By Mike Voories, CSP
I’m reasonably confident of this: If I say recruiting quality talent is the leading concern facing snow industry professionals, I will not receive a single email challenging my presumption. That said, shouldn’t this universal challenge be foremost on our list of issues requiring immediate attention? Not unlike everything else in business, if you’re not getting the results you want, it’s time to try something different. Quality talent is in short supply but certainly not unattainable. What are you doing to attract, secure and retain the talent necessary to grow your business?
Recruiting is more a function of sales than of management. I’m not suggesting that if your company is large enough to have a sales department that your salespeople conduct interviews. I am suggesting that recruiting be approached from a sales (not a management) way of thinking. Don’t panic! There will be plenty of time for managing after your new superstars come on board.
You want the wanted
If you don’t have to sell potential employees on why they should join your team, you’re likely talking to the wrong type of candidate.
Smart business leaders realize that nothing in business yields greater results than surrounding oneself with the best team money can buy. Make no mistake, the type of employee who can change our organizations for the better has numerous viable options before them. Like it or not, if you’re conducting interviews where potential employees must try to convince you of their value, but you encounter no necessity to sell yourself and your company to them, you’re simply talking to the wrong people. Quality employers have options when it comes to hiring; likewise, quality employees have options when it comes to accepting job offers.
Why is your team tops?
How do you answer this question from a prospective employee? Why should I work for your organization?
First, let me caution you about any prospective employee who doesn’t pose some form of this question. Unfortunately, many struggle to offer a quick, concise, compelling answer to this question; and that just may be one of the primary reasons we struggle so much as an industry with recruiting quality talent.
“Offering competitive pay” is not a compelling reason for a top performer to join your team. “Offering competitive pay” means you’re offering within a few percent of what everyone else is doing. So why should I work for your organization?
Offer a win-win environment
You are not doing prospective employees a favor by bringing them on board, and they are not doing you a favor by joining your team. Equal business stature, as strange as it might sound in an employee-employer relationship, is exactly how we should look at all business relationships. For a successful employee-employer business relationship to exist, both parties should expect to be better off than they would be otherwise after joining forces.
There’s always a position available for the right person. Occasionally I’ll run into someone who asks, “Are you hiring?” Every time I answer the same way: “There are some people we’re always hiring.” We must always be actively recruiting, selling ourselves and our companies to potential top performers. When a talent need arises, chances are it’s too late to start looking. Be proactive. As in sales, have an active pipeline. Consider a recruiter or recruiting firm, depending on the size of your company.
Quality talent is in short supply; however, quality talent is available. Business leaders who want to work with the best talent money can buy must sell their company to prospective employees, just as they sell their company to prospective clients. Make sure you can answer why someone should join your organization. All long-term successful relationships are built on win/win platforms, and this includes the employee-employer one. Teams comprised of average employees remain average. Teams comprised of top performers are the most profitable industry leaders among us.
Jump start solutions
- Create an environement that is mutually beneficial to all parties.
- Be proactive. Nurture an active talent pipeline.
- Be able to sell your company as a desirable place to work.
Mike Voories, CSP, is chief operating officer at Brilar, a metro Detroit-based landscape & snow maintenance firm, and consultant to the service industries. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.