Talent Circles

Monday, March 31, 2014

The War for Talent is Really Proactive vs. Reactive Recuiting

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Yesterday, I received three emails from hiring managers and recruiter friends who were looking for the perfect candidate. They were stressed from the pressure the vacancy was causing for themselves and their team.

Since the recession, teams have been forced to downsize. No doubt this causes morale issues and added stress to your department as employees are already overworked and pushed to the max. When a new position opens up, it can cause mayhem to the current stressful conditions. Suddenly the recruitment process is tainted with a sense of urgency more than the search for the ideal candidate.

Has this happened to you? Did you know that this can be avoided? The secret is not about filling the vacant position today, it’s about anticipating the job opening six months from now with proactive recruiting. It is important for recruiters to not only be one step ahead of the actual need they also need to have their arsenal of talent accessible and ready.

As the skill gap enlarges and the rate of change increases rapidly, the recruiters who practice proactive strategies will win the war for talent. The first step in avoiding reckless reactive recruiting is to know the difference between proactive and reactive recruiting. Successful recruitment is 100% proactive.

Here are some best practices you can implement to help you have a proactive recruitment strategy.

Develop a positive reputation online.
Be sure to have a career page and exposure to the online communities like Glassdoor and LinkedIn. The more positive opinions that are available from existing employees about their experience working at your company, the better your organization is positioned for recruiting opportunities.

Engage with candidates and drive them to your talent community.
Use social media tools to share valuable resources and network with the possible candidates. Have a mission to drive talent to your community. This can be done easily by adding a Join Our TalentCircle call button to your career page and use the URL to your career page on all of your recruiter’s social profile bios.

Grow a sourcing program.
Develop your own talent pool through actively networking in-person and online combined with job postings and referrals are all critical components to proactive recruiting. TalentCircles is an excellent tool to manage the candidate profiles and grow your own sourcing program so that you are ready to hire when the right time comes.

Survey internal teams frequently.
Ask about hiring needs so you can forecast more accurately. Did you know that TalentCircles has an excellent survey tool that allows you to reach out internally to get information? This is a great way to track data and forecast the hiring needs ahead of time.

Follow competitors on LinkedIn and other social communities.
Social media provides recruiters the opportunities to find talent. One way to find talent that your competition is attracted to is to follow the competitor’s networking activities. Join their communities and get exposure and engage with candidates.

By implementing a proactive recruiting approach over reactive hiring will reduce stress and costs for you and your organization. Get happier, healthier and more productive employees and hiring managers as you anticipate your openings and building candidate pipelines for future openings today.

Do you have any additional strategies that help you with your proactive recruiting strategies? Please let me know.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

What about the discrimination against young people?

By Marylene Delbourg-Delphis

The DirectEmployers Association conference (DEAM14) last week was just amazing, attracting the right attention on new regulations to improve the employment of veterans as well as people with disabilities — this is summarized by the OFCCP news release last August. Yet, there is something just as bad happening right now, The Plummeting Labor Market Fortunes of Teens and Young Adults, as described by a report from the Brookings/ Brookings/Metropolitan Policy Program.

The takeaway is this: "Employment prospects for teens and young adults in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas plummeted between 2000 and 2011."

Key findings

The report segments its findings into two major age categories: teens aged 16-19 and Young adults aged 20-24
  • For teens aged 16-19: Employment rates declined drastically, from 44 percent in 2000 to 24 percent in 2011.
  • For young adults aged 20-24: The employment rate among young adults fell from 72 percent in 2000 to 60 percent in 2011.

The problem affects all young people and the report provides multiple graphs on the effect of education, previous employment and sometimes, geographic differences. If you are a teen, it's better to live in Utah than in Silicon Valley. This is also true if you are an educated young adult even if the contrast is not so big.

Traditional divides — or call them discriminatory factors — are still very much in place. Regardless of the criteria and the models, non-Hispanic whites have a better chance of getting a job. One of the models for young adults shows how age, race/ethnicity, marital status, and education are in play for males and females. While being older was associated with increased employment chances for both genders, race/ethnicity play differently for males and females:
  • Being African/American was associated with reduced employment among men, but not women;
  • Being Asian was associated with reduced employment among both men and women;
  • Being Hispanic was associated with increased employment among men but not women;
  • And... marital status has an impact! It is positively associated with employment for men and negatively associated for women. Read: employers are wary about employing young women who could become pregnant.

The report lists important measures and initiatives designed to reduce youth joblessness and labor force underutilization, incorporate work-based learning into education, adjust to regional labor market needs, and encourage employers to facilitate the transition of young people into the labor market.

This survey should be a wake-up call to just anybody who has children or simply cares about young people as well as diversity in the workplace. The solutions are compelling and most of the organizations named in the report are doing an amazing job attracting the attention of a fundamental problem: where can a country go when so much of its youth is unemployed or underemployed?

Open questions

The underlying assumption of the report is that youth unemployment and underemployment are primarily caused by a discrepancy between available skills and the needs of the labor market. This may be true to some extent, but not entirely.

Is it really all about our current education system? Do we have data showing that people who were 20 in 1970, in 1980, in 1990 or in 2000 were better prepared and was more employable? These are questions for researchers such as Peter Cappelli. I suggest that you read Why Good People Can't Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It , which I discussed in an earlier post or Why Employers Aren't Filling Their Open Jobs, recently published by the Harvard Business Review: "Jobs have not changed over the last couple of years in any way that changed skill requirements substantially. The “failing schools” notion, even if it was true, couldn’t explain the continued unemployment of the majority of job seekers, who graduated years ago and had jobs just before the recession," Cappelli notes.

Do recruiting budget cuts make it more difficult to spot the right skills? It's unclear. I agree with Peter Cappelli that unemployment/underemployment may "come from the ways in which contemporary practices have made hiring more difficult," and that a higher scrutiny on profit-and-loss and "cost-cutting took out recruiters." Yet, the latter should also be further investigated. The Talent Management market continues to grow at an impressive rate. So if more money is spent, is it spent efficiently? What if the systems and methodologies that have controlled the recruiting industry for the last 25 years were showing their inability to identify modern days talent?

My personal take on the discrimination against young people
We all look for the "right" skills. Yet, what exactly are these right skills? People who have existing skills or people with a potential to do a good job? If the right skills are out there, are we even able to capture them?

Trying to evaluate and manage 20 year-old candidates using 20 year-old or even a 10-year transactional systems may be a huge problem. Look at it this way: it's like prospecting the world with a 28.8k Modem in 1994 or a 56k Modem in 2000. So traditional approaches may work for 22 year-old candidates with a boilerplate education for boilerplate job requisitions and boilerplate skills that are themselves defined via the prism of these transactional systems filtering out candidates... Yet, can such hiring practices capture new behaviors derived from a decade-old social world and be fair to the new generation? Probably not. The entire process might discriminate against young people, a trend that's likely to worsen if it's true, as Cathy N. Davidson, a professor at Duke University, claims, that "65 percent of children entering grade school this year [2012] will end up working in careers that haven’t even been invented yet."

Today youth unemployment may cost $25 billion annually in net losses to federal and state governments according to the Young Invincibles. This does not include the image and opportunity costs for corporations who ignore these young people... Companies reluctant to take a chance on people young people and eventually spend money training them could reconsider their position after examining the costs of all their recent bad hires (often people whom they believed had the right skills and "good resumes). The problem affects seven in ten businesses and costs U.S. businesses an estimated $300 billion in 2009. Remember, even Tony Hsieh, the CEO of a notoriously great company, said in 2010 that his own bad hires had cost Zappos "well over $100 million." Doesn't this mean that the way to evaluate skills is a real problem? So why not change?

Chances are that hiring young people and training them may be a better economic bet than only looking at "vetted" people, provided of course, that you use a recruiting methodology and infrastructure that enable you to connect and engage with them!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Veterans Series: Veterans will help your company succeed: Conversation with Brenda Bell

By Sophie Delphis

This post is part of a series that already includes conversations with:

My mother (Marylene Delbourg-Delphis) hired Brenda Bell in the late eighties to work for her company at the time, ACIUS, the maker of 4th Dimension. Back then, Brenda was barely out of her teens, with two children, a limited college education, little job experience and a place in the Army Reserve (Military Police670 MP Company California Army National Guard), but my mother was interested in this young woman in spite of her less-than-perfect corporate package. During and after her time at ACIUS, Brenda was called in to First Gulf War, earned two college degrees and worked her way through a series of high tech jobs that eventually landed her in her current position at IBM. I grew up hearing her interesting and inspiring story, and I was excited to learn that my mother was interviewing her as part of her ongoing series on hiring veterans. 

Brenda was very young, and not necessarily an obvious hire... In fact, both women laugh at the memory of my mother teaching Brenda how to put on make-up, how to talk to a diverse group of people, etc.
Brenda Bell: I was twenty years old. You took a chance on me, and you taught me a lot. It really helped, because you deal with a lot of people. And I’m comfortable to be dealing with lots of different people on a day-to-day basis.

Brenda was the first veteran my mother hired. Since then, she has been able to experience first-hand how flexible and versatile veterans can be when given a chance.
She did not see it as a problem that Brenda was in the Reserve, nor that she ended up taking some time off because of the first Gulf War – ultimately accommodating an employee was worth a bit of restructuring. And Brenda’s choice to enter the military made sense.
Brenda Bell: I had gone to college, and I wasn’t successful. I didn’t have parent financial support, so I had a lot of student loans. The military paid off all of my loans, and they provided me educational benefits: for staying in the Reserve after I got out of the military, they paid for further college. That’s really why I went into the military: I had a lot of student loan debt, and I didn’t have a lot of job skills, and it was a good way for me to start paying back my college debt and then gain some skills and allow me to go back to school.

After initially earning her two-year Associate’s Degree in Management, she returned to school after the military to earn two Bachelor’s Degrees in Organizational Management and Computer Science.
Brenda Bell: After I left ACIUS, I went to work for Sybase. And, you know, just being immersed in that environment, working with development tools, I really had to understand software development and design, so having this degree in organizational management wasn’t enough. I had to continue to grow. And that’s another thing you learn in the military, because they keep having you take leadership courses to grow and learn, so that helped me to be willing to go out and get that second degree, to learn more.
So I went back to school, part-time in the evenings, out here in New England, and I got a second degree and continued to work for some software companies and a couple of start-ups. One of the start-ups I was working for was going out of business and sold their code to Rational, which was then acquired by IBM and so I was able to branch out to other divisions within IBM.

Brenda's background in the military has proved immensely useful.
Brenda Bell: The relationships I formed in the military and my understanding of military structure help me pretty much everyday. In my particular environment, I sell to federal customers on a daily basis, so being able to understand what their needs and their challenges are is very helpful. Being able to speak the same language that they speak puts you in a better rapport with them. And also the relationships: I don’t think anybody can discount the value of the relationships that you build in the military, and that a lot of military veterans, once they go out, are willing to help other veterans. So you can use those relationships, too, to help improve your career and help your company to succeed.

This does not mean that veterans have an easy time transferring to civilian careers, however. This is particularly true in the current economic climate, in which employment is tough for young veterans, and tough for young adults in general.
Brenda Bell: My son just came back from a couple of tours, and he was going back to work, and I think one of the hard things, not just from my own experience, but from seeing his experience, is that they don’t know how to translate military skills to civilian skills. He had a very hard time with his resume: he was in the infantry and he was a team leader, but I had to help him translate “What does a team leader do?” into civilian terms.

Brenda is a fantastic example of a single mother who had to get through some rough patches in her life but eventually made it work. She is now a client executive in the Federal Business unit for the Americas at IBM. She lives in New England with her husband and has come a long way from the unfocused, insecure kid she was when she started working at ACIUS. My mother took an interest in seeing this ex-employee develop, and “will always be proud of the role that [she] played in [Brenda’s] career.”

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Recruiting, Like Life is Not Linear

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Have you heard about the unemployed man who dropped out of college? He had worked as a cook, a salesman, a diplomatist and a farmer. He knew nothing about marketing and had never written any copy. Yet, at the age of 38 he professed his passion for advertising and started his new pursuit in the ad world, willing to work for $5,000 a year.

Would you hire him?

Did you know that an ad agency actually did hire him in fact? And, three years later, David Ogilvy became one of the most famous copywriters and grew one of the biggest agencies in the world.

Ogilvy & Mather recently shared this founder’s story along with this moral: It sometimes pays an agency to be imaginative and unorthodox in hiring.

I can relate to David Ogilvy’s career path. My career journey has always been in the area of recruitment, but it has been far from a simple linear path. When I look back, I clearly can see that the most difficult times throughout my career are what have led me to the most fulfilling moments. The challenges grew me professionally and I now see value in those big shifts that have shaped me into the professional I am today.

In fact, many of us understand that today’s talent will represent multiple shifts throughout their careers. It is no longer our parent’s job market with a workforce who is committed to one company for decades.

How about you and your career journey? What were the unexpected obstacles that you were faced with that brought you to your current role? Most industry professionals did not go to college to begin working in HR. They fell in. They rolled with the punches. This is what makes for a successful recruiter, professional and businessperson.

Remembering how non-linear our professional routes have been can help us realize the untapped potential other candidates, who may seem to have a convoluted career path too, may have to offer. Understanding all that we have achieved along the way may also help us better manage our own endeavors that challenge us in the work place.

We all tend to seek simple solutions and avoid the people and tasks that are complicated. However, are we missing real value when we skim through life only choosing what is easy, convenient and conventional?

After all, life, processes and business are just learning journeys with opportunities to grow. The obstacles and challenges that force us to change and improve may be big projects you are tasked with, such as new hiring or recruiting technology that you need to research and implement within your organization. Maybe your boss just added 50 new job requisitions on your desk.

Recruitment is a lot like life. The journey we took to arrive to this industry and take on our current role has not been linear. The path was not a simple step-by-step process. Yet, here we are.

It’s not easy. It’s not simple. Let’s stop planning for simple. Let’s trouble shoot and expect challenging, the complex.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Talent Is Top of Mind To Every CEO Today

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Everywhere I turn, the topic of recruiting, training and retaining employees and talent is buzzing louder than a bumblebee in spring. The skill gap and need for talent is the key component of many of the keynote talks and panel discussions from the conference circuit and from the one-on-one conversations. Open any magazine that covers business and the economy such as Fortune, Forbes and Harvard Business Review and you will find articles, resources and studies discussing how development, engagement and hiring can impact business in both a positive and negative way.

I recently wrote about the future of recruitment and trends and shared that 30% of CEOs say there is a concern they will not have the necessary talent to fulfill their future growth ambitions.

With all of the conversations about the need for talent for companies to succeed, sadly, there is little mention of the role that HR and recruiting actually plays.

Why is that? Even after all these years, it seems like the role of HR and recruiters as valuable business partners seems to be in question, and that’s more than extremely frustrating.

http://www.blogging4jobs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/b4j-media-kit1.pngWe’ve examined the needs of Blogging4Jobs readership and have found some important statistics that are relevant to the success of all levels ranging from human resources, operations, recruitment agencies and vendors. Why? Because if the CEO ain’t happy about HR then we all need to be working together to represent the industry as high performance leaders. Here are some important stats that we as an industry need to recognize so that as professionals, perhaps we can work together and earn that seat at the table.

HR: We Have a Problem

77% of more than 2500 business and HR leaders in 94 countries share that the single biggest challenge they are faced with is “reskilling” the HR function, according to the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2014 report. This report also states a staggering minority of HR leaders, have confidence that their teams have the skills needed to meet the challenge of today’s global environment and deliver innovative programs that drive business impact. One third of HR leaders claim that their own HR and talent programs are just “getting by.”

Our Brand is Marketing’s Problem - NOT

Less than one half employees do not know what differentiates their employer’s brand from the competition, according to the Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report. A company’s brand should be that human piece that brings employees and their values together, leading to increased connection, morale and loyalty. Are you leaving the responsibility of your company brand in the Marketing silo? It may be costing your company talent.

Disengaged Employees are Expensive

50% of workers are not engaged in their work and this is expensive, costing U.S. businesses $450 billion to $550 billion per year, according the Gallup report. When workers are engaged and emotionally connected, they are up to four times more productive that disengaged employees. Are you making the business case to show your boss that you need those team building morale boosters?

It is clear that HR and recruitment leadership is critical to develop and manage the talent that is required for companies to succeed. Hopefully, some of these statistics can help you by becoming aware of the industry’s need for leaders.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

7 Ways to Help Job Candidates You Don’t Hire Before Too Much Damage Is Done

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

We’ve mentioned the power of digital storytelling as a helpful way to engage candidates and provide updated information on specific job opportunities, but job seekers remain frustrated when they are faced with unresponsiveness as the outcome from jobs they have applied for. Less than 50% of job seekers hear back from the recruiter after they’ve applied for the job.

In fact recently a big social media influencer posted on his Facebook page why he doesn’t use a particular brand for his photography needs. He publically shared his story, mentioning that three years ago when he applied for a job with “Snap Shutter,” he went on a series of interviews only to be left with zero call backs, in spite of his professional attempts to follow up.

I also know of a friend who has been on the job seeker circuit full time for almost one year. She has applied to over 100 jobs on LinkedIn. She has interviews, up to three per week. She routinely, professionally follows up with them. She has become discouraged at the lack of response recruiters have provided. She told me that only about 5% of the organizations she has interviewed with actually give her the courtesy of a response.

Be aware of damage control.

Candidates invest energy, time, and other resources like favors from friends for introductions for example. Sadly, when the interview process ends with a non-response from the recruiter or hiring manager, it is a sign of unprofessionalism and disrespect. This lack of professionalism not only damages the spirit of the job seeker, it can also damage the organization’s reputation as well as the entire recruitment industry.

How recruiters can help.

When you (the recruiter) close out that job requisition or posting in your ATS, go beyond just the average and provide job seekers with a list of valuable resources and information that’s available in your talent network or on your company careers page. Help candidates see the forest through the trees and get the job information and support they need to find the right fit for them.

  1. A simple resume template and cover letter goes along way to providing job seekers while educating them on your company’s preferred resume format.
  2. A career page with resources on your organization’s web site. Ideas could include:
    • FAQ and responses for the job seeker
    • Quotes on what recruiters like from job seekers
    • Testimonies from interns or staff on how they acquired a job
  3. Industry information and resources like oil and gas.
  4. Free career classes and readiness training online. When recruiters are actively providing webinars and special training like Google Plus hangouts, it provides a great rapport that can have lasting effects with fostering strong ongoing relationships with candidates.
  5. Offer to recommend introductions to the candidates and key partners within your reciprocal sourcing network.
  6. When corresponding via email, be personable. Don’t rely on automated responses for the candidates.
  7. Tell the candidate in person or by phone that the job is no longer available
These tips may seem simple, so simple that you may not consider them important. However, when you empathize with the candidates and understand how unpredictable and frightening the job seeking-circuit can be, especially when they are often left disconnected and in the dark, hopefully you will extend a hand to show some support. These suggestions will not only help the job seeker, they will also provide value to you as a recruiter as you build your network for future hiring needs. In addition, this effort will lead to a return on investment to your organization’s brand and the reputation of the recruiting industry as a whole.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Three Keys To Unlocking the Challenges of Talent Diversity

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Move over demographics, there is a new category of diversity that reaches wider and deeper than race, sex or age. Managing today’s talent diversity must also now include the unique attributes of those individuals who hear the beat of their own drum.

Those who go against the corporate grain are often considered “different,” at times “adversarial” and clearly “non-conventional.” They may not easily conform, however if managed correctly, these unique types of talent can grow into strong leaders who can manage change and help grow innovation.

The lack of talent diversity can be quite stifling as companies seek to become more innovative. It would seem that business leaders would foster individualism and the diversity of thought to grow competitively. However, strangely, this is not the case.

Uniqueness is not a virtue in today’s corporate culture.

Based on a Harvard Business Review article, “Fear of Being Different Stifles Talent,” 66% of employers reported pressure to mute some acts of employee self identifies with 51% of those saying that perceived demands came from leadership.

We’ve discussed the importance of the candidate experience and the lengths recruiters must go to engage, communicate and create relationships with the most brilliant job seekers in order to lure them to their organizations, but the courting, communication and conversations don’t stop there.

Creating a culture of uniqueness goes beyond recruiting individuals who represent the path less traveled. Being open to the unique perspectives, points of view and experiences of existing employees should be rewarded and embraced as well.

Unlock the challenges to talent diversity.

When companies realize the value of attracting the true entrepreneurial talent that fosters innovation, efforts in the retention and development of this diverse talent will also be necessary. Otherwise, businesses will run the risk of having to staff a revolving door as employees realize the lack of uniqueness from within the organization.

There are three important points to consider when focusing on retention and development of employees who exemplify a truly unique mindset. Here is an overview of the key areas that will foster talent diversity in your organization.
  1. Employee Development – either through a formal program or tuition reimbursement, the focus needs to be on growing the employee and fulfilling them as an individual. By encouraging the unique area of interest of an employee to grow, it enriches the talent pool as a whole.
  2. Custom Communication – in the form of manager and employee. These must be intentional, regular and guided by the employee. Called one-on-ones these dialogues will help create a customized career path for each employee.
  3. Flexibility – Everyone’s career journey is unique. Managers and leaders must be open to flexible career paths not letting their own personal judgment get in the way of the eager, entrepreneurial-spirited employee.
The future of business will be different than today’s typical corporate world of conformity. Successful organizations of tomorrow will require an innovative culture and workforce with unique capabilities. Understanding the value of “individualism” as well as fostering the talent diversity in your organization will be a critical role that will have an impact on the overall success of any business.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How to Make the Business Case for a New Recruiting Strategy

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

For me, the field of HR and recruiting is a constant anthropological study. I ask questions to industry practitioners on their best practices, preferred process and most importantly how they gain the necessary executive support to create a new strategies for HR, hiring or recruiting.

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of talking with Katherine Rand, Talent Acquisition Operations Manager of Aramark Global Talent Management. She shared details on how to make the case to build a new program or gain support when it comes to adopting new HR or recruiting technologies. As a leader in the recruiting space, she has been responsible for building and implementing new strategies and programs and she has had extensive experience focusing on mobile, recruiting and sourcing matters.

We all understand how complicated and challenging it can be to create the right program or strategy in today’s always-changing world of talent management. When you do finally find the right solution, it is beyond frustrating when we face the challenges from the lack of support from the internal stakeholders. Am I right?

Let’s be better prepared to handle those political set backs and be fearless ready to move our stellar strategies and programs ahead with a solid business case.

From my conversation with Katherine, I would like to share four steps that will help you make a confident stride in preparing the right business case for successfully deploying a new strategy or program.
  1. Research.
    • Join a consortium (like CareerXroads)
    • Reading blogs
    • Attend conferences
  2. Experiment.
    • Become an expert or bring on an expert
    • Educate your team on the variety of tools
    • Think like your target audience
  3. Test.
    • Create a small 90-day pilot program to get statistics
    • Define parameters and benchmarks
    • Measure growth and goals
  4. Measure everything.
    • Understand the CEO’s bottom line
    • Provide examples from non-industry practices
    • Compare current status with competition’s activities

I hope you will find this four-step strategy resourceful as you build a solid business case that convinces your stakeholders to support you and your efforts. If you have any additional insight on how to develop a leak-proof case that successfully persuades leadership into trusting us to launch our strategies and programs, please reach out and let me know! Like everything else we do in this talent market evolution, we are always open to improving in the name of success.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How To Personally Manage Your Human Capital

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

We talk a lot about recruitment at large, focusing on organizational recruiting and hiring strategy. But let’s take an up-and-close personal view on ourselves, not as an employee, but as an individual.

As recruitment professionals, we understand the importance of creating a work life plan and personal strategy to be successful in not just our career but in our personal life too. The work-life balance is critical to a long fulfilling life.

I see a lot of professionals particularly woman who experience a pre-mid life crisis. At the early age of 30, they come to the realization that the hours they have invested in their career and focus on climbing the professional ladder has taken a front seat while the self-care for our personal life of family, friends, hobbies and passions ride shot gun, or, worse they’ve been left on the curb.

This is not just a woman-related issue, a lack of balance between work and life is a national problem too. According to the 2013 Better Life Index, compiled by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that tracks economic and social data, the United States ranked 28th in a total of 36 countries with the best work life balance. From this research, 11% of Americans reported that they spend more than 50 hours a week working.

A new generation of over worked humans

This imbalance of work and life is a serious liability in our human capital. It is causing a void in leading a fulfilling life, putting us at risk to stress that leads to serious physical- and mental health concerns. More than a career plan, human capital must be fully invested in and managed properly. There are many challenges that we are faced with that require us to manage our own human capital.

We are faced with challenges that the older generations never had to deal with. Challenges that stem from globalization and technology are giving us the ability to be connected forcing us to be responsive 24/7, adapt to change at a faster pace and process gobs of content being delivered from multiple sources on multiple screens, all of the time.

These current trends that impact our lives professionally and personally, can be dangerous pitfalls when we are not fostering healthy habits for a thriving human capital in ourselves.

How to thrive as humans

Because we are all created as human beings, not human doers, or human workers, it is essential that we invest in our own lives to grow our human capital. I met up with a college friend the other night. I had not seen much of her for the past few months and as soon as we connected, she shared with me that she had just gotten a new job, the best title she could ask for at the best agency.

She’s been in advertising for 15 years and has grown up a steep career climb. She shared how she was working at two agencies at one time, investing in double the time of already a high-demand job. She used terms like, “I was building my team,” “I didn’t want to let my team down,” “I love my clients,” and “I couldn’t say no.”

She also was telling me that she was working around the clock. She had no life outside of her work. Going on her second year of marriage to the love of her life, she had not even taken her honeymoon yet. And, just as the teams were finally groomed and the pitches were all grand slams, she and her husband started to pack their bags and head to the airport for their long awaited honeymoon.

And then, it hit her. The stress. Coiled in a ball, screaming for help from the bathroom floor, pangs like she was giving birth to a new frazzled ball of madness shot up and down throughout her body. She passed out and instead of her husband carrying her through the door to their seaside suite along the French Rivera, he carried her limp and sick body into a taxi cab as they hustled to the emergency room.

She had to spent her human capital.

Three months later, she’s doing better. All of her clients are happy, her teams are stable and they are in a hiring spree. She did make it to the French Rivera with her husband.

However, as she shared the story with me, it was clear to me that she had burned out. Her human capital hit a level of bankruptcy and sometimes the only path of recovery is a complete change of occupation. She is now seeking to work at a non-profit, doing something, somewhere that is not at an agency.

It is easy to get caught up in the heroic mode of our profession. When we are talented and ambitious and we experience reward and progress, it is no wonder we don’t continue to invest in our careers. Self care and spending time and energy on our personal relationships and families can be difficult, especially after a hard day on the job.

As my friend shared, I realized that she needed to talk about something non-work-related. I asked her what she LOVES doing. And, instantly she lit up as she shared a weekend ritual of going to watch independent films by herself.

It’s your turn to invest in human capital

You spend everyday at the workplace, managing your organization’s workforce. How are you managing your own human capital? What do YOU LOVE doing? Are you doing it? Invest in yourself. Take that bubble bath. Go on the bike ride. Meet that college friend for dinner. Sing that song. Dance like you want. Go to the French Rivera. Go see that show. Do what you love. Don’t wait until you retire, burn out or die before you invest in your own human capital.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell