Table of Contents
Five Scenarios For The Future Of Recruiting: VII. The Pandemic
For a nice overview of the Scenario Planning process and this project, take a listen to this podcast. Then, brace yourself. This scenario is somewhat disturbing.
In the beginning, they thought it was the flu. As the school year started, complaints of fever and respiratory problems stretched the capacity of the health care system. Fall is a busy time in countries with relatively modern health care. This time was different.
As September dragged on, fatalities multiplied. By the middle of October, three million people, virtually all of them children, had died from the Pandemic. The desperate programs to create a working vaccine produced failure after failure
In November, the American death toll was 9 million. The rate was doubling each month. Other countries in the Northern hemisphere were experiencing similar levels of decimation of their children. The damage was smaller in the southern hemisphere because the health care and education infrastructure is less developed.
By Christmas, half of the school aged population, 18 million children had succumbed to the mysterious disease. 15 million mourning families. Infrastructure overloaded beyond imagining.
As was the case with the early days of the H1N1 virus, hospitals, pharmacies, schools and clinics turned out to be the primary disease vectors. By the time the health care system began to effectively respond, a the virus disappeared.
Roughly half of the children between the ages of 6 and 16 died in the pandemic. Proportionally, it was smaller than the Spanish Flu epidemic of the early 20th Century
A disturbing possible future. So far, the Scenarios in this project have focused on external factors that require significant adaptation –not tear our hearts out. Yet, war, disease, civil unrest, famine, natural disaster all have some real probability of interrupting our lives. This case, “The School Aged Pandemic” is designed to get us to look at what happens when the society is disrupted and a significant portion of a population is ripped away.
The point of developing and using scenarios is to focus planning in the right places. Any forecast of the future is bound to be mistaken. Rather than trying to ‘get it right’ by making for sale online a perfect forecast, Scenario Planning requires us look at and discover things that matter even if it is uncomfortable or, at first, unimaginable. Contemplating great changes give us the opportunity to see both our blind spots and the places where we should invest our energies.
We know for sure that the next ten or twenty years will contain big surprises that force us to recalibrate. One way of thinking about history is that it is just a series of these big surprises that turn everything upside down. The purely disruptive nature of a possible pandemic can help us understand where our systems need fortification.
Nicholas Taleb (if you want to read more about the way unexpected things shape reality) wrote an insightful book called The Black Swan. Examples include: Viagra, 9/11, Harry Potter, First World War, Beatles, the PC, Google, recent financial collapse, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of any successful religion. History is dominated by sudden, lasting changes wrought by deeply unexpected events.
Economic growth in the Northern hemisphere is driven by the two kinds of capital: financial and human. Population growth (which has the tendency to keep the average age of the population low) fuels economic growth when financial capital is available. Money is the fuse, population is the explosive. With less new human capital moving into the system, economic growth must be reconsidered.
Since the average age of most industrialized cultures is climbing (the US remains a partial exception as long as immigration policies continue to liberalize), taking a large chunk out of the potential workforce would have a number of effects:
- Anything resembling retirement as we know it would vanish immediately.
- The competition for new workers would rapidly accelerate.
- Employers would invest heavily in the training of new workers,
- Bad hires and turnover would not be tolerated because of scarcity and expense of replacements.
- Attention to quality in the hiring process would increase
- Workforce planning (how to make do with the available labor supply) would become a central strategy issue
- Time off to nurture and protect the remaining children would become immediately important
- Those who could continue to reproduce would be encouraged to do so (tax and other social incentives)
In a globablly imbalanced case like this (high damage in the north, low damage in the south), an even greater emphasis on international outsourcing and recruiting would emerge. As we are learning, effective outsourcing requires a clear description of the required services and effective contract management on both sides. In the wake of the disaster, we would have to learn quickly to overcome the current hurdles for effective outsourcing. The Western trend to outsource non-strategic services allowing the company to focus on what differentiates it would expand.
Recruiting would also depend on international resources and immigration. Culteral and language adaptation would accelerate.
The use of scarce resources always requires careful attention to needs. Rationing can be formal or informal. Shortages teach us how to invest in and care for things that may have been taken for granted at other times. You could expect this change to result in:
- More attention to education
- Deeper involvement in onboarding
- Extraordinary effort to guarantee that each new hire became productive and engaged.
The quick, back of the envelope, analysis focuses on three things:
- Strengthening the accuracy of the hiring process’ estimates of a new hire’s success
- An increased focus on outsourcing non-essential functions
- A new emphasis on investment in the people of an organization.
This research is sponsored by Pinstripe Talent.
To read the rest of the series:
- Five Scenarios: I Introduction
- Five Scenarios: II The Trends
- Five Scenarios : III The Marketplace
- Five Scenarios: IV The Future Matters
- Five Scenarios: V Guild Cities
- Five Scenarios VI: Invasion of the Shallybots
Thank You: Pinstripe Talent
Last week, we published the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters list on the HR Examiner. Each of the 25 people profiled are major contributors to the online dialog. They have large followings, generate significant traffic and make a powerful impact in the niches in which they operate.
The list created a small stir with critiques ranging from cronyism to a runaway algorithm. Lists always produce sour-grapes, Monday morning quarterbacking and conversation on the topic. The idea behind the influencer lists is to build an ongoing dialog about who has influence, why they have it, how they got it, what they do with it and whether or not doing whatever it is that they do will be useful in your career.
I am extremely curious about the way that ideas move around the HR Industry. As the recovery slowly takes shape, I think that budgets will get pressed, outsourcing will be on the rise and different people will be doing old HR/Recruiting jobs in new and different ways.
Talent Management can mean anything from ’succession planning’ to ‘the cultivation and harvesting of the human capital investment”. It ranges from an afterthought to the central reason for being in the HR department. Where it is shortchanged, people are treated like a physical supply. Where it is fertilized and matured, it is understood as renewable and worthy of ongoing examination and support.
HR spans a similar gulf. At the street level of maturity (a very large percentage of all firms, maybe 60%), HR is nothing more than the old personnel department, processing forms and polishing procedures. In 30% of firms, SHRM drives the performance standard with committed professionals who want to know how to make a contribution. At 10% of all companies, HR is a competitive weapon; these operations redefine the basic components of the profession as adjunct components of an offensive strategy.
The people who influence Recruiting range across these dimensions. Many of their views on recruiting are contradictory and hard to reconcile. Recruiting ranges from filling a well worn requisition to identifying the next leader of a powerfully innovative new company. Is there any question that generalizations about the discipline will come up short?
But, the web is an exercise in making things measurable. As we move through the experiment in trying to articulate and measure influence, a number of things are getting clear. We find nuances in the data long after it settles out.
Here are some of the questions I’m asking:
- Is influence really different from popularity?
- Do the people we are identifying on the Traackr lists really have influence or are they just the loudest mouths on the block?
- It seems like the people who make their way on to these lists are getting better jobs. Are the lists measuring something that has to do with career momentum?
- We believe that the measurement process will more closely correspond to actual influence over time. What else do we need to know?
- Some of the critics have great ideas. What’s the best way to involve them in the process?
- Is it true that influence will become more and more important as organizations continue to flatten?
- Will the current bits of web architecture last long enough to have institutional style consequences?
- About 60% of the HR leaders profiled in the On The Go Section of the HR Examiner do not have LinkedIn profiles. Is this because they already have all the influence they want?
The idea behind this experiment and the HRExaminer is to take a fresh look at the way that HR and careers within its disciplines actually work. If you have input, ideas or insults, we’re happy to get them.
Our sponsor Pinstripe, Inc. designs, builds and delivers high-performance talent acquisition and management solutions. Pinstripe’s innovative approach to Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) integrates sourcing, recruiting, hiring, on-boarding, and engagement into a complete, end-to-end solution. Pinstripe on-demand hiring solutions are tailored for specific clients across a spectrum of industries including financial services, healthcare, technology, telecommunications and other major industries. For healthcare organizations, Pinstripe Healthcare works with clients to attract the best available talent so they can deliver high quality patient care and reduce overall labor costs.
Review: Monster 6Sense
As I sat through the webinar/demo of Monster’s new search product, 6sense, I kept waiting for a little kid to say “I see dead people”. That tag line, from the 1999 movie The Sixth Sense is the 44th most remembered quote from the movies (as recounted on AFI’s 100 Years .. 100 Movie Quotes). Alas, instead of an academy award performance (or joke) I got an hour’s worth of product pitch and screen shots. No Bruce Willis and no popcorn.
“Without being too tutorial, Trovix uses web efficiencies to generate something like the “structured lexicons” that powered some of the earliest Resume databases and Applicant Tracking Systems. This approach allows the query writer to see results that a keyword query simply can not find. In a very real sense, by structuring the relationships and semantics, this approach reads resumes rather than indexing key words. In the old days, these structured lexicons had to be developed by people and were really expensive. No one ever doubted that they represented a better path, they were simply too expensive to execute.”
Then, as now, the promise of the product is impressive. During the demo, the presenters navigated our attention through a series of sample searches and showed that real improvement is possible. 6sense takes a Google-like approach to data and tries to get at what the search means.
For instance, “Columbia School of Business”, “Columbia Business School”, “School of Business at Columbia” and “Columbia Biz School” all mean the same thing if they are in a credentials section and associated with the term “MBA”, “Master’s in Business”, “Masters in Business”, “M.B.A.” or a few others. If you want to pick up all of the resumes in a database using just Boolean logic, you have to specify all of the possibilities. 6sense, according to the presenters, solves just that kind of problem.
According to the presenters, “Boolean logic requires so much precision that great candidates are often missed.” Essentially, 6sense is Monster’s direct response to the rapid growth of the sourcer industry rooted in access to Google and the shift to professionals who specialize in candidate discovery. The idea is that a semantic search platform makes precision less important in the query and move available in the result.
Even at its simplest, a tool that can help a searcher overlook increasingly common spelling mistakes and small mischaracterizations would allow better access to useful candidates. If you could get more useful candidates and less useless ones using a new search tool, the quality improvement would be astonishing. And, that’s just the beginning. The presenters inferred that the new search interface could make inferences about the relative meaning of things.
It’s a part of an ongoing overall restoration of job board identity. Slow to react at first, the job boards are realizing that their revenue is drifting towards the professionals in the sourcing industry. Tagged with allegations of shoddy quality and ‘fire hose’ problems with volume, the job boards have endured rumors of their impending death for years now. Whether or not the job boards are becoming obsolete, they have done little or nothing to effectively refute the claims of their competitors and critics. That, in itself, is the largest single symptom of rigor mortis.
Recently, Glen Cathey, the Boolean Blackbelt, reported an interesting feat in Boolean Search Conquers Impossible Google Position. Candidates for a Google job req that had been open for four months were discovered using Boolean Search on … the Monster Resume Database. According to Cathey,
Interestingly enough, the candidates this recruiter was able to find were not new candidates who just posted their resume – their resumes were over 3 months old, which tells me that they had been in Monster’s resume database ever since Google released their network performance testing positions. I specifically point this out because I love to continuously disprove the commonly held belief that if many recruiters have access to the same resume database that they will be able to find the same candidates, the best candidates, and all of the appropriately qualified candidates.
This is also a good example of how, contrary to popular belief, you actually CAN find extremely good candidates (Google is notoriously elitist, which I respect) on the job boards. I continue to see well-respected recruiting and staffing thought leaders comment on how the job boards have mostly “mediocre” and declining levels of talent.
It would be extremely interesting to see a sort of “Sourcing Olympics” Imagine Shally, Maureen Sharib, reps from job boards and proponents of new technologies all facing off in performance contests. It would be nice to try to quantify the various claims for quality, speed and precision in a real performance environment. Imagine a panel of recruiters who describe the requirements and then watch the sourcers hunt down their prey.
That sort of real performance information (and wildly entertaining opportunities for moments of humiliation and embarrassment) is always missing form the closed loop demo environment. Trying to develop a real sense of what works and what doesn’t isn’t really possible in a fixed demo.
The Monster folks promised to get me some time on the system to try it out for myself. I’m anxious to do that and will let you know what I discover.
Meanwhile, I can tell you that the inferred benefits of the product are powerful. If the tool performs as promised, it’s a significant differentiator. But, the proof is in the pudding.
The best news from the demo? Monster managed to gather real influencers from the online recruiting world for an hour’s demo. Their outreach is beginning to bear fruit. As it was in the first job board era, it looks like Monster might be setting the tempo for round two.
In the Know v1.08
Five Links to prod your thinking about HR
- How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America
A long essay about the consequences of long term structural unemployment on the workforce. A gloomy but important topic for long term workforce planning.
- Facing Up To The Demographic Crisis
strategy+business is BoozAllen’s magazine of business issues and strategy. It’s one of the best business sources online. (I get the print edition).”between 1950 and 2000, the percentage of the world population older than 60 rose almost imperceptibly to 10 percent from 8 percent. By 2050, however, that percentage will more than double, to 21 percent. And in many countries — notably Japan and those in western Europe — the share of population age 60-plus will be more than 40 percent by mid-century.” Demographics (of labor supply and markets) will be the dominant business issue of the coming century. This panel was held in China and has a global focus.
- How Much Do You Hate Performance Reviews?
Bob Sutton Lays the groundwork for a new book on performance review fallacies.Forced rankings and other methods that encourage deep workplace competition undermine management and spoil collaboration.
- Crowd Control
From CFO Magazine. When Motorola introduced a new suggestion system, it generated 10,000 ideas in a short time. The problem was what to do with all of the creativity and input. The company created a prediction market to help sift through the ideas. A great example of internally harnessing the wisdom of the company.
- Companies that Measure Social Media, Influence, and Brand
Web strategist, Jerimiah Owyang, identifies a long list of providers of social measurement. If you’re following the influence project, these are interesting resources for making the work a part of your company.
- Jim Collins New Book Explains why his first book “Built to Last” wasn’t so right. It’s a good franchise when you get to sell back and forth.
- A Better Way To Fix Banker’s Pay. Compensation issues are everywhere these days.
On The Go v 2.08
Watching HR Careers To See The Path. LinkedIn Pointers where available (in bold).
- The New England Sports Network announced the promotion of Vanessa Brown to Vice President, Human Resources and Organizational Development. Previously, Brown served as Director of Human Resources.
- The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) today announced that its 2010 “Woman of the Year” is Deirdre P. Connelly, president of North America Pharmaceuticals for GlaxoSmithKline. Recognized for three consecutive years by Fortune magazine as one of the 50 most powerful women in business, Ms. Connelly is a respected leader in healthcare whose intense commitment to the patient has long driven her to foster innovation within the pharmaceutical industry.
Ms. Connelly joined GlaxoSmithKline in February 2009, where she leads an organization of approximately 10,000 employees and over $14 billion in sales. As part of her current responsibilities, she helps shape the future of the company as a member of its global corporate executive team and co-chairs its research portfolio management board. Prior to joining GlaxoSmithKline last year, Ms. Connelly spent 24 years with Eli Lilly and Company, where she most recently served as president of Lilly USA. She held a variety of executive positions at the company, including senior vice president of human resources for Eli Lilly and Company, vice president of human resources for pharmaceutical operations, executive director of global marketing for Evista, and leader of the U.S. women’s health business unit. She began her career in the pharmaceutical industry in 1984 as a sales representative for Lilly in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she was born.
- The Cheesecake Factory Inc. promoted Dina R. Barmasse-Gray to senior vice president of human resources. Barmasse-Gray started with Cheesecake Factory as vice president of talent.
- When Mark Emkes, chairman, CEO and president of Bridgestone Americas Inc. (BSAM) retires, his office will be split into three positions: chairman, which will be filled by Asahiko “Duke” Nishiyama, and CEO and president, which will be filled by Gary Garfield. Nishiyama currently serves as chairman, CEO and president of Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC (BATO). He was promoted to that post in 2008, after serving as vice chairman of Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. since 2005. Nishiyama joined Bridgestone Tire Co. Ltd. in 1977. In 1985, he was appointed executive committee member of the Bridgestone Workers’ Union, and in 1991, assumed the position of union president. From there, he joined Bridgestone’s human resource department, where he served as manager before moving to the U.S. in 1997. That year, he became director of business planning for Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. In 2001, he returned to Japan as general manager of human resources for Bridgestone Corp.
- The American Hospital Association has appointed Lisa Allen senior vice president overseeing human resources. Allen originally joined AHA in 2001 and has focused on employee engagement, advancing initiatives that address wellness, compensation and benefits, and diversity. She is now part of the association’s executive management team. A Chicago native, Allen was HR director at the Virginian-Pilot, a newspaper in Norfolk, Va., and recruiting and hiring manager for the Daily Press, a newspaper in Newport News, Va., before coming to AHA. She also had worked as a legislative assistant for the U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. Allen has a master’s degree in public and private management from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn.