Skip to content

8 Reasons It’s So Hard To Find Great People These Days

great people

So, like all leaders, you’re trying to build your team—to hire great people and build a strong team for the future.

Why does it seem so hard to find great people these days?

As a leader who’s been building teams for a few decades now, I understand the struggle.

Finding people is one thing. Finding great people is quite another. Talented people with skills, energy and character are the kind of people who build great organizations.

Making poor hires is a more costly mistake than you might think.

Some studies put the cost of employee turnover, with conservative estimates of $50,000 every time you have to replace an employee because you either terminated them or they left. That’s expensive.

Better to hire a great person and create an environment they love than settle for hiring whoever and hope they work out.

So—back to the original question—why are great people so hard to find?

Well, in a changing workplace and culture, here are 8 reasons you might find yourself searching longer and harder for great people than ever.

After all, it helps to know what you’re up against. Diagnosing the problem is the first step to solving the problem.

Finding people for your team is one thing. Finding great people is quite another. Click To Tweet

1. There’s a talent war going on

It’s not just your imagination. There actually is a talent war going on.

A few things are fueling this.

First, with the unemployment rate profoundly low, it’s a full-employment economy. As a result, people looking for work can find it.

Second, there are generational shifts happening. With Baby Boomers leaving the workforce rapidly and Gen X not far behind, Millennials are by some estimates now 50% of the workforce. By 2025, Millennials will be 75% of the workforce.

Third, there appears to be a skill shortage. Colleges just aren’t pumping out qualified graduates fast enough to meet the needs of the market. Just ask any talented computer engineer, who likely gets multiples job offers a month.

In other fields, there’s simply a shortage of leaders. In the church world, for example, the average age of the senior pastor has crept up to 57, and seminaries are not producing a groundswell of young, capable leaders. As a result, it can be difficult to staff for the future.

Organizations that don’t have any competitive advantages simply won’t be able to compete for top leaders.

Organizations that don't have any competitive advantages simply won't be able to compete for top leaders. Click To Tweet

2. The Internet Happened

If you go back a generation or two, people were much more likely to stay put longer because they didn’t see a lot of other options available to them.

Then the internet happened. Suddenly, you could discover new careers, new cities and new options for free any time, anywhere.

So people did.

If you hire someone and they’re not happy, they’re on their phones in minutes looking for other options.

The power that used to belong to employers has now shifted to the employee. The higher the skill set you’re looking for, the more true that is.

The power that used to belong to employers has now shifted to the employee. The higher the skill set you're looking for, the more true that is. Click To Tweet

3. The Gig Economy

Highly gifted people are increasingly working for themselves.

Estimates now put say that by 2023 almost 50% of American workers will participate in the gig economy to some extent.

73% of Gen Z report already having participated in it.

While you can argue all day long about the challenges associated with the gig economy (no benefits, lack of job security), it appears to be here to stay. The gig economy gives people freedom in a way traditional jobs historically haven’t.

While “self-employed” used to signal that you couldn’t find a job at a company, it’s now increasingly seen as a status symbol.

While being self-employed used to signal that you couldn't find a job at a company, it's now increasingly seen as a status symbol. Click To Tweet

4. Entrepreneurship

One study revealed that 63% of twenty-somethings either own their own business or want to one day.

This trend will likely only escalate with the next generation of digital natives coming into the marketplace who realize you can launch almost anything you want online.

Just because the majority of new businesses and startups fail doesn’t stop people from trying.

All of this means they’re far less likely to want to work for you.

Just because the majority of new businesses and startups fail doesn't stop people from trying, which means they're far less likely to want to work for you. Click To Tweet

5. Your Workplace Isn’t Nearly Flexible Enough

Entrepreneurialism and the gig economy give leaders flexibility that traditional employers don’t.

A survey of 900 leaders I recently undertook confirmed that young leaders are increasingly tired of being chained to a desk or to set hours, or to work for a boss who’s closed to change and innovation.

The future workplace is a flexible workplace.

Flexible hours, remote work and giving freedom and autonomy to talented employes isn’t the exception to the rule anymore, it’s the new rule.

The future workplace is a flexible workplace. Flexible hours, remote work and giving freedom and autonomy to talented employes isn't the exception to the rule anymore, it's the new rule. Click To Tweet

6. Your Culture isn’t Defined (or Healthy)

The list of expectations prospective employees have increasingly includes a healthy workplace culture.

That’s a good thing.

It’s not just toxic culture that employees (with options) are rejecting. They’re also rejecting a bad culture, unhealthy or boring culture.

Creating a great culture—one with minimal politics and where people love to come to work—is going to become an ever-increasing competitive advantage.

If you want to get a quick jump-start on creating a better culture, you can download the 5 Great Questions Every Leader Asks—a free guide I created to help make your one-on-one meetings healthier and more engaging.

It's not just toxic culture that employees with options are rejecting. They're also rejecting a bad culture, unhealthy or boring culture. Click To Tweet

7. They See Who You Are, Not Who You Claim You Are

It’s getting harder and harder to pretend you’re someone you’re not as an organization.

Thanks to blogs, social media and organizations like GlassDoor, prospective staff members have a far easier time these days seeing who you really are, not who you claim you are.

That can work against you, of course, but it can also work for you.

In 2019, GlassDoor voted Life.Church the #1 best place to work among small-medium sized businesses. Right underneath a profile explaining why Life.Church won the top workplace award is a list of current job openings at Life.Church.

If you’re a healthy employer, transparency works in your favor.

If you're a healthy employer, transparency works in your favor. Click To Tweet

8. Your Mission Isn’t Compelling Enough

All the studies say the same thing: Millennials really do care about mission and purpose.

And no, growth or a profitable bottom line simply aren’t compelling enough purposes anymore.

Even in a church or non-profit context, it’s easy to lose sight of the mission. Survival isn’t a mission. Neither is growth.

It's easy to lose sight of the mission. Survival isn't a mission. Neither is growth. Click To Tweet

Increasingly, employees are looking for organizations to do good in their communities, to care about the environment and have a deeper sense of social responsibility.

In a world with a million whats, young leaders are looking for why. If your organization can’t show them a compelling why, they’ll keep looking.

In a world with a million whats, young leaders are looking for why. If your organization can't show them a compelling why, they'll keep looking. Click To Tweet

Motivate Your Team. Deepen Engagement. Attract and Keep the Best Leaders.

The High Impact Workplace

Wish your team was more engaged at work? Most leaders do.

According to Gallup, 70% of employees are disengaged at work, and the most talented employees are heading off to do their own thing.

Here’s how to change that.

My new online, on-demand course, The High Impact Workplace: How to Attract and Keep High Capacity Leaders In A Changing World will give you the edge you need to win the talent war for the best leaders and keep them engaged.

Smart employers know how to respond to growing requests for more flexible work: flexible hours, the ability to work from home or a coffee shop, and more freedom and autonomy.

In the course, I give you the exact strategies you need to:

  • Attract and keep high capacity leaders who would otherwise start their own businesses.
  • Identify and leverage the currency that motivates young leaders.
  • Navigate flexible work arrangements that result in deeper productivity.
  • Master the 5 questions every great manager asks their team for deeper engagement.
  • Create workplace environments that multiple generations can thrive in.
  • Learn how to keep your company or organization relevant to the most talented leaders.

Here’s what employers are saying about the High Impact Workplace:

“Each time a unit ends, I look over my notes and think “that was exactly what I needed, the rest of the class is just a bonus.” BUT I repeat that EACH UNIT!”

“The course got me to talk with my team about things I wouldn’t have considered talking about.”

“This is exactly what I needed.”

Learn why the future workplace is the flexible workplace, and how to keep your company relevant to the next generation of leaders.

To enroll now or learn more about the High Impact Workplace, click here.

Any Other Reasons?

Any other reasons you see as to why it’s getting harder to attract and keep great people?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

9 Comments

  1. Daniel Im on January 22, 2020 at 11:11 pm

    So glad you’re talking about the gig economy! It’s real. It’s here. And it’s only growing!!

  2. Mike Olive on January 20, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    Mission is definitely the biggest factor in my generation not being engaged with work. The biggest fear gen z holds is that they won’t make a difference. That there life will be “normal”. That fear usually leads us to find a new job or start something that will make a difference.

  3. dave on January 20, 2020 at 11:38 am

    C – when I picked up my car in Omaha Thursday night your name was right under mine at Hertz. I’m serious. Did you feel that stirring in the force.

    Thanks for this post. We gotta grow our own for sure. That’s the long answer. More intentional pressure on this. I wonder if every church spent 3x in $ and time on growing their own as they did replacing those who are moving on could it turn? I dunno…

    There are many short answers that many of us are involved with as well.

    I appreciate you and all you do. Keep doing it. You serve all of us out here! Maybe someday we’ll actually bump into each other again!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on January 20, 2020 at 12:29 pm

      Dave…heard a rumor that was true! Awesome. Hope you got a good set of wheels.

      You have such a good point. Cheap in a far better investment than lose and attract.

      Thanks for the encouragement. Cheering for you!

  4. Maria Sikal on January 20, 2020 at 10:15 am

    Been in Talent Acquisition and Workforce Strategy for 25 years… The other reason it’s tough to find good talent is that roles expect more and people are not as diversified in their skills… Also business strategy changes so quickly to meet demands that talent falls short… The issue isn’t that schools can’t pump graduates fast enough its that schools are still teaching on older models and keep up with technology… It’s only been in the as couple of years that schools have now focused in incorporating Human Behavior Data and modelling into IT and Marketing while companies have been demanding these types of skills for almost 10yrs..

    2nd… Include your team on the big picture… and how their skill incorporates into the delivery of the big project as a whole… That way they feel like they are truly making a contribution thats valued…

    PS please change my name… I keep getting emails as Mari… Its Maria.. Thank you and God Bless….

    • Carey Nieuwhof on January 20, 2020 at 10:44 am

      Maria,

      Thanks for your comments and insight. So helpful! We just updated your name in our system. So sorry about that…

      Appreciate you and your leadership,

      Carey

      • Maria Sikal on January 20, 2020 at 5:29 pm

        Thanks Carey Also as I lead from a pastoral perspective ..like the corporate world be involved in college recruitment and offer internship programs that way if you are a smaller church with little funds at the moment you are giving opportunity to someone to gain experience required as well as turning then into future potential staff and also potentially training the church’s future lead pastor…not sure why pastors are so afraid of succession planning

  5. Carey Nieuwhof on January 20, 2020 at 10:07 am

    Somehow it got dropped. Thanks for pointing it out. Corrected in the post and here’s the direct link: https://careynieuwhof.com/the-high-impact-workplace-waitlist-landing-page/

  6. Gary Drouillard on January 20, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Where is the link to: “5 Great Questions Every Leader Asks—a free guide” as mentioned in this very illuminating posting? Thanks

Leave a Comment





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.