President's Desk

Lean Into The Ride

From the President’s Desk – August 2022

“Please keep your hands and arms inside the cart at all times.”

You are sitting in that small cart, waiting to be catapulted at dizzying speeds. Perhaps you are excited, perhaps you are questioning the integrity of that small bar intended to keep from falling to earth. Either way, by the time you hear that familiar phrase, you know you’re already on that wild ride, and there is no going back now.

The name of that roller coaster ride is Life.

Right now, life is full of economic fears, talk of recession, large-tech layoffs, runaway inflation… It sounds like that next hill on the roller coaster will be a doozy.

The question is: How will you respond?

We learn in school that we all have a fight-or-flight response. The reality is we have a fight, flight, or freeze response.  

Sometimes, the best answer is to freeze, to hold still, and let the danger pass. You can’t outrun a bear, you typically can’t fight it (though I have told my kids many times how I fought bears on the way to school, every single day). So, do we all freeze and wait it out? We can’t change the economy on our own after all.

The best advice I can give is the same advice my father gave me the first time I rode the world famous Colossus roller coaster. “Just breathe, and lean into the ride, don’t fight against it.”

Now is not the time to tense up in fear. We need to breathe, assess, and in this situation prepare. How do we prepare?

Now is the time to sharpen your skills and hone your craft.

Research tells us learning reduces stress and makes us feel empowered. I think we can all use a little less stress and more empowerment. And knowledge is empowerment.

For staffing agencies on the sales side, it is easy to get lazy when new placements are coming in the door faster than you can fill them. But when was the last time you read a book on best practices or worked on your communication skills? Don’t have time to read, download Audibles and listen on your daily commute. Blinklist is another great app to get a daily dose of knowledge and insights served in bite-size pieces. New technology is coming out all the time, and now is a great time to make sure you have every tool at your disposal to stay on top of your game.

Are you using the tools you already have in the most efficient manner?

Recruiters don’t get a pass either. Whether you’re in a staffing agency or a corporate HR environment, sure, the last few years have been brutal when it comes to finding talent. But that was a great problem to have. If the economy softens, those jobs will be fewer are far between. You need to make sure you know how to leverage the tools you have to the best of your ability. When was the last time you took a training course for your talent management platform?

At SmartSearch, we pride ourselves on our best-in-class learning management system called SmartSearch University. Have you earned any new certifications lately? Do you know the best tips and tricks to use AI auto-ranking, and find more people in your database that may be just like that “great hire” you made last month? Invest time into making sure you can use the powerful tools you already have, and explore the many features you may not be using and may not even know exist.

Remember, rather than saying “I don’t have time to learn”, reframe it and say, “I can’t afford to not take time and learn”.   Breathe, and reduce the panic by learning and equipping yourself to succeed. Continuous learning is the best way to lean into the changes ahead.  

LJ Morris
President & CTO

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