Just because you are a Top 100 company, that doesn’t make you immune to some of the hiring ills the industry is facing. But 4 executives from Top 100 companies gave their thoughts on hiring and retention during a panel on the issue. Here are some thoughts from the panel: John Gibson; president, Swingle Lawn, Tree and Landscape Care; Jen Lemcke, chief operating officer, WeedMan USA; Christy Webber, president and CEO, Christy Webber Landscapes and Tim Portland, chairman and CEO, Yellowstone Landscape.
Analyze the process. If you are having issues with hiring, you need to step back and look at your recruitment process, Lemcke said. When resumes come in, what is happening to them? Are they being looked at or sitting on a desk? Look at your referral bonus program and where you are posting jobs. “You need to be innovative; you can’t keep complaining about not finding people,” she said.
Invest wisely. Gibson said Swingle offers a $1,500 referral bonus for an employee who stays a year. The company also invested in a contract recruiter for 30-60 days who, based on qualifications given from Swingle, and finds workers for the company. Gibson said there was initial hesitation in hiring the recruiter because of the cost, but he said the upfront costs paid off in the long term.
Focus on the good. “We as managers tend to focus on our problems. We take for granted what we have right,” Portland said. Portland tells his supervisors to celebrate success. If a crew gets a compliment from a customer, or an employee does something well, take them to lunch or get them a gift card. “That makes them feel like they are succeeding,” Portland said, adding that those accolades coupled with company growth makes them excited to stay around. If you don’t celebrate, “that has a dampening impact on morale,” Portland said.
The right questions. Gibson said the team at Swingle asks behavioral type questions. “We don’t ask as much about experience rather how they would react to certain situations,” he said.
Be realistic. Gibson said Swingle began realizing that some employees were only going to stay with them 12-18 months, so they started “Succeed from the Start,” a program that tells new employee what they need to know in their first 60 days. “So, we can at least get them on a launch pad,” he said. Gibson added that the program gives Swingle the best chance to get the most out of the employee for the time they do stay, and it creates a positive atmosphere where the employee may recommend other to apply after they leave.
Create opportunities. Swingle has what Gibson called “an employee journey.” It allows workers who may not be manager material grow with the company and be cross trained in different divisions of the company. As they learn more skills, they are rewarded with pay increases. “It gives them an opportunity to do something different,” he said.