“You can’t find good people to hire these days.” Well, truthfully, it’s never been easy, and it’s especially difficult with this pandemic. But our best choice isn’t to give up and downsize. We must elevate recruiting and spend serious time on it to succeed. Here are some thoughts.
Who’s job is it?
Who in your business should oversee recruiting? You should. Or it should be the responsibility of the highest person of authority, especially now. Long gone are the days we could run a classified ad and get qualified candidates. Besides, most of those old ads read “Press operator wanted, must be sober.” Fact is, that approach never did work although it may have seemed to when more workers were available than jobs. Not now.
That means the owner, the president, CEO, or general manager is responsible for recruiting. They can delegate some recruiting tasks, but they can’t delegate the responsibility to assure jobs are filled. Top management must assume that responsibility as they assume the responsibility for getting jobs out, getting jobs in, and getting paid. Without people, none of the business functions happen.
Then they must spend their precious prime time seeing recruiting is done. It’s not something to do when you “find time.” You must make time and respond quickly. Don’t leave it until when you have time to sort through contacts. Set aside time every morning, at noon, and before you head home to review applicants.
What’s the job?
Start with the basics.
A client wasn’t having luck soliciting for a Customer Experience Technician. I didn’t know what that was, so I doubted if prospective workers knew. Basically, he wanted a Customer Service Representative. Once he changed the name to something a prospective employee could recognize, they got more qualified applicants.
Organize around functions, not people. First employee that I had was a typesetter who later spent part of her time doing bookkeeping. She was the first to ever “quit on me.” So, I was faced with finding a replacement who knew InDesign and could do double-entry bookkeeping. There weren’t many around.
A better approach would have been that I hired a part-time bookkeeper and a part-time prepress person because of replaceability. You can hire a bookkeeper or a typesetter, but it’s nearly impossible to find one person who can do both. Don’t organize yourself into a hole.
Graphic designers are a misnomer for most of us. We usually need pre-press technicians to manipulate files, not designers to capture the essence of the customers’ soul. Besides, typesetters are given copy and told to “make it look pretty” all the time. And it has been that way since letterpress. So, don’t oversell the position by making it seem more than it is. Tell them what you want. In most of our cases, it’s a prepress technician to manipulate files.
What do they work with? We turned recruiting around for one North Carolina printer searching for a prepress person by featuring the latest programs and powerful computers they would use in an era when many printers were still using slower, older Macs, and several versions back of old software.
Another important point to remember is that employees don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. For the most part ours is not a sophisticated industry with enlightened bosses. So, while you are enlightened and provide an adult working atmosphere, most qualified workers toil for less enlightened supervisors. What that means is that there are many owners who just aren’t engaged in their business.
“Join this engaged owner,” is a phrase that many respond to.
What’s the pay?
For some reason, in many shops pay is supposed to be a secret although it rarely is. It’s negotiated individually and, frankly, it commonly means the longer you’re there the more you make except for people who threaten to quit. They then receive pay raises to get them to stay.
Nevertheless, I like to advertise the pay the job provides as in $15 an hour. If it doesn’t provide enough results, run it again at $16 an hour. Soon you’ll find the market price.
COVID-19 has given us a new challenge. So, how so we keep our workers safe? Explain it to prospective employees, “Masks and social distancing are maintained within the shop.” Many care.
So, what do we have? “Join this engaged owner as a customer service representative working with the latest and easiest computer estimating systems.”
Benefits and more
Other benefits round out the job: Vacations, holidays, insurance, and any other benefit you may extend to workers.
Finally, don’t expect the perfect worker to apply. You’ll not only have to train, but you want to be able to train workers your way.
Hiring in the current climate isn’t easy, and traditional approaches likely aren’t enough to attract all the applicants that many businesses need. Running an ad or putting out a sign might have been fine in 2009, but different times call for different measures. Understanding the nature of the current recruitment challenge and devise an effective strategy for meeting it will be increasingly important to growing companies.
Don’t surrender to the temptation to downsize to solve your recruitment problems. Downsizing is coasting and you can only coast going downhill.
= = = = =
Tom Crouser offers individual business coaching through CPrint International. Message him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call his cell (304) 541-3714.