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26 SMT007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2019 global aggregator for the corporate learning and talent development team. They've sent me to the top performers around the world to learn all of their best practices, and then com- bine that as our methodology for everyone. Johnson: One of the things going on in the industry I cover is that there is an age de- mographic gap. There are a large number of people who are 55 and older and starting to look at retirement. Then, the majority of labor after that is 30 and under. There's a large gap between the experts and entry-level employ- ees with not many people to fill that gap. It's starting to look like a crisis for electronics and contract manufacturers, especially in the U.S. and North America. There's increasing activ- ity to figure out how to bring skilled technical labor in through organizations like SMTA, IPC, and also here at IEEE. Do you see this dynamic in the skilled workforce you interact with? McNabb: It's interesting be- cause yes, I think there is a succession planning crisis in most companies. Many HR managers get trapped in what we call "adminis- trivia," which is handling all of the other aspects of their job and not being able to rise to the stra- tegic leadership of the company. Johnson: So, getting stuck in the urgent but un- important. McNabb: Exactly. Companies need HR to be on the strategic leadership team. They need suc- cession planning, talent mapping, and strate- gic hiring rather than just tactical hiring. Now, I know that's not a common phrase, but it's a phrase that I use a lot. It represents a mental- ity of, "I need an engineer with five years of experience so that I can fill this empty slot," which is a tactical hire. HR should move to strategic hiring or workforce planning, which looks at new problems the company will face, or a case of, "We're about to leverage this new technology. Let me find an engineer who's al- ready completed that transition with another company, and examine the composition of tal- ent that's on my team now. If I have a lot of strength in several areas, but I have a bit of a deficit in one, I should find the person who will most effectively augment the composition of talent on my team." That new hire could not only do that important new task, but they can also mentor all of the other people on the team, making everyone on the team better. Johnson: In that sort of a hiring decision pro- cess—how long of a tenure should that hiring manager be targeting? Are we talking up to five years or longer than that? McNabb: Companies are faced with a quanda- ry. One is that they have a succession crisis. They have to find a way to develop the future leadership of the company, and they can't wait on millennials. But at the same time, the av- erage tenure keeps dropping. So, if I'm con- vinced that you'll be in the C-suite five years from now, you might well be three companies down your career by then. The bigger trend that we see is people are hiring more to a spe- cific need. I might not be able to keep you for several years, but you can solve this million- dollar problem, so even if you only stay for a year, I'm in good shape. It's also a huge trend among millennials to not be hired at all but instead appear on a contract basis. Johnson: I see that a lot. McNabb: Two major forces are driving that. One is a lack of trust that companies have their best interests at heart such as, "You laid off my par- ents, and I don't trust that you're going to keep me." That's a part of it, but I think the larger part of it by far is simply the rate of change in today's world. Johnson: How else do you keep up? That's a lot of technology transfer and evolution under- neath you in one particular position with one particular company. Terry McNabb

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