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.
RECRUITING REPS, TECHNOLOGY
Renee Mendoza, human resources director, says American Textile Maintenance has been working nonstop on hiring personnel to support its growing business.
The company is in Southern California, operating in the counties of Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, Ventura and San Bernardino.
“The company is headquartered out of Los Angeles, where a lean staff of human resources professionals support recruiting and staffing needs for all locations,” shares Mendoza.
“We currently have four plants, three depots and one distribution center to support with a headcount of 970 and growing. Each plant has a full-time HR representative that supports production worker staffing and orientations.”
American Textile Maintenance has a full-time recruiter on staff that recruits for all positions and is a regular at community and college job fairs across Los Angeles counties.
The HR team uses online job sites such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter, El Clasificado, and Monster, and social media including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
“Internally, we use BambooHR as our applicant tracking system that has automated new hire onboarding forms and sets up new hires on our payroll in an HRIS (human resources information) system,” Mendoza says.
“We partner with EDD (California Employment Development Department) utilizing onsite interviews and their job boards. We partner with three community colleges and LA Trade Tech (Los Angeles Trade-Technical College), utilizing on-campus job fairs and their websites to hire part-time and full-time workers. We hire interns from these channels as well.
She says the company also uses its business agent relationships with local unions, reaching out to them for member referrals for production, route service representatives and engineers.
“We have also used staffing agencies to help us staff up for quick needs that come up from time to time and for class A drivers,” she adds.
“HR and our recruiter meet with our engineering team and service managers for weekly reviews of interview and selection status updates.
“The company also launched a successful employee referral program in 2021, resulting in a good turnout of new employees and referring employee payouts.”
Mendoza says the company’s hiring managers are all training in interview and selection skills to assure that compliant, equitable and behavior-based questions are used to find the best fit for its teams.
“Recruiting is not easy, but with the right tools, and trained interviewing team, and support from the community, we have been able to hire the right people,” Mendoza concludes.
INVESTING IN WORKPLACE CULTURE
When John C. Gallagher started Gallagher Uniform in 1893, he started a company that for the next 130 years would provide exceptional uniform and facility services to customers and invest in its team members by creating a winning workplace culture in Battle Creek, Michigan.
His value and emphasis on the importance of investing in workplace culture have been passed down through five generations of Gallagher family leadership.
Gallagher’s Human Resource Manager Jennifer Rosa knows, firsthand, what investing in culture looks like in the day-to-day at Gallagher and how this culture exhibits its three internal core values of honesty, integrity and trust.
And that culture begins with family leadership.
“By being hands-on and committed to the daily work that happens, they are very visible and engaged with all associates making it truly more of a ‘family-friendly’ environment where everyone is passionate and supportive of the company’s goals as a result,” shares Rosa.
“Everyone holds each other accountable to (build) a strong focus on mutual respect and communication. Associates have a lot of fun while still getting the work done each and every day to deliver top-notch service to our customers as a No. 1 priority.”
What unique aspects of the workplace culture make Gallagher stand out from other organizations?
“While we are smaller in size (in comparison to many companies), and we act like the family-owned business we are and love, we can still offer competitive wages and benefits,” shares Rosa. “We operate very much like a large corporation without the ‘big corporate feel’.”
A key to the company’s culture, she points out, is to encourage employee development and growth.
“We have always encouraged promoting from within and have many examples of associates that have started and grown throughout the company through internal job postings,” says Rosa.
“We also conduct annual ‘stay interviews’ that help leadership be more engaged with associates to understand where their long-term interests and training needs may be.
“Our plant team has also created a cross-training program that allows individuals to learn multiple areas with the potential for wage increases as a result.”
Another key feature of Gallagher’s culture is employee recognition.
“We recognize birthdays and anniversaries on our company TVs for all to see each month,” says Rosa. “We also celebrate successes through our ‘kudos board’ at our daily huddles and recognize the great things happening in our weekly newsletter that goes to all associates.
“For milestone anniversaries (every five years), we allow each associate to select a jacket that we embroider their service years on and celebrate them at the annual company meeting.”
Finally, the company hosts several employee events every year, and Rosa has a few favorites.
“Easily our annual Christmas parties that we host,” she says. “These (parties) are always a big hit by many.
“We do a special dinner for adults but also have a fun ‘Breakfast with Santa’ for the kids. It’s always so much fun to see the Gallaghers making pancakes and serving the staff and families that attend. Other favorites have included hockey and baseball game outings.”
Read the conclusion Thursday with stories from Plymate and Prudential Overall Supply. To read Part 1, with stories from ImageFIRST Healthcare Laundry Specialists and Cintas Corp., click HERE.
Q&A: Laundry Labor Update (Part 1), May 19, 2022
Q&A: Laundry Labor Update (Conclusion), May 24, 2022
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].