By MATTHEW SMITH, Director of Recruiting at Linen Recruiter
“How can I attract a superstar?” We get this question a lot. Every company wants to attract the top-tier talent in their industry, but with heavy competition in many sectors, that is often easier said than done. Offering competitive or above-market salaries can help score the most sought-after candidates, but what else can today’s linen, uniform, and commercial laundry employers offer?
With uncertainty surrounding the economy, candidates are more hesitant to make a change and more risk averse than ever. Here are some things that may make working for your company especially appealing for the most talented professionals
Determining the fair market value of the package you offer to candidates is extremely important and should be done before starting a search. Candidates are unlikely to respond if job details do not include a compensation range. Perform a market survey by searching for similar jobs in your area, using online salary finder tools, or by contacting companies in your area (in our industry and others). A professional recruiter or headhunter like myself will routinely provide you with this data before starting a search. You can also compare your survey results against the most recent data from the federal government by looking up the specific position title in the Bureau of Labor Statistics database.
Next, incorporate nonmonetary factors into your overall wage package. If you’re looking to attract talented and passive (not actively job searching) candidates, be prepared to match or beat their current benefits such as bonus plans, health insurance, paid time off and retirement plans, car package, etc.
Once you have a competitive compensation package, candidates will start to consider the possibility of working for you. Now it’s time to sell them on the opportunity and the remaining tips should help seal the deal.
Employees who want to maintain work-life balance look for employers who offer flexibility in the workplace. According to Deloitte, 82% of companies now see flexible work arrangements as a critical component of employee management. Employers should understand that workplace flexibility is not always a work from home offer. It encompasses a broader spectrum of arrangements including flexible arrival and departure times, part-time telecommuting options, opportunity for sabbaticals, and more.
Workplace Flexibility Options Might Include:
• Enabling employees to create unconventional work schedules (time shifting to optimize productivity, performance)
• Giving employees agility to leave work for a few hours to accommodate an appointment or family obligation and make up those hours later
• Basing workers out of the business office but allowing them to work in locations of their choosing some of the time
• Offering employees the ability to work from anywhere
• Getting creative to allow the employee’s schedule to accommodate child care
• Minimizing travel
• Reducing workload for employees who want to work part-time only
• Providing unlimited paid time off
• Accepting flexible arrival and departure
• Compressing shifts or workweek
• Supporting caregiving leave
The type of flexibility offered should be tailored to the type of role the employee is in. For example, individuals with desk jobs are more likely to prefer location independence while those in plant management are more interested in compressed shifts. Consider deploying an employee survey to better understand employee opinions on flexibility or what kind of options would appeal most to your people.
Additionally, you can expect candidates to be extremely interested in knowing what the growth potential is for a position they are considering. A top candidate wants to grow with the company and the more potential there is for growth in this position, the more attractive the opportunity.
Discuss learning opportunities, future challenges, special projects and a career path. Top candidates already have a job, what they want is a career path. The reason they are speaking with you is that they no longer see or believe in a career path where they are. Show them a great career that will grow with them – put a brief plan in writing even – and you’ll hire an enthusiastic employee.
Positive Vibes (a.k.a. Culture)
Job candidates are often enticed to work for an organization they believe has the kind of workplace culture where they will thrive professionally, feel appreciated and receive recognition for their individual contributions, as well as their efforts as a team player. When you’re trying to attract a candidate you sense is more interested in the company philosophy than compensation, or the type of work environment instead of how many vacations days he’ll receive, you’ve found a winner! Use your company’s positive vibe to win the candidate over.
Vibe and Culture Enhancements Might Include:
• Recognition programs: celebrate individual wins by calling out the players that made it happen and rewarding them.
• Transparency: Secrets and a general lack of communication from the top down creates a culture of insecurity and uncertainty. Openly share results and metrics to keep employees ‘in the loop’ – it will motivate them.
• Visible and accessible leaders: Employees support leaders who are transparent, accessible, honest, authentic, and who invest in them.
• Comfortable workspaces: Adding amenities and perks that people actually care about will contribute significantly to morale levels.
• Team building events: Great company cultures support involvement and provide positive, fun ways for their employees to get together for personal and professional development activities, both within and outside normal company hours.
Looking for ways to improve the vibe at your laundry? It takes some creativity and experimenting to find out what works for you but here are some ideas to consider.
Professional development and training are factors that candidates look for when they intend to embark upon a career in the field or when they’re looking for an employer that offers stability and upward mobility. Promising leadership training and professional development are a good start, but it’s more convincing if you point to examples of employees who started in entry-level roles and progressed with the company after receiving the professional development and mentoring they needed to move up the ladder. Candidates who aspire to high-level positions with your organization might be interested in working for you if you attract them with your plans for succession into executive leadership roles.
Be able to articulate your expectations in order to effectively sell your organization as a great place to work. Job seekers who interview with hiring managers who can’t quite explain what the job is about or how the role fits into the overall organization can be discouraged from the start. They will sense that your lack of clarity in the interview process as indicative of the way you interact with employees. Clarity, communication and honesty go a long way in making a good impression on job seekers and candidates you want to bring on board.
Candidates also like the idea of working for a company that’s going places. You likely have a pretty good idea of your company’s goals, but the candidate doesn’t have any idea where the company is headed. The candidate wants to feel confident that they would be joining a company that has a common vision for the future and a plan for achieving that vision. If you don’t discuss company goals in the interview, the candidate might easily assume that there are no real goals, or if the company has them, they are not significant enough for you to bring them up. Get the candidate to ‘buy-in’ to your plans.
Reputation and Reviews
As a recruiter, I’m still frequently surprised at how much candidates know (and research) about a client’s reputation. Just like your customers, employment candidates have access to a vast amount of online information about your company before they even step foot in the door for interviews. You want to make sure this information reflects as positively as possible on your company.
With sites like Glassdoor, an online forum where former employees can describe their experiences with your company, you want to make sure you’re defending your employer brand by telling your side of the story, too. While you can’t undo criticism, you can show your transparency and willingness to listen.
For instance, did a disgruntled employee leave an unsavory comment about his or her experience? Take the time to respond publicly and show potential candidates reading it that you care.
Keep an eye on other job board sites and social media sites as well. There are a variety of social monitoring tools available that allow you to follow mentions of your brand. Marketing firms can also help improve and correct your employer reputation online.
Eye on the Prize
With new strategies in tow, you’re better prepared to take on the competitive landscape that acquiring talent has become. Keep in mind that good candidates may receive multiple offers and must decide which one is the best opportunity for them. While compensation is very important in getting the candidate to consider the position, once they reach the decision-making stage, money is not the only thing they’re looking at. Smart, talented, and in-demand candidates will consider the “full package” and implementing some of these ideas will help entice them to work at your laundry and contribute to your bottom line.
About the Author: Matt Smith is the Director of Recruiting at Linen Recruiter and has a background in the industry, having been a route rep, a service manager, and eventually a GM, who led and grew his family’s linen and uniform service business before pursuing a career in talent acquisition. Matt is also trained and certified by ADP’s Advanced Internet Recruitment Strategies (AIRS), the global leader in recruitment training. Contact Matt at email@example.com or 518-848-1028.