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My name is Anne Kutscher and I have been in the human resources world for approximately 10 years working in a variety of roles. I started my career in an administrative capacity learning the ropes and working my way up through the ranks in a variety of industries including distribution, manufacturing and most recently construction. I have been directly involved with conducting compensation market studies, salary reviews and performance management. I’m currently focused on recruitment and retention of team members in the construction industry. It is my hope that this blog will showcase the challenges recruiters face with an open dialogue about how we are meeting and overcoming those challenges. I will be looking to blog readers for their ideas and insight – let’s get a dialogue rolling!
The economy of the past few years has caused companies across the nation to review their workforce and transition out B and C players. As the economy shows signs of improvement, organizations are feeling the pressure to add experienced talent that can hit the ground running. With the unemployment rate hovering around 9 percent for the past year and a half, many hiring managers are baffled when HR and recruiters report difficulty filling positions. I come up against many challenges as I work on the front lines, attempting to find candidates to fill positions in the construction industry.
Here are just a few of them:
- Fewer young adults are interested in considering a career in construction, diminishing the candidate pool. The aging workforce is looking to move away from manual labor work and into management roles and does not have the necessary education and experience to progress into management.
- Employers are retaining high performers, leaving fewer in the marketplace.
- Employed candidates are wary about leaving the “devil they know” for an opportunity with an unknown entity. While they are not happy with certain aspects of their current employer or job, they are reluctant to try out another company and face the possibility of a worse situation, as all companies are asking employees to do more with less.
- Those entering the workforce with a newly minted college degree do not have the experience necessary to hit the ground running, leaving organizations to spend a great deal of time, energy and money on getting the new employee up to speed.
In an effort to combat the realities of our new marketplace, many companies have chosen to implant the following strategies:
- Developing relationships with secondary and post-secondary institutions to discuss the realities of their industry – the good, the bad and the ugly – so that those few candidates who are drawn to their industry know who to call as they make career choices.
- Taking a longer look at succession planning; planning decades out instead of just a few years.
- Finding those internal rising stars and providing them with development opportunities so they can move into senior management roles.
- Reaching out to their employees, networks and business contacts to share the opportunities they have available in an effort to find those passive candidates who are top performers. This works best when it’s not just the HR staff soliciting friends and family, but when the entire company is involved. Networking and word of mouth remains the best way to find talent who will fit in well with the corporate culture.
Furthermore, meaningful internships are gaining popularity with a large number of companies that realize the need to build a workforce. Not only do the internships give the organization good press among colleges and universities, making it easier to recruit in subsequent years, they are building loyalty with the college graduate who will join the company. I have seen many new hires join companies for a few short years, gaining knowledge and experience and developing that into opportunities with another company. Graduates who have served a meaningful internship at a company and are hired after graduation are retained longer and have a greater sense of loyalty.
These are just a few of the strategies my organization and many others across the nation are employing. I encourage you to share the strategies your organization is using to combat the need to find qualified talent in this economy.
Anne Kutscher is a recruiter at Cianbro Corp. She is from Tolland, Conn., and is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University, where she majored in communications. Anne has worked in many capacities throughout her career in human resources in a variety of industries including manufacturing, distribution and construction. Her current focus is on the recruitment and retention of individuals working on projects in the heavy civil and industrial construction arena. She can be reached at editor@TalentMGT.com.