HR Pros: What You Can Learn From Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders

Let me start by saying that I don’t expect to be voting for either man at the time we are asked to vote for President. I do however think that both offer lessons that we can take away and apply in our lies.

I am of the opinion that Senator Sanders was thinking of running for President years ago. After all, no one hires someone to churn out as many memes as Bernie Sanders does without having ambition.

Bernie Sanders is a Facebook phenomena. No matter what the subject, one of your friends has probably shared a meme that includes a Bernie Sanders quote in your Facebook timeline over the past few years, right?

Some are innocuous like “When a wife is diagnosed with cancer and a husband cannot get time of work to take care of her, that is not a family value.” Pretty innocuous. How can you not care about a husband not being able to care for his wife.

Then there are the ones that attack wealth and wealthy people. “Stand up to the billionaire class and tell them loudly and clearly that this country belongs to all of us and not just a handful of billionaires” or “It’s time to make sure our government works for all us and not just the 1%.”

These fall into the “rage against the machine narrative,” that has been building against America where Americans have become so turned off because they don’t believe anyone actually represents them.

Then there is Donald Trump

“I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”


“Free trade is terrible. Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have stupid people.”

Both candidates appeal to the anger that is hidden away in your workforce that can turn on the thinnest of events and cause you to lost critical players.

Hiring for white collar workers is pretty good now and most firms are experiencing labor shortages because they are unwilling to take incomplete candidates (ones that don’t have all 12 “requirements”) and because no one challenges the hiring managers when they parade in with all these preconditions.

As a result, instead of focusing on recruitment, firms need to spend more time focusing on retention.

The easiest way to focus on retention is regularly checking in with the workforce.

What are we doing well?

What can we doing better?

Offering honest answers for why some things cannot be done.

Offering areas of improvement for the worker that the firm will pay for . . . and doing it in a kind way, not an incriminatory manner.

Doing these simple inexpensive actions will go along way to heading off “the pitchforks” (An analogy to all of those movies where the town people came with pitchforks and torches to chase down “the monster” or bogeyman) and help avoid the rebellions that both candidacies suggest is in the minds of large numbers of voters.



© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2015

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a recruiter for more than 40 years.

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