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Skills Gap? How About the “Great Company Gap?”

The “Great Company Gap”: Your Talent Acquisition and Management Experiences Are Broken

Hey, what’s the most important function of HR? If you said Recruiting then you should be on Jeopardy! Because you’re right. A company cannot function without people. Human Resources would simply be Resources without humans.  For all of your stuff (and by stuff I mean HR initiatives) to work, you need people. Getting the right people is tougher than ever thanks to the recession, government shutdowns, fiscal cliffs and the dreaded skills gap.

Here’s a dirty little secret; all of the high level processes that we talk about in HR; the technology that is going to sky-rocket our companies into the next phase of business – well all of that is just mostly euphoric dreaming. Most companies need everyday people which SOME label as low skill and low wage workers. From warehouse distribution, fast food, retail, truckers to public servants – America really runs on the average citizen looking to make a decent living. These people want to work for a company that is going to value them, offer stability, respect and a decent wage.

Let’s play with statistics now!

Reports say that anywhere from 60 to 70% of all employees are disengaged at work. Disengagement means many things but basically, it means employees don’t care about the company’s strategic plans. They’re simply collecting a check. This costs America $450 – $550 billion dollars annually. In addition, reports say that 70% of all employees are looking for new jobs right now – as you read this amazing article.

Why are employees disengaged and looking for better work? Well, again reports and studies say that the number one reason is the boss/coworkers; they don’t like them. Number two, is the job duties; they don’t like them. Number three, the company; they don’t like it. And finally number four, the pay; it sucks.

So YOU say that there is a talent or skills gap in the labor force. Is that true or do you not know how to attract and acquire skilled workers. Skilled workers will not work for bad companies – they don’t have to, they’re skilled. Most job candidates are frustrated with new companies when it comes to the compensation offer. Companies are still low balling candidates for various reasons, never mind that gas prices are up, inflation is up, and cost of living is on the rise, education costs are higher – MOST companies still make insulting offers to those that are well educated, skilled and talented. I guess the play is “there is so many other job seekers, why pay more?”

Skills Gap? How about the Great Company Gap?

Considering most companies are LEANING out their production costs, which means they are pushing this whole “Let’s do more with less” strategy. It’s about efficiency and I understand that but they pile on the duties and never compensate the employees for their additional efforts. Employees are tired of feeling undervalued so naturally, they look for better jobs, but the problem is not the Talent Gap in the labor force, it’s the High Performance Work Organization Gap or the Great Company Gap.

I’m coining a new phrase “The Great Company Gap” – there are fewer and fewer great companies to work for. Oh, you don’t believe me huh? I have several job seeking clients who have degrees, certifications and experience who will tell you that they have worked hard to be competitive and position themselves at the top of the applicant pool only to find mediocre companies with less than thrilling offers.

There are reasons for this; one being that truly great companies are full and receives thousands of resumes per open position.  Word of mouth gets around and employees of top companies will jump online and brag about their employment experience. So if there are open positions or not, resumes are submitted.

Another reason that there is a “Great Company Gap” is easy – there aren’t many great companies. Plain and simple. You think you are great, but you’re probably not. You are simply trying to ride the tail winds of the leader.  You don’t treat your employees with respect; you treat them as interchangeable parts that can be easily replaced. That’s not a great talent management strategy.

Whatever the reason, you are what you are, so please, just accept it and stop pretending that you want the best of the best because you don’t. You want a “just good enough” workforce, so you produce a “just good enough” product so you can be “just good enough” in the market place.

I’ve come to conclusion based on the way that you treat your current and perspective employees. “They don’t need more money”, “They don’t appreciate nothing”, “We can hire anyone to do this job”.  There are no engagement strategies, you don’t ask them what they think and you definitely do not use workforce analytics to make things better. If you don’t invest in your employees, why should they invest in you?

You want to fix what’s broken? Welll, have you looked at your recruitment process or is it handled through a third party – thus making it one step removed from your organization? Is the process easy and manageable or is it cumbersome which turns away top talent?  How are your training and onboarding processes? Or is it a learn as you go situation? What about your compensation structure? When was the last time you performed a salary analysis to rank your position in your industry? And more importantly, when was the last time you did something to position yourself as a leader – the company that everyone wants to work for?

To win the skill/talent gap you have to win the “Great Company Gap.”

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2 thoughts on “Skills Gap? How About the “Great Company Gap?”

  1. Hi Chris, really interesting post. Companies need to find ways to engage their employees and consider their career progression needs. This in turn will make create more confident and productive employees that will ultimately enhance business growth. I’ve been reading how offering certifications to staff can improve the skills gap and benefit both the staff and employers. It may be of interest to you? http://skillsboost.comptia.org/companies

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