Recruiting New Employees

Words: Kent Bounds

Words and Photos: Kent Bounds, Brazos Masonry

Over the years have scratched and pulled our hair in trying to figure out where our next employee will be coming from. As it stands today, it seems like the field to hire employees is even shrinking smaller. We have more work than qualified employees. What can we do? Yes, we can complain, or we can change our approach. In the past, employees had to sell themselves to an employer, and to a point, they still do. I am suggesting we do the same. We have to start selling ourselves to the employee to attract the all-stars to our company.   I am not just talking about paying the most, but brand and culture.

Start asking yourself the question, why would someone want to work for this company? If you cannot strongly answer that question, how would a potential employee desire to work for your company? Make sure your company has a clear brand. Your brand should reflect the company's mission, culture, and values.

Before proceeding, there should be a word of caution. One of the main reasons hiring is so difficult is that retention has become tough. Let's be honest, we hire from our competition/competitors and vice versa. It is a vicious cycle that has us seemingly replacing people continually. According to the Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics, data shows that 95% of hiring is done to fill existing positions. It goes on to say that most of those vacancies are caused by voluntary turnover. Per LinkedIn, data indicates that the most common reason employees consider a position elsewhere is career advancement. So, in short, the root cause of hiring people is simply poor retention.

Therefore, your brand is so important. Available advancement in the careers of your people is critical. But it's more show than tell. You must have your company set up where advancement meets the need for needed positions. Don't just hire labor for a trash pickup or even your competent scaffold erector, but hire him as your next apprentice, bricklayer, foreman, or superintendent. Some may say that is more work. It's hard to find the time for investing and training. We, however, need to recognize the cost of outside hiring. Studies show outside hires take three years to perform as well as internal hires in the same job, while internal hires take seven years to earn as much as outside hires are paid. Outside hiring also causes a disruption to the culture, and it also burdens your senior employees, who must help new hires figure out how things work.

None of this is to suggest that outside hiring is necessarily a bad idea. But unless your company is a Tesla, Google, or Samsung, which are adding new jobs at a furious pace, you need to seriously ask yourself why most of your needs are being filled from outside. Again, retention is critical. I know this is an odd way to discuss the recruitment of employees, but a necessary one.

Several years back, we changed our brand and motto. Our mission statement at Brazos Masonry is "We elevate our people and projects beyond expectations." Too often, we focus on the projects and not your people. We have learned you elevate your people, and they, in return, will elevate your projects. When hiring an individual in the field, we ask what their goals in life are. We ask if they want to learn and if they want to advance. If someone tells us they just want a job, they are the last to be hired.

We want people who are hungry and who are motivated. We want employees who are eager to learn and who want to be better. We will invest in those who will invest in us. We simply want individuals who have the raw skills and then develop those individuals into apprentices, bricklayers, foremen, and superintendents. As an example, we hired a young man seven years ago. He knew nothing about masonry and very little English. Within those short seven years, the man went to school to learn English and is currently a Foreman who is starting a 4.3-million-dollar masonry veneer high rise. Elevate your people, and they will elevate you.

Our current workforce, as it stands now, is the largest recruiter. Morale is high, and our people are spreading the word. We have individuals traveling more and willing to work in hard-reach areas of the map because they want the opportunity. They know their time is coming. Your reputation is priceless. For us, it has been our success. Remember to find those individuals who are passionate about their work, engaged in improving their skills, and wanting to advance their careers. By having employees who are invested and ambitious, they are key to your future, even if they don't know the difference between a brick and block. It's the intangibles you cannot replace, and for us, that is our focal point when recruiting new employees.

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