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Take a Ride on the Workforce Rollercoaster

When it comes to your workforce, a new twist or turn could be just around the corner. Here are three simple "hiring habits" that need to be updated to build the right workforce.

Does anyone else feel like they are on a rollercoaster? 

The chain of events of the past few years — from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Russia/Ukraine conflict, the Great Resignation, ongoing hiring freezes, and rising interest rates — is enough to make us feel like we don't know whether we are coming or going. For those of us deeply immersed in the technology industry, the tidal waves affecting the global supply chain led to significant difficulties with the manufacturing workforce. Every time we almost get our feet under us, this rollercoaster either dives or banks hard, giving us a new twist to deal with, particularly when it comes to workforce issues.

Technology is an environment with ever-accelerating change, and we need to make sure we are armed with the best tools and resources on the hiring front and need to confront hard questions straight on. There are tough questions that need to be faced. Are you hiring now? Should you be? What will the future look like? Are we headed for tough times? How tough? How do I know?

When looking at the employment landscape, whether restructuring, hiring, retraining, or upskilling the workforce, we need to discard the rigid mindsets of the past to find the right people for open positions in our organizations. To be successful in this pressure-filled environment, we need to update our skills and processes. Or, as the title of my soon-to-be-released book states, Fire Your Hiring Habits. Let me share three simple "habits" that need to be updated — or simply fired.

The Onsite Mentality

Hybrid working environments are nothing new, but social distancing brought on the remote workplace with a vengeance. Most companies struggled to figure out how to hold a virtual meeting and provide meaningful work to those at home. This is not changing. The genie has been let out of the bottle, and it's not going back in easily. Some companies are striving to "require" staff to be in-house again. If the job really doesn't require it (and guess what, if your team hit their objectives during COVID from home, it doesn't really require it), you need to not only allow, but likely promote that you have at least a hybrid workplace. Spoiler alert — nearly all IT jobs don't require someone present most of the time.


With all the ups and downs, twists and turns of this rollercoaster ride we are on, how do you develop a hiring strategy? You may be asking yourself these questions: What if I hire too many people? What if I have too few? I understand … this is not easy. That's why we call it "work." Let me share a few ideas to help you in this challenge.

Don't get caught up in the same old processes that have been used (and maybe even modernized) for decades. You don't want to be left in a position where you are letting go of people you have just hired — that doesn't help anyone.

You must be clear on hiring needs and the availability of locating that talent. If you are searching for a pink unicorn, I suggest you not stop looking, but while you are looking perhaps leverage an outsource group that can spread these rarefied attributes across several others on their staff. Advantages: rapid startup time as well as proven results. Downside: It will likely cost a little more. If that pink unicorn does turn up, hire them and phase out your outsource partner. 

Another strategy is to really understand if you need that person now. Maybe some overtime from  talented internal staff can see you through until the future seems more stable. You need to be nimble. 

Know Your Audience

In addition to knowing what you are looking for in a team member, be clear on what they are looking for, too. You are likely familiar with the phrase "perception determines reality." I believe that the very same position can hold different benefits to different people without being a different position. "What is this sorcery you speak of?" you may ask. If I am a millennial (don't we all just love labels), I might see this position as offering me the flexibility I desire. If I am a boomer, I might like the security of the company and the health plan. I recommend that you know whom you are speaking with when you are recruiting and point out the likely benefits that they desire. I am not suggesting stretching the truth, just highlighting the relevant points to the audience (the interviewee).

The world has changed, and it is not done changing. 

We need to adjust our hiring mindset accordingly, or we will continue to struggle in this more empowered and aware world.

John W. Mitchell, Ed.D., author of the upcoming Forbes Books Fire Your Hiring Habits: Building an Environment that Attracts Top Talent in Today's Workforce, is president and CEO of the global electronics industry's trade organization, IPC. Mitchell began his engineering career at General Electric Aerospace before moving into leadership positions at Alpine Electronics and Bose. His academic credentials include a doctorate in higher education management from University of Georgia's Institute of Higher Education, a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University, and a Bachelor of Science in electrical and computer engineering from Brigham Young University.

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