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The Optimist

I know where I was the first time I heard about the Optimist Club. I was in an assembly in the gymnasium at Clarence Olsen Junior High School in Woodstock, IL and some local members had come to speak to us about optimism.

I thought they were ridiculous.  The subject was too light for a bunch of kids in puberty. Too smiley.  Too positive. In my 12 year old ways, too much optimism was, in a word, stupid. I’m pretty sure I made fun of them.

But they did leave me with a gift, and that was to consider optimism in life. And in times of darkness, I have.

The Optmists have a Creed.    When I started writing this blog post, I decided to look it up.  It is the following:

Cool, eh?

 

Mind Mapping Optimism

Lately, I’ve been using mind mapping more often in meetings to be sure that the flow of ideas that are coming get captured in a more organic way.  With that in mind, I decided to take the idea of optimism and map it out to see where it goes and it turned out to look like this:

What do you see?

  • There is obviously a wheel, suggesting that optimism is a process.
  • There are also two sides, showing that there are at least two facets to optimism.
  • There are also many paths to optimism, showing activities, or the lack thereof. There is a suggestion that optimism takes practice.
  • Sleep is a consideration.

From a workplace perspective, there’s also benefit to optimism, from both the improved state of mind of the HR professional and the workforces impacted by HR.

Since I write to HR, for HR, I want you to think about that for a moment—being selfish for you for the benefit of others. Infectiousness.

Let me leave this right here.  What goes around, comes around.  If you want a more optimistic workforce, you have a responsibility to be more optimistic yourself. While it is still resolution season, give yourself this gift this year.

Looking for Inspiration?

For about two years, I’ve been a member of a LinkedIn group called HRPositive!  The members are a bit like an optimist club for HR.  In their words, “This is a place to feel good about your profession and the people in it!”  You can find the group at:  https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8355569.

 

Futureproofing the HR function

Are HR hiring managers creating future skills shortages by failing to provide entry-level positions for new graduates?

Almost half of the HR managers surveyed for the Hays Canada 2016 Salary Guide said they were experiencing at least a moderate skills shortage. This is interesting because in our experience recruiting we’re seeing quite a few available candidates in the market. However, the difference seems to be that these candidates don’t have the exact skills that employers want.

For example, one pattern we’re seeing is a desire to find candidates with hybrid skills in combinations that could be difficult to find, such as compensation and talent acquisition. These types of combination roles are becoming more common, and one-third of employers say they are combining roles to manage internal talent gaps. But when employers want one candidate to do two jobs, is it surprising that they’re not finding the exact skills they need?

A surprising number of HR respondents (34%) cite fewer people entering the industry as the reason for skills shortages. However, we have seen high numbers of new graduates struggle to find their first HR role and interpret the survey response as reflecting the difficulty finding those with two to five years of experience. Many employers have essentially done away with entry-level roles, looking for at least two years of work experience for what in previous years would have been filled by a graduate.

HR professionals with a few years’ experience can hit the ground running faster than new graduates, so it’s understandable that given the choice many employers are looking for that experience. However, if employers continue to be hesitant to hire entry-level candidates, this mismatch between employer demand and market availability will worsen.

We asked employers about how they were attracting candidates, and most are focused on salaries and company culture, rather than on offering career progression and training opportunities. Training is no longer a nice-to-have. It is a necessity, not only as a candidate attraction tool, but as a crucial step towards reducing internal skills gaps and creating a leadership pipeline.

HR leaders need to look at their current teams and future plans to ensure they are nurturing the talent they will need in the future. While every organization will have its own hiring needs, if the trend away from hiring new graduates continues we could see a serious skills shortage for junior and intermediate HR talent, especially in niche areas where opportunities for on-the-job training are becoming scarce.

Learn more about the HR labour market. Request a copy of the Hays Canada 2016 Salary Guide.

Hays Canada division manager Rachel Finan has more than 14 years of experience working in HR recruitment, She excels in making the right match and brings expert insight into market trends, employer needs, and candidate requirements.

A Valentine from HR: Love the One You’re With

There are times as a consultant when I end up spending a good part of my day in a car driving to meetings. I’ve always enjoyed the radio on road trips and in recent years I seem to spend a lot of time listening to Sirius stations like 70s on 7, Classic Vinyl and The Bridge. Perhaps this dates me (although note that I listen to other “modern” stations too). I just like music.

Without question, I’m a sucker for a good turn of phrase in a lyric. I think that is why I like classic rock so much.

Recently I’ve heard the song Love the One You’re With by Stephen Stills a lot. It is one of those songs that goes in and out of high rotation. I have listened to this song many, many times throughout the years but I’m always looking for something to base a blog message on and this resonated, especially for Valentine’s Day.

Stills’s message in the song is about being happy.

We all have ideals about who the perfect person is for us.

Maybe there are circumstances that prevent that person from being with you. Perhaps you are separated by city, by job, by religion, by politics, by prison, by all sorts of reasons.

Stills suggests that you can still find good alternatives.  He sings,

 

“And if you can’t be with the one you love honey

Love the one you’re with”

 

 

So let me tap into my inner flower child today to give you this word of career advice. Love the one you’re with.

Many employers are spending a small fortune on brand image, expensive benefits and excitement creation to get the absolute best and brightest to work for them. It seems everyone wants to work for Google or Apple or . . . (insert latest name here).

The reality is that only a limited number of people will experience that kind of employer love.

A great many of us are surrounded by decent employers with normal benefits and normal policies and practices. They lack sizzle but have substance. They’re like the person who you know and like but wouldn’t think of entering into a romantic relationship with.

There’s an operative word in the job hunting world today and that is choose.  We’ve put the prospective employee, especially one with good prospects squarely in control to choose. We’ve allowed them to be ever so choosy, to the point of having an entire population of people choosing to be out of the job market waiting for the perfect employer to create the signal that they’ve been chosen.

Do we really need to soar in the clouds to be happy?  As the lyrics go,

“There’s a girl sitting next to you, and she’s just waiting for something to do”

My advice, let’s all stop focusing on the commodities of employment. There’s a lot of good employers out there. You’re probably at one or if you stopped and worked at it a little, have some ability to make it a good employer.  Stop feeling surly because you’re not working for the “it” company.

Essentially, love the one you’re with. It is up to you to make it better.