Where are the applicants?

With the spring hiring season upon us, many employers are discovering that nobody is applying to fill their open positions. What was a serious problem in previous year’s has become an existential crisis this year. If there are no workers, there is no business. This is more than serious. This is about survival. 

If this is true, I would simply ask what you’re doing about it. If this problem is so serious that the future of your business is at stake, why wouldn’t you be doing everything in your power to address this crisis. I hear a lot of talk but not much action. 

I recall a time when hiring someone was as easy as grabbing the giant folder of paper applications and making a few phone calls or just hiring one of the many applicants who walked in the door every day. Recruiting was unnecessary and retention was not a major concern. All of that has changed. 

To be successful today, businesses must have on-going, year-round recruitment and retention strategies in place. This requires a serious commitment from the top of the organization to provide sufficient resources. On-going, year-round recruitment and retention strategies come at a cost. But, they also provide great benefits in terms of higher quality, fewer injuries, less damage to equipment, higher productivity, and higher profit.

Where to start is an often-asked question. My advice is to start with your own people. Sit down with groups of your people, including front-line staff. Some of you have never done this before. Sure, you’ve had a 20-minute huddle standing in your shop. I’m talking about a half-day or full-day serious discussion and brainstorming session in a conference room. 

Help your people understand the crisis at hand. They may be aware of it somewhat but not to the extent that they need to. Too often there is a “it’s not my problem” attitude running through the ranks. If that’s the case, step one is to begin to change that attitude because it not only will affect your ability to recruit, it will also damage retention. They need to realize that this situation is their problem too and that is why you’ve asked for their assistance. 

Ask for their ideas. The best ideas don’t always come from the top of the organization. Anyone can have a great idea but they aren’t going to share that great idea unless they are asked or given a platform. Many successful companies have incentive programs for successful ideas that are adopted. I think that’s really cool but also one more thing to administer. Don’t go there unless you can administer the incentive program properly. If your people care at all, they will have ideas to share. If nobody has any ideas, you have a bigger problem on your hands. 

Empower them to participate. Get everyone involved, even if it means losing production for part of a day once every so often. Is losing production really your biggest issue? Doesn’t that happen every time it rains? I thought so. Every single person in your company should be a recruiter and doing something to improve retention. If this is truly a crisis, why wouldn’t they? 

Enough talk. Time for action. If you’re really serious, check out our New Hire On-Boarding course at GrowTheBench.com. This course is available as part of the all-access subscription or as a stand-alone course at a very affordable price. 

Now go forth.

Free – Really Free

By Phil Harwood

I grew up in a community that was settled by Dutch immigrants. Not to be overly stereotypical, but the “Hollanders” in my hometown have quite a reputation for being, well, let’s use the word “frugal.” Even today, goods and services are priced well below the rest of the country. If something isn’t super affordable, there just won’t be too many buyers. And, of course, when something is free, there’s a line out the door. The saying, “if it’s free, it’s for me” was most likely coined here. So, I understand what free means. And, when there is a catch, it’s not free, Sorry.

Did you ever notice that when something is promoted as being free, sometimes it’s not really free? Instead, there’s a catch, and free is only free in exchange for something else. If you’re turned off by bait-and-switch marketing tactics, I have some good news for you – news about something that is free. Really free.

There is another saying that says, “you can’t outgive the giver” and Bible scriptures stating that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7) and “a generous person will be enriched” (Prov 11:25). At Christmas, I often find more satisfaction in watching others open the gifts I bought them than I do in opening my own gifts. Does that happen to you too?

This concept of giving away something for free has been intriguing to me recently. You see, the team at GrowTheBench has been considering offering something for free for the last few months. Not something that is sort of free but something that is really free. After much discussion we decided to go for it. Neal Glatt rolled up his sleeves and recorded a killer course focused on best practices for sales. This course is now being offered on our website. It’s free. Really free. Check it out: www.growthebench.com.

With all of this being said, we are giving away something very valuable absolutely free with no strings attached. We hope that you will take advantage of this free course. Watch it over and over again. Have your staff watch it, even if they aren’t responsible for sales. Actually, I truly believe that everyone is responsible for sales. So, have your entire team take the course and discuss it as a group. I promise that you will be blessed richly by doing so.

Now go forth.  

This Changes Everything

By Phil Harwood

As the labor shortage continues into 2019, many employers are struggling with staffing. Most understand the need to invest more resources in this area but often times these investments are not only missing the bullseye, they are missing the target altogether because they’re aiming in the wrong direction. Let me explain.

My generation (Baby Boomers) grew up in a world that was drastically different than the world that my children (Millennials) grew up in. The problem is that most of today’s senior leaders grew up in the Baby Boomer generation while the workforce is increasingly becoming dominated by Millennials. This generational clash is making staffing all the more difficult, especially where Baby Boomers are still holding onto leadership positions and influencing organizational culture.

This generational clash shows up in a glaring way when Millennials mention their parents’ involvement in a workplace situation, such as during an interview. My generation’s response is usually to express disgust. They say that these Millennials are spoiled and entitled. They believe that parents have no place at work and that the idea of it is simply evidence of what “snowflakes” they are. I’ve literally heard those words and we’ve all read them in the headlines of all sorts of articles and magazine covers for years. I get it.

The reality is we are the parents of Millennials. If anyone is to blame, it’s us. But why are we assigning blame in the first place? The generational clash is not about right versus wrong. It’s about understanding and change. Was it right that my parents never knew where I was or what I was doing when I was growing up? Was it right that I never wanted my parents to be involved in my biggest life choices? Was that a better parenting model? I don’t think so.

Is it wrong for my wife and I to be involved in the lives of our 30-something children? Is it wrong for them to want us to be involved in their lives? Is it wrong for my daughter or son to call me and ask my advice? Am I offended when they do so? Of course not. It’s not about right versus wrong. And, by the way, if it was, I would argue that my parents had it more wrong and that my wife and I had it more right. But that’s just my perspective.

As employers, we simply need to wake up to this reality. We need to embrace the expectations of a new generation of workers, supervisors, and leaders. When we do, it changes everything. How could it not?

If you want to learn more about how to manage Millennials, I invite you to discover a new online course at GrowTheBench.com titled, Managing Millennials. This course is now available. Hosted by Neal Glatt, a Millennial himself, you will be informed and inspired to take on a new perspective that may just be the game-changing “secret” you’ve been looking for to address your staffing situation.

If you’re not yet signed up for GrowTheBench.com, we would like to provide you with a free, 30-day all-access trial subscription. Simply go to Trial.GrowTheBench.com and follow the prompts.

Now go forth!