Which Way Did They Go?

Good employees are hard to find. And, once they come to work in your organization they are frequently even harder to keep. This is especially true for entry-level workers in so-called blue-collar jobs. While this may not be a problem in some places, in areas experiencing population growth (like ours) and the accompanying expansion of infrastructure, it is a real and growing concern. Couple this with price increases for basic commodities and materials and the shifting of labor to the highest bidder and you have a real nightmare on your hands.

The True Cost of Employee Vacancies

If you are a leader in your organization you need to think about the true cost of those continuing vacancies in your staffing table. Consider time as a very valuable commodity. We all have a lot of time invested in the many facets of employing staff. Specifically:

How many people are involved in the employee recruiting efforts in your organization? If you are like us there are several layers of bureaucracy investing time, talent and people just to announce the vacancy. We have people who prepare the request for filling a vacancy and the ads to advertise the vacancy. We have other people who make the procurement decisions, purchase the ad space, and then pay the bills for those ads.

Once you begin the recruitment process how many people and how much time is invested by your organization in providing the recruitment documents, reviewing those documents for completion and meeting the minimum requirements for the job?

Next, how much time and how many staff are involved in the interview process?

Then how much time and how many employees are involved with the decisions to offer an applicant employment and perform any background and security screening?

If you haven’t process mapped or flow-charted this in your organization do so. You and all of those who play a part in these many steps will be amazed. You will find the recruitment of even one new employee costs thousands of dollars in direct and indirect costs. This says nothing of the cost of lost productivity and possible overtime expense associated with the lack of staff in the field. Mapping this will give you the data you may need to make the point to your decision makers. That point is there is urgency and importance in the need to recruit quickly.

Creating A Safe Place Through The Recruitment Process

It’s a sad fact that we do not all live in a safe world. As a public park operation our department places great emphasis on our core values. Those values are that we are always “Clean, Green, Safe and Fun.” We live these values and place special emphasis in the specific and implied contract with our customers. When they are on our property they will be safe.

In our world safety starts with safe employees – people who provide a safe environment for our customers. We do extensive background screening on all of our employees and volunteers. All of our full time employees are thoroughly vetted through state and federal data banks for prior criminal backgrounds. Potential full time staff is also given a polygraph examination before employment. We will not interview candidates who do not have at least a high school diploma or a GED. Our reasoning is that all park and recreation staff will have interaction with our customers and a sizeable number of our customers are children.

This caution on our part comes with a cost. That cost is not just measured in the expense of these recruitment steps but in the time it takes to make an employment offer to a prospective candidate.

For entry-level employees those candidates do not have the financial luxury of waiting long periods of time without employment. More to the point if they come with experience and good credentials they will be quickly employed by someone else if we delay too long in our process. Even though this extra caution adds to the cost and time to recruit and employ, I would urge everyone in our business to give strong emphasis to the recruitment of safe employees.

Fish in the Right Ocean

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