I saw this headline last week in Business Week: Why I don’t Want the Recession to End Yet… and call me crazy, but I might be in the same boat as this writer because as much as I want to see us climb out of this mess we’re in, there are some good things that have come out of this crazy recession. Right? Think about it…
- Less recruiting = more process improvement. I’ve been recruiting less these days as similar to many organizations, we’re being prudent and only filling mission critical roles. Naturally, fewer reqs to fill has meant I have had more free time on my hands to do all those other things we’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the time to do. There’s been process improvement, system upgrades, audits, special projects including revamping our total reward statements and launching our social media recruiting blitz… We would have gotten around to all of this stuff eventually – I think, maybe, I guess we’ll never know – but this was totally the opportunity for me to dive in and get more stuff done.
- Greater clarity on who the A-players are. I know all of you won’t agree with me on this one… but for the most part, I think those who are still employed are those who you can’t live without. A-players aren’t being let go and so when I’m looking for passive candidates, I feel a bit more confident about these passive candidates. If you’re still employed, it’s more likely that you’re mission critical and a top-shelf employee. Simple.
- Employees are quieter – and more hungry. From an employee relations perspective, there’s something about a recession that makes people behave and act more… how shall I put this, um, rationally. Maybe it’s fright and that people don’t want to cause a ruckus for fear of becoming a target for a layoff. Maybe it’s humility and gratitude that’s settled in and is causing folks to be a bit more placid… but I’ve observed less employee relations issues. People are simply complaining less. And not only are people behaving more, I’ve seen that people are hungrier. They are overcompensating and working harder than ever so as to be indispensable.
- Smaller budgets = more creative solutions. Who hasn’t been asked to cut back? I’ve been asked to cut down my recruiting budget and as a result, I’ve re-evaluated a lot – how we’re using temps, frequency of using third party recruiters, job board packages. And, of course, I’m using social media more to recruit, which is almost completely free. Sadly, sometimes you forget to trim the fat and aggressively look for cost savings when times are good – at least that’s the case for me. Cutting budgets has forced me to be more creative and frugal. I’m trying to save a buck everywhere I can.
- So called millennials are getting a reality check. Now, I’m not one to make sweeping statements about an entire generation. And as a gen Y-ish gal, I hate the generalizations made about how we’re spoiled, have entitlement issues and are too focused on work life balance – you know all the stereotypes. If you subscribe to those beliefs, fine… I’ve seen my fair share of millennials who fit the bill and many who don’t – but for those who are “classic” millennials, I’m seeing a reality check happen right before my very eyes. And given the struggles that the class of ’08 and ’09 are facing finding jobs… I think even more so, we’ll see the pendulum swing a bit and the negative traits assigned to millennials will become a bit more dull.
It’s an interesting time. Coming into 2009, I was freaked out about the economy and how I might be impacted – this being my first time going through an economic crisis of any sort… but it’s kind of been a good experience for me. Call me a glass-half full kind of gal. So, what are you thankful for in this recession? What has it allowed you to do? And maybe most importantly, how are you planning on sustaining this once we’re officially out of this?
Stay hungry friends.
Jessica Lee is a VP of TA at Marriott International where she leads a team that enables the company to think big, broad and boldly about all things talent acquisition and in effect, keeps them relevant and ahead of the curve in how they attract and acquire top talent. Don’t be fooled by that fancy pants title and description though, she’s still an everyday HR gal in the trenches at the core. SPHR certified, a decade and a half into trench HR life… she can whip up a corrective action plan or source for your purple squirrel in a heartbeat.