While Media 1/Wrap This continues its daunting search for a new building, the writing reins are turned over again to employee Greg Berry. – Dale Salamacha
WHAT YOU NEED
Hello everyone, I’m back for a second installment. This will be the last time you hear from me. I promise… (Insert grouchy-old-man harrumph from Dale.) This month we’re going to shift our attention to another, much more common search: the pursuit of personnel.
Any manufacturing business needs three elements to serve its customers and become successful:
First, it needs a facility. Large enough to allow all current work to flow through, yet still provide ample room for growth. And just as in real estate, location is everything. We want to be close to our client base, as well as centrally located for most of our employees.
Second is equipment. In order to deliver the on-time, excellent products our customers expect, first-rate, reliable machinery is required at all levels. If any equipment is down or obsolete, it’s not making money.
The third element is personnel. Well-trained, competent people who take pride in their work are an absolute necessity if a business is going to run successfully. But how do we find these elusive individuals?
Larger companies task dedicated HR departments with this search. They place ads, collect applications, check references, etc. Smaller companies don’t have this luxury; the business owner has to do it. But if you’re already so backed up with jobs that you need to increase your workforce, finding time to conduct interviews, check work histories and other time-consuming tasks of the hiring process becomes a heavy burden. And takes time away from those paying customers!
TAKE CARE, TCB
But it is critical you find more people, and not just any people. They need to be the right people. In general, a large percentage of applicants are simply not the person you are looking for at the time. So much about a person is just not going to come out on an application or during an interview.
Occasionally, people make themselves sound more qualified than they realistically are. I mean, when I needed a job, I would have claimed to be able to perform minor surgery if it would have gotten me in the door! But do they have reliable transportation? How long will their commute be? If they have to drive 30 miles each way, that’s going to get old, real fast. Are they a team player who can also work independently? Are they a self-starter who can think for themselves? (Fortunately, we have a management team that has a knack for finding new employees’ strong points and placing them accordingly in the proper departments.)
Then a most important question: Will they simply show up for work? It sounds ridiculous, but in a 30-person company like M1, when even one person is absent, it can cause production delays that have a ripple effect throughout the whole company. Of course, we all get sick and emergencies do occur (but they seem to happen to some more than others). So, having employees who consistently show up on time is a huge deal.
Another problem a business encounters is the roller-coaster ups and downs of the economy. When the economy is sluggish, you can pretty much pick and choose from the line of applicants forming outside your door. However, if the economy is thriving, chances are you are not the only company looking for new employees. So we are not just competing for work, we are also competing for the most desirable new workers. With a robust economy, finding the right fit is much more of a challenge. This is typically achieved with wages and benefits, but a well-lit, well-ventilated and safe workplace helps, too.
Here at M1, we have a 90-day probation period that allows both employee and employer to get to know each other and see how all the dynamics work. At the end of the 90 days, management sits down with the employee and reviews a written, 20-question evaluation. What are the employee’s strong points? What could they use improvement on? This initial review sets a benchmark for what is expected from each employee, opening the door for permanent status, raises, additional benefits, etc.
As we used to sing along in the ’60s, “All I’m askin’ is for a little respect!” And that is something that must be both given and earned in the workplace.
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