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Staffing During the Recession

(December 2011) posted on Thu Nov 17, 2011

"Interestingly, it has never been easier to staff our company with star employees than during this recession period."

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By Craig Miller

By the way, another challenge during boom times is the employee actively shopping their services to the highest bidders. Now, a healthy dose of self-confidence and feeling of self worth can be beneficial for any employee. But I think it’s more common during boom times for employees to over-estimate their value to a company – what I refer to as “the prima-donna effect.” It’s not uncommon for an employee who sees him or herself as invaluable to attempt to hold his or her employer hostage. During a boom, these prima-donna employees can shop themselves to competitors and threaten to leave, going to the highest bidder if you won’t match the offer. We’ve had some unpleasant experiences participating at both ends of this game. The recession has all but eliminated this phenomenon.

Hiring during a recession
Why has the recession contributed to us possibly having one of our best staffs ever? Capitalism’s supply and demand rules. One benefit of this market pressure is the drastic reduction of the aforementioned prima-donna effect. People with any sense are glad to have a job. We don’t feel any pressure from competitors to poach our people. In addition, we have set higher standards for employee performance and lower tolerance for behavior that falls below our criteria. As a result, we have eliminated all of our “bad actors.”

When someone fails to perform, we bring him or her in for a session of constructive criticism. We are very specific in where they have fallen short and what they need to remain in good standing. If we don’t see immediate compliance, we put them on probation and begin looking for their replacement. Speaking of looking for replacements, this task has become very easy: Craigslist allows us immediate gratification and it’s free. Also, word of mouth has never been a more effective recruiting tool. Free is always good when it works.