Have you ever met a person and “know” they have something special? You can’t identify what it is other than they have energy and it seems infectious. They make lemonade out of lemons and are a joy to be around. These are people with visible passion, a zest for something in their life, or life in general.

Visible Passion might be a hobby, person, experience, place, pet, etc. When you think about your passion, you get giddy. You spend your time doing this, reading and researching it, talking about it, and perhaps dreaming about it.

Perhaps your passion is one of the following…
– Flowers;
– The Beach;
– Your Grandchild;
– Playing the Guitar;
– Technology;
– Cooking;
– Dancing the Tango;
– A Cause;
– Photography;
– Running;
– Your Dogs (Charlie and Louie, my passion) 😊
– Photography;
– Your Work;
– WHATEVER!

Everyone is excited about something, the question is “what is the something”? Most people develop these interests over time and spend their life trying to improve their passion. As a child I had a passion for music, voice, dance, theater, and writing stories. I was fortunate that my parents nurtured my passion through lessons and activities. I would perform in shows around Chicago and practice dancing and singing for hours in the living room. I may not have been the best at singing or ballet, but my interest and passion captured my attention for years. My early passion fueled what I currently do; presenting, teaching, singing, my “voice” for people in business, and writing.

So…what does this have to do with human resources, recruiting, training, and your business?

I have spoken with many clients and business owners who have said, I cannot find skilled employees to work in my company/department. Those that are skilled are in high demand and desire higher dollars, this would create a challenge with my current employees.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2018, the unemployment rate fell to 3.8% from 4.1% at the beginning of the year. The last time unemployment was this low was in April, 2000. That’s well below the 4.5 to 5.0% natural rate of unemployment. If unemployment is less than the natural rate, businesses can’t find enough workers to keep operating at full capacity.

The real unemployment rate fell to 7.6%, also at historically low levels. Real unemployment includes those who are underemployed and 378,000 discouraged workers, these are people who have given up looking for work but would take a job if it were offered.

Chances are your business is experiencing the effects of this downturn in the unemployment rate. What is a business owner/leader to do in this market?

First, look inside your own company. Turn up your radar and look for employees with visible passion. Look for the folks who come in every day with a smile and energy.

I recently spoke at a floral convention and conducted organic research to prepare for my session. Each time I visited a location, I would ask the employee “If they could do anything in the company, what would they want do”? They would get excited and answer with a hopeful smile. They knew exactly what role they would want to perform and department they would want to work in. Many of them said, “I have my dream job now”! Bravo! Others said, “I don’t believe they would ever hire me because I don’t have the experience”. The employee may not have the experience but if you give these employees a try, they might be working with you for the long term. I took the names of these employees and shared them with the senior leaders in the company. They were thrilled to learn that people internally were interested in their department, and they are now aggressively identifying bench strength for future positions.

You can teach how to arrange flowers, lease an apartment, or create an excel spreadsheet, but you cannot teach heart, passion, relationship, or energy. Hire for visible passion, set up mentoring programs, and invest in training to teach the basics of the job.

When you are interviewing a candidate ask the question, “What have you taught yourself to do? How did you learn to do it?” This will typically identify a hobby or passion. A candidate may say that they love to hike in the wilderness and they learned what to do and not to do by reading articles about the best places to hike. A candidate may say they love to play guitar and learned this by watching YouTube and practicing for hours. Voila, you now know what they love and how they learn.

When you ask the candidate why he/she is interviewing with your company, look for visible passion. The candidate may not know how you “do things” but they may be excited about “what you do”. This is the key and the rest can be taught by mentors and quick and easy training tools. I recently interviewed a candidate who was working in a management job with no benefits, no bonus, and no room for advancement. He stayed with the organization because he loved his customers and his team. He may not know the “ins and outs” of the job he is interviewing for, but he has the visible passion that you treasure and admire in your employees.

How do you train the ins and out of the job? Ask your current employees to help you with YouTube style videos that teach basic skills. These could be 45 second to one-minute videos on one topic, i.e. how to arrange a bud vase, how to greet a customer in your organization, how to make a salad, how to fill out a form… you get the idea.

This market calls for creative thinking regarding hiring, onboarding and training. Examine and “HACK” your current processes to meet today’s demands and hire for VISIBLE PASSION.