Throw REAL Lifesavers out in this economy…not those that are wintergreen

Jobs report is about to pop again, and I have to tell you, I am not optimistic. We have been adding net 50,000 to 80,000 jobs per month of the past several months, but we have a long way to go to recover the 7 million plus that were lost in the US, not to mention that millions that are in underemployment.

Where are the 250,000 jobs per month in new jobs? That is what we need. About a year of that would be awesome and would put us about halfway on track to “normal”. But that would also mean that 3 to 5 times the jobs that are becoming available will become available…so where are they?

Got that question during panel at NYU Stern in mid October. I told the audience to buckle up because the answer was going to be a bumpy ride. In general, we need to make some radical changes in the US to get those kinds of numbers. Main street and wall street need to do their thing, which means that the credit markets need to shift, but I think we have played down the shift that Americans may need to make. If you have not opened your mind to a different career or different industry, now would be a good time. Your commute may have to get longer, or you may need to work in another city and take it on the chin for a while. But if you have not compromised yet, you should start.

I think jobs are coming in technology, government, infrastructure, healthcare and very small businesses. But it’s tough to tell when.

But those looking have likely done their part. It’s the other side that needs to start bending, and start throwing out lifesavers that can stop people from drowning, not one that are minty and they can chew on (how is that for a visual).

As employers, we need to push our managers to hire more people. We need to be cautious about outsourcing, temporary work, and offshoring so we can get people here in the States fully employed and running again. We need to reinvest in jobs with the profits we have, and maybe change our business models a bit to expand out businesses to accommodate people growth. I know we have. Sure we need customers, but as we get them, we will need more people…and that didn’t used to be the case.

The other thing is we have to get over this discrimination about hiring people that are currently employed. It’s one thing if those people are underemployed, and working for much less than they should, and there are lots of those people. But if you are a manager, take some more time, planning, and own up to the fact that if you are good manager you should be able to develop people – especially those who are looking for development. Hire people that need a job and develop them.

Now I know that there is always a fight for top talent, and we have to find the right and best people. But let’s admit something out loud…most jobs require a certain set of skills and experiences but few require characteristics that only a purple squirrel possess. I am not asking a pharma company to stretch experience or education for the next head of oncology R&D, but let’s be more open in HR, marketing, procurement, sales, IT, customer service, and other jobs where individual contributors that have had success can be put in a position for other successes. Does a shift supervisor need to really work n the industry or demonstrate killer leadership? Does a customer service rep really need experience in your product, or can they demonstrate how they can adapt and learn? Challenge yourself on how many people could actually be trained or developed to be effective in that job with some added attention.

We have an opportunity as managers, each one of us, to make a real difference by hiring and developing people who NEED it – and I mean really need it. Think about that the next time you sit with a manager and ask them what they require, or the next time you sit with your recruiter and are thinking about your team.

If you have a job, take it on yourself in 2011 to put one person back to work, and greatly impact one family. It’s an amazing feeling and it gets addictive.

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