By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Some BV employers are wearing grins that we haven’t seen for awhile. The supply/demand employment pendulum has swung in their direction for the first time in a long time, if ever.
The smart ones are already preparing for when it swings back.
Don’t think it won’t. The fundamental condition which helped precipitate the hiring boom we’ve had has not gone away. BV is still the kind of profession that you really only learn from the inside. It’s a business of judgment. Your deliverable is, in the end, an opinion of value.
And that means that the only source there will ever really be, for quality talent at the manager level and above, is the industry, itself.
Talent at that level has been lost from BV payrolls. When you run a consulting services practice and you have to cut costs, shedding employees – and the higher paid ones, at that – becomes your only choice. Some will be reabsorbed by the industry. Enough won’t. And even when BV bounces back they won’t return. It’s impossible to predict the impact, but there’s likely to be one.
You can take steps, now, to inoculate your practice.
Whether it’s happened through attrition or deliberate reductions, most practices are doing more with less. Work is probably being pushed farther and farther down in the hierarchy. Make sure that you’re pulling people up at the same time. Make sure they’re getting the training and coaching they’ll need to perform at the higher level.
This applies to your professional and administrative/support staff, both. At these levels in your practice, employees also have the greatest range for improvement. That improvement adds productivity faster than increased wages add cost. You are then in a position to reward with pay raises and bonuses.
Money won’t be everything, of course. Your employees put value on rising in responsibility to take on bigger challenges. Making sure they see a future is key to earning their loyalty. If you truly have longer-term thoughts about someone’s potential with you, say so. Privately and discreetly, if necessary. But, say so.
As growth returns to BV, more and more practices will be chasing fewer and fewer truly qualified professionals. You can reduce your chances of having to fish in that crowded pond by pulling your own staff upward, and hiring at the lower, and less expensive, levels.