Where Are We Going: Vision 2020 or Vision 2030?

By Christopher Carlson posted 03-05-2020 07:41


As I am half way through my time as NACE president and witnessing the great work of so many volunteers, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on where we are as a profession and an association, as well as how NACE has shaped the collective vision for our industry of preparing and recruiting college talent.  My hope is to share in a series of blogs, a summary of where we have been and where we are going as well as the challenges and solutions that we collectively share.  When I started my year as president at the #NACE19, I noted that it was critical for us to move beyond notions of best practices and to focus on how we can celebrate leading practices at #NACE20.

The environment in which we operate is shifting year-over-year and in some cases day-over-day.  There continue to be influences on our profession in many forms—economic, political, technological, generational, cultural, as well as many others.  Recently, the NACE staff updated the Environmental Scan that lends insights into the environment in which we find ourselves today.  All these environmental influences impact our ability to see 2020 and our need to look differently with an eye toward 2030.

In preparing to write this series of blogs, I went to the NACE website and reviewed many of the articles related to trends and predictions to see how we are doing today.  In 2016, Mimi Collins wrote a piece based on the content of #NACE16 and specifically the input of Lindsay Pollack, geared toward predicting critical trends in talent acquisition by the year 2021.

These mega topics included:

(1) Data Rule,

(2) Skills Development Rules, 

(3) Entrepreneurship Is a Greater Focus for Students,

(4) Recruiting Technology Matches Consumer Technology, and

(5) Choice Rules. 

Personally, I believe we don’t need to wait for 2021 as the article predicts. I believe we have seen these trends come to the forefront well ahead of 2021.  In fact, we as a profession continue to explore how to effectively operate within a constantly changing environment and how to execute our strategies to keep up with the dynamic marketplace.  We all know we need to shift—and do so often.  We recognize the need to become more agile in our approaches. To many of us, the notion of becoming a Scrum master (the facilitator for an agile development team) to do our jobs or adding one to our teams seems like it may become a requirement.  The change is only going to continue with more rapidity.

At a recent meeting, a leader shared an analogy to highlight the importance of why we need to think differently.  He compared the changing environment to skiing.  (Granted, I have only been skiing once and it was quite the adventure.  My father took a sibling and me skiing and in his true frugal manner, he only rented us skies and no poles.  Without lessons, a fear of heights, and not really understanding anything, I almost ended up sliding onto the advance course. A kind woman allowed me to slide into her so she could stop me or to keep me from running over her).  But to return to the analogy—when those of you who do ski and you are on a steep decline and increasing in speed, what is the best approach to regain control?  You lean into the speed.

This analogy made a great deal of sense to me.  Our profession is operating in a rapidly changing environment at great speed.  We have a few options: (1) just simply stay in the ski lodge and not progress, risking being obsolete; (2)  continue in our current position and flay about trying to find something that will work; or (3) lean in, assess rapidly, and gain control to achieve maximum results. 

Our #NACE20 conference committee was challenged to identify content that highlighted leading practices taking place across our profession to help us all in how we can lean in, assess rapidly, and gain control of our circumstances to achieve results. 

Over the next few blogs I want to engage you in an exchange about some of the ways our committee achieved content to help us all to equip ourselves to successfully navigate now and in the future.  If you haven’t reviewed the #NACE20 brochure yet, I would encourage you to see some of the leading edge practices that we will explore together, many of which our members are leaning in and executing.  

Together, let’s explore some of the topics ahead of #NACE20 that make us want to shift our vision from 2020 to 2030.  Topics will include virtual recruiting, candidate experience, technology, employment marketing, and topics related to diversity, inclusion, and equity.

So, pull your ski poles under, lean in, and let’s get ready for #NACE20! 

Note: This blog represents my personal view and not that of my employer.