Lessons we can take into the New Year

fireworks-227383_6402016 has been a very unpredictable year and that has led many staffing veterans to want to turn the page and hope for a more productive and stable 2017. There are several reasons for this but let’s try to focus on some of most likely culprits:

Churn and attrition have been much higher this year than in others since the Great Recession of 2008. For instance, I’ve connected with several industry colleagues who have noticed that retention has been much lower, and one of the primary reasons is that many technical employees know that this is a seller’s market. With that realization, many IT professionals have left jobs abruptly, backed out of accepted offers at the last minute and have been fired due to not performing in their roles as expected.

In various discussions I’ve had with staffing insiders, we’ve come to the mutual conclusion that many IT employees feel that there are no repercussions for underperforming or not starting or completing consulting engagements (as promised). Many firms have seen consultants make very unprofessional decisions, exited from their assignment early and then have the rationale to ask if another assignment can be sourced.

What many candidates/consultants fail to realize is they think this won’t affect me long term because I won’t deal with that staffing firm or the end company they were working at because that’s only two options that have been taken away. What they fail to comprehend is that churn is also very high in staffing as well. Consultants often aren’t cognizant that even though they won’t deal with the firm or the employer, members from both organizations will still have negative connotations affixed to them when they move on to other staffing companies and other employers.

I’ve had recruiters ask about a great looking candidate that has been sourced and if we can work with that candidate and I say no due to the lack of professionalism that was exhibited at an employer that I placed this candidate with several years prior to he/she being brought to my attention again.

We refer to this as the mushroom effect in terms of a lesson that a former manager taught me. He said that candidates always bring two elements to a potential hiring engagement: skills and reputation. You can never take someone’s skills, but if you damage your reputation in the work community, you can tarnish yourself for life.

This opinion was further reinforced in a recent article by CBS News that contained a quote saying “the US is facing a pending labor shortage in the next two decades. That’s partly due to demographics, while the nature of tech jobs is to blame, given that that they’re easy to outsource to other countries.”

In the coming year(s), we as staffing professionals need to do a better job of vetting potential employees and educating them on the pratfalls and consequences that come with less-than-stellar decision making. If we take this proactive approach, we can save existing consultants as well as better selecting highly qualified candidates coupled with elite work ethics. Let’s put these strategies into action and see how next year plays out.

Michael Barefoot

Michael Barefoot
Michael Barefoot is senior account executive at Red Zone Resources. He can be reached at mikeb (at ) redzoneresources (dot) com.

Michael Barefoot

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