People are people, right? Job seeker or employee – two sides of the same coin. Then why is it that we know we need to nurture our employees, but we treat job seekers as second-class citizens.
In the employment services world, the government makes the rules. Unemployed citizens must conform to the government’s ideology for getting a job or risk being punished. It’s a world of more stick than carrot. Being a job seeker is often negatively perceived and that term ‘dole bludger’ casts an unconscious bias shadow across those who are unfortunate enough to need assistance. After more than 15 years of employment services the government’s ideology of increasing compliance has had limited success at increasing the numbers of job seekers getting jobs. It seems to me its time to ‘disrupt’ the model.
On the other side of the coin in the HR world, businesses are finding it harder to fill jobs and to keep good staff. Talent acquisition is rated by business as the third most important challenge they face in the coming year(Deloitte, Human Capital Global Trends Report 2017). Research showing the positive bottom line results of businesses who place importance on happy and engaged employees and the fast-paced changes of a consumer-driven era has highlighted the need for organisations to place their human capital strategy at the core of future-proofing their organisations.
So how do we capitalise on an increasing shortage of talent and excess of job seekers? Employee engagement is embracing positive and productive ways to create better workplaces. Job seeker engagement is in the dark ages. Active participation is predicated on taking any job without much thought to alignment between the job seeker, the employer and the job. It’s time the government redefined the job seeker problem and started building a strong talent pool to suit what business will need in their future workforce.
So if you work in employment services, what can you do? What’s your human capital strategy for your employees and for your job seekers? It’s time to work with the raw, untapped and unexplored talent of job seekers. Stop believing the government is your ultimate client. They may call the policy shots but if you engage job seekers like organisations are engaging employees, hear them, value them, help them find their purpose and match them to an employer, you’re achieving the ultimate goal of getting people jobs and business will thank you.
I think you need to re-imagine job seekers as if they were employees of your organisation. If they had that value – how would you treat them, what would you do differently? What would they do and how would you prepare them? How would you work differently with employers? Job seekers are human capital and in a world of talent wars, it’s crazy to leave them to the hands of the government or on the ‘lost cause’ pile.