Creating Relationships to Recruit Great People
Whether you are a Christian For-Profit, Ministry, Church, Camp or Higher Education Institution, recruitment can be difficult. Even before Covid-19, employers had difficulties finding qualified candidates. Many organizations did not know where to look for candidates or could not find employees skilled to match available positions. Many organizations face the same situation, the problem is less a dearth of potential suitors than knowing where or how to search for an ideal match. I believe the best way to find qualified candidates is to focus first on establishing long-term relationships. Only then will your network proactively refer candidates to you because they know of and trust your organization. We believe having a great strategy in place will pay dividends in the recruitment of exempt and non-exempt staff, regardless of your organizations, product, or service.
Consider your favorite brands and businesses. Maybe they include a clothing company, a coffee shop, or perhaps a particular hotel or car. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve developed a relationship with these brands. Think back to when you first discovered that brand or business. For example, you chose a random coffee shop one day. What drew you in the door? Was it the aroma of the roasting beans? The cozy ambience, the savory scones? Or the friendly employees? What made you choose to return, again and again? What made you rave about this place to your friends, family, colleagues? Subconsciously, we develop relationships with the things we care about, just like we do with the people we care about. Relationships are the key to the success of any organization.
Now more than ever organizations must break out of mediocrity. Organizations have an obligation to their people to strive for excellence, to be world class, and to be high performing. Far too many organizations, ministries, churches, and nonprofits fall victim to a defeatist attitude, thinking no one wants to work anymore, we can never find candidates, Covid-19 has ruined our chances of growing, often giving up before they’ve hardly begun.
IN HIS NAME HR believes an organization should strive to become—and maintain—excellent; and will remain intact no matter the storm. People can become discouraged, even disillusioned, by the slow deterioration of service or quality they witness within organizations. Leaders must become focused to allow organizations to grow versus failing. We should do everything with excellence, or not do it at all.
If you, as an employer, have drifted from your organizations vision, try recalling what initially ignited your excitement and passion for that organization. How did you feel when you gained your first big client or made your first big sale? Elated, no doubt! Inspired! How did you feel when you got the keys to your first office and saw your nameplate on the door?
If you’ve lost your pizazz at your current organization, can you recall when things went awry, or your enthusiasm began to fade? How can you gain that excitement again? Simply put, if you as a leader, are not excited about your organization, chances are employees won’t be either. To attract excellent employees who will experience that same initial enthusiasm, you might have to do a bit of housecleaning first. Let’s look at what that might entail:
- First, create an awesome workplace. Create the kind of work environment where you would want your loved ones to work. The best way to attract people is to first make the people who currently work for you and agree your organization is a best place to work! Create a process and check in regularly with your employees to make sure they are satisfied with their working environment. When employees feel encouraged, noticed, and heard, they’re much more likely to be productive and perform well. Take time to listen to them. Find out what motivates them and makes them tick. Go out of your way to make each employee feel recognized. Learn their favorite coffee flavor, their pet’s name, or their favorite hobbies. If they’re due a raise or a proper bonus, give them one. Make sure that if an employee were to run into a future employee on the street who asks about their work environment, they’d have nothing but stellar things to say about you and your company.
- Next, develop a clear employer brand. Organizations should be marketed to candidates. Given that the competition for quality candidates is fierce, you want your organization to look its best and stand out. Create a recruitment benefits fact sheet that affirms to your potential employees why they would want to work for you. List the benefits, but also include employee testimony. See an example of a recruitment benefits fact sheet here. Create only job posts that reflect the culture of your organization—that’s critical. Build excitement. (Creativity and humor go a long way.) Do you have a cool coffee bar in the break room, annual employee barbecues, team building events, or an onsite gym? Perhaps you’ve got a great city view, offer flexible working hours, or host an annual super fun holiday party. Asking employees why they love working for you also reminds themof the reasons and renews their enthusiasm. You can see why taking the time to take this step is a real win–win.
- Lastly, create your network. Most organizations, because of turnover among or an absence of HR professionals, do not have a formalized network through which they can broadcast vacancies. And that’s a problem. Organizations should consistently mine for talent, and the surrounding community should be aware of the organization and have a general idea of what they do and what their hiring patterns and processes are. At any given time, you should ideally have a pool of candidates to choose from. No one wants to find themselves scrambling at the last minute, searching frantically for employees the way folks did during the 2021 COVID-19 employment crisis Having a reserve of candidates to call on, and a robust network, ensures you hire only the top, sought-after candidates.
In high-performing organizations, the community knows who you are and what it is you do. If they don’t know, you have a community relations problem. To succeed, organizations must spend time marketing themselves as a great place to work. Doing so is also an effective form of marketing to potential customers. People want to buy products and services from organizations that treat their employees well. The problem is that many organizations do not create such a network list. Ask yourself: “Does every one of my friends and family know what I do?” If those closest to you are not aware of your company or could not easily tell someone else what you do or what you represent, your networking may need serious work. Network today, and it will pay dividends in years to come.
Due to developing relationships takes years, it’s imperative to start as quickly as possible. To begin, have your person that is responsible for HR set up appointments and start meeting and networking with organizations in your area, such as these listed below, to improve awareness of the opportunities you offer.
Colleges – Many have student work and career centers. Consider creating internships, which are the perfect opportunity to showcase your company and assess potential employees with little risk to you.
High Schools – Get to know the guidance counselors, as many can be very helpful. If certain schools offer career days, consider setting up a booth and speaking with students. Make sure you bring adequate marketing material to pass out.
Vocational and Trade Schools – Forging relationships with these will provide you the technical employees you need.
Refugee and Immigrant Placement Organizations – This is a wonderful opportunity to help people start a new life. Just because someone is a refugee or immigrant doesn’t mean they don’t possess desirable skills and expertise.
Other Local Nonprofits and Organizations – Seek out ones that match your organizational values. Check LinkedIn and other social media platforms and/or make a list of friends you know who are involved in or have started a nonprofit organization.
Agencies on Aging – Many organizations help our seniors find meaningful work.
Churches – This is a logical place to connect with people. Start with five churches in your area and grow this network over time. Some churches host career or networking events; consider setting up a booth there. Many churches also offer mothers groups, like MOPS (Mothers of Pre-schoolers). As stay-at-home moms transition back to the workplace, they will be looking for an ideal environment. Consider speaking at one of these groups free of charge to put your name out there.
Radio Stations – Many (Like WJTL) have job posting programs to help the community.
Local Veterans Groups – A great way to connect with men and women who have served our country. Many will have extensive training and education. Nationally, the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation has an extensive list of resources that organizations could support and develop relationships with.
As you tap into all your networking communities, create a checklist with the contact information of each organization’s contact person and be consistent in sharing vacancies/opportunities when they come available. You can easily create an e-mail blast to let people know when vacancies are posted. Also, in the checklist, include all the regular places you post the ads or send the vacancy info.
At the end of the day, you want your workplace to be excellent and a great place to work for all employees. By ensuring you are creating an ideal work environment, and make your branding known to your community, you’ve already taken the first important steps. Networking may take some initial effort, but in the end, it will be more than worth it. Relationships are priceless. Start creating them today!
If the pandemic, has you stressed out, let our 10 years of serving clients nationwide benefit you. We are the leaders in human resource consulting and outsourcing services from a Christian perspective. Let our experts assist you in in developing a plan for you to help in these hard times and save yourself unnecessary pain and stress!
In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance human resource programs. E-mail us here.
Mark A. Griffin is president and founder of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter