Bill Gates once said that “The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead.” The truth is that finding the right people to fill job openings has never been easy, but he was right that it has gotten harder. With the unemployment rate holding at 4.1% nationwide — which is at the lowest level since 2000 and before that the lowest level since 1970 — it is getting harder (and may get even harder still thanks to stimulus from the tax overhaul) to find employees without throwing huge salaries and loads of benefits at the problem. And finding highly-skilled, educated and experienced talent is even harder.
Sometimes, the challenge is finding people with the education, experience and skills to fill a high-level job. Think of a CTO for a blockchain currency company. Other times, the challenge lies in finding people with a combination of skills and experience that is hard to find in one person. Think of a CMO for a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company that raises capital for real estate and is expanding into Latin America. Still other times, the job may require a very deep level of knowledge in a niche area that few possess. Think of a Chief Hardware Design Engineer for the Avionics department at SpaceX. Or the job may be in very high demand and it may be hard to find someone who wants to leave an existing job to take a job with a less well-known company or one that isn’t offering as high a salary or benefits. Think of programmers in Silicon Valley or Investment Bankers in Manhattan. It can even be hard to fill customary positions — such as customer service, accounting, tech support, and sales — if a company simply has a lot of vacancies to fill because it is growing. Given the today’s job market, what should hiring managers do today to find talent? Here are some ideas. Continue reading
The world is changing fast… so fast that saying those words simply doesn’t do justice to the rapid-fire speed of transformations. New technologies, terminologies and strategies emerge practically daily. The Blockchain. Artificial Intelligence. 3D printers. Biohybrid Robots. Underwater drones. Quantum computers. Virtual Reality. Augmented Reality. Fusion Energy. Gene Editing. The list goes on and on. There isn’t an industry or field in which advances are not happening at a dizzying pace. And thus businesses are having to evolve at a faster pace. Business leaders are having to parse through mountains of information to determine what matters and what doesn’t, and then how to act on it. More than ever, there is a need to quickly separate the wheat from the proverbial chaff to identify quality information and apply it wisely. But how do we know what sources are offering advice that is solid, reliable and worthy?
It used to be that certain publications, books, news channels, universities and organizations that were considered the gold standard for business advice. But as media has struggled to keep up with the digital age, sources that were once considered unimpeachable have begun to allow chaff in with the wheat. Universities have begun to conduct studies on behalf of big business to skew information in one direction or another. No longer can an organization or publication be accepted at face value as completely reliable. Thanks to self-publishing and print-on-demand, having a book in print does not necessarily make an “author” of a business book an “authority” on business. Leaders and managers must be much more discerning of what information is consumed, trusted and implemented. So how do you sort out the nonsense and fluff from solidly researched and validated information?
Just whose job is customer service anyway? Most companies have a Customer Service Department that handles questions and complaints from customers. These employees are usually individuals who are skilled at handling customer complaints and knowledgeable in how to best answer questions. These are typically people who have ‘a way with people’. They are empathetic, good listeners and excellent problem solvers. The best customer service people have a calm demeanor, are likeable and genuinely care about the people they are helping.
So, are those the only people who are responsible for customer service? In today’s business landscape that reeks of service ranging from mediocre to downright lousy, creating and reinforcing a service-centric culture is an excellent way to differentiate a company from its competitors. But it requires that every member of the team adhere to that customer-centric focus. It means customer service becomes everyone’s job. Just what does that look like? Continue reading