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HR Matters // A Newsletter On: Creating exceptional workplaces and extraordinary results

I’ve spent the past several weeks meeting with CEOs and executives who attended my Executive Breakfast on How to Create a Solar System of Talent. These executives recognize that ideas without execution are useless. I’m here to help. Contact me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com or by phone at 413-582-1840 for a complimentary thirty-minute conversation on three things you can to do today to start your New Year off with a bang!

Number of Job Openings Hits Thirteen–Year High

The WSJ recently reported that job openings hit a thirteen–year high in August, a sign this year’s strong job growth could stretch into the fall and beyond. According to the Labor Department, employers had 4.84 million open positions in August, up from 4.61 million in July, and the highest level since 2001.

That’s just part of the story, as there are a whole slew of organizations actively looking for employees to replace poor performers or those who will be retiring in the not-so-distant future. That means there are even more so-called vacancies in play here.

At the same time, steady job creation has decreased the number of job seekers. In August, there were just under two unemployed workers per job opening, the lowest level since the recession. Just five years ago, that figure was nearly seven.

Yet many companies continue to operate as if nothing has changed, even though they are struggling to fill job openings. The numbers don’t lie. A lot has changed since the recession, and so must you if your company is going to take advantage of all the opportunities available in this post-recession economy.

Here are three things you can immediately do to fill vacancies.

  1. Use contract or temp labor. The use of contract and temp labor is a great way to evaluate workers before putting them on your payroll. Make job offers to those who demonstrate they are the right fit for your organization. This approach gives you some breathing room and allows you to avoid the deadly mistake of offering the wrong person the job so you can finally get the position filled.
  2. Look within. Today’s worker is looking for more than a job. He or she wants an experience. Lots of people during the recession took jobs because they needed money. Some were overqualified and may not have tooted their horns as loudly, for fear that they would not have been hired. Mine your employee database to see if there is gold in there. Look internally to see if you have workers who can fill some of these vacancies or if they have the skills and capacity to take on more responsibility.
  3. Post your job openings on your website. You’d be surprised how many job openings never get posted on the company website. The HR team is overwhelmed or the process is too complicated, so nothing happens. Hire a college student, intern, or your sixteen-year old daughter and assign this person the task of posting job vacancies on your company website. Do it today, before another day goes by.

Where Have All The Employees Gone?

I went to my local Lowe's Saturday night to sign a contract for a carpet installation in my home. (I guess they haven’t heard of the Internet or email.) I walked to the carpet area and no one was there; I went on a hunt to find some help. I walked almost the entire store and did not see one single person with a red vest, which indicates they work for Lowe’s. And if you've ever been in a Lowe's or a Home Depot, you know exactly how large those stores can be. I finally ended up at customer service, where there were three employees. I asked them if it would surprise them to know there wasn't one single person on the entire floor to help customers. They looked dazed and somewhat amused.

How many of your customers are having a similar experience at this very moment? Even one is too many. I understand the need to run lean, but this is plainly lousy management. If you want people to spend their money in your operation, then make sure there is someone there who can take their money. Next time, I’m heading to Home Depot where I will hopefully have a better experience.

Rules of Attraction: Your Monthly Tip on Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

Last month, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that women should trust “karma” instead of asking for pay raises. Nadella suggested that the “system” would reward their work. In the apology, Nadella said he was, “completely wrong.”

Well Nadella got one thing right. He was completely wrong.

Why? Because the “system” is flawed. Most reward systems are based on treating people equally. However, equal isn’t always fair. If I’m one of the top performing employees, and I receive one percent more in merit pay than an average performer, is that fair? If the system forces managers to rate everyone according to a bell curve, and I suffer because of this, is that fair?

I learned from an early age that if you want a raise, you have to ask for it. I was eighteen years old and working as a file clerk in a law firm and I went to my boss and asked him for a $20 per week pay raise. He said yes.

Every employee must learn how to advocate for him or herself. In my book Suddenly in Charge, I dedicated an entire chapter to the topic of How to Ask for a Raise and Actually Get It. I think I’ll send Nadella a copy so he can give it to his female employees now that he’s apologized.

For more tips on attracting and retaining top talent, download a copy of Talent Magnetism. Call us today at 413-582-1840 if you’d like to discuss applying these concepts to your organization.

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For more than 25 years, Roberta Matuson has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies, including Best Buy, New Balance, The Boston Beer Company, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent.

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