Tuesday, March 31, 2009

End The Recession: Help A Friend Get Back To Work

Two weeks ago I attended a meeting of The Executive Network of Seattle where I had the pleasure of hearing Rich Doherty of Right Management, a career transition and human resources consultant, provide some much needed perspective on the current job market--- along with a potential solution to cure what ails us. In his role at Right Management, Rich typically works as an outplacement counselor hired by companies to assist terminated employees through a layoff so his insights are derived from his unique position on the front lines of the current job market.

When asked to identify the most effective tactic to find employment, Rich was unequivocal in his response stating that 9 out f 10 offers of employment come as a result of effective networking. Most readers of this blog would concur with Rich’s assessment. I know for me personally my last three full time positions as well as the three current consulting assignments I am managing have all come as a result of contacts in my network who referred me to an employer or alerted me to an opportunity.

Armed with this information, Rich took the next logical step and asked the question: how can we use the obvious power of networking to help put people back to work? His suggestion, using simple math, has powerful implications: Given the current national unemployment rate of 8%, for every 92 people who are employed, there are 8 people who are unemployed. Turning these numbers around, Rich postulates: what if the 92 people who are currently employed proactively helped 4 of the 8 unemployed people find a new job?

(Note: As an economic indictor, a 50% reduction in the jobless rate from 8% to 4%, would return us to a pre-recession level of unemployment.)

So, given this equation, what can you do to end the recession?

Simple: If you are one of the 92% who are privileged to be working in this economy, dedicate one hour of your time this month, to helping someone you know find a job. The math gets better: If every one of the 92% employed dedicated just one hour each month in Q2 helping the 8% find work, every unemployed person would receive nearly 35 hours of quality networking time from the exact people who are most likely to help them get find work.

Extending yourself to help a friend find employment also helps you to build your own network and create currency with others that you may need to draw upon next time you need assistance in finding work or exploring future business opportunities. The rewards of a well-established, active network are many, but are only available to those who are willing to give.

If you are reading this blog and you are currently employed, please consider committing yourself to end the recession.  Reach out today and schedule one hour with someone you know who is unemployed. Whether a friend, a former colleague, family member or someone you’ve just been introduced to, the key is for those of us with gainful employment to be proactive and reach out to those who are not currently employed.

One hour. This month. Commit yourself. Let’s end the recession and help our friends get back to work.

Extra credit: If you are willing to share your stories about the people you’ve helped or the results you’ve created (or if you’ve been the recipient of one hour from the 92%), I’ve created a Facebook page “End the Recession: Friends Helping Friends Get Back to Work” where you can share stories, post photos of coffee meetings, share great results, and learn what other people are doing to help put friends back to work.

Thanks in advance for making a commitment to help friends get back to work. And thanks to Rich Doherty for stimulating fresh thinking that offers promise to change the equation.