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Staffing Success Stories (Part 1)

Transforming talent acquisition, benefit of referral bonuses

CHICAGO — Finding employees has been challenging over the past few years, including in the laundry industry.

Unfortunately, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) says that demographic shifts and aging populations mean that worker shortages and hiring challenges will continue for years.

That doesn’t mean that laundry and linen services can’t be successful in filling positions with quality applicants.

They just need to be creative and flexible.

American Laundry News heard from six laundry operations about how they are working to make their hiring efforts successful.


Kristin Golden, vice president of marketing for ImageFIRST Healthcare Laundry Specialists headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, shares that the company has doubled in size over the past few years and now serves customers across the United States. 

“The need for exceptional talent is a priority,” she says. “Determined to build a stronger workforce and ensure future growth, the company embarked on a transformative journey in talent acquisition.” 

The following highlights the key steps ImageFIRST took to enhance its recruitment process:

  1. The arrival of the talent acquisition manager. In August 2022, the company made a strategic decision and hired a seasoned talent acquisition manager. Their expertise and leadership brought a fresh perspective to the recruitment landscape. With a comprehensive understanding of corporate and field recruiting, the manager wasted no time in making a lasting impact.
  2. Reduce open requisitions. With the talent acquisition manager at the helm, the company swiftly tackled the challenge of open requisitions. Through a combination of efficient processes and innovative strategies, they achieved remarkable results. In 2022 alone, open requisitions were reduced by an impressive 48%. Building on this success, the team further improved its performance, reducing open requisitions by an additional 36% in the first quarter of 2023.
  3. Candidate-friendly offer letters. Recognizing the importance of creating a positive candidate experience, the company revamped its offer letters. The new format put a spotlight on the total compensation package and emphasized the abundant opportunities for career advancement. This approach not only appealed to candidates but also showcased the company’s commitment to nurturing their employees’ growth.
  4. Revamping external postings. Realizing the significance of attracting top talent, the company reimagined its external job postings. The new approach made the postings more marketable and highlighted the exciting career advancement opportunities within the organization. Social media platforms became key channels for promoting the company’s diverse workforce and providing visibility into potential career paths.
  5. Region-specific talent acquisition specialists. To streamline and optimize its recruitment efforts, the company aligned its corporate talent acquisition specialists with specific regions. This targeted approach allowed each specialist to focus on understanding the unique requirements and dynamics of their assigned region. By being closely connected to the local talent pools, they could tailor their strategies accordingly and attract the best candidates.
  6. Engaging HR associates. Recognizing the importance of collaboration and ongoing development, the company initiated weekly calls with local HR associates. These calls served as platforms for engagement, training and the exchange of recruitment ideas. By leveraging the collective knowledge and experiences of the team, they enhanced their recruitment efforts and fostered a culture of continuous improvement.
  7. Investing in local recruiting sources. Understanding the value of local connections and community engagement, the company decided to support initiatives aimed at enhancing local recruiting sources. It works to strengthen relationships with local communities, colleges, and universities and participates in regional career fairs. The company proactively posts job openings on platforms like Handshake, forged partnerships with educational institutions, and supported initiatives such as the NJ DOL Veteran program.
  8. Ongoing training and development. ImageFIRST’s onboarding does not stop at Day 1. Education and training are a critical part of associates’ success. With a structured curriculum around each role in the organization, associates begin their education at orientation and continue with a curriculum throughout their tenure, enabling them to succeed in their job and advance their careers within the organization.

“With these concerted efforts, the company witnessed a remarkable transformation in its talent acquisition process,” shares Golden. It attracted a more diverse and skilled pool of candidates, and its enhanced employer branding enabled the company to stand out in the competitive market. As a result, the company experienced exponential growth and secured its position as an employer of choice.

“The story of this company serves as a testament to the power of strategic thinking, innovation and a commitment to creating an exceptional candidate experience,” she concludes. “It demonstrates that investing in talent acquisition is not just a necessity but a gateway to future success.”


Tommy Cocanougher, director-operations engineering solutions for Cintas Corp. Western North America and vendor relations rep for European suppliers and a columnist-at-large for American Laundry News, says that a strategy that can prove successful for production and service hiring is the use of referral bonuses.  

“People want to work where they know people and can have an instant connection,” he points out. “People who enjoy their jobs and like the company they work for will work hard to bring their friends on board. Rewarding these people who reach out to their friends and help recruit them to join the company can provide another avenue of recruitment and can lead to long-term employment for many.  

Cocanougher says that each market must set its referral bonus amounts and how its system will work (e.g., the new hire must remain employed for 90 days before the bonus is paid, etc.) but this effort can help in the current talent search.

“Once a new person is on board, it is important that initial training is completed properly with frequent follow-ups and engagement from not only the direct supervisor but from others, including HR and the location key management team,” he says.  

“The spirit that is felt on a new person’s first day must be continued in order to maintain the excitement and motivation of the new challenge.  

“A structured, planned training program with engagement from the entire team will help with this.”

Check back Tuesday for stories from American Textile Maintenance and Gallagher Uniform.


Reevaluating Methods, Instruments of Hourly Employee Acquisition, March 2, 2023

Staffing Success Stories

(Photo: © VitalikRadk/Depositphotos)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].