Mining ‘Diamond’ Employees Today (Conclusion)

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(Image credit: Alissa Ausmann)

“Lately, it hasn’t been easy to hire good employees. What recommendations do you have? How is the process different for finding outstanding line workers, route personnel and supervisors/managers?”

Hotel/Motel/Resort Laundry: Nick Fertig, Rosen Hotel and Resorts, Orlando, Fla.

The best piece of advice I can offer in regards to hiring good employees is once you have a top performer on your team, do whatever it takes to retain them.

Keep that top performer engaged, challenge them, reward them and promote them. If you lose them, finding a comparable replacement will take a tremendous amount of effort, a tremendous amount of time and, more than likely, several attempts.

If you do find yourself recruiting, hiring the best employees requires some out-of-the-box thinking. I find one of the most common mistakes we frequently make is to target our hiring efforts toward a younger demographic, which completely overlooks responsible adults who are seeking employment.

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Nick Fertig

Nick Fertig

Another major mistake is to target potential candidates who are currently unemployed instead of seeking established, top-notch employees who could possibly be looking for a better offer or change of pace. 

Once you have a potential candidate identified, ensure that you have a detailed job description and job analysis in place. These documents will serve to communicate all expectations for the position and all attributes required to be successful. Go over these documents in detail.  

Invite the candidate on property during production hours. Take the candidate on a tour. Spend time observing and explaining the position they are interviewing for. Ensure the candidate has the capacity, attitude, personality and skills required for not only performing the job, but performing it to your required quality and standards.

Lastly, one of the best sources for finding the perfect candidate is through referrals from your best employees. If you create a great work environment, appreciate your employees, treat them with respect and provide a space to grow, they will recruit for you.  

Your employees will provide their referrals detailed and accurate information about the job, which will typically only result in the candidate entering the application process if they feel it is a good fit. To sweeten the deal even further, I recommend a robust referral program that incentivizes employees and further assists you in keeping a happy and productive team. 

Uniforms/Workwear Manufacturing: Scott Delin, Fashion Seal Healthcare, Seminole, Fla.

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Scott Delin

Scott Delin

Recently, while attending a laundry conference and conversing with both laundry operators and suppliers, there was one common question asked by both groups: “Do you know of any good people looking to make a move? We are looking for some talented people to fulfill some key positions.”  

I laughed and said, “You and everyone else.”

This seems to be the common battle cry these days, as everyone and their brother on both the operator and supplier sides are looking for that one diamond in the rough to fill some empty positions and help their organizations grow, whether it be in production, processing, sales or even administrative work. However, it seems that the ones looking for work are the ones who are looking for a change in landscape or may have been released for poor performance. The experienced diamonds seem to be set in their positions with the companies they currently work for and are not looking to make a change.

It seems that today’s employees are not as hungry as those of the past when I was first starting in this business. Instant gratification seems to be the buzz among the younger employees in our industry. Nobody wants to earn the positions they have and/or put forth the time and effort to really grasp what they were hired to do, lead by example and excel in what they do. What happened to the sponge mentality, wanting to soak up and learn as much as possible to be the best of the best?

When searching for staff to fill vacant positions, we need to turn to more creative ways for uncovering those one or two employees to come on board with us. In addition to the usual methods of newspaper and journal ads in the help wanted sections, we need to take a fresh, new approach and think outside the box when it comes to recruiting, since everyone is looking for good, productive, committed help.

One method for finding good help is to start from within our own organization. Maybe offer a bonus incentive program to our existing workforce for referrals. Better yet, should that new hire stay longer than six months, the one who referred them should receive another bonus as well.

What about internship programs with our schools, whether they be on a high school, secondary or college level? Through an internship program, a person has the opportunity to learn a craft while making a few bucks doing it. More importantly, as the employer, it also allows you to teach, mold and mentor these students into the type of employee you are looking for. It is a way of giving back to the community while offering a sneak peek at what may lie ahead of the interns after they finish their schooling and take that next big step toward full-time employment.

The real beauty of an internship program, however, is that it allows us to hire summer/seasonal help and also see if we may have some potential “keepers” we may want to offer full-time employment when the time is right.  

Job fairs are occurring more and more often these days and also serve as a vehicle to find good talent for work within your organization. As more and more jobs are opening up and hiring seems to be on the upswing, job fairs are a good way to promote your company and possibly find one or two good employees as well.

When looking for more administrative or sales-oriented employees, college job placement centers are a good source to start your search. As students are graduating, they are hungry to get to work and find a rewarding job that pays a decent salary while also giving them an opportunity to showcase their talents and learn the craft. Granted, they will not be making the mighty dollar from the get-go, but it gives them a nice entry into the workforce and a chance to learn and grow within an organization and work their way up the corporate ladder.

As we all know, social media is changing our way of communicating with each other. This is also a good way to find good, productive employees, whether it be via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and even LinkedIn. Everybody seems to be connected these days, one way or another, through social media.

However, the downside of social media also offers a platform for unhappy former employees to air their experiences with any said company, making them available for those seeking employment to view and dissect as well.

Last but not least, we have the good, old standby that still proves to be the staple for hiring—the want ads. Posting ads in the employment section still works and should not be forgotten.

One thing we need to keep in mind as we search for hires, just as we are looking for that one diamond in the rough, is that those seeking employment are also looking for a good, stable place for employment, a place to grow and flourish while making a nice salary.

As we will expect our new hires to be on their “A” game all the time, we need to bring our “A” game as well. We need to be able to offer our current and new employees a reason to want to stay with us and perform daily at their best abilities. Sure, there are going to be some down days, but the successful companies that recognize and respect their staff as people and not employees will maintain a better workforce by far and capture the best of the best.

Good luck with your search.

Textiles: Steve Kallenbach, ADI American Dawn, Los Angeles, Calif.

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Steve Kallenbach

Steve Kallenbach

Our industry is stable, almost recession-proof, typically doesn’t require a college degree to get hired, and has plenty of opportunity to advance for those who simply want to work hard. We generally pay pretty well, and many of our positions have incentive-based growth opportunities (even in production).

So why is it so hard to find good people? Because the public really doesn’t even know our industry exists. Certainly, in hiring production-line employees, we need to look for different skills than we do in hiring route personnel or managers.

As an instructor at TRSA’s EMI (Executive Management Institute), we studied the issue and developed a general advertisement to inform the public that our industry is worthy of a look. The ad highlights the stability of our industry, with opportunity for all, where diversity and gender equality is celebrated—where people can advance to executive levels with experience beyond any education. The ad is offered to anyone who wants to use it, and can be edited by our (ADI) staff at no charge.

Beyond that, I do recommend online recruiting sites like ZipRecruiter, as well as social media sites like LinkedIn. Even craigslist offers some great exposure. Advertising and recruiting is very much like selling. We have to sell the value of our employment experience in order to attract interested candidates.

Selling value is really about three branding elements: functional, emotional and social. The best value branding includes all three. All of us can (and do) write recruitment ads with functional information (job description, company description, etc.). But the “now” generation wants to be part of something meaningful. Emotional ads point at “belonging” to a group that can make a difference in their life. Social ads point to doing things for the greater good (such as the positive impact on our environment through the use of reusable textiles, laundered with environmentally friendly standards).

Beyond advertising, great places to find good employees are at high school and college job fairs. One of my colleagues recommends talking with coaches and looking for competitive athletic students, since they are typically more disciplined to win. 

Most managers wait until an opening arises and then start the planning, advertising and recruiting process. As I have progressed in my own career, it has become more important to continually “build the bench.” What that really means is that I should consistently be interviewing potential associates for any and all positions, regardless of whether I have openings at present. The goal is to have someone (likely employed elsewhere), who is ready to consider a change, lined up as soon as an opening arises.

We have to keep our eye on the ball here. It’s a proactive vs. reactive approach. It’s a branding approach. And it’s a commitment on the part of all managers—especially you.

Miss Part 1 with advice from healthcare laundry, chemicals supply and consulting services experts? Click here to read it.

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