Why Finding Good Employees is Impossible
Stop looking for good employees and instead focus on attracting them.– Ryan Englin
I get some strange looks from business owners and hiring managers when I offer this advice. Especially now, with hiring becoming such a big challenge.
Many of my clients are in fields where they’re not finding good employees for skilled and unskilled positions. That’s a growing problem. But I’ll repeat it: I want you to stop looking for employees.
Instead, start attracting good workers. There’s a big difference.
Management is the Real Reason You’re Not Finding Good Employees – Sorry/Not Sorry
It’s not that it’s impossible to find good employees out there. I say that despite what I hear from clients in the trades, manufacturing, construction, healthcare － just about every sector.
We don’t have a labor shortage problem; we have a “we treat our people like crap” problem. People react to the way we treat them. They vote with their feet. They pick up and leave and fill out applications with your competition.
Do you treat your people on the floor with the same level of respect and sense of inclusion that you show your management team, and your top sales and tech people?
Congratulations if you do. But most employers don’t. Instead, most see their production people or less-educated workers as nameless cogs in the machine. So what do cost-conscious, revenue-driven corporations do when a machine breaks down? Typically, you replace the broken part. Then, your machine is up and running again, and you’re back to work.
That doesn’t work with workers today. And I don’t know if it ever did.
We don’t have a labor shortage problem; we have a “we treat our people like crap” problem.– Ryan Englin
Skyrocket Growth? Really??
Some companies think they’re achieving skyrocketing growth because they had to hire ten new employees last month alone. But, they don’t consider that seven of those new hires just replaced employees who left. So, net employee growth: three.
What those seven former employees took with them was job experience. For example, knowing how to run specific tools or machines, complete job processes, manage supplies and materials, and whom to go to for help. The list goes on and on.
Now you get to start all over again, retraining and realigning new workers to take the place of the ones who left. Those disgruntled former employees? They’re not exactly your company’s biggest cheerleaders. If they spread any word at all among family and friends, it’s to stay away from your company.
How much easier would it have been to create the work environment and company that would have kept your good workers in the first place? Then they would be telling everyone they know that they should apply for the next open position.
That 10-Year Old Job Board Posting
My new clients looking for blue collar employees tell me they’re just not out there. They’ve mysteriously disappeared. No one wants to work for a living today. And, it’s impossible to find good employees.
They know because they’ve posted to the job boards. Lots of times. No one responds, or they get ghosted by applicants when waiting for interviews.
Well, guess what? It’s a buyer’s market at the workplace. All of your competitors are looking for the same people you are. And they’re all going to the same place. So they post to the same job boards, which can sometimes feel like fishing in a fishing hole with no fish. Or the wrong kind.
One big problem is that only three to five percent of job seekers are on the job boards. Most of the rest are passively looking for work. That means they’re in the “wishful thinking” stage where they keep one eye open in hopes of finding a position that’s better than the one they’ve got.
Maybe they’ll scan a job board once every few days or weeks or months. If you just happen to have a job post on that board on that day, maybe they’ll see it. Stranger things have happened.
But will your boring job post － the one that reads just like that of your competitors’ － turn up the heat? Turn window shoppers into serious job seekers? Probably not.
Trust me. I’ve seen my share of lousy job postings.
Move This Job Down the Hall
Here’s what I want you to do once you’ve done all you can to create the environment where people will want to land and stay: Go into your human resource office and tell them, “I’ve got some good news for you. You’re fired as a recruiter.
No, you’d better explain it better than that. Remind your HR team how valuable they are in representing the company culture. How important they are for handling employee crises and work disputes or understanding your healthcare plan like no one else in America can.
But they’re not marketers. They don’t pretend to be. So why are they the authors of all of your job ads recruiting laborers and other production-type people? Because their copy is so damn colorful and engaging? Probably not.
Then drop in on your marketing team and say, “Bad news. I got more work for you.”
It’s good news for everyone. You’re going to put your marketers or your ad agency in charge of writing and placing your recruitment ads for production people. Why not? They already write excellent copy, and they know where to place it to attract your customers’ attention and motivate them to take action. That’s literally their job.
As it is, when your company writes a job posting for an hourly worker, it’s… boring. There’s a dry job description, emphasis on minimum skills and requirements and rules and policies, and the need for reliable transportation. Some bullets about… something. Maybe it’s the boilerplate copy on how great your company is. But it’s mostly about your needs, written in legalese to satisfy the lawyers.
It’s all features, no benefits. Written in a “what we want from you” tone of voice. Pay and benefits, if mentioned at all, are always “competitive.”
Is it any wonder that the few who contact you and bother to show up for interviews seem as lazy as the job description?
Let your marketing people “sell” your company to job seekers just like they sell it to the hot leads you’re attracting.
The point is… these people are important too. They want (and deserve) you to wow them. To be sold on your company as an astounding workplace. A place that makes them feel like they belong long-term. Make them see that you want them and not just another cog for the night shift.
You know your company is a great place to work. Now make it that way for everyone, even the guys and the gals on the frontline.
Hire to Retain
Work on your message. Sell your company to the workers you recruit. Then hire to retain. That’s the key to finding good employees.
And it’s what my Core Matters team helps employers do every day. We emphasize creating a core vision and a solid core story for your company through our Core Fit Hiring System. Then, we combine that with our proven process to help give job candidates hope – hope that they’ve found a home, not just a temporary paycheck.