I can’t hire enough good people fast enough…

Almost every day this year, at some point in a conversation, someone has asked me how things are going with the business.

“Great!” I tell them. Indeed, business is great. 1H07 has been the most profitable period in Guidance’s 14-year history. We are growing in value-delivered, revenue, profit and headcount.

And when people then inquire about Guidance’s challenges, I invariable say… “I can’t hire enough good people fast enough.”

It would appear I’m not alone. Stepaphanie Overby, writer for CIO.com, recently noted in her July 20, 2007 article How to Recruit Talent in a Hot Market: Everything You’re Doing Is Wrong that, “…the first quarter of this year saw the biggest net hiring increase in enterprise IT in more than five years, according to Robert Half’s survey of CIOs. It’s officially a seller’s market for IT talent. Good news for IT professionals. Bad news for IT hiring managers.”

Some people tell me that having demand outpace my supply [of talented resources] is a good problem to have. Notwithstanding, and after one actually says that, I’m still left with quite a problem – good or otherwise.

While Guidance has made significant organic strides in increasing its headcount, I still believe we could be hiring faster and smarter.

Data from the Vistage CEO community suggest that growth for small and midsized companies in 2008 will be similar to the growth in 2007. If that’s remotely accurate by the end of next year, these next twelve months should offer plenty of opportunity to increase the company’s top and bottom lines. We are in an exciting period of growth right now. Business is indeed booming.

Cost of Doing Nothing
To capture maximum potential value of this current economic cycle, however, I believe Guidance and other midsized professional services companies will have to “be” expert, not only in their specific areas of business services, but also in the domain of talent recruitment and retention, or what I collectively call “talent management.”

The cost of staying the course or of doing nothing different in the area of talent management is unmistakably large. Each new hire at Guidance today drives significant value to our bottom line. Given the maturity of our business and our current expense structure, we quickly transform new employees into high dollars. The opportunity cost of “getting recruiting wrong” is something I think about every day.

What to Do?
Recently, we have invested in growing our recruiting staff. However, for most of 1H07, we used a combination of part time, in-house recruiters and outside agencies, such as the aforementioned Robert Half. Our new approach of using more in-house, full time recruiters with less dependency on costly outside agencies should improve the situation noticeably.

In terms of retention, for those of you familiar with Guidance, you know that our values, culture and environment are remarkably valuable to employees, including this one. Of the 11 strategic goals for 2007, a remarkable 4 of them are tied specifically to generating value for the employees. My executive team and I spend considerable time and focus on constantly creating and maintaining an amazing place to work. And we hope to share that experience with many new employees later this year and next.

Money in Your Pocket
If you know of a talented technology professional who would align with our core values (below) and who is looking for a way to completely change the way they think about their workday and their career, let me know. I offer a referral fee to anyone (including my own employees) who can introduce me to exceptional talent. Job postings can be found on the Guidance website.

Guidance’s Core Values
Honesty, integrity and fairness
Respect for individual ability, creativity and diversity
Teamwork and open communication
Passion and commitment
Enjoyment of work and life


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