A Personal Approach


A Personal Approach

As you hone your WFD tools, one CM shares a reminder: Don’t forget about the importance of developing meaningful relationships with the people right in front of you.

“Developing your workforce is about bringing in people to your work family and having them learn beside you. It’s not about using the proper tools to recruit,” said Jack Dermer, president of American Truss Systems, Inc. in Houston, Texas. 

According to Dermer, word-of-mouth has proven the most beneficial recruiting method for American Truss. “The word-of-mouth approach is not just about recruiting people but finding where the new recruit fits best with the entire team in your organization. We can focus on the recruit who wants to learn, hone their skill sets, train them and take the necessary actions to retain them,” he explained. 

Dermer believes company size makes a difference in this process, and it may be easier for small companies to use some recruitment strategies. “You need to look at someone who is teachable and willing to learn and devote time and resources. More traditional approaches to hiring may look at the industry on a broader level and may not be as in tune with a company’s individual recruitment needs, so our approach has been to use word-of-mouth to attract new applicants and this has been more productive for our organization,” said Dermer. 

Hiring someone with basic computer skills who’s ready to acquire new skills doesn’t necessarily imply hiring someone who wants to sit and design trusses every day, said Dermer, who sees a more personable approach to the process. “You want to get close, connect with them, introduce them to the different parts of the job and let them learn on the front lines,” explained Dermer. “Our new employees rotate around the plant with everyone from the shipping coordinator to the production and design managers, so they get a taste of everything involved in building trusses.” 

Word-of-mouth recruiting can be an important piece of an overall recruiting strategy. It certainly helps companies strengthen ties with existing employees, and it says a lot about a company when its employees want other people they know to work there. 

For small organizations, Dermer suggests that using a variety of tools to attract and retain staff is just the beginning. “Overcoming challenges and implementing new ideas is part of developing your workforce and building your business. It’s all about relationships with people and people skills,” he said. “At the end of the day, we need to learn the value of the new employee while teaching them the value of joining our industry.” 

Visit sbcindustry.com/wfd for more tools to build your skilled workforce.

About the Author: Lena Giakoumopoulos joined the SBCA membership development team in 2014 and also focuses on workforce development and other management committee initiatives. She holds a masters degree in global marketing and has written for newsletters, manuals, brochures and websites.

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