I think about recruiting in much the same way I think about marketing. Marketing is attracting and keeping customers. Most people believe that recruiting is about attracting coworkers, but I think it’s also about creating an environment that is attractive to potential coworkers, will entice them to join your company and will make them want to stay.
And, just as you should never stop marketing, you should never stop recruiting!
Business owners always say that people are the most important asset. In the service business, it’s absolutely true. We can’t grow our companies if we don’t have the right people to help us grow. We can’t accomplish what we need to accomplish without good coworkers.
We need the right people talking to our customers. And simply for our own personal satisfaction, working with good people makes a huge difference.
Most business owners understand this. Yet finding and keeping good employees remains one of the most challenging aspects of business for many in our industry. Any time there is a survey of business challenges in our industry, you can be sure that “finding and keeping good coworkers” will be somewhere near the top.
Some companies have very little trouble finding and keeping good coworkers, however. If you’re not in that category, consider these questions.
Who are you trying to hire? I see a lot of white guys in our industry. Nothing wrong with white guys, but our country is considerably more diverse than it was in 1970. The demographics are now:
• Hispanics — 16% of the U.S. population
• African-Americans — 12% of the U.S. population
• Asians — 5% of the U.S. population
• Women — 51% of the U.S. population
Yeah, what about women? Why are we overlooking 51 percent of the population? I know some companies that had GREAT success with women technicians.
You might want to cast your net further than your local market. There are many reasons why people might want to move to your part of the world: Escape to a small town, lower cost of living and a better place to raise kids. Or maybe they’re tired of the slow pace of life and want to move to the big city.
Wherever you live and work has something attractive to someone living elsewhere. Wouldn’t it be worth a few thousand dollars in relocation to get the right person?
Should your employees take a vow of poverty just for the pleasure of working with you? Why do some expect our talented, high-demand coworkers to earn less than the median income?
Would it be easier to find people if you simply paid more? Could you afford to pay more if you just raised your billing rates a bit? Have you implemented performance pay?
Performance pay is a great way to attract and keep the best coworkers.
You’re competing for coworkers just like you compete for customers. And you’re not just competing against other contractors. Talented people have choices about where they work. They may work in corporate America or for the government. How do your benefits compare?
Do you share your coworker opportunities with your service clubs like the Rotary, Lions or the Chamber of Commerce. You should be a member of one or more service organization. You’ll do some good for your community, the networking opportunities are great, and they can be a terrific source of good leads for coworkers.
They should! Pay incentives to your coworkers for any candidate you hire who remains with the company for six months (or some appropriate length of time).
Your good customers love you; ask them for referrals for job applicants. By the way, give them a list of the attributes that you’re looking for in an employee (honest, hard working, clean and neat appearance, etc). It works as both a recruiting AND a marketing piece.
One of the most common reasons cited for staying or leaving a company is the manager. A good manager looks out for his team, encourages them, recognizes their efforts, helps them grow and tries to maintain a positive professional environment.
If you’re an unpleasant person, a grouch, or a curmudgeon, you need to change. When you walk through the office door you need to turn on the charm, be friendly, happy and focused. You have to leave any personal problems behind. Inspire others, lead them by example. Don’t be a jerk!
In his great book, “HVAC Spells Wealth,” Ron Smith stated this succinctly:
“Coworkers should have an understanding of how they can advance, if they want to advance, and what they must do to achieve their ambitions.”
That’s exactly what people want to know — how do I move ahead? How do I get to where I want to go? That’s what a career path does — it gives people a roadmap for their careers. If you’re providing career growth, training, increasing pay for increasing skills, many good employees will want to join you and stay with you. You must provide opportunities and clear understanding of what they need to do to grow.
I’m sure there are many other great ideas for finding, hiring and keeping the best coworkers. Think out of the box. The same old recruiting methods won’t work in a competitive environment. I hope I’ve stimulated some thoughts about this.
The vendor-partner should be a source of useful information, to help you solve problems.
You’re competing for coworkers just like you compete for customers. And you’re not just competing against other contractors. Talented people have choices.
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Make the most of your trip to Sin City for the industry’s largest gathering — and return home with plenty of ideas to kick-start your business for the New Year.