Menu
Search
he3

Ways to Recruit Despite the Workforce Crisis

Workplace diversity is an evergreen topic, but as the workplace continues to evolve, conversations and action will become even more important – not just to your organization, but to the equipment distribution industry overall.

It’s a complex and ever-evolving challenge. There is no shortage of focus groups, interest groups, development opportunities, and research articles. With so much noise, it can be difficult to know where to start. A truly vibrant and healthy workforce, though, is more than worth the trouble.
The first distinction is that a “diverse workforce” might be an achievable state, but “workplace diversity” is an ongoing cultural process. It’s tempting to think of ratios. Instead, think about practices, habits, and goals.

For instance, a company might commit to a diversity initiative, but a little difficulty at any stage might tempt them to revert to comfortable habits. Imagine that an employee has to leave with little warning, and their position is vital and urgent. Leadership and associates may want to fill that position quickly, but doing so in the most familiar way will produce familiar results. Resist the temptation to postpone intentional changes for a “better time” down the line – in a fast-paced, global industry, the less-urgent time may never come.

Luke Lonergan, owner and CEO at New York’s Empire Crane Company, explains how his company recruits and retains.

“We find individuals by word-of-mouth, social media, and online recruiting sites such as Indeed or LinkedIn,” he says. “For retention, we offer employee benefits such as 401(k), paid holidays, et cetera.”
Indeed, referrals are a popular and effective tool across the industry. For an organization to transform its workforce toward the future, though, it may be necessary to go outside the usual channels.

That means building new relationships with the places that can connect employers to talent. Local institutions like libraries, churches, and advocacy nonprofits can be great places to start. Employers don’t need to wait for openings to start making connections in the community – proactiveness is part of the growing, ongoing practice.

Culture is to an organization what lifestyle is to an individual. A person who has made meaningful, lasting change in their life – diet and exercise, for example, or quitting an addictive vice – can testify that temptations to relapse are everywhere. Those are the moments that truly challenge resolve. But habits are made, so they can be remade. And a focused organization can make diversity a habit and not merely a buzzword.

Yami Gonzalez, veteran recruiter at California’s Sonsray, suggests that recruiters and managers build their workforces around the cultural elements that make their teams successful.

“To us, what’s really big is personality. If you have the right personality – outgoing, excellent service, above-and-beyond – we’re willing to train,” she says. This approach produces a vibrant workplace culture with strong retention and not-infrequent rehires.

In this industry, though, there are specific obstacles to a richly representative workforce across the organization.

 “The challenge is finding good experienced technicians,” says Gonzalez. “There’s so much demand. The business has increased, so we can’t afford to have too many green mechanics, but those are going to be the future technicians.”

Lonergan adds, “One of the major obstacles is that it’s mostly men coming from the trade schools.”
Toward that end, organizations like Chicago Women in Trades and the National Association of Women in Construction build connections and offer sponsorship opportunities. A proactive approach is key, though – the right candidates won’t always find you, especially when competition for that talent is intense.

In the course of researching this story, I heard most frequently that companies aren’t holding targeted, institutional conversations regarding diversity. Instead, they’re relying on an intuitive principle: hire the best people for the job. It’s a noble sentiment, but it’s also the legal minimum.

These conversations might be difficult, but the consequences for intentional blindness might be worse: legal action, labor action, or, most inevitable, most insidious of all, the simple failure to attract and retain the best talent. Diverse perspectives are already driving innovation; going forward, the most successful companies will be the ones with the most complete workforces.

Workplace diversity is an evergreen topic, but as the workplace continues to evolve, conversations and action will become even more important – not just to your organization, but to the equipment distribution industry overall.

It’s a complex and ever-evolving challenge. There is no shortage of focus groups, interest groups, development opportunities, and research articles. With so much noise, it can be difficult to know where to start. A truly vibrant and healthy workforce, though, is more than worth the trouble.

The first distinction is that a “diverse workforce” might be an achievable state, but “workplace diversity” is an ongoing cultural process. It’s tempting to think of ratios. Instead, think about practices, habits, and goals.

For instance, a company might commit to a diversity initiative, but a little difficulty at any stage might tempt them to revert to comfortable habits. Imagine that an employee has to leave with little warning, and their position is vital and urgent. Leadership and associates may want to fill that position quickly, but doing so in the most familiar way will produce familiar results. Resist the temptation to postpone intentional changes for a “better time” down the line – in a fast-paced, global industry, the less-urgent time may never come.

Luke Lonergan, owner and CEO at New York’s Empire Crane Company, explains how his company recruits and retains.

“We find individuals by word-of-mouth, social media, and online recruiting sites such as Indeed or LinkedIn,” he says. “For retention, we offer employee benefits such as 401(k), paid holidays, et cetera.”
Indeed, referrals are a popular and effective tool across the industry. For an organization to transform its workforce toward the future, though, it may be necessary to go outside the usual channels.

That means building new relationships with the places that can connect employers to talent. Local institutions like libraries, churches, and advocacy nonprofits can be great places to start. Employers don’t need to wait for openings to start making connections in the community – proactiveness is part of the growing, ongoing practice.

Culture is to an organization what lifestyle is to an individual. A person who has made meaningful, lasting change in their life – diet and exercise, for example, or quitting an addictive vice – can testify that temptations to relapse are everywhere. Those are the moments that truly challenge resolve. But habits are made, so they can be remade. And a focused organization can make diversity a habit and not merely a buzzword.

Yami Gonzalez, veteran recruiter at California’s Sonsray, suggests that recruiters and managers build their workforces around the cultural elements that make their teams successful.

“To us, what’s really big is personality. If you have the right personality – outgoing, excellent service, above-and-beyond – we’re willing to train,” she says. This approach produces a vibrant workplace culture with strong retention and not-infrequent rehires.

In this industry, though, there are specific obstacles to a richly representative workforce across the organization.

 “The challenge is finding good experienced technicians,” says Gonzalez. “There’s so much demand. The business has increased, so we can’t afford to have too many green mechanics, but those are going to be the future technicians.”

Lonergan adds, “One of the major obstacles is that it’s mostly men coming from the trade schools.”
Toward that end, organizations like Chicago Women in Trades and the National Association of Women in Construction build connections and offer sponsorship opportunities. A proactive approach is key, though – the right candidates won’t always find you, especially when competition for that talent is intense.

In the course of researching this story, I heard most frequently that companies aren’t holding targeted, institutional conversations regarding diversity. Instead, they’re relying on an intuitive principle: hire the best people for the job. It’s a noble sentiment, but it’s also the legal minimum.

These conversations might be difficult, but the consequences for intentional blindness might be worse: legal action, labor action, or, most inevitable, most insidious of all, the simple failure to attract and retain the best talent. Diverse perspectives are already driving innovation; going forward, the most successful companies will be the ones with the most complete workforces.

Related Articles

rectangleLeadership