Plan on hiring in 2019? Try these easy strategies for a simple hiring plan!
Despite the recent market fluctuations, the job landscape is still incredibly competitive for good people. If you tried to hire in 2018, you already know the challenge; and nothing indicates this will change in 2019. The companies I speak with daily have the same challenges you are facing. I’ve noticed a few trends among my most successful clients when it comes to finding excellent employees, my 3 favorite best practices are below for a simple hiring plan for 2019:
Employee Referral Programs: My best customers, regardless of size, have deployed PAID internal referral programs. They pay existing employees to refer excellent people they worked with at their past companies. If you are not running a similar program, you are missing your best source of leads for top people in the market. If you believe your employees will refer people just because they like you, you may be disappointed. The program must be paid to get any real attention and traction. Most companies offer a $500 spot bonus for referrals that are hired. Don’t pay for the referral, just the ones that result in a hire. You can even add in some protection by stipulating the referred employee must stay at the company 60 or 90 days before you pay out. In short, people do what they are incented to do; no cash, no referrals. I’ve been paying a $500 referral fee for the last 5 years and I can tell you first-hand it works.
Make Skills “Preferred” not “Required”: My best customers are re-considering their job specifications. I know you really want someone from your direct competitor to come on board and start selling your widget instead of their widget, but is that realistic? I recently had a customer looking for a specific skill set from a specific industry. As a well-informed estimate, I’ll say there are between 15 and 18 companies in the US that do what they do and certainly none in the geographic area. Not only are they looking for a ‘needle in a stack of needles’, but they also need to have the person re-locate to their location. Not a good formula for a successful hire. To be successful in hiring you really need to hire PEOPLE first and SKILLS second. What similar skills can you use and develop when you find a good person? Does the person have a history of integrity, character, work ethic, proactivity, leadership potential, excellent communication skills, creativity, and the ability to learn quickly? If so, you should talk to them. Stop waiting for the perfect match to walk in the door; 99 out of 100 times, it won’t happen.
Cultivate Your Future: Lastly, my best customers have a robust college recruiting plan. You must be active with local or regional colleges that offer degree programs which mirror your business model. Admittedly, this is the toughest of the 3 best practices for this simple fact: it takes a lot of time and energy to ramp up a fresh college graduate. However, the payoff is immeasurable. It is an investment in your future. In the same way we don’t put “all our eggs in one basket” with our financial investments, you should also not put all your faith in one fresh graduate hire. Most of my customers experience about a 20-25% promotion rate among their new graduate hires. Meaning, about 1 in 4 turns out to be “promotable” in their company and culture. It is an upfront investment that pays long-term dividends. Maybe you don’t have the budget for 4; then start with 2.
When you find the right mix of soft skills and technical skill in a fresh college graduate, you should promote them. I recommend after 12 months and absolutely before 24 months. Start to develop a succession plan and career path for them, communicate this with them and build your managers from inside your company. A critical component of long-term employee stability is retaining the talent in which you have invested. In my experience, companies with high employee turnover do not do this well. You can read all about retaining your talent here.
My best advice? Be proactive. Develop talent pipelines for positions that are critical or normally tough to fill fast. Always be looking, attracting and developing these talent pipelines. Open an employee referral program immediately and start talking to the referrals. Don’t get stuck in desperation mode. Implement these ideas and they may help in developing your talent pool beyond this first quarter of 2019. Maybe you have other methods that have worked for you. If so, I am interested in hearing about them in the comments!
About Me: Eric Murphy serves as National Practice Leader with the Engineering and Manufacturing Division of CEO Inc. He works with companies in the advanced materials and composites industry to help them source, deliver and hire their technical leaders. The companies his team partners with represent some of the fastest growing and innovative U.S. companies in the aerospace, military, defense, energy, medical, automotive and industrial marketplaces. He has been consulting and recruiting in the manufacturing space for over 10 years.