, and not necessarily… you have higher emotional intelligence than somebody else who doesn’t have it, but it doesn’t just mean because you have… you’re empathetic and caring that you’re good, you have high EQ. And the same thing’s happening now. Moving forward, we need AQ. So essentially, companies need to become better at hiring people with EQ and AQ. But it needs to go much further. Schools need to basically change the whole curriculum, which is going to be a huge ship [laughs] to turn around, because they’re still measuring achievement tests and the whole process is still geared to, you know, how someone learns history and social studies and English. But that doesn’t necessarily prepare them for work. Here’s another ironic thing. We talked about that we need more people with advanced education. But there’s 1.5 fewer students enrolled in college now than there was five years ago. Now, not everyone needs to go to a four year school, so we can take that off the table. But they need education, because what this McKinsey study revealed was people who have advanced education – and they did look at four year degrees – but people who have an advanced education, so that could be an associate degree, could be a vo-tech school, but some type of education, have a higher likelihood of employment, higher levels of job satisfaction. So the education process, when it’s done well, doesn’t necessarily just prepare people to do a job, because a job may not exist two or three years from now. It prepares people to be employed. So companies need to change the way they hire people, from the candidate experience, from the technology, from where can we find the talent – and not people talent, but skills. Looking at talent, what are the 15 or 20 skills we need? What are the bundles of skills that would help somebody become successful in the job? And the other thing that they pointed out was – and we’ve been talking about this for years, anybody who’s ever in HR, who’s done consulting, job analysis, competencies. We look at bundles. We look at certain competencies that are transferable. Then they gave a great example… I was listening to a book that I highly recommend. It’s called “Adaptation Advantage.” And they talk a lot about this. In “The Adaptation Advantage,” they talk about accountants in banks, that accounting jobs are just going away. I mean, they’re basically… being an accountant in a bank is [laughs] a dangerous position to be in.
More than even bank tellers. But what does a bank need? It needs cybersecurity, right?
The skill sets… the soft skill sets, not the bookkeeping and the financial aspects, but the skills that people apply to accounting – critical thinking being one of them – is a transferable skill. So if you could teach somebody the basics of cybersecurity and they were an accountant, they could easily move over to that position. So that’s a good path for re-skilling or upskilling, which… whichever, depending on what way you want to look at it. But there’s so many other jobs, they recognize that there’s bundles of jobs, and there’s maybe 13 to 15 jobs within that bundle. So if people have those competencies, those DELTAs, and you can identify what those DELTAs are, what the distinct elements of talents are, that you can then move people from one position to another. So think about this. Not only has the pandemic now allowed us to hire remotely, hire anywhere in the world for the people that you need, so it’s broadened that if people can get out of their own way and think about a hybrid workforce. So if you can hire people anywhere, and then you can also go into other jobs or other careers, other industries of people that were doing another job, and now they say, “listen, we may have to train them for a year on the basics, on the elements, on those hard skills and that explicit knowledge that we can do. But, boy, if they have that skill set, if we bought them new tools to work with, they’re gonna run with it, they’re just gonna walk into that role.”
Ira, I love that, not only for the fact that it expands your talent pool exponentially, but I think about in my corporate life. I spent a lot of time doing ramp ups and a lot of time doing ramp downs. And we always talked about “this is nuts, we spent all this money and time to build this call center in XYZ city and now we’re gonna take 4,000 people, lay them off, and then somewhere else in the world, we’re trying to hire 8,000 people.” We always talked – “let’s redeploy the talent.” They’re like, “Oh, we can’t do it.” If I think we follow that idea about the DELTA, and really get serious about it. For employers, don’t let people go if you know they’re dependable, you know that they’re honest. Think about their skill sets, and how do you redeploy them as to jobs where you need them in the future?
And there are good tools out there to be able to do that. I mean, we’ve been talking about the talent assessment for years. I mean, that’s my business. That’s what we do. So obviously, I have a bias for that. But companies have been talking about measuring the talent that they have, and they… and it still always ends back to education, the degrees that they have, what’s the verification. And now it’s really got to come to we need… What are the badges? How have people demonstrated collaboration and teamwork and empathy and adaptability? The performance reviews are still, you know, based on what skills that they demonstrate through the year, but the skills that they’re talking about are generally technical skills, because it really is harder – it’s not hard, but it’s harder – to measure the soft stuff. So, you know… But we’re currently working with a tool. It’s a science, actually, behind them that they studied in how do you measure grit and how do you measure resilience, how do you measure mental flexibility, and I love the one, it’s called “unlearning.” And, you know, it’s interesting, because we still have this work ethic issue. You know, people who are willing to put their nose to the grindstone, people get hired on that. No pain, no gain, you know, it’s hard, but at the end of the road, you’ll benefit from it. The problem with grit is that the only correlated ability to it is a negative correlation, and it’s unlearning. So people who have grit tend to refuse to unlearn the bad behaviors. It’s not a purely negative one, but it’s… it’s pretty significant. So people who rely on grit, showing up, persevering, enduring, people who come to work sick – and in the last year, that’s become a huge problem – but prior to 2019, people who came to work sick were “loyal.” Those were the people that we… we want more of, and they had grit, and then you go, you know, “But we need to change your behavior. We’re gonna start working from home.” And they go, “But we don’t want to work from home. We want to keep doing what we’ve always done and expect a different result.”
Yeah, so there’s science that says, listen, too much grit is bad when you want to change somebody’s behavior. If we’re… lived in a world where you can keep doing over and over and over again exactly what we’ve always done and get a better result, then perfect. But since that’s not our world and it probably will never be that world again, we need to retrain people, but we hired people with grit. And you reward it and all the compensation and benefits are based on grit. Accumulating sick days, you know, how many people have unused vacation days and sick days, and we would reward people for that, because they would never take off and they were always there. And that’s come back to bite us on more than one way. One, not just wellbeing, but now that we’re… we have to turn the ship around, they say, “No, we don’t like that direction. We’re gonna keep going off the cliff.”
“It always worked for us before, we want to keep doing it.” I always say that if you want to hire the best talent out there, you got to move quickly. I always say move quickly to hire the best, if you don’t, you’re gonna hire the rest. So what are some ways that companies reach talent faster today?
As much as we talked about technology sort of being the problem, because it’s definitely hurt the candidate experience because it’s become more remote, has become more automatic. People tend to want to put the hiring process, the access to talent, the screening process, put it on autopilot. Let’s let an algorithm determine, let’s let keywords screen out the resume. As much as we rely on technology, it’s made a worse candidate experience. So one is just changing the mindset. Technology should automate what it can, but it should allow more time that you can get to the people who are qualified faster, which goes back to our DELTAs. What does that mean? It’s not a bunch of keywords, it’s not how many years of experience somebody has, it’s not what college degree they had, and it may be 20 years old, and with the knowledge they had, you know, what have they learned, so they have to change the criteria. Number one, they have to use technology intentionally. You know, I have a slide in my presentations, that’s a Jenga tower, if you… if you’re familiar with the game Jenga, and, you know, you would pull out a piece and try to stack it. And that’s what an HR stack looks like. That’s what people have done. They have a legacy ATS, and it was built for a day when it’s, How can we make this easier for employers to process it, to automate it? And the problem is that damaged the candidate resentment significantly. Going back to your question, Susan, The Talent Board does a great job at identifying what are the key reasons that candidates either don’t apply, or they drop out of the hiring process once they show an interest. So I click to apply, and then I get fed up with the whole process. Number one of the top three happens to be it just takes too long. So we talk about eliminating the HR black hole. You can’t go to people, you just can’t send them some cold and corporate response. “Thank you for applying for my message. And we’ll get back to you, you know, if we have time.” And it could be days, weeks, months, or never.
I hate that.
It’s this… been this way, I’ve been talking about candidate experience for the last five years, ever since my book came out, the “Recruiting in the Age of Googlization.” And we talk about… every time, I say “How many people have applied for a job in the last year, two years, and never heard from a company?” And all these hands go up. This is HR. And I say, “How many companies didn’t you hear from?” and it’s, like, most of them. And then people said they applied for 25 jobs and they heard from two companies. So part of the process is it’s not how do you speed it up. Don’t lose the people. I mean, frankly, is you can’t have up to 90% of candidates who say “I’d like to work for your company, let me click to apply,” and then either because it took too long or worse, because your application is a leftover from 1970…
…and we’re still with that, “yeah, we care about diversity.” Think about this. “We are committed to diversity and inclusion and equity.” So… so let’s start with the equity part. The equity part is “We don’t share our salaries in our job ads. We don’t reveal that.” Why? Because it’s not equitable. So you can’t say that we promote equity, because we’re not transparent at all in what we pay people, and we’re just gonna throw bonuses at them. But the second biggest challenge is every application, what’s the first thing that they ask for? Your first name and your last name. Every application, the first introduction of conscious bias comes the very first time somebody says, “Let me apply.” And even if you use LinkedIn or some other native apply system, the very first things we get to know about a person – which does not qualify them, and in fact, it may disqualify them, because of conscious bias – is let’s get their name, let’s get their address, where they went to school, all those things, the name of the school. Not what they learned in school, but the name of the school – so if I went to Howard University, the chances are I’m a African American, I’m a person of color. Now, what do we have? The first name, the last name, where they grew up, and their school. But we promote diversity and inclusion, but we don’t really train our managers to differentiate that. Or we still use keywords that exclude people. So how do you find people? Number one is there’s fewer people with the skills that we need, so just realize we have a shortage of supply. Don’t be stupid. I mean, I just… it’s like, there’s a zero tolerance for stupidity anymore in recruitment. And the whole process, beginning with first name, last name, how you apply the technologies… Evaluate the ATS. Just because it’s the biggest, there’s thousands of users, and it’s recommended by other people in your industry doesn’t mean it’s good in this environment. Maybe it was working for them. Maybe they do a whole lot of other things that compensate for it. Maybe they train their managers how to interview, which is a novel idea, maybe they train their managers. [Laughs]
Maybe they’ve spent money on looking at at DELTAs and competencies. You know, maybe they really do believe they walk the talk, and when they talk about EQ and AQ and other things, they actually believe that, it’s just not a poster on the wall. People just, like, need to become smarter, or maybe just less stupid. You know, I always leave… my presentations are always drinking out of a fire hydrant, you know, if I have an hour, it’s fast, if I have five hours, I still don’t cover everything. But I always leave at the end, and I say, “There’s a ton of material and it could be intimidating, but the one thing is, the bar is so low. I mean, it really is a bad process. The hiring, talent acquisition, recruitment process has so much room for improvement that the bar’s so low that you can fall over it. So it doesn’t take a lot, just do one step at a time. I think just being self-aware that the system’s broken, and we’re going to improve it, and with a focus on what can we do to make this a better candidate experience.” The other important part is, and again, this is sometimes just in concept, is that, you know, we talked about employee selection, but it really is an employee rejection process. If you have 100 applicants, 99 get rejected. And we do a really, really bad job in HR and companies and beyond HR of how do you deal with all the rejections. And you think about that… the number of people that go to Amazon and follow Amazon’s model. The number of people that go to Amazon, and if they don’t click on something, it’s not that they go, “Oh, they’re lousy customer. They’re not interested.” They basically know everything about us. They know, Where else did we click? How long did we click? How long did it take us to make this decision? What products did we buy? What other products did we buy? They study, they learn about us, they learn about us as people, what we like, what we don’t like, when we like to do it, and then they utilize that data to create a better experience. What does HR do? Get an application, don’t get hired, you know, let them know where you let them know by a cold and corporate message. And then three months later, the position opens up and you start the whole cycle again.
Yeah. Ira, my gosh, this is so much good information. I think, as you just mentioned there, however long you have – right?
– there’s still so much more information. I love that thought of, is it about employee selection… Or, candidate selection or candidate rejection, specifically. But how can our listeners reach out to you directly, if they want to learn more? Number one, I would say they need to get your book.
Yep, there it is. [Laughs]
Yeah. And where can they find your book? And then how could they reach out to you?
Well, if you want it fast, meaning overnight, you can go to Amazon…
[Laughs]…especially if you’re on Prime. If you’d like a signed copy, then you can go to my website, and actually, you can go to bestHRbook.com.
And, you know, I’ll send you a signed copy of that. And, you know, sticking with Google, if you just put my name in – Ira Wolfe or Ira S. Wolfe – I show up many, many places on Google for many, many different reasons. Certainly, I’m on LinkedIn, I’m on LinkedIn quite a lot. So love to connect with everybody that’s out there. And then my company website, which is successperformancesolutions.com.
Nice. Wonderful. We’ll put those references in our show notes.
Thank you so much, Ira. It’s really been a pleasure.
It has absolutely been. Thanks. Stay safe, guys.
Susan, one of our listeners wrote in recently that she’s struggling to overcome the challenge of talent acquisition in the remote work era. Specifically, she said that her company prefers employees to work on site, and they have had a tremendous challenge to attract candidates in the midst of “The Great Resignation” in the summer and fall of 2021. This listener asked, what can she do?
I have heard this concern from so many people – HR professionals and business owners – that with the pandemic, so many office workers were forced to work from home and found they really loved it. And so now that they’re trying to get people back into the workplace, and sometimes full-time, it has been a real challenge. And when they’ve got a leadership team that’s not open to a hybrid model, that’s a real valid struggle. So I guess the very first thing I would say is retention. Retain in order to gain. So I would really sit down with our leaders and say… and I would educate them on the on the “Great Resignation” that many companies are experiencing right now. Let’s figure out what we can do to nail the feet of our employees to the floor, as many as we can. And that means we need to really connect and understand what are they thinking. You know, we talk about stay interviews a lot and why it’s so valuable talk to your employees while they’re with you. I definitely would do that about the return to work. What are your employees worried about? What are your employees thinking? Are they now realizing that they really love this balance of working from home and in the office? If so, what can we creatively do to meet them halfway or meet them somewhere along the path? So I would absolutely put some emphasis on retention first. But let’s go to number two, which is really your question. Hey, we need to hire new talent, and we are struggling to get people who won’t come in or won’t come in full-time. I think, again, it’s back to educating your leadership that in this talent war that everyone is engaged in, we really need to figure out… Are we making people come into the office because we like it better, or is it because the work really demands it? There is work that absolutely demands it. If you are going to providing healthcare services, you’ve got to be right there with the patient. But is it that you’re filing forms or doing something that does not mean that you have to be sitting in a work circle or an open environment where everybody can stop by and see you? So I think it’s educating them, and then I guess, JoDee, I would love any thoughts you have about how do we attract talent if, for the jobs, we absolutely need to have people in the workplace. You know, there’s a lot of things that people are doing, trying to be more creative, focus more on wooing candidates to your brand before you even ask them to start filling out a long, complicated application. It’s being really more visible in the market, talent marketplace, and I think just getting more creative. But JoDee, I know this is kind of a good wheelhouse that Purple Ink is involved in. What ideas do you have?
Yeah, I think the number one thing I liked about what you said is you said the word “creative” several times. And I think we have to be really creative here and, yeah, really think about whether or not they have to be live. But if, ultimately, the owner, the leadership team says you have to be live here, then… I’ve seen some surveys that have said many people, really… they say they want to work from home, when really their number one feeling is they want flexibility, and that the flexibility itself is more important than working from home. So is there a way, if someone says you have to be here to get your work done… Can you flex your work hours? Can you have people work four days a week? Can you shift the schedules or the work time differently that will give people more flexibility to work differently? And that might be another solution that could work for both sides.
I think that’s great. You know, as an anecdotal, I was with a group of people yesterday, and one of their son-in-laws just got a job. And the father-in-law was just thrilled, because they’re temporarily living all together, and so he’s like, “All right, now my son-in-law has a job, he’s going to move out.” The fact is, he got two offers on Friday, and he’s like a… gosh, I’m going to say some type of an engineer. And between the two jobs, both of them were going to start virtually, but one said, “We’re not sure if we’re gonna be able to keep you virtual, and so there’ll be some point we may need for you to move to Denver.” And so he immediately took that one off the table, accepted the job that is 100% virtual. And so I don’t know… that’s anecdotal, but we all have to recognize it’s a differentiator for us. Where we have some opportunity to be flexible, we really need to think about it.
Yeah, I know on our Purple Ink recruiting team, I keep hearing that the number one question that candidates are asking is, “Can I work remote? Can I work hybrid? How much of the time can I work remotely?” So…
JoDee, it’s time for in the news, Heidrick & Struggles, a highly regarded provider of senior level executive search, culture shaping, and leadership consulting services, released in 2019 a “Creating Next Generation Chief HR Officers” document written by Rachel Farley and Brad Warga for anyone who would like to download it. Rachel and Brad are in Heidrick & Struggles’ Human Resources Officers Practice, and Brad is also in their Digital Officers Practice. It is really a great read. They shared seven trends they see HR professionals facing today that are reshaping the world of work. JoDee, why don’t you share the first one?
Number one is the rise of automation and artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital, the cloud, and big data are radically changing the nature of the work. I keep hearing, too, in this time where it’s difficult to find employers that companies are actually looking for every single thing they can do to use artificial intelligence and machine learning, because they’re having to replace people in the shop. So in every… you know, I’ve heard McDonald’s now, in some locations, can practically do their entire service model without a person.
Wow. I don’t know if I really want to ask for fries with that…
…to a machine. But you know what, we… it’s true. So we have to recognize anything that can be automated, probably will be automated.
Interesting. The number two trend, multi-generational workforce. Now, we’ve been talking about this for a long time, but very soon, we’re going to have more than five generations actively working in the workplace, each with different mindsets, work habits, expectations, life experiences. And we, as employers, you know, it’s not a once and done. You didn’t learn about millennials and now we understand how to work with people. The fact is, we’ve got Gen Z’s that are very active and very different than millennials, and we still have baby boomers like me out there working, and Gen Xers, so it’s really, I think, appreciating people’s diversity, where they come from, and making sure we’re connecting one on one.
Right. Number three, the rise of the gig economy, and that remote work is the new norm. Currently, as much as 40% of the workforce could be independent contractors. I think that one in particular is really one to watch. You know, there was a huge surge in the gig economy, and then during the pandemic, it actually went down early on, and now it’s rising back up again. So we also have to be prepared for that. What positions make most sense for us to do that, and to be able to attract the right candidates in whatever form they might be, right? Whether it’s gig workers or employees.
Flexibility on our part is really important. Number four trend is global disruption. I think we could all speak to that really well, having lived through and currently in a pandemic. There’s climate change that continues to happen, that has huge impacts on the world of work, economic disruption, political unrest, they’re all creating levels of uncertainty about global operating conditions.
Number five, instantaneous information sharing. We’ve been working in this world for a bit, too, but it looks to only become more and more so, where employees have new expectations for how information will be shared and used on social media in a 24/7 world. Right?
Yes. You know, sometimes, you know, TMI is so true, but we have to recognize our employees want to know things, they want to know it now, they want to hear it from us. So I think that’s a challenge for all of us. Number six, intensified war for talent. Leaders who are able to excel in volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous markets and compress with rapidly accelerating timeframes are in short supply and strong demand. Exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point. Very true.
Right. [Laughs] And number seven, it’s not just about diversity, but inclusion. The pressure is intensifying to accelerate progress and creating not only a genuinely diverse workforce, but also a truly inclusive culture. And now Johnny C. Taylor, the CEO of SHRM, I heard him… We both heard him speak a few months ago, and he talked about diversity is coming. The younger generations are more diverse, and that one will be coming. Not that we shouldn’t be proactive about it, but that inclusiveness is really our key.
And now we… I think we all understand that we want to add equity to diversity and inclusion, making sure that we’re really taking a look at what is equity for people. It’s not doing everything the same. So I think it’s exciting time and I think that all of us need to be really thinking about staying current with what’s happening so we are prepared to face any of the issues that head our way. To get the full document, you can go to heidrick.com – that’s H-E-I-D-R-I-C-K dot com – and search for “Creating Next Generation CHROs” or use the link that will go into the show notes. Thank you so much. Have a JoyPowered® day.
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