I Predicted it! The Perfect Business Storm is Here!

08/06/2017 01:02 pm ET Updated Aug 06, 2017

Hold on to your employees a seachange in hiring has arrived! I predicted the perfect storm….and I was right!

On Dec. 20, 2016 I published an article via Huffington Post sharing what I perceived to be a perfect storm forming for many businesses. My gut told me with certainty it was going to occur. I just didn’t know when.

Well...it’s now 8 months since that post and I can confidently say -- it’s here!!

To read the full piece you can click here. Are You Ready for the Perfect Business Storm

I mention 5 contributing factors in the article all of which are still relevant and some of which have been amplified. And the compelling fact...there are now more.

So now, what was the makings of a perfect storm, for many companies, will surely be a hurricane. And that hurricane could be your worst nightmare.

The Original 5 Contributing Factors

To help provide a framework to this article, let’s review the initial 5:

1. The now largest population of employees that make up the labor pool are millennials.

2. Companies have leaders and managers who are baby boomers, matures and older Xers, many of whom are having difficulties effectively managing them.

3. The labor market is tightening.

4. A new administration looks to spur substantial economic growth, exacerbating the labor shortage.

5. Dated views and beliefs creating a severe blindspot on how to spend money (allocating financial resources) to manage talent for better company performance undermine desperately needed training and development programs such as management & leadership development.

Contributions to the Perfect Storm Have Amplified and Increased

With those 5 in mind, let’s look at what’s been amplified as we consider additional factors, fueling the storm’s presence. Two amplifications of note are:

1. President Trump: Whether you like the guy or not, President Trump has generated, by his very presence and a few not widely publicized deregulation initiatives, an economic perception and atmosphere of financial and regulatory liberty, opening a floodgate of commitment to growth and job opportunities like never before from major business leaders.

2. The Labor Market continues to shrink and two powerful factors are contributing - the Amazon Effect and the substantial uptick in drug use.

Coming soon to a neighbor workforce pool near you is what will soon to be known to many of my human resource-talent management colleagues and hiring managers as The Amazon Effect. For some companies, Amazon will be their worst nightmare.

If you’ve watched any news channel over the past few weeks, you’ve probably viewed long lines of folks in a variety of locations across the country expressing a desire to work at Amazon’s enormous distribution centers. A dear friend, who is a call center manager in the Atlanta area, indicated she was having a problem with turnover and difficulty finding candidates due to Amazon's facility recently built down the street.

This massive employment initiative by not only Amazon, but a few others, will suck up a significant number of the remaining “employable” workforce. Have you heard the Amazon sucking sound in your backyard yet?

And then for the beleaguered unemployed that remain, besides the educational handicap, for some, there is an additional, growing challenge only now gaining national attention -- drug use.

Recently on the Smerconish show - Regina Mitchell, co-owner of Warren Fabricating & Machining in Hubbard, Ohio, shared her hiring challenges related to drug testing. In fact, as shared by writer Tyler Durden, she told the New York Times “that four out of 10 applicants otherwise qualified to be welders, machinists and crane operators will fail a routine drug test”.

Tyler’s complete article is a must read for every human resource professional, hiring manager and business leader. An Ohio Factory Owner Is Eager To Hire Workers, There Is Just One Problem...

The impact of the growing opioid epidemic and changing laws regarding marijuana usage has been percolating under the radar for quite some time and is contributing to the reduction in employable adults - people can’t pass the drug test.

Here is a profound reality check - the number of employable Americans - our human resource pool -- is shrinking with no end in site.

And it’s not just in manufacturing, but in high tech and other sectors as well. Though President Trump feels bringing back jobs is a national imperative, many fail to realize there are plenty unfilled jobs here, remaining idly open. Even as far back as 2014, there were reportedly 7,400 job unfilled in the Akron Ohio region.

So What’s the Message?

Whether these conditions are directly impacting your business, industry or not, it’s something of which every business owner needs to be keenly aware.


Along with other changes in our society, including technology, there are multiple, undeniable factors that are impacting our workforce. Is your company ready, responding, adapting?

As in the case of Amazon, if you have a similar workforce profile, can you hold onto your employees who unbeknownst to you may have been one of the cast of thousands in the hiring line?

Advice to leadership — up until now, if you’ve not been that serious about developing competent leaders and building a strong, positive work culture that creates more of a pull for your employees to stay than a push for them to leave, this may be your last chance!

This is a mission critical for many businesses, because as we know, you can’t grow if your employees go!

Many leaders have passively allowed the blindspot I referenced earlier (#5 of the factors list) to exist for way too long ….but watch out ...look in your side view mirror and you might just spot Amazon and others like it passing you by taking your talent with them.

Related to Factor #5 - you may want to read: The Top 5 Conditions That Sabotage Company Growth

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