EMA Kick Off

The Employment Management Association Conference at the Wyndham Palace Resorts, Orlando, FL kicked off at 1:00 p.m. today with Dr. John Sullivan Ph.D., Professor at San Francisco State University (currently on loan as Chief Talent Officer at Agilent, an upstart HP division). John is the “Tom Peters of Employment” (although Fast Company has dubbed him the Michael Jordan of Hiring). If you haven’t read his articles, tips or opinions- you need to. (Read John’s articles as featured in the Electronic Recruiting Daily here. John didn’t disappoint an audience of 800+ attendees and some of his best comments follow: Commenting (tongue in cheek) on how different Silicon Valley is:

“We give drug tests also – we just score them differently ” To provoke the need for change:

“How come heads of HR don’t become CEO’s?” In making the point that it is the “A” employees not the buildings or products that make the difference, John asked “If I put a Nike on one foot, a Reebok on the other and jumped would one foot be higher?” Using examples to underscore the importance of using the right metrics, John indicated specific corporations that calculated their:

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  • average loss in not filling an opening at $7000/day
  • cost of a bad hire at $300,000
  • cost of losing an “A” performer at $200,000, $1,000,000 and more

John used productivity estimates showing the difference between average and above average performers to calculate that a great recruiter who can consistently hire above average performers is worth $1.6 million and then asked the audience “and what do they pay you?” His underlying message is that we are on every CEOs agenda, we are in a war for talent and we need to be warriors to win. We particularly liked his efforts to test his own employment system by having 5 of his company’s top performers submit a “mystery” resume to his company. Only two were invited to interview. The above comments simply set the table for a substantial serving about the changes needed in the hiring function. Dr. Sullivan’s tone was light and rapid fire but it was clear from beginning to end that he thinks “now is the most exciting time” and today is the best opportunity we’ve ever had to make a difference in our company’s bottom line (as much as 10% in share holder value to quote one study). The concurrent sessions following the day’s keynote address focused on everything from branding to building better referral programs. The next few hours were spent meeting the exhibitors – 83 in all. More on that tomorrow and a brewing controversy begun last week. If you are missing EMA, there is still time to get to Kennedy’s e-Cruiting Conference in Las Vegas, IDG’s Technical Recruiter Conference in Orlando, SHRM’s mega conference in Vegas (as well as several others). Good hunting!

Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler are co-authors of CareerXroads and are internationally recognized as educators, consultants and practitioners. Learn more at www.careerxroads.com

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