It’s an interesting time we live in right now. On the surface, things don’t seem like they’ve changed too much but dig a little deeper and you’ll see changes everywhere. I think that’s part of the problem businesses in Alaska are having – identifying change. As they say, the first step in fixing a problem is identifying the problem, and oh boy do we have problems. First and foremost: labor.
Haven’t we been talking about this for a while? Yes, we have. Most folks haven’t solved their labor issues, which makes you wonder, do they really know the real problem? In my opinion, the average worker doesn’t exist anymore. They were replaced sometime during the pandemic with a newer, modern worker that we don’t fully understand yet. The characteristics of the classic average worker doesn’t look the same anymore in most cases. Being motivated by money doesn’t appear to be the primary driving force anymore.
Most of the business owners I’ve talked to in the past six months or so have stories of employees that appear less inclined to take an extra shift to bring in more money. Usually, they have so many calling out so often that they’ve laxed many standards just to have some kind of labor pool instead of none. Writing up employees doesn’t gain them any traction, they just have to accept they aren’t coming in and ask, “When do you think you will come in?”
This year at Skurla’s, we are looking to bring on a few new team members to help us perform better and to bring a better customer experience to our merchants. We are utilizing some new hiring strategies that you might find helpful in hiring in this new age:
- Show them the real you - Most jobs aren’t really jobs. They are relationships. Especially when you spend most of your working day with your staff, you need to make sure it’s a good fit not just for you, but for them as well. Life is too short: cut to the chase and offer an honest dialogue on what you are looking for. We utilize a short paragraph that details our company culture, without any “job speak” in the beginning of our job listings, as a way of showcasing who we really are.
- Changing the job requirements - I think most businesses over the years used the same approach to what a job requires, almost like a copy and paste, with very little to no change. “That’s the way we’ve always done it” (WWADI) doesn’t really cut it anymore as we’ve all found out since the pandemic. Through technology, there is a lot of flexibility in the way we’ve worked. Instead of going back to WWADI, try examining what you really need and how you can best accomplish it, with the mindset of job satisfaction for both you and your employee. It is a relationship after all.
- Put yourself in your employees’ shoes – As leaders, we don’t need to do everything or know everything, but we need to know our people. Understanding their roles and challenges they have is a must for that relationship. Communicating is the bedrock of all great relationships – regular focused meetings are great but never underestimate the value of a personal conversation. Get to know their wants and needs more and they’ll start to understand YOUR wants and needs better. A relationship with great communication can last a lifetime!
- Hire amazing people even if they have no experience – We all tend to gravitate towards hiring people that have a ton of experience, sometimes oblivious to incompatibilities that you might uncover during the hiring process. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – sounds like gambling, right? An amazing employee can be trained to do that job. Sometimes far quicker than an experienced one can get brought up to speed on how to operate at your business. And the benefit? These amazing employees usually excel at their jobs, are in it for the long haul, and truly care about their jobs. Be on the lookout for them, they are invaluable. If you don’t hire them, someone else will, and you’ll likely never see them back in the job pool again. What could your business do if all your staff were like this? Well, whatever you want!
Fellow Alaskan, I hope this helps you with your hiring process. Here are a few resources you also might find beneficial:
Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer: Hiring lessons, interview best practices, and recruiting strategies for managers from a cancer-surviving executive – by Jim Roddy
This is a very practical book that you can use to develop or refine your own hiring process with some key lessons that every business owner you read. This is in my Top 10 business books I refer to on a regular basis.
MORE Stupid Things Employers Do In The Hiring Process!
Great video that goes over common things that go bad in the hiring process that will turn potential candidates away from your company.