Finding and keeping quality employees is one challenge every employer faces. Where do you find the right people who have the necessary skills and will fit into your company? And once you do find them, how do you help them grow and remain happy in their careers?
Getting the Word Out
There are many ways to put out the word that you have an opening at your company and are hiring. From posting a new job opening on job search websites to networking and going to job fairs, to employee referrals and using social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, there is no one way to find the best candidate for a job.
“Forty years ago, the technology was not like today,” says James C. Tuschall, president of Tuschall Engineering Co. Inc., Burr Ridge, Ill. “Job postings online can generate unlimited candidates. Also, background checks are much more easily obtained.”
When a company has a good reputation as an employer who pays well and takes care of its employees, Rich Puckett, human resources manager at Branco Enterprises Inc., Neosho, Mo.,says current employees share their own experiences with peers and refer them for employment consideration. “As a result, we get prospective employees who are motivated by being treated right as they come on board,” he says.
Zeke Miller, president and sales manager at The Miller-Clapperton Partnership Inc., Austell, Ga., says that some of his best employees have been referrals from current employees. “These are people that feel so strongly about that they are willing to put their personal reputation at risk by suggesting them,” he explains.
Additionally, Miller notes his company has an online application process that requires prospective candidates to invest a little bit of time to get to the next step of the application process. “If the applicant is unwilling to invest the time to fill out our online application then they are not going to be a good fit for our company,” he says.
When you start interviewing candidates for an open position, it is important to know what skill sets and characteristics you’re looking for in the ideal candidate. From personal qualities such as honesty, integrity, creativity and dependability, it’s essential to get a feel for any prospective employees and how they may fit into your company.
Kenetta Kay Jones, PHR, SHRM-CP, manager, human resources at Rudolph Libbe Group, Walbridge, Ohio, says the company has a list of “Get-It Qualifiers” they are looking for in new hires. These include listening skills, situational awareness, accountability, analysis, relationships, mutual respect and vulnerability, and business sense. During the interviewing process, Jones says the company conducts psychological assessments for all candidates, asking questions based on these qualifiers. “Many of our prospective new employees are young, and we look for indicators of who they are now, and who they will become,” she explains. “We look for indications that they will acquire and strengthen the beliefs and traits that are so important to our culture.”
Interviews with prospective employees can be done either one-on-one or in teams. Greg Samples, operations manager at The Miller-Clapperton Partnership,says that for higher compensated positions such as mangers, project managers and senior drafters, the company conducts team interviews made up of three to four managers. “We generally meet with the candidates individually back to back,” he explains. “At times we will have more than one interviewer in the room, and then we regroup and compare notes. For the employees we agree on we will have a second round interview where we make the final hiring decisions.”
In addition to reviewing specific skill sets during an interview, Samples says he tries to learn about the person. “I want to know about the person, not just what a resume says,” he explains. “If you can find the right person for your team, then generally you can find a position they can prosper in.”
Part of finding the right candidate is trusting your instincts. Logan Mauldin, project director at The Miller-Clapperton Partnership,says he does a complete review including a background check and as much research on a prospective employee as possible. “I develop an impression based upon my research then I compare this to the interview with the potential employee,” he says.
Jackie Joyner, engineering manager at The Miller-Clapperton Partnership, agrees, saying, “It’s typically an instinct based on the information you have available about the applicant at the time of hire, the face-to-face interview and any personal or professional references.”
In addition to finding someone with the right qualities and skillset, Miller says he is looking for people he feels can fit into the company culture. “I like interviewees that come in that have done some research on the company and who appear to have the ability to become passionate about our business,” he says.
Samples agrees, saying: “Our company culture is a big part of why Miller Clapperton has been in business for over 35 years. In some organizations that may not be the case depending on the management structure, company values and company goals.”
Before making an offer, Tuschall recommends doing your homework with regards to background checks, following up on references, previous salaries, previous positions and motivations.
Employee Orientation and Evaluation
Once a new employee has been hired, it is important to help get them situated in the company while beginning any required on-the-job training. At Miller Clapperton, new employees take a half-day course called Miller Clapperton 101, where they learn about all of the different aspects of the company.
After the general training session to familiarize themselves with Miller Clapperton products, workflows and standard protocols, Joyner says new employees go through one-on-one training with specific job requirements. For new managers, Mauldin has a four- to six-month training program consisting of shop time, field time, apprentice study under an established manager and a small workload controlled by multiple checks that he implements to ensure the manager comprehends all tasks.
New associates at Rudolph Libbe are enrolled in training rotations and orientation programs. During performance reviews, Jones says associates are encouraged to generate a development plan with support from their managers.
Samplessays he follows up with his managers to check in on new employees at the 30 and 60 day mark to see how they are progressing. “Beyond that I let the Segment Managers evaluate their new employees on an ongoing basis,” he says. “They are the ones that work with them daily.”
Branco has a 90-day new hire evaluation period during which supervisors evaluate new hires at 30-day increments. According to Puckett, new hires are evaluated on things such as skills, knowledge of construction, quality, timeliness of work, dependability and attitude, to make sure they fit into the Branco team.
Continued Training and Development
In today’s economy, employees want to work somewhere they can continue to grow and develop in their chosen field. Whether it’s through training or educational classes, allowing employees the chance to learn and apply new skills is key to keeping everyone happy.
Employee development and learning is fostered through staff involvement, along with additional related-education courses and introducing new employees to key vendors, contractors and customers, Tuschall explains.
At Branco, Puckett explains that there is a prestigious Carpentry Apprenticeship Program certified by the U.S. Department of Labor in which select employees regularly attend classes with an experienced, highly skilled carpenter for a few hours weekly to learn industry-specific techniques. When they’re not in the classroom, Puckett says employees are assigned as part of a larger crew on various job sites and paired with experienced commercial carpenters where they can learn by doing and helping. “Branco also encourages professional growth of its employees through our education reimbursement program and our in-house crane certification courses,” he adds.
Hiring new employees can be a daunting task for any employer, but knowing what skills and qualities you are looking for helps make the process easier. Take the time to interview and get to know any prospective employees. Then continue to help them grow and develop once they get the job.