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I’ve been looking at the BLS unemployment data regularly since before the 2008 recession, and I watch the shift in jobs from industry to industry. Why? It shows us how the economy is changing and teaches us how to plan our careers, our hiring, our training investments, and the future lives of our children.

In the latest unemployment report we saw the “most striking” change in the economy during my lifetime. Not only are we operating at 14.7% unemployment, but the percentage of people looking for work is at a 40 year low (perhaps due to generous benefits) and most industries are under stress. …


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Let’s face it, we’re in a new world. As I described in The Big Reset, remote work is now an integral part of life. Today more than half of Americans are working at home, and studies show that as many as 40 million people will make “work at home” a regular part of their job in the future. Even Japan, a country known for its long office hours, saw an 80% drop in train ridership in the last week.

For someone who has worked at home for more than 20 years, I’ve learned a lot about it. It’s not as simple as taking your laptop home and setting it up on the kitchen table. There are a myriad of issues with tools, rules, norms, and culture. And when you get this right, your team will thrive. …


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How fast life can change. One day, it feels normal. The next day we’re “sheltering in place” in our homes…distancing ourselves from neighbors when we go for a walk.

It’s a paradoxical time. In the middle of fear, economic crisis, and social distancing there is a growing sense of closeness. The virus doesn’t discriminate, it can get any one of us: our parents, our children, our neighbors, our friends. And this brings us all together.

And the paradox is happening in business. I’ve talked with dozens of leaders this week, and they’re all in crisis mode. But as they deal with their own individual workplace crisis, they’re also becoming closer to their people. As I discussed last week (People First, Economics Second), the only way to survive this virus is to make sure your employees are safe. …


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A LETTER FROM F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, QUARANTINED IN 1920 IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE DURING THE SPANISH INFLUENZA OUTBREAK.

(from a good friend)

Dearest Rosemary,

It was a limpid dreary day, hung as in a basket from a single dull star. I thank you for your letter. Outside, I perceive what may be a collection of fallen leaves tussling against a trash can. It rings like jazz to my ears. The streets are that empty. It seems as though the bulk of the city has retreated to their quarters, rightfully so. At this time, it seems very poignant to avoid all public spaces. Even the bars, as I told Hemingway, but to that he punched me in the stomach, to which I asked if he had washed his hands. He hadn’t. He is much the denier, that one. Why, he considers the virus to be just influenza. …


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Now that we’re in the middle of a real global crisis, it’s even harder to figure out how tech can help. So I’ve been thinking about how life changed after 9/11 and we all became comfortable with TSA checks at airports.

I wonder if it’s time for a Tech company (Microsoft would be good at this) to build a system that lets us instantly see if we have a temperature wherever we go. …


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As we watch the news stories grow, more infections, business slowdown, travel restrictions, food and medical share shortages, one question continues to bother me.

Who’s in charge here?

Last week Trump stood up on camera and when asked “do you take responsibility for the testing” he said “No.” He’s very proud to announce we have a “national emergency” but once it comes down to taking ownership, he just avoids the topic. Pence has no authority, nor does Anthony Fauci, who gives us “useful advice” but also has no authority.

In military campaigns, there is always a General in charge. This person coordinates efforts, centralizes communications, and gives everyone a sense of calm and confidence. …


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As we’ve all been in shock at the last week of events (nearly every event, meeting, and conference is now canceled), I’m trying to make some sense of this.

The big message I think we’re learning is that whatever happens in the world, the right response is People First, Business Second.

For those of you who are my age (60s), we are seriously worried about this crisis. Some of us may be highly susceptible to the illness, and we want to feel safe above all.

Yes, a ton of vendors have pounced on this problem and are now promoting online learning systems, video conferencing systems, and all different types of digital tools. …


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I travel a lot for work. Last year I think I flew almost 300,000 miles, and while it takes a toll on my sleep, it’s energizing, educational, and lets me go out and serve my clients.

And as I travel I’ve always been amazed by how many people I see in airports. Almost all the planes have been full, the airports are bustling, and people are all on the go.

Suddenly all this has stopped. The Coronavirus has arrived.

This week four of the most important industry conferences in our profession were canceled. Many of the staff in our company have decided to stay home. My kids are working from home. My wife wants me to hang around the house. …


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As I’ve discussed in several articles, the hyper-competitive job market has made internal mobility one of the most important strategies in HR. LinkedIn’s latest study (2020 Global Talent Trends) found that over 70% of organizations are now focused on “internal recruiting” and that companies with active internal career management programs have 41% higher retention rates.

In many ways, this is the famed Future of Work. We take a job in a company, we move from role to role, and our career grows and evolves through a series of projects, assignments, and positions. It’s far different from the “prehire to retire” talent management we envisioned a decade ago. …


For years leaders have grown their companies by issuing the demand “go out and hire someone who knows how to do this!” This approach leads HR departments and hiring managers to retain expensive recruiting firms, spend millions of dollars on recruitment advertising, and often hire expensive sourcers to try to “steal” great talent from competitors.

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What if there was a better way?

Well, there is. We just completed a research study with three companies and found that some of the highest performing organizations are doing something different: they’re taking a “build vs. buy” approach to critical talent. …

About

Josh Bersin

Global corporate talent, HR, leadership, and technology analyst. Founder of Josh Bersin Academy. More at www.joshbersin.com and https://bersinacademy.

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