Expanding your business can feel like a minefield, especially when you haven’t done it before. It can be really difficult to find decent people, especially in the construction industry, because of the lack of skilled labourers. I recently spoke to my friend Stephanie Buck who is a recruitment and HR expert. She has experience growing both small and large businesses and had some great advice on how to grow your team.
What not to do
A common mistake that a lot of businesses make is focusing on the vacancy rather than what they actually need in that role. Having a vacancy means you are a man down, which can be stressful and it can make you hasty to get someone in quickly. But this urgency can take over the more important things, like nailing what you really want in the vacancy. Make it detailed, what do you need? It can help to think of who did the role before and analyse: What did you like? What didn’t work? This can help you to really focus on what will make a difference for your company.
You do need to be balanced though, the more specific you make your advertisement, the narrower your candidate base becomes, and they will come with their own requirements. Particularly if you are a growing business, there is room for the candidate to grow with you. So look at potential while you are interviewing, there may be a gap in skills or experience, but it could be a gap you could help fill.
How far in advance do you plan recruitment?
When Stephanie works with businesses, she asks for a minimum 24-month recruitment plan. Now, this surprised me and was longer than I expected, but it does make sense. If you include this in your business plan and can estimate how much manpower you will need to find over the next two years, you can then run a budget with that in mind. Having this long-term plan will make you one step ahead when it comes to recruitment, and you can adjust your plan as you go along.
What things attract the best talent?
- Be visible. People who are looking seriously to make a career move will see you if you put yourself out there. Updating websites, social media, and LinkedIn can do a lot for you.
- Make your staff your advertisement. Happy staff are an underrated way to advertise your company and word of mouth is invaluable.
- Share the benefits of being part of your work community. People want to know what they are going to get from working with you, what they are going to learn, and what the prospects are. This doesn’t have to be about money, be proud that you are approachable, and have a fun working environment.
When you have your applications coming in, you now need to look at the resumes. The most important thing is your potential employees’ experience, this is where the best matches. It is not always about the job title, look at bullet points under each previous role and what they actually did on a day-to-day basis. How long do they stay in their jobs? If someone moves a lot it is useful to ask why. If they are ambitious they may not want to stay long-term with you. Any gaps in employment should be asked about also, 6 months is a gap that needs to be explained.
When it comes to the interview it is helpful to do a telephone interview first, that first conversation can fill a lot of questions. Get a feel for the person, you can explain more about the role, and when they are using language you want to hear you can arrange a more formal interview.
Some of the top questions:
- Competency-based questions that show how they will do the job.
- Ask questions about what would fulfill them in their next job? What are the important factors to them in the next job they have? Find out what their personal drivers are.
- What do they find difficult? How do they handle difficult things?
References are also important to chase. Interviews are a planned and prepared for conversation, more will come out from a reference and big red flags can come from companies. See if previous employers are happy to refer them. Can also set your mind at ease.
How to keep your dream employee
When you finish your interviews and find an ideal employee how can you keep them? How do you create loyalty? This is important as a high turnover can quickly become part of your company culture and it will permeate and be difficult to get rid of. High turnover is always caused by something, and often we know why instinctively as business owners. What we can work with is the middle ground and finding ways to compromise. Check in with your staff regularly, and ask what isn’t working? Have those conversations short but often as it prevents the build-up of resentment and keeps you in the know. Giving employees knowledge about what has and hasn’t happened from a leadership perspective builds trust. Let all your staff know what your plan is for them, and share the succession plan and their part in the journey and how it will involve them.
HR can feel like a minefield, from recruitment to different forms, but is vital to building a strong team and business. If you would like to talk to me about how you can grow your construction business in 2022, then book your FREE strategy call with me here.