Stock investors, like Warren Buffet, know that going against popular stock market and economic trends can be highly profitable when the market goes back up. The same philosophy applies to recruiting during a recession.
This recession has hit levels not seen in a generation. With the Obama administration considering one of the largest infrastructure packages in history, infrastructure and environmental firms have a choice: wait for the package to pass before hiring people or hire people strategically. History is a good teacher so let’s go back in time:
In 2001, Dr. Charles Greer, Timothy Ireland, John Wingender published a study “Contrarian Human Resource Investments and Financial Performance after Downturns”. While it did not create as big of a stir as “The War for Talent” , it did bring an interesting thought for business leaders to consider: Gaining a competitive advantage by strategic hiring in a downturn can lead to higher profits. The study offered compelling evidence that firms who engaged in this practice reaped higher financial returns during the economic recovery and expansion versus their competitors who did not.
If your firm is looking to gain an competitive advantage, market share and part of the stimulus package, here is a basic plan to do it:
Create a “fast track” rehire process for good employees lost through layoffs. Many may have knowledge and relationships that could benefit the firm. They also have a quicker ramp up time if you are positioning for stimulus work.
Create and implement a strategic recruiting plan to find and attract the best talent available. These people are the engines of any company in sales, engineering, research and other areas who can have an impact on your firm’s technical expertise or client relationships, once they have been fully integrated in the company.
If your Human Resource group is not properly aligned to engage in strategic recruiting, consider using an outside firm with expertise in your industry. Strong search firms usually have direct relationships or the ability to research the market for people who fit your strategic business objectives.
After listening to the Obama Infrastructure plan, I was excited like everyone else. However after studying the speech carefully some serious questions came to mind. Here they are:
Who is going to be responsible for retraining the workers for the new “green” jobs? It takes time and money to put together the training curriculum and train the workers. College and Universities will need some reform and stimulus
The last recession featured a “jobless” recovery where the jobs for middle class workers did not manifest until much later. Can people afford to wait?
Environmental permitting and paperwork takes months or years to complete. How can this bottleneck be handled without drawing too much ire from environmental groups? This could delay jobs and projects into 2010.
There is a growing concern that expectations for the stimulus plan may be too high and there will be thousands of people looking for jobs that maybe delayed until 2010. What do you think?
Tonight on “CNBC Reports” a question was posed to a group of guests just after the House vote on the Auto Bailout. “What will be the tipping point of the US economy?” The panelists said everything from Americans must save more money to consumers starting to spend money again. I beg to differ.
The tipping point of the American economy will occur when:
The American people begin to work together to pull out of the recession through sharing resources, barter, collective/bulk purchasing and paying cash for goods and services. When corporate execs and government officials start seeing goods, services and cash moving at the grassroots level without their involvement. They will try to get into the fray.
The education and experience level of the workforce moves toward the jobs that are in demand. There is a shortage of nurses, teachers, engineers, scientists, water treatment plant operators, accountants and craft workers just to name a few fields that need people.
In great times of need in our history, Americans have set aside their differences and did what needed to be done to take of themeselves; their neighbors and their country. Now is the time for us to act.
Economists are predicting that 2009 will be one of the worst economic years since the Depression. If you are a person looking for work it will be vitally important to build new relationships (Networking) and promote your skills and abilities for assignments (Freelancing). Here are some ways that may help:
Networking: Try networking online and in person at industry associations, social websites, Church, Alumni organizations and other groups.
Find Freelance/consulting opportunities on Guru.com, Craigslist and other websites
Volunteering allows you to network with people who are working in companies of interest and help those in greater need. Here are some ideas: American Cancer Society, Lupus Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Liver Foundation and many other non- profits.
Temporary assignments: Many companies will use temporary help for special projects or situations such employees on leave.
Start your own business: Greek philospher Plato said “Necessity is the mother of invention” You can still create your own job in America.