June 2, 2020

The Dilemma: To Hire or Not to Hire

I recently read a piece in the Harvard Business Review that was spot on.  It talked about how we now have unprecedented opportunity to hire the best-of-the-best talent that would never have been available or even entertained a call just three months ago. 

The Stakeholder Perspective

Think about it.  Regardless of what is happening with this global pandemic, there are still stakeholders looking for ROI.  This hasn’t changed, and in fact stakeholders want to make sure their investments are secure like never before, considering most everyone has been affected in the pocketbook by this thing one way or another, including them.

Grace Period

Sure, we will all be extended some kind of grace period — for a nanosecond — but it will be very short lived. Sooner rather than later, we will go back to the Janet Jackson song of yesteryear, “What Have You Done for Me Lately?”  It’s just the way it is no matter how callous that sounds.

The Scramble

In another couple of months, maybe sooner, U.S. businesses, across a miriad of industries,  are going to be in a world of hurt: scrambling to hire talent, but also trying to capture all this lost revenue in what’s going to become a vicious cycle. Between these competing forces there will be a clear winner, and you know what that is: revenue.  So what about building out the team once again?  It’s a conundrum, isn’t it? 

We see this play out even in normal times. It happens right around mid-January, especially in the sales/commercial organizations of most companies, when the realization hits that there are all these open territories with revenue attached to them and no one working them.  Yikes!  That tends to be when emails, texts and phones blow up for most external recruiting partners, with most of our clients desperate to hire “rock star” producers as well as anyone else with a tie to direct revenue. 

The Time is Now

Think about it.  If the average time to hire takes 30-60 days, come mid to late summer you will be scrambling to find talent — and the people who are available right now, today, will be gone.  I know executive teams are concerned about financials, as well as the welfare of those they feel responsible for. We are all concerned about our individual safety and health, as well as that of our children, our aging parents and extended family and so forth. But at some point, we will have to make lemonade out of lemons and get back to business as (un)usual. This may be the new normal for people everywhere, but it is what it is and we either adapt or get left behind.

What Now?

The fact of the matter is that companies across the nation and beyond have made the difficult decision to let some very talented individuals go. My heart goes out not only to those who were laid off, but also the managers and executives who had to make those tough calls. I’ve lived through that (on both sides of the equation) and it stinks. 

But as the dust begins to settle, the curve flattens, and we all start to figure out the new norm for business, one universal word remains: revenue.  I can’t help but believe those that adapt and have the right talent in place, trained, ready and willing to sell whether directly or indirectly, will come out ahead.