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Where is the Talent?
Experts are beginning to say the same thing: Where is the talent? Numerous reports have clearly documented the growing talent crunch in the United States and many other countries.
Through economic ups and downs for companies of all sizes, talent availability has remained a major issue. In April 2006 the National Federation of Independent Business reported that 31% of its members had one or more unfilled positions for which they could not find qualified applicants. In November 2008 as a world economic crisis dominated media headlines, 100 CEOs of top U.S. corporations still identified obtaining an educated workforce as one of their highest priorities.
Talent shortages are not confined to the United States. A 2008 Manpower Inc. Annual Talent Shortage Survey polled 43,000 employers in thirty- two nations and reports that "31% of employers worldwide are having difficulty filling positions due to the lack of suitable talent available in their markets."
What Is Causing the Talent Shortage?
Too many job-seekers lack literacy, experience, education, and specialized career training. A rising tide of applicants does not meet the minimum qualifications for an increasingly sophisticated world of work. The 2008 Manpower survey reported that the hardest-to-fill jobs worldwide included engineers, technicians, machinists, mechanics, and IT staff.
Over the next decade, the talent creation and distribution system will need to be seriously overhauled. Recruiting, retaining, and developing skilled people will become so challenging that increasing numbers of businesses will be forced out of existence.
How can businesses and the communities in which they operate best be mobilized to effect these changes? Community-based organizations (CBOs) or nongovernment organizations (NGOs) are being formed in the United States and many other nations to address the dramatic labor imbalance. What are these CBOs and NGOs doing? At least in part they are supporting training and education for the new global tech economy fashioned to the special needs of employers, communities, and the diverse talents of people in the workforce. To find talented people, businesses are increasing their commitment to higher-quality education across cities, regions, and nations in both the liberal arts and math and sciences to create a broader and deeper talent pipeline. They are also working with students as young as kindergarten-age to encourage them to consider careers in science and technology.
Businesses around the world have come to the conclusion that combining their expertise with that of CBOs and NGOs is the best way to create sustainable talent for the future. Everyone’s hands-on leadership can participate in some meaningful way.
Unlocking the Future
In the long run, the worldwide labor market will probably adjust to the three economic and cultural forces. But when will this adjustment be completed? What will be the ultimate cost for business? How many Americans will have higher wage jobs? Where can business begin to make these transitions? Who will provide the local community and business leadership? Why can we not just muddle through all this, as we have always done before?
Excerpts from Ed Gordon’s newest book Winning the Global Talent Showdown
Comments Made in the Year 1955!
Coaching Winning People
John Gagliardi has a ton of lessons you can learn, about leading and coaching people in your workplace. But it surprises him that anyone in the business world would be interested in what he has to say. John, football coach at St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN, since 1953, is the winningest college football coach in history — his college teams have won over 409 victories.
What have you learned in coaching sports that can help a manager in the workplace coach winning people?
What about empowering your employees? Reminded that "empowering" employees is one of the popular "in" strategies today, John again laughed, and said:
So, what are some of John’s (he prefers "John," not "coach" -- "I don’t
call my players "Player" do
He’s broken a lot of the "hustle, hustle, winning is everything" rules:
Excerpted from ETimePay Newsletter, 5/1/2009
Let us know which of these strategies you implement in your organization!
Teach With Technology
Learning expert Elliott Masie shares his take on using technology to create memorable learning events:
I went to an event at one of the very large consulting companies. I was the presenter and there were about 100 people in the room. Every one of them had their laptops open, and every one of them was hooked into a shared message board except me. As I'm facilitating the learning, the people in the room were all interacting with each other about what I was saying ... .[It was an] early concept of how you use technology and how you use the wisdom of the crowd.
What we are finding is that every technology has a sort of introductory phase where it's the early adopters playing with it. Then it becomes a high-fashion thing. I know people who are Twittering because they don't want to be accused of not Twittering. After awhile, it just becomes part of our world. But I'm really looking forward to when we get to the next stage, where they are just accepted. Then what we will do is choose to use them when they are appropriate.
People use technology without thinking about methodology. Let's say I get a GPS ... it's really good to get to some places that I've never been to before. But if I'm going to the grocery store that is three miles away, it's pretty stupid to punch this in my GPS. I've got this technology, but what is the methodology behind that technology? Technology used right accelerates the speed to solution. Technology allows you to do diversity without having to make it feel like diversity. If I'm good at building a social network, I don't have to think about diversity because my network is going to be diverse. Technology becomes a really powerful way of including people, including them in meetings, including them in decision making, including them in governance, and including them in learning. I want to see diversity in our organizations, but not because it's socially cool or politically correct. I want to see it because it's the best way to run organizations.
An organization has to also acknowledge that there are no walls anymore around learning events. Even though I may invite just 20 people ... there is a whole other world of people who aren't going to be at the event but who are going to influence, or be influenced, by the event.
Adapted from Associations Now, May 2009
Pay Staff at the Same Level the Same Salary. And When One Gets a Raise, They All Do.
by Joel Spolsky, co-founder and CEO of Fog Creek Software and host of the popular blog Joel on Software
What would happen if you got to work one day, went into the kitchen, and saw a list of your employees' salaries taped to the fridge? Would you freak out? Would you expect to find half of your staff weeping and the other half waiting with pitchforks outside your office door?
Because salary information is viewed as particularly sensitive, employers often go to great lengths to keep it under wraps. Some companies even make it a fireable offense for employees to compare salaries, or they write something into the standard employment contract prohibiting workers from disclosing their pay. (In the United States, this kind of rule is unenforceable, by the way, but some bosses hope their workers won't know that.) The trouble with keeping salaries a secret is that it's usually used as a way to avoid paying people fairly. And that's not good for employees -- or the company.
When my partner and I started Fog Creek Software, we knew that we wanted to create a pay scale that was objective and transparent. As I researched different systems, I found that a lot of employers tried to strike a balance between having a formulaic salary scale and one that was looser by setting a series of salary "ranges" for employees at every level of the organization. But this felt unfair to me. I wanted Fog Creek to have a salary scale that was as objective as possible. A manager would have absolutely no leeway when it came to setting a salary. And there would be only one salary per level.
After some digging, I found a Seattle-area software-consulting firm called Construx that had published on its website the outline of a decent professional ladder system (read about it at construx.com/?nid=244). It reminded me of the old pay system at Microsoft, which had worked pretty well when I was there. We used this model as a rough basis for our system, although we added some flourishes. I posted the first draft on my blog and got tons of great feedback, which I used to write up the second draft. The basic system has remained in place ever since.
In Fog Creek's system, every employee is assigned a level. Currently, these levels range from 8 (for a summer intern) to 16 (for me). Your level is calculated formulaically based on three factors: experience, scope of responsibility, and skill set. Once we determine your number, you make the same as every other employee at that level.
The experience part is pretty easy: It's based on the number of years of full-time experience you have in the field you're working in. No work done while you were still in school counts, and certain types of rote, menial work can never add up to more than a year of experience. If you worked as a receptionist for six years, for example, you aren't credited with six years of experience; I give you credit for one year.
Scope is pretty easy, too. Are you primarily helping someone else do his or her job? Do you have your own area of responsibility? Or are you running a whole product? We are able to define the scope of most jobs pretty objectively.
Quantifying skill is a little bit harder, but we still find it possible to define a fairly objective continuum from a newbie programmer ("Is learning the basic principles of software engineering; works under close supervision; not expected to write production code") to an expert programmer ("Has consistently had major success during participation in all aspects of small and large projects and has been essential to those projects' successes").
Once we defined our terms, we created a little chart that assigns a level based on an employee's experience, skill, and scope. Then, we created another chart that lists the base salaries for each level, and that's how we figure out how much an employee makes.
Once a year, my management team sits down, reviews every employee's work, and recalculates every employee's level. Then we look at competitive market salaries using online tools such as Salary.com and Glassdoor.com, and we consider our own knowledge of the job market from the past year of recruiting and make sure that the salaries we have at each level are exactly where we want them to be.
Because everyone at the same level gets the same salary -- no fudging -- we sometimes run into difficulty. One problem with our system reveals itself when we're pursuing an employee who wants to negotiate for a higher salary. Sometimes this occurs when we find a great person who is currently being paid a salary that, in our view, is way above market. And sometimes this occurs when a potential hire just expects a reasonable amount of back-and-forth over salary because almost every other employer he has ever worked for maintains ambiguous salary ranges and there is always room to get paid better if you negotiate well. We usually address these situations by guaranteeing the recruit a larger first-year bonus than he would normally get. Here's the thing: Fog Creek is extremely profitable, and we have a generous profit-sharing plan, so the "guaranteed first-year bonus" is almost always less than the employee's profit-sharing bonus would have been anyway.
Our system was put to the test over the past eight years when the labor market was tight. It's easy to see why: Suppose you hire 100 yak drivers at $10 an hour, but then the Tibetan economy heats up, and you have trouble finding more yak drivers. The market rate might rise to $15 an hour. The weak-kneed thing to do is to hire new employees at $15 and hope that the senior people don't discover that the rookies are making more money than they are.
This is technically called salary inversion and can lead to strife within an organization. It can also completely warp the relationships among managers, HR, and employees. This may seem ridiculous and sound apocryphal, but I actually once heard that managers at a major corporation told their key employees to quit and reapply for their old jobs, because the bureaucracy had made it nearly impossible to give them raises that reflected the competitive job market. At Fog Creek, we decided that the right thing to do when the labor market tightens is to give raises to everybody at the same level. This move can be painful and expensive, but the alternative is worse.
I can't guarantee that our system would hold up if margins were to erode, but I'm pretty sure that employees would be willing to accept slightly lower salaries as long as the system were transparent and fair, and it were clear what you needed to do to move up the ladder.
At the same time, if you hear a lot of griping about salaries, you shouldn't look just at your system for paying people. One thing I've learned from experience is that happy, motivated employees who are doing work they love and feel they are being treated as adults don't gripe about money unless their pay is egregiously unfair. If you hear a lot of complaints about salaries, I suspect that's probably a manifestation of a much bigger disease: Your employees aren't deriving enough personal satisfaction from their work, or they are miserable for other reasons.
It takes a lot of salary to make up for a cruel boss or a prisonlike workplace. And rather than adjusting pay, you might choose to focus on some nonmonetary ways to make employees happy. Happy employees make better products and provide better customer service and will make your company successful and profitable. And success allows you to pay workers better.
Excerpted from Inc. 4/09
June 28-July 1, 2009
July 1-3, 2009
August 15-18, 2009
November 6-8, 2009
January 14-17, 2010
Dick Knowdell’s Career Development Training
www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil has a list of hundreds of organizations that support the military. The Yellow Ribbon Fund is one such group and focuses on injured service members and their families.
PODCAST: MORE GREEN TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE OFFICE, http://www.Inc.com/keyword/jun08
EASY TO BE GREEN!
has great tips on green cleaning.
Going Green At Work
B.I.G. ON BOOKS is an organization that promotes literacy in underprivileged countries, primarily Africa, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia. You can donate books through most Rotary Clubs. B.I.G. also accepts cash donations. Send email to Steve Frantzich at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Kicking World Hunger is the biggest soccer juggle-a-thon in the world (uh, that we know of), much like a walk-a-thon, but more fun! Participants sign up to juggle a soccer ball thousands of times while raising money to provide hope for children and communities that desperately need it. http://www.firstgiving.com/kickingworldhunger
Charity Navigator (http://charitynavigator.org) is an in-depth, searchable guide to more than 5,000 charities worldwide that aims to encourage "intelligent giving". They rate charities based on their total expenses, revenues, and organizational capacity. If you want to give, but the recent slew of charity scandals has you feeling skeptical about where your money would go.
Take Pride T-Shirts (http://www.takepride.com) was founded by a group of friends who all share the belief that the more difficult the mission facing our military, the more deserving they are of our thanks and support. Each unique shirt design provides a glimpse into the life of a different US Service member who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and is hand silk-screened. The message of the shirts isn’t political, it's about acknowledging, celebrating, and taking pride in the spirit of young Americans who despite facing an extremely difficult job and unpleasant conditions, nonetheless strive to do their job well. Take Pride gives at least 20% of profits to charities and causes that assist combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Set a reminder to visit http://www.thebreastcancersite.com daily and click this button to help underprivileged women get mammograms.
volunteermatch.org helps you
find organizations in your area that spark your interest in volunteering.
Old Cell Phones
Recycle PCs, cell phones, printers, CDs diskettes, etc., with GreenDisk. For $29.95, they send a 70-pound-capacity box. When it’s full, you download postage from their website and ship it back. Your “junk” then goes to workshops for the disabled and are refurbished. http://www.greendisk.comm
Recycle PCs and other computer products at Hewlett Packard and Dell. See their websites for details.
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