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Many employers wait until they need a new person before they start posting job ads and looking for the new employee. This will often lead to the knee-jerk reaction of “we just need to get a body in here.” Just a body is almost never what businesses need unless they are in the movie business and they are looking for extras. Though employers may need help immediately, it is far more expensive and time consuming to hire the wrong person than it is to wait for the right person. A new employee that is smart, fits with the culture of the firm, and works hard can bring the level of work product and morale up in the office, even if that person is at the bottom of the organizational structure.
Any new hire is going to be a significant investment of time and money. Even if the new employee has worked in the same industry, there is always a learning curve when going to work in a new business. No two businesses operate in exactly the same way and it will take the new employee time to get up speed on how your specific business works. There will be a significant amount of time invested in training the new person, and there will also be time and energy spent by everyone on the team to make the new employee feel welcome in their new environment. To the same point, the investment of money by the firm is not limited to just the salary paid. We also have to consider the cost of the decrease in productivity of current employees who are responsible for training the new person.
Even when the job description for a new person is acutely tailored, good employees always find a way of branching out and taking on tasks that were never in their job description. This will give leverage to other employees to focus on higher level tasks. Whether you are looking for a Senior Financial Planner or a Director of First Impressions, when a new employee can take on additional tasks, the leverage to work on the business instead of in the business and tackle more strategic goals always flows upstream.
According the US Department of Labor, the national unemployment rate was 5.1% in September 2015, the lowest it has been since April 2008, and it has been steadily falling since 2010. (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/unemployment-rate) Though it has slowed somewhat, earlier in 2015, there were more new jobs created in the US than in any other time since the Department of Labor started tracking this number in 2000. Lots of job openings and very few people looking for jobs mean that good employees are scarce. In an employee’s market, finding and keeping good employees will necessarily be more difficult.
Because there are so many job openings and firms looking, qualified candidates who would fit into different firm cultures are not staying unemployed for long, and they often receive multiple offers quickly after they start interviewing. While some candidates are just looking to get the most amount of money in a new position, creating a bidding war among several potential employers, it is far more common for a candidate to look for a specific salary range, and then look for the firm culture that they feel the strongest connection to. It is truly a scenario where the potential employee is interviewing the members of the firm to see if he or she wants to work with those people every day. Also, because of the changing landscape of mandatory health insurance and increasing education of sound retirement planning, employees are requesting more benefits from employers in addition to the base salary offers. Competitive firms are offering a full gambit of benefits because they know this will attract the best candidates. Make no mistake – good employees not only want to be paid well, they want a benefit package that is just as competitive.
Depending on the market, we are finding there are either a large number of unqualified applicants to our job postings, or virtually no applicants at all. In the former scenario, it feels like we are trying to find a needle in a haystack and in the latter, it is like doing a rain dance in the desert. Because of this, it is taking longer to find qualified candidates, and even longer to find qualified candidates who fit well with firm cultures. It makes sense that there would be large numbers of unqualified candidates in larger markets because in today’s landscape, businesses are hanging tightly on to their good employees and only letting go of their worst people.
Kneejerk hiring can be detrimental to your firm because of the money and time that is wasted, but also from a morale standpoint. A firm’s culture will quickly deteriorate if the employees see any position in the firm as a revolving door. If employees are not invested in building relationships with coworkers because they suspect some of them may be gone in six months, the firm can never run as a well oiled machine. The only way to combat this is to plan ahead – look at where your firm will be in 12 to 24 months and think about where area of the business will be overloaded if you hit your growth projections. If you see some area of your business reaching capacity in the next 6 to 12 months, you need to start looking for your next hire today.
If you are ready to start looking for your next hire, feel free to schedule a call with us to discuss further.
Brian Luper, Partner, is an attorney licensed to practice law in California. Brian joined The Strategic Implementer in 2014. Brian graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2006 with a degree in Economics and after obtaining a JD from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles in 2009, he went on to start his own law practice with two partners. Brian acted as managing partner of the firm, obtaining millions of dollars of recovery for his clients. He left the law firm life in 2014 to join The Strategic Implementer because his true passion is working with business owners and helping them achieve their goals and he wants to share that passion with other firms.