Working without the ball
Recently, watching the World Cup, I was inspired by something that was said from one of the commentators. He said something along the lines of “It’s just as important to work hard when you don’t have the ball as it does when you have it.”
I translated that to my world, and no, I’m not that sporty any more, although I kind of resemble the ball.
What this said to me is that the right activity is king. You need to have activity. During the GFC (you know, those times that won’t be discussed again) my team and I did not have much in the way of open requirements, our company was pretty full of people, and attrition was at an all time low. What does a Recruitment team do? We had no resumes coming in, we had no advertisements on any job boards.
Well, we worked. We knew that we were either on the swing or the roundabout, and that things change. We also knew that the speed in which things change had traditionally caught us off guard and behind the eight ball, causing the business pain due to lack of people. We spoke to people, we put people through our process with the expectation being that when things turned around, we would call them straight away. In short we talent pooled, and we talent pooled hard.
Talent pooling was a tough idea to sell to my team. There was resistance. In house Recruitment teams don’t do that. “It’s too agency” they said, “we’re wasting people’s time” they said, “It’s not honest” they said. It’s interesting, I rarely use the “because I said so” card at work. But I did for this. I explained that as long as we open and honest, explained to people what we were doing and why, that it would be fine, people would be fine with it, and if they weren’t, then we move onto the next one.
Begrudgingly, they went along with it. And I went into sell it to Management mode.
Then after a while, the expected happened. Our market turned.
Picture this. Here’s me sitting quietly at my desk when the business (figuratively) ran up to my desk panting. “Dan, Dan, we need your help. The market has turned, we are in dire need of people. And guess what? We need them now, or yesterday if possible. Please fire up that Recruitment machine and get things happening please.” I turned to my team, who produced a print out of all the people, and skillsets we had ready to sign, and asked “which ones do you want?” The smile and disbelief was priceless. And PROOF, that work done without the ball, pays off when you get it back, you’ll simply be in a better position!