Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Finding Top Talent: Why The Problem?

There is a saying when it comes to psychiatry and it goes like this: When someone goes to a phychiatrist, the problem they present is never really the problem.
For example, if I go to a psychiatrist and tell him I have a problem with anger because of something at my job, it very seldom has anything to do with my job. It may have something to do with how I was raised, my experiences as a child, etc., that bring out this behavior.
I just read a report in Money Magazine where a group of CFO's said difficulty in attracting high quality employees is their the top concern.
Now, I hear this all the time. I even spout this out from time to time based on my experiences. I've been working with business owners for 16 years and they've always said this. It doesn't matter if unemployment is at 6% or 3%. Is it really that hard to find a quality employee these days?
If it is that hard, we need to have a "Come to Jesus" meeting as a society and start reworking how we are educating and raising our children.
Like the psychiatry example, I think the problem is really with employers, not the candidates. They don't know how to hire for the right positions and when they do hire, they don't have systems in place to help employees succeed. Every human being needs a successful system and help working in that system. I've had jobs where there was no system for management, much less the technicians performing the job.
I've been as guilty of this as anyone. I'm not always sure exactly who will do the best at a certain job (is it a self-starter or someone who is task-oriented). Most of the time, I want it all (and those folks are hard to come by).
There are thousands of folks willing and able to work and work extremely hard for employers. We, as employers, need to take a look at our job functions, and come up with a strategy to help our new hires succeed. There aren't too many individuals in life that don't want to succeed. Instead of hiring someone and expecting miracles, we need to set up a system to get folks on board and help them thrive.
The goal of every entrepreneur should be to set up a great system for every job so any employee (from high school graduate to college degreed validictorian) can walk in and succeed quickly.
Then again, maybe it's just easier to blame it all on a lack of good candidates.
--Ron Ameln, SBM