–By James (Jaime) Ordonez Victoria
Sure, I could give you all the reasons in detailed granularity, and the short version ...but the one-word version? 'Hybridity!' Here's the deal; technology, software applications, algorithms and web bots have done away with conventional skill set specificity. Hybridity ‘is’ the New Media, in all sectors—not just in digital media. And then, digital media is in everything.
For instance, back in 2001 we began coining the term 'SEO-Copywriter' because search engine bots had begun dictating what we wrote—and so it began—to write effectively we also had to know SEO 'and' write SEO for robots in all our content across the various media of all our presentations, our branding and all sales content.
Like a soccer or baseball team, nowadays all your players need to have varying degrees of the same skills, in order to support and carry each other. An art director, for example, who cannot write copy or code, or a writer who cannot conceptualize and design an animated advertising banner or UX prototype, can neither manage nor support your digital media team as efficiently. That's the short version.
Yes, I will break it down in a detailed example later but in brief, instead of simply diversifying demographically for outperformance at the workplace—which few do to begin with—I also recommend that both Hiring Managers and Department Heads employ 'Hybridity' as the cohesive essential skill in each player. Simon Sinek tells us, "don't hire skills. You can teach skills. Hire attitude!" What better attitude can we find in a candidate than the attitude that has driven s/he to become a hybrid?
Therefore, do your company a favor and go hybrid. It may cost a little bit more up front but the end result will be exponentially richer—I promise—after all, it's only common sense. But let's take this a few steps higher to the executive team level, where the real problem lies.
I have found myself at a number of a Fortune 500 consulting contracts where there were no checks and balances, SOPs (standard operating procedures), naming conventions, protocols or contingency plans—sorry, no names. Apparently this was the culture of the companies, to fly by the proverbial seat of their pants. The level of waste has been visible to me up to a third or more in mistakes and disorganization and a sense of alienation from the employees. What's more, each individual worked in a vacuum without a back up in case they went on vacation, got ill, or left the company. I once overheard a mid level employee complaining that he was going to have to take work with him on vacation, "because I have no back up," he said.
Moreover, an overwhelming percentage of the employees were not on salary but rather contractors through expensive hourly recruiting companies who in turn do not offer the employees proper benefits or the sense of belonging, rather they take up to 40% of their paycheck. Does this sound like an imbalance problem?
This seems to be a modern trend among large conglomerates who, due to the lack of cohesion with their human capital, actually believe that they are saving money when in fact sources like Gartner, 'WhatIsHumanResource,' McKinsey Insights and others continue to show statistically that the cost of turnover, unbalanced teams and unhappy employees are astronomical losses. Clearly, the inadvertent knuckleheads making these executive decisions for companies are out of touch with reality and have even forgotten to look at trending numbers and statistics. Could this be too many 'fearless leaders' trying to outdo each other to show their prowess? Is there hybridity balance at the top of your organization?? One has to wonder how they stay employed with such gargantuan waste during their watch. However, there is a chance for them (or you) to shine, or get a promotion, maybe even a bonus—keep reading.
This imbalance existing all the way up to the top speaks loudly of the lack of focus, lack of attention and lack of 'team balance' in today's workplace. That is to say, 'workplace' and 'teams' are not limited to the rank-and-file employee in the cubicle world. The teams at the top are in fact the major players. If those teams at the top are out of balance, imagine the cost and the imbalance trickling down below them. Losses in performance and turnover are actual statistics documented by the above-mentioned sources, which amount to an average of a third of an employee's salary when imbalance in human capital goes unaddressed.
The good news? There are solutions for your workplace! One such example, for instance, is a Silicon Valley start-up company, TechneHire. They patented a unique psychometric algorithm that addresses precisely this imbalance all the way to the top from a number of angles. How do I know this and why am I plugging the company? Because I was directly involved in developing the toolbox, the branding and the writing of the White Paper around their 'secret sauce.' Surprisingly, as we did the market research I realized that there were many others out there who also identified the problem of imbalance at the workplace and proposed a number of speculative solutions and advice.
However, the concomitant and even more ethically disturbing perspective is that this imbalance in the workplace is also a great social deficit that goes above and beyond just revenue waste. This imbalance also festers worker discontentment—often all the way to the top—potentially diminishing the quality of life for employees and their families. Clearly, this is a Social problem as well and the solution needed will also reign in both a happy and productive workplace, as well as address the statistical 30%+ revenue waste.
Where do we begin? Hybridity?
A discussion needs to start buzzing, not necessarily of an 'employment revolution'—too cliche—but an 'innovative Social Cause for the workplace, as TechneHire recommends'
(1) Gartner – "According to the U.S. Department of Labor, it costs one-third of a new hire’s annual salary to replace them. Direct costs include advertising, sign-on bonuses, headhunter fees and overtime."
(2) http://bit.ly/2bPkWsn: "Employee turnover costs can significantly affect the financial performance of an organization. On average, it costs a company about one-third of a new hire’s annual salary to replace an employee. Turnover rates average about 16% per year for all companies, but 21% per year for computer companies. Computer companies average higher turnover because their employees have many opportunities to change jobs in a ‘hot’ industry.“
(3) McKinsey Insights January 2015: “More diverse companies...are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns.”
(4) TechneHire: White paper (http://www.technehire.com/pdf/techneHire-employment-platform-white-paper.pdf) ...or see the short version video https://youtu.be/hbmfJ1LTUSA
Bio: After 20+ years in advertising media and multimedia as art director, designer, copywriter and producer, I have worked for many Silicon Valley startup consulting contracts and Fortune 500 companies. My take away is a full spectrum perspective from a wide variety of companies, all dismally sharing one common theme—gargantuan waste due to imbalance. More to my concern, however, is the quality of life and discontentment I have seen in the workplace and how the employees typically take such discontentment back to their homes and families. Working with many start-ups, and as I went hybrid in my field(s) a new perspective set in that brought certain clarity to the issue. Skill set specificity was a thing of the past. The addiction to skill set specificity becomes 'withdrawal' to the bottom line, productivity, performance and worker satisfaction.
I now contract out on any number of skill sets, i.e. writing copy, conceptualizing, product design, graphic design, animation, video, etc. often utilizing all the various hats to support my teams and projects.