Humans are picky, when it comes to reproduction. The rest of the natural world seems to solely focus on proximity. And those that don’t, like birds with their ritualistic mating ceremonies, still don’t care if they met only that day, as long as they go home with the “biggest hunk” in the group. Humans, for the most part, are forced to play the long game, and to shower daily, in order to find a mate. Humans, after all, have higher standards. And, so it is with business.
In order to thrive in this next decade, the number 1 skill for any business will be talent attraction. For businesses to thrive in the next 10 years, they will, regardless of their industry, have to focus on excelling in the ideas economy. And ideas come from humans; great ideas come from humans working together in close proximity. We will need great humans to work in our organizations if we have any hope of winning in the ideas economy. And, as many are discovering, it has nothing to do with posting a want ad or job opportunity. That’s for amateurs.
Job posts attract two different kinds of people. Those who are unemployed and those who don’t like their jobs. The odds of finding great thinkers in these two pools of people is very small – not impossible – but very small. If you do find a great thinker in this pool, the odds are that they aren’t very good at working with others. The people we need are those that think differently than the status quo, who are able to share those ideas in a group setting (so working with others is important), who are humble enough to allow their idea to be challenged, disregarded or built on, and who are totally fine attributing the win to the team because, like any successful hiring squad, the person who hit the target should be ambiguous or completely unknown.
No, the talent we need will not be found using job postings. So please save your money. Instead, healthy companies attract – they are places people want to work. Every intern we’ve ever had is trying to get a job at Google. Everyone wants to work at Google or Apple or Microsoft or Facebook. Why? Because they are changing the world. And that’s not an exaggeration. They’re not perfect, but they are full of life. Spend any amount of time in their workspaces and you get a contact high. At Hölmetrics, we call that “work giving more life than it takes”. I have a friend who works at Apple. I’ve seen him put in multiple weeks of 18 hour days. He still loves his job. Their work still gives them more life than it takes from them. Another strange thing is that when people tell me they are hoping to land a job at Apple or Google or one of these places, they never talk about the things that Google and Apple have done to intentionally improve their employee experience. They don’t talk about the free food, or the incredible health and wellness centres on campus, or the rad bikes you get to ride around. They talk about the things those companies are doing to change the world. And how badly they want to be a part of it.
If you asked my wife what the most attractive quality about me is, she would probably say something along the lines of my tenacity to go after my goals or how much I care about the things I care about including her and our girls. She might mention something about cheddar bacon biscuits, but other than that she wouldn’t give you a list of utilities. She wouldn’t tell you all the things I do for her and our family. She would tell you about the things that make her feel; feel proud, feel cared for, feel protected, feel involved, feel like she is a valuable part of something bigger than herself. Healthy companies make people feel like a valuable part of something bigger than themselves.
I have a friend who works at a picture framing store. When he took the job, he saw it as an avenue to buy the business and to be a small business owner. Three years in and he’s looking for the nearest off ramp. He told me that the current owner has no interest or willingness to try anything new. I’m not sure what new innovations have hit the picture framing industry in the last three years, but simple things like creating a social media presence are too far out of reach for this owner. Convinced that they won’t produce results based on previous attempts. I’m sorry, but the myriad of companies who have built multi-million dollar companies on social media alone tell me that this guy is wrong. His previous failures tell me more about him then they do about the medium or the market.
There is nothing less attractive then the status quo. There is nothing less attractive than a small business in a small market with little to no ambition to change either of those two things.
Humans who do the bare minimum just to stay alive typically get an intervention or institutionalization. Businesses that do the bare minimum to stay alive deserve the same, but I’m afraid that the market will take care of them the jungle way – they will become someone else’s lunch. As soon as someone figures out how to utilize the internet to provide faster, better, cheaper picture framing for customers across all 50 states and Canada, this guy is done. No buy out. No sale. Just lunch.