Are you short-staffed, wondering where your next employee will come from? Are you frustrated by the quality of applicants?
What you may not realize is that the opportunity to work for you could be the answer to somebody’s prayers. In fact, it may surprise you to learn there is a pool of your ideal employees just waiting for the opportunity to work for you. They just don’t know about you yet. Just who are these people and where do they hang out? That is what you need to figure out.
Who needs the opportunity you are offering? Even more importantly, what groups of people need the opportunity you are offering? Beyond that, where do these people gather? In other words, what are the “congregation points” for these individuals who are potentially ideal employees for you?
This is much easier to determine once you have thought through the qualities you are looking for in an employee. Let me share an example to illustrate this concept. One business owner in the construction industry found himself in a real pinch a couple of years ago. He needed employees to fulfill his contracts, but the applicants just were not showing up. He was facing a lot of competition from the oilfield and it was not at all unusual for a recent hire to show up for work for a week or two, and then just disappear after taking a higher paying job in the oilfield. In a pinch, this owner hired a couple of his wife’s friends to fill positions in his crews.
As I worked with this business owner, he came to see that a solution he perceived as a simple effort to solve a problem in a pinch might actually be developed into a long-term solution that would allow him to expand his business.
As it turned out, the female employees stayed with his company longer, were more reliable on a day-to-day basis and were more conscientious in maintaining his equipment. When he placed them on crews with male employees, those crews worked more efficiently than the all-male crews. Although there were some duties the female employees could not carry out due to the physical requirements of the task, when placed on crews with male employees, their male counterparts were able to complete those tasks.
Through our work together, my client decided he would speak with these female employees and find out what they liked about working for him. They were earning higher wages than they had in previous retail and restaurant positions. He already knew this, but something else he discovered through these conversations really surprised him. The seasonal nature of the work was an “intangible perk” for these women.
Up to this point, my client had perceived the seasonal nature of his business as a liability because he could not offer his employees year-round full-time employment. These women told him they actually appreciated the seasonal nature of the work because it allowed them to work hard a few months out of the year to add to the family income, but still be available for after school activities, and other family obligations during much of the year. For these women, the opportunity my client provided was an answer to their prayers.
My client decided he could fill a couple more open positions with female employees. He asked his two female employees if they had friends who might be a good fit for the company. Sure enough, one of the women had two friends who had been stay-at-home moms, but now that their children were in school, they were looking to get back to work. Neither of these women wanted to work full-time, but both were very excited to learn of the opportunity to earn a high wage working full-time 4-5 months out of the year. After they were hired, both confided in my client that working for him really was an ideal solution to bringing more income into their household while still being available for family commitments much of the year. One even commented, “It’s the perfect balance!”
With each hire, my client is becoming more well-known as an employer of choice among this network of mothers of school age children. He has utilized this network to not only hire more female employees, but also to fill other positions on his construction crew. Just recently he immediately filled an open position by hiring the husband of one his female employee’s friends.
By thinking outside the box, my client was able to tap into an extensive network to fill his open positions. He identified one commonality— they all have school-age children and want to contribute to their household income in a significant way, but do not want to work full-time.
These mothers do not “congregate” at trade shows or club meetings. Their “congregation points” are more informal. His female employees are connected to one another through sporting events, after school activities and social media. My client does not participate in these school activities or sporting events so he never encountered these women. Instead, he asked his best employees if they had friends who would be a good fit for the company.
The more curious my client became about the particular needs of his best employees, the more he became aware that he provides an ideal solution to their desire to contribute to the family income without working full-time year round. Since becoming an employer of choice among this informal network of women, he utilizes this network to get the word out when he needs to hire male employees as well.
Every business has a different culture and offers different opportunities for its employees. Discovering YOUR pool of ideal employees starts by getting to know your best employees and why they like working for you.