Four million jobs, one at a time

When Ace Hardware injects a motivational speaker into its general session, that’s news.

Roy Spence is the “S” of Austin, Texas-based advertising agency GSD&M, whose client list includes Southwest Airlines, The PGA Tour, Popeyes and Ace Hardware.

Spence stepped onto the stage at the McCormick Place theater in Chicago and talked unscripted about America’s entrepreneurial spirit. Then he hit on an incredibly radical idea that touched on recovery and the power of human resources to shape the country.

Here’s what he said: If every small business in America hired one more person, then America would have 4 million new jobs.

Quick story: Years ago, Spence traveled to Bentonville, Ark., to pitch his young agency’s services to Sam Walton. The Wal-Mart team asked where the rest of Spence’s team was. Reflexively, Spence shot out the old Texas slogan: “One riot, one ranger. Now what’s your problem?”

He got the business.

It’s that kind of audacity and optimism that helps explain his 4 million jobs idea. Listening to Spence made it sound possible.

Regardless, people who are paid to think about their business pay attention to human resources. They pay attention to hiring and retaining and getting the most out of their employees.

ENAP CEO Steve Sallah recently brought our attention to an article from Jack Welch about the real job of HR. “What could possibly be more important than who gets hired, developed, promoted or moved out the door?” Welch wrote.

To ask the question is to answer it.

True Value Co. CEO Lyle Heidemann tendered the following human resource advice in the plumbing aisle of a store in Mount Prospect, Ill.: “It’s easier to teach someone who likes people what they need to know in the plumbing aisle, than to find someone who knows the plumbing aisle and teach them to like people.”

It’s hard to argue with that logic.

The list of the 20 most-viewed news stories from the past three months shows two human resources-related headlines provided from our partners at the Society for Human Resource Management. The readership stats for “Sarcastic emails are asking for trouble,” and “Pay top reason for key employees to quit,” and other stories like them tell us that Home Channel News readers are thinking about human resource-related questions.

It also tells us there’s a need for ToolkitHR, the online resource and live consultation service offered by SHRM and HCN. You can check it out online at You can learn more on page 28. SHRM is the undisputed leader in human resources education, and they’re helping to spread the word on HR best practices, and we’re proud to help them.

A journey of 4 million jobs begins with a single hire. It’s time for boldness in the HR department.

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