Keeping the "Human" in Human Resources
“I don’t know why…I guess I’m just not good enough.”
Believe it or not, this is a common workforce epidemic these days which is partially driven by the economy and tough labor market—but there is also much more to it. Michigan’s economy has impacted the psychology of people, and this is where we all hold a responsibility, as Michigan comes around the bend and returns to a state of employment.
I recently received a résumé from a very established professional seeking a management level job. Not only did he submit his résumé, but he also offered his job search statistics in an Excel spreadsheet, which summarized his search—I found this absolutely fascinating! In the past four months, this individual had submitted 83 résumés and only received six responses, which is an 8.3 percent hit rate. I simply had to pick up the phone and chat with this individual to get his take on his search and statistics.
After chatting, his closing comment was: ”I don’t know why…I guess I’m just not good enough.”
My response to this statement was: “Are you kidding me? Your background is spectacular!” We then chatted about the market, about tips for finding a job and about his next steps. To which he then asked yet another absolutely fascinating question: “Why are you being so nice to me?”
You see, not only do we have unemployed people in our state, we have unemployed people in our state who are incredibly talented. These talented folks have submitted hundreds of resumes to never hear back from the company who posted the position. More intriguing is that, even those who land a job interview and invest their time and energy for a potential position still do not hear back from the company as to whether they got the job. They are receiving no feedback as to what occurred, which leaves them to their thinking that, “I’m just not good enough.”
Now, with wavering confidence, they must keep going, sending résumés and e-mails, and combing the job postings. To simply have another similar negative experience is not a confidence-boosting cycle, and is especially disappointing for a person that (more than anything) needs confidence to secure that next position.
To all the workforce, companies and human resources professionals out there: This is where we can all do our part. We need to keep the “human” in our people practices—it is vastly needed!
If you know job seekers: Reach out to them. If they have a great résumé/background, tell them, because they are not hearing it from anyone else. Take a glance at their résumé, and tell them they are not alone in the search or in their feelings. Tell them to “let a smile be their umbrella” and to go out there and hit the next interview like it is their first. It is a tough market out there, but those that are employed need to help keep our unemployed engaged and fired up.
If you’re supervising or managing people: Find a minute to tell your workers what they are doing right. Confident employees perform better and treat customers better. When’s the last time you laid your head on your pillow at the end of the day and thought to yourself, “Whew, I just received way too much appreciation today”?
If you’re a human resources professional: Be sure that you have not tucked yourself away among all of the necessary “HR administrivia.” Walk the floor, talk to your workforce and know them as humans, not a number. Retain the human element while recruiting and interacting with candidates. Remember back to when it was you trying to get a job and treat candidates accordingly.
We all have a responsibility to keep the human element in people practices. Together we can keep our levels of confidence high so that, if employed, our performance is spectacular. And if not employed, we have the confidence and courage to keep going. In discussing the human element with a HR colleague of mine recently, he said, “Julie, I’m so glad you don’t use the term human capital. I know it’s becoming more common lately, but it always reminds me of human cattle, which is how I fear companies who use that word think of their employees.”
One of my favorite sayings is: “Of many minds comes great wisdom.” Let’s apply that saying to our fabulous state and to our workforce because, as Gov. Rick Snyder says, only together can jobs be our number one job.
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