Dedicated Personal Facilitation Needs to Scale

There’s an increasing number of workers who are miserable and hopelessly suffering because their ability is placed at poor-fit. In the United States alone worker satisfaction is at an all-time low where 70% are not engaged at work according to Gallup. Even 72% of workers with a degree report that they do not have an ideal job for them. Gallup estimates that within the U.S. workforce, this cost between $450 and $550 billion in lost productivity alone. Besides those economic costs, what also matters are the costs of lost joy and happiness in people’s lives outside of work.

Clearly, the Gallup research shows that staffing and headhunting firms do not service the market deeply and broadly enough. The human capital service industry is in need of a scalable solution to which the general population can have affordable access.

If you have a recruiting or placement decision that is important enough, you need help from another human being! The best help you could ever receive is from a person who is experienced, reputable, and who relies on relevant data to refer, coach, or agency to help you make that decision. There’s just no substitute for the advice and counsel of a credible and trusted human being who is motivated to look out for your best interest.

So, you need to use technology to save time identifying that person because speed is critical to gaining an advantage in a competitive selection process. This is to say, technology that reduces friction in the recruiting or placement process is critical to your success. Friction is everything that slows down making better decisions quicker. Examples of friction include voice mail, phone tag, travel, lack of information, etc. And then there’s email which, when you consider the necessary communications involved to make a great decision, is the worst collaboration tool ever used on a wide scale!

So, what can you do today? Start building a relationship with a likable and trusted individual in your industry. Someone already embedded in the talent-based community who can be your advocate. Someone who can close a deal because they are experienced, likable, and credible! If you can’t find that person then perhaps you should consider branding yourself as that “go to” person to help others who are in your position. The opportunity to do well by doing good is tremendous in the human capital service ecosystem in this day and age.

What do you think? Do you think the general population is need of an easy way to use dedicated personal facilitation to help get what they want?

External Referral Programs Beat Employee Referral Programs

Over time, external referral programs (XRP) will outperform employee referral programs (ERP). And that’s simply because XRPs have two distinct advantages:

  1. reputation
  2. diversity

Let’s examine these two reasons;


Intuitively, having a formal employee referral program (ERP) seems to makes sense. After all, who is more equipped to refer great people—and sell those people on why they should work in an organization—than passionate members of an organization? However, employees, by definition, are not able to operate as a ‘third-party facilitator’. They can’t be objective enough. This creates a “trade-off” dilemma in the mind of the employee that causes him to consider the risk and rewards of referring “wrongly” that is harder to overcome versus an external referrer.

That’s right. A motivated and confident external referrer will use the trust and credibility they have built with employers and workers to convince them to make a commitment. Even if it appears on paper that there isn’t a best-fit. An external referrer program (XRP) leverages a feedback system that makes referring reputation transparent. Prodding for a commitment and being motivated to strengthen reputation are advantages that external referrers have over employee referrers.


External referrers have a higher chance of interacting with others at the relevant edges of recruiting. They are able to reach out and connect into the rich referral flows which provides them with an information arbitrage of sorts that they can use to connect opportunity with ability that might not be obvious to employee referrers. This advantage puts the company in the best position to grow with diverse talent and be more adaptive as a result.

Don’t get me wrong. An ERP for the most part is a good idea. This post is not about beating up on them. And it is true that the vast majority of external referrers do none of the things that it takes to place ability at best-fit. But transparency weeds them out. The good ones rise to the top and bring their domain experience, tacit knowledge, and motivations to bear on processes to gain commitments at best-fit.

Ultimately utilizing an XRP will get a company closer to best-fit candidates by separating themselves from the herd. Where ERPs are structured around organizational “strong” ties via employees, XRPs open up opportunities to support encounters with “weak” ties via referrers outside of the organization and discover talent outside the reach of an ERP. This increases the likelihood of attracting talent with access to new insights, experiences, and capabilities. Over time, many of these edge connections become part of a core network, in the process transforming that core in deep yet unexpected ways to adapt in fast-changing business environments.

Has anyone heard of an external referrer program (XRP) or something similar before reading this?

The Jobs Churn Rate

Americans are quitting their jobs like crazy.

The latest monthly “Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey” (JOLTS) showed that in December, the total number of quits was 3.1 million, the highest level in a decade, while the quits rate was 2.1%, the highest since April 2008. The rate takes the number of quits divided by the number of employees who worked or were paid for work.

If people are quitting their jobs, it may suggest that they are confident in the labor market and are receiving better-paying opportunities elsewhere. However, it may suggest a higher level of mismatch between opportunity and ability.

The report also showed that there were 5.6 million job openings during December, the second-highest ever, and more than the expectation for 5.41 million. The hires rate was 3.7%, and the layoffs and discharges rate was 1.1%.

The Amateur Sports Family Advisor

At Placement Loop, we are intrigued by the growing demand in other amateur sports for trusted advisors. In ice hockey, they are commonly referred to as “family advisors” and they build relationships with coaches and players to help them get what they want. The type of advisor/customer relationship we support requires an understanding of customer intent, but in context that is relevant to surrounding conditions, limitations, and values. As we see it, trusted advisors don’t rely strictly on customer intents, rather, they proactively suggest actions that hadn’t occurred to their customers,  producing a more valuable result for them.

Coaches and players only have 24 hours in the day and one of their growing needs is to increase their ROI—return on investment. If coaches and players had a trusted advisor who knew their objectives and could help them sift through options available to them, they would get far more value per unit of investment (e.g. time, travel, and other expenses). With the advent of big data, sophisticated analytics, social software, and cloud computing (just to name a few of the enabling technologies) the “trusted advisor” value proposition is expanding into all levels of amateur sports to help place ability at best-fit.

In the future, the real winners in amateur sports will be those who are working with family advisors whose focus is on improving the player pursuit, not the outcome. The outcome is sufficiently unpredictable and therefore can not be foreseen accurately enough to make the outcome the focus. However, trusted advisors traveling down the path of helping others improve their pursuits, are truly going to earn trust and the deep collaboration that is necessary to help customers eventually end up with successful outcomes.

So, how is trust and collaboration built and preserved over time?

Trust comes in part from the realization that some advisors know coaches and players as an individual very broadly and deeply, not just as an acquaintance with an intent. That is the easy part, given the new technologies that are increasingly powerful and cost effective in capturing, compiling, and analyzing large amounts of data related to what coaches and players are looking for.

The real challenge is creating a collaboration experience that assures information and data is being used to serve the player’s best interest. The good news is that new technology is significantly reducing the cost of delivering advice-in-context and curating it. The result is that services are likely to be satisfaction-based and increasingly affordable to a growing segment of amateur sports participants that is below the line of “elite”. And that is good for all!

Do you have any experiences with athletic family advisors to share?

Efficient vs. Effective Distribution of Advice

The recruiting and placement of ability must be improved for effectiveness, not only optimized for efficiency. By solely focusing on optimization past solutions are merely failing faster and faster to recruit and place ability at best-fit. Past results are horrible evidenced by the percentage (72% according to Gallup) of workers who are not engaged at work. Currently, in my opinion, there is not any leadership to improve recruiting and placement effectiveness in the long-tail of markets. So, we are going to be that leader.

A 2011 Harris Interactive poll commissioned by the National Career Development Association (NCDA) provides feedback that is very clear regarding those who provide career advice: career practitioners are a vital resource for the livelihood of workforces and are underutilized relative to their potential need and value. In the poll, 24% of adults report that they have visited a career practitioner and 86% of them found it to be helpful. However, there are not enough career practitioners, in the traditional sense, to cover the masses, and there never will be, in the traditional sense.

Instead, Placement Loop embraces the role of domain expert to deliver recruiting and placement advice that is “good enough” to serve the masses. Indeed we are architecting our technology to support a layer of domain expert networks that will serve the market. To that end, our placement ecosystem design is supportive and accepting of the shift away from control and coordination at the center towards collaboration and discovery at the edge. Our design is about participants over platforms and individuals over institutions.

In addition, Placement Loop views human capital like financial services companies view financial capital, that is, from a traditional brokerage and distribution perspective. We use proven advisory models that effectively distribute financial product to design solutions for the distribution of ability, as if it were product. Not only does this provide the insight to recruit and place permanent workers at best-fit but it also addresses the growing market of independent workers.

The solutions are simple although quite complex to execute. The good news is that technology and methodology have advanced and network effects are more understood to increase the confidence to deliver utility, that is, effectiveness.

Placement Loop intends to motivate the delivery of recruiting and placement advice from domain experts who are already embedded in talent-based communities. We intend to provide a platform for all recruiting and placement participants in those communities to save time in their quest to make better decisions quicker. Sound familiar? That’s the foundation of how the financial services industry works.

Placement Loop is designing a solution for domain experts to become network entrepreneurs in the industry or sector that they are passionate about.

How profitable will it be in the future to be a network entrepreneur in this space? Sign up at our website to learn more when we open up your sector or “loop”.