Looking Back at 2010: Lots of People Predict, But Few Keep Score

Editor’s note: Mel Kleiman, who wrote the popular TLNT post “How to Find and Recruit the Best Hourly Employees,” recently reviewed his 2010 predictions made last year on his Humetrics blog. Since Mel is one of the few willing to be held accountable for what he saw in his crystal ball, we thought you would enjoy seeing how he evaluated his prognostications here.

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On December 29, 2009, I posted my “Top 10 Predictions for 2010? and promised that at the end of the year, I would look back and see how I did. I’m happy to report I’m a better prognosticator than even I would have thought. Here’s the recap and my forecast for the new year:

1. We will see a reduction in the unemployment number, but I project it will not get below 9 percent nationwide for hourly workers.

a. Right on here. We are still over 9 percent and, at the end of November, we were at 9.8 percent.

b. Sorry to say I am going to predict getting the number down below 9 percent is going to be tough for 2011. If things hold up, the best we can expect is somewhere in the area of 8.5 – 9 percent at best.

2. Frontline worker turnover will be down again for most employers. Not because they have become better places to work, but because people are afraid to leave their jobs even if they don’t like them.

a. I was right on here.

b. This will continue into 2011 with workers staying put, but, along with this, most companies will find that workers are becoming less and less engaged. I forecast the engagement number will drop to about 20-23 percent compared to about 25-28 percent. Pay increases for the frontline will average less than 2 percent.

3. Pay increases for the frontline will average less than 2 percent.

a. Overall pay increase have come in so far at about 2.5 percent, but hourly workers are showing an increase of about 2 percent. Final figures will not be in until the end of the year.

b. My forecast for 2011 is we will see an overall frontline worker pay increase of about 2.5 percent.

4. This is the year that companies will really begin to develop an online/social media recruiting program for hourly, frontline workers.

a. This was right on the money too. Social media was the hot recruiting tool for 2010.

b. It will grow even larger in 2011 as more companies figure out how to use the medium.

5. Companies of all sizes will adapt more technology to hire and manage frontline employees including hourly applicant tracking systems, scheduling, on-boarding, and performance review systems as they strive to increase efficiency while suppliers will make these systems more affordable and easier to adapt and install.

a. Right again. This has been one of the bright spot as more and more companies are using technology to help maximize the productivity of the workers they still have on the payroll.

b. This trend will continue into 2011.

6. GNP will increase between 3 and 3-1/2 percent.

a. I missed on this one. Looks like GNP rose less than 2.5 percent for 2010. From what I’ve seen in my travels around the country, employees are burned out as there’s too much work and too few people.

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b. This is not going to change much for 2011. Looking at 2.5 percent again.

7. For all businesses that have multi-unit operations, frontline managers are going to be one of the hardest positions to fill.

a. This has proven true. Good managers, like good employees, are harder to hire because, even if they don’t like their job or the company, they are not moving for the known to the unknown.

b. This is going to continue into 2011.

8. Niche job boards such as SnagAJob.com and CollegeRecruiter.com will grow much faster than the major job boards (except for Craigslist.org).

a. Right on about this one. Even though the major job boards have seen an increase in job postings in the last six months, the percentage is nowhere near how much the niche boards have grown.

b. This will continue into 2011 with newspapers continuing to lose job postings. Employers will move even more so to social media sites to attract frontline employees as well as to the niche job boards.

9. I do not know how to measure this, but most companies will not take advantage of the tremendous opportunity to upgrade their staffs. Rather, they will continue to operate as if nothing has changed.

a. No real research done on this one except that companies are having a tough time upgrading frontline staff because managers are so busy that, as long as an employee is just okay, they are willing to keep them.

b. This will continue into 2011.

10. Customer satisfaction levels will decrease as more companies continue to push costs out of their systems.

a. Again right on. Customer satisfaction surveys are reporting an all time low in customer satisfaction or should I say an increase in customer dissatisfaction?

b. This will continue into 2011 and can be a great place for companies who are willing to invest in their people to gain market share in today’s tough economy.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.

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