Lessons from the Great Recession.

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I learned a lot from the Great Recession. A lot. It was a very difficult time for many people and continues to be for many that haven’t emerged.

I have spoken to many transition groups multiple times and have met with countless people during those years. It is not difficult to feel and see despair and frustration.  In those days nobody would even dare ask at the beginning or end of the meetings if there were any good news stories about people landing because there weren’t any. Everybody was running for cover when the world was melting and we were losing 500,000 jobs a month.  Today some people are able to raise their hands and say they have landed or secured a consulting gig.  There is more hope in the air.  Guarded hope.

You don’t find out about the economy in the paper; you learn the true economic reports on the streets and during the great recession many people including me felt at times that we were licking the sidewalks of life.

I learned many things being one of the founders of Laguna Niguel Connectors a group that grew from 4 people to over 3200 currently on Linkedin.  I learned about the power of people, the blessings of serendipity and the engine called Linkedin. When you had over 100 people meeting for endless months on the third Friday of the month in Laguna Niguel who were in transition it wasn’t too difficult to see that the recession had touched every community and every street. The miracle of Laguna Niguel connectors was the quality of the people that attend and the pay it forward helpful attitude of the vast majority of its attendees.

I learned that there are Angels of the recession. People like Cindy Pickens who founded Café Net and has helped thousands of people in transition without ever asking for a dime.  Many people who volunteered their time to speak on Linkedin at various venues to help those in transition master its power in the job search. People like Sven Johnston, Ted Robison and Tim Tyrell-Smith. And there are many more.

Although the recession was very painful for many I think it provided great lessons for today’s youth.  Prior to the great recession many were the enabled generation with high levels of expectations of entitlement.  Today I believe that the Millenials are a very responsible and industrious group who has learned through the pain of many of their parents that many institutions can’t be trusted any longer and that hype is just that.  Hype. They also understand that the employer-employee relationship is much different these days and for the future.

I have learned that business had changed forever.  That you need many more irons in the fire than before if you are hunting for a job or a project.  Decision making and approvals can take much longer. Budgets are tighter and every dollar must have a return.

I have also learned that the benefit of social currency that you get from networking can be even more powerful than that of financial currency because your network of people is what truly enriches you life.

So what have you learned?

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin

http://www.linkedin.com/in/hankblankcom

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch his video on YouTube on How to Rise Above the Crowd.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkO7efleWX4

Hot and Cold Networking Doesn’t Work.

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Hot and Cold Networking Doesn’t Work.

The new Jobs Report came out yesterday and the report wasn’t too cheerful.  Very tepid job growth.  That’s life in the New Normal.  We live in a world with an unemployment rate of 8.2% in the U.S. My friend Lynn Marie Hammond reminded me that the Euro Zone’s stagnant economy has left 17.4 million people out of an active population of around 156 million people without a job.

I read in this month’s issue of OC Metro that even the well educated and diverse Orange County the land of desperate and over indulged housewives only added 12,600 jobs from January 2010 to January 11.  Not much growth for a county of three million people.

The same issue had another survey among OC Executives.  The percentage of respondents who expect business activity to improve or stay the same today was 84%, an increase from 78% in 2010.  You see today in the New Normal progress is when things stay the same.  We have all seen the job market free fall and we have learned that staying the same is an acceptable platform.  It is survival.

In this world many people still believe that the Old Normal will return and they network that way.

I call it hot and cold networking.  When they are looking for a job it is all about the networking.  “Let’s catch up at Starbucks.”  “Let’s get together to see how I can help you.”  “Would love to catch up.”  When they land they revert to their old habits. You never see them or hear from them.

You reach out to them after they have been with their employer for a few months to check in.  They are too busy for Starbucks or lunch.  They have no time.  They have a job and don’t need your network anymore.

These are the hot and cold networkers of today.

Then in today’s world of the New Normal they are on the street again.  They are not ready to be fired.  They reach out again and want to network. They try to atone for their past behavior.  They promise change.

After years of seeing this from many I have lost layers of compassion.

I am sure we have all met hot and cold networkers.

What they don’t understand is that today you have to be networking all the time.  Just like sharks you have to be constantly out there expanding your resources and learning about opportunities.  Opportunities and jobs are being created but they are often spread through word of mouth because nobody wants to deal with a deluge of submissions from unqualified people.

Truth be told, hot and cold networkers don’t come to mind first when I hear about jobs.

What is your networking temperature?

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin

http://www.linkedin.com/in/hankblankcom

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch his video called How to Rise Above the Crowd.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkO7efleWX4&list=UUEigDTyDiFGXVfyg7sRErOg&index=5&feature=plcp

The New Employer Employee Dance.

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While travelling recently I read a new survey in USA Today Snapshots on Loyalty Gap perceptions between Employers and Employees.  It shared that 59% of employers in 2011 felt that they were very loyal to their employees and that percentage had increased from 52% in 2010.

At the same time, only 32% of employees believed that their employer was very loyal to them and that percentage had declined from 40% in 2010.

Clearly employers and employees are not on the same page.

When I share these stats with some of my peers virtually no one feels that employers are loyal.  I don’t think that anyone who has been through the great recession wouldn’t be skeptical about those findings.  We live in times in the New Normal where companies are cash rich and employee lean.

In one generation of working we have moved from an employer-employee relationships where thirty years ago it was the norm for a person to be hired into an organization out of school and then remain for the next 20 or 25 years or longer with that company and then retire.  The term gold watch has disappeared from the work lexicon.

But now we are at a Mexican Standoff so to speak where employers need top talent and people want jobs but at the same time employees don’t trust their employer and would move to a better opportunity at the drop of the hat because they know that employer would fire them at the sign of any economic downturn.  They have shared many beers with friends and associates or spouses who texted them that they had just been let go a month after being told by their boss they were great.  I know of many Millennials who have had three jobs already.

I also recently read a very interesting blog by Sarah Miller Caldicott on the definition of progress for Gen Y’s. She outlines that Gen Y’s are looking for flexibility in their work environment including access to social networks.  She wrote that “Gen Y seeks participation in collaborative activity that involves sweeps of people including-but also lying beyond-those co-habiting their office space.”

I share the same belief and have posted some blogs recently on my belief that the most successful companies in the future will be the ones who train their employees to be the best networked.

Smart companies will foster smarter employees and make them more marketable.

Recently I heard about one Fortune 500 company who was actively training their employees to have optimized profiles on Linkedin and had implemented a four week training program with prizes such as iPads.  I have heard whispers of similar activities with other companies.

Here is the New Employer -Employee Win Win.  Smart companies will start by training all their employees to rock on Linkedin because of its business focus and allow them to access to social networks during working hours.  They will provide them with Linkedin recommendations for their employee profiles.

Employers will also work hard to make their employees more marketable while they are with them.  That will be today’s curriculum of professional development and a definition of a company that is best to work for.  They will also train them how to network.  Employees will appreciate that and as a result they will be better equipped to do their jobs and if things should change, more marketable, and it will be quicker to find a new job.

In return employees will recognize that to a degree their employer has their back to a degree and will channel their network to help them and their employer succeed.  A tenuous dance and new employer-employee contract perhaps but better than the Employer blah blah outlined in the USA Snapshot.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin

http://www.linkedin.com/in/hankblankcom

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch his video called How to Rise Above the Crowd.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkO7efleWX4&list=UUEigDTyDiFGXVfyg7sRErOg&index=5&feature=plcp

Creating A Well Networked Company.

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I recently posted a blog outlining that the Most Successful Companies Will be the Best Networked Companies and will train their Employees How to Network.  The bottom line of that blog was that well networked companies will be better able to compete in the New Normal because they will be the best resourced.

I rarely hear about companies who train their employees to master Linkedin or other social media platforms outside of the Marketing Departments.  I believe that company wide networking training should be the norm today.  I am always amazed how many sales people or New Business people who aren’t skilled with Linkedin.  Today you can’t afford not to.

Want more loyal customers? In today’s competitive environment it smart to surround your clients with multiple touch points.  The more the better.  Employees in every department should be Linkedin with their counterparts at each of their clients instead of just 2-3 contact points in sales or other departments.  In a slow growing economy all your clients are being targeted by your competitors so you have to be drilled down into every level of your client’s organization.

Want to recruit better people quicker?  Train your employees to network and you will create a recruitment funnel.

Want your company to be more entrepreneurial?  Train you employees to network and you will hear about opportunities before your competitors.

Want to solve problems quicker?  Train your employees to network.  Well networked people are solution centers.  Networking makes your smarter and saves you time and money because well networked people are connecting to numerous people who have experience in a myriad of areas.  I have always believed that it is better to go to your network to solve your problems before you go to Google.

I also believe that each organization should publish a monthly calendar of appropriate networking events that is shared with all their employees.  Employees at all levels should be encouraged to attend these events on a regular basis. Your company’s employees should cover all the events. Networking is a very efficient way of keeping your company’s name out there constantly.  Everybody needs to be a hunter today.

Today successful companies are networked companies.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin

http://www.linkedin.com/in/hankblankcom

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch his video called How to Rise Above the Crowd.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkO7efleWX4&list=UUEigDTyDiFGXVfyg7sRErOg&index=5&feature=plcp