The Great Resignation should be called the Great Labor Churn because this employment scramble is a serious challenge for hiring managers. However, the silver lining is that it also represents a significant opportunity for recruiters who know how to identify the “power skills” their available positions need most and a chance to hire new talent and ideas.
Another 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in February a pace that hasn’t slowed much since the quit rate hit a record 4.5 million in November 2021 according to the most recent jobs data released earlier this month.
It’s critical that recruiters, even while challenged by a limited talent pool, are discerning to evaluate potential candidates. Unfortunately, no matter how carefully (or creatively) a resume may be written, a rote list of past employers often highlights task-driven hard skills.
This information is easily verified, e.g., where a candidate went to school and previously worked. But how can recruiters evaluate not just what they did, but how they did it, to understand their process and approach to problem solving and team building? It is among these types of skills, including analytical, communication and work ethic, that employers can find the “power skills” to drive their businesses long into the future, such as:
- The ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing;
- The ability to work on a team, both within the immediate department and across internal organizations; and
- A motivated work ethic – someone who is reliable, dedicated, productive, cooperative and self-disciplined
These power skills are critical to identify during the recruitment process, as you turn the challenge of the great resignation into the opportunity to upgrade your workforce’s quality.
Miscommunication can be common in the workplace. For example, an email too quickly written (or read), incompletely identifying a problem or simply poor personal communication habits learned over a lifetime could disrupt everything from a team meeting to negotiations key to a business’s success.
If you are looking for someone who will be effective in deploying what they know from their area of expertise such that the whole team benefits – then you should find someone who:
- Knows how to communicate well;
- Understands the essential things to share;
- Understands that communication must always be timely; and
- Considers and anticipates the informational needs of others.
Here is a simple test of a prospect’s orientation towards communication with co-workers and superiors: Do they practice permanently closing the loop with those expecting something from them? In the workplace, silence is not golden.
There are few things more potent in business than a group of people set to a common task – who share the same understanding and vision for what must be accomplished and lean in with confidence on each other, and genuinely enjoy working together.
Work is fun for those fortunate enough to find themselves in a group of collaborative people. Therefore, put potential candidates through at least one group interview. In tandem with the hiring manager’s sentiments, it can be incredibly valuable to heed the group wisdom of your team.
The most critical power skill of all is an internal definition of excellence. Employees who know what is needed and care deeply about the quality of their work are the employees who “just get it handled.”
Incentives can stimulate work ethic, but an employee who constantly needs external motivation could exhaust both managers and fellow team members. Hiring managers also run the risk of underperformance or even resignation when no outside incentive is offered.
However, when you combine an open, collaborative communication style with an internal sense of excellence, the work of your entire team can be elevated.
But what about leadership, problem solving, flexibility, time management and patience? These are essential power skills too.
Suppose you rigorously focus on finding self-motivated candidates that fit the job description, share your values, and truly know the importance of communication. In that case, you will likely discover they also have the other mature skills to drive business forward.
Stacey Torrico is chief human resources officer at Accurate Background. She is a proven HR executive with 20 years of experience in leading talent development, talent acquisition, compensation, and employee relations initiatives. Her expertise spans organizational design and change management, developing and implementing workforce strategies related to leadership development, performance management, employee engagement, and succession planning. Most recently she served as Vice President of Human Resources for CoreLogic, responsible for HR programs in the global Property Intelligence & Risk Management division. As a member of the senior leadership team, she also provided strategic and operational support to a global team of 1,400 employees. Previously, she served as Head of HR at Snyder Langston where she led the HR organization, including the development and implementation of all HR programs and practices company wide. Torrico also spent 18 years at Fluor Corporation where she held a variety of HR-related roles, including serving as the Global HR Partner for Fluor’s largest business line with 11,000 employees in 18 offices across the globe.
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